Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do You Feel Safer?

US Attorney General Eric Holder now says that some of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay may be released into the United States proper.
Mr. Holder, in a briefing with reporters, said administration officials are still reviewing individual cases of the approximately 250 detainees to determine which will be put on trial and which may be released to comply with plans to close the detention facility by next year.

Six weeks into his tenure, Mr. Holder is still trying to assemble much of the Justice senior leadership, with several nominees awaiting Senate confirmation. He said he has reviewed the department's handling of white-collar criminal cases in response to the financial crisis and is considering ways to increase coordination on financial fraud among federal prosecutors and state officials. He said he is trying to increase the budget dedicated to white-collar crime, while maintaining funding for national security.

European justice ministers met with Mr. Holder earlier this week and pressed for details on how many Guantanamo prisoners the U.S. planned to release domestically, as part of any agreement for allies to accept detainees. Mr. Holder said U.S. officials would work to respond to the questions European officials have over U.S. Guantanamo plans.

For "people who can be released there are a variety of options that we have and among them is the possibility is that we would release them into this country," Mr. Holder said. "That process is ongoing and we've not made any determinations or made any requests of anybody at this point."

Among the detainees whose fate remains undetermined are 17 ethnic Uighurs, from the Central Asian region of China, who have been ordered released by a judge. The U.S. has refused to turn the men over to China, which considers them part of an separatist group.
So, in order to get Europeans to take in detainees, the US has to take in some as well. It's a quid pro quo that does grave injustice to the security of both Europeans and Americans. There's a reason that many of those held in Gitmo are there - they were captured on battlefields while engaging in combat against the US. They are not merely prisoners of war, but enemy combatants (a term that Holder and President Obama have written out of existence, regardless of the specific meaning that it implies because such individuals do not get protection under the Geneva Convention although the US did and does comply with providing such individuals with that protection).

What could possibly go wrong with releasing terrorists held at Gitmo? Well, given that more than a few have rejoined the jihad and some have even taken up leadership positions in al Qaeda, I'd say quite a bit.

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