Here's a bad joke:
More than a fifth of the approximately 385 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been cleared for release but may have to wait months or years for their freedom because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to line up places to send them, according to Bush administration officials and defense lawyers.
Since February, the Pentagon has notified about 85 inmates or their attorneys that they are eligible to leave after being cleared by military review panels.
Funny, right? Gives new meaning to the original names for the war: "Infinite Justice" and "Enduring Freedom".
Here's another laugher:
Another major obstacle: U.S. laws that prevent the deportation of people to countries where they could face torture or other human rights abuses, as in the case of 17 Chinese Muslim separatists who have been cleared for release but fear they could be executed for political reasons if returned to China.
They're free to leave the place where they've been subjected to
torture "alternative procedures" by the U.S., but the U.S. is now oh-so-concerned about being embarrassed the detainees' human rights that - they can't leave!
Hey, I have a suggestion: Why doesn't the U.S. take in the poor people who it falsely accused and then rendered stateless?
Compounding the problem are persistent refusals by the United States, its European allies and other countries to grant asylum to prisoners who are stateless or have no place to go.
So ... no, huh? Just no. Wow.
What must it be like for the guys who know they're to be freed, but aren't? You're not allowed to know, dummy, because you're merely a citizen and your government doesn't allow contact between you and the people detained. You can only imagine what it's like to be, say, this guy:
A case in point is Ahmed Belbacha, 37, an Algerian who worked as a hotel waiter in Britain but has been locked up at Guantanamo for five years. The Pentagon has alleged that Belbacha met al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden twice and received weapons training in Afghanistan. His attorneys dispute the charges and say he was rounded up with other innocents in Pakistan in early 2002.
On Feb. 22, without explanation, the Pentagon notified Belbacha's lawyers in London that he had been approved to leave Guantanamo. Despite entreaties from the State Department, however, the British government has refused to accept Belbacha and five other immigrants who had lived in the country, because they lack British citizenship.
This month, Clint Williamson, the State Department's ambassador for war crimes, visited Algiers to discuss possible arrangements for the return of two dozen Algerians who remain at Guantanamo, including Belbacha, but no breakthroughs were reported. That country has been slow to accept its citizens.
(There's a U.S. ambassador for war crimes? Explains a lot.) Yeah, you're a 32-year-old immigrant waiter working in the U.K., when one day in 2002 you're scooped up by anti-terrorism police, shanghaied to Gitmo, and left to rot, until one day 5 years later you're told you'll be let go ... someday.
Hey Americans, how does that make you feel about your country? Imagine what it makes people who don't live here feel about us.
As I said, the U.S. clearly doesn't give a rat's ass about these guys, because they spent so long trumpeting that everyone at Gitmo was a mortal threat to every American:
Other prisoner advocates said the Bush administration has made its task more difficult by exaggerating the threat posed by most Guantanamo inmates -- officials repeatedly called them "the worst of the worst" -- and refusing to acknowledge mistaken detentions.
Refusing to admit mistakes just leads to more mistakes. Let that be a lesson to those of you inclined to vote for the next Steely-Eyed Rocketman the GOP pushes forward.
But ... but ... but surely! The rest of the detainees are guilty as hell, right? Wrong (and don't call me Shirley):
Of the roughly 385 still incarcerated, U.S. officials said they intend to eventually put 60 to 80 on trial and free the rest. But the judicial process has likewise moved at a glacial pace, largely because of constitutional legal challenges.
Sixty to eighty. That's it. So really, there are 305 to 325 (probably more) people behind bars who don't belong there, and the rest will be subjected to kangaroo courts.
One more joke:
Some human rights advocates said the Bush administration could speed things up by asking the United Nations or another international body for help.
Bush should ask the UN for help! Har! Har!