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May 31, 2009

The Uighurs are welcome in my neighborhood

The Obama administration, disappointingly, filed a petition to bar from the United States the 17 Uighurs the U.S.--by its own admission--wrongfully imprisoned at Guantanamo.

These are innocent men. We should be talking about multi-million-dollar compensation packages for these guys, given that we've put them through hell and effectively locked them out of their homeland for life.

Instead of rectifying this national disgrace, the Obama administration is compounding the felony by making the mere stigma of having been locked up at Guantanamo a one-way ticket to permanent exile.

They can't go back to China because the Chinese will execute them, and no other country wants to take them. So, they're still locked up at Guantanamo.

Surely a modified version of the Pottery Barn rule applies in this case: We mistakenly kidnapped them, imprisoned them without trail, and probably tortured them, we keep them.

The Obama administration needs to stop governing from fear and do the right thing.


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This is very, very disappointing. The Obama I thought we were getting would have supported compensation and resettlement packages for these individuals. Seems I was just another sucker taken in by campaign lies.

Thank you for your blog post! We at have been watching the Uighurs' case very carefully. All of this news is very disheartening!

I won't welcome them in my neighborhood, and I'm not sure that all of your neighbors will welcome them into yours.

What do you think they were doing in Afghanistan? On holiday to see the wildlife?

Hey Phantom,

Our own government has cleared them of any wrongdoing, and they were never charged with a crime. Our own judicial system says that we can not just hold people indefinitely with no charges and with no chance to challenge that detention. This concept goes back more than 500 years, and enshrined within the Magna Carta.

Are we to hold onto our own values, or give into constant fear?

Why were they in Afghanistan?

Are we to hold onto our own values, or give into constant fear?

If we think that 17 Uighurs actually pose a real threat to 300 million Americans, it's clear that fear is our only value.

You're the one who's afraid.

I ride the NYC Subway maybe 700 times a year, and work in the Financial District. I'm not afraid.

Which does not mean that I want those who crossed the vast deserts of Central Asia to fight with Osama bin Laden to be my next door neighbors.

I think that the Uighurs, like the Tibetans, have legitimate beefs against the Communist Chinese government. But that does not mean that I have the slightest sympathy with these guys.

They can stay in Gitmo or they can take the next nonstop to Beijing. They made their bed, let them lie in it.

If you think anyone who might possibly be similar to a terrorist shouldn't move in next to you, are you willing to start a petition to deport all Ron Paul/Lew Rockwell supporters from the US? How about all Rush Limbaugh listeners? Paul and Rockwell have sympathized with vigilantism before, and Limbaugh encouraged armed resistance to the federal government when Clinton was in power. Who knows what their followers are up to?

Any of the above groups who were found out hanging out with fellow international jihadis in Afghanistan should indeed be deported.

I work on Uyghur human rights issues and can tell you that, unlike Tibetans, Uyghurs do not have an India or Nepal to flee to (although Nepal is not that safe for Tibetans any longer.) Many flee to the bordering countries of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but authorities in these countries have increasingly cooperated with Chinese authorities to ship any Uyghurs who are Chinese nationals back to East Turkestan (Xinjiang, in the northwest part of China). Most who are sent back to China are not heard from again. Therefore, the Gitmo Uyghurs would have been attracted to the bordering nation of Afghanistan as a place where the lawlessness presented them, ironically, with a measure of safety. The Gitmo Uyghurs had various plans/hopes to travel to third countries, in particular Turkey. It is very common for Uyghurs to flee to third/fourth countries in the West after first transiting through a Central Asian country- at least for those lucky few who escape the attention of the local authorities in cahoots with the PRC. In short, the Gitmo Uyghurs did not have to "cross vast deserts" to reach the village they were staying in in Afghanistan- it is across the border from their homeland, East Turkestan.
These guys did not have anything to do with 9/11, nor did they engage in terrorist training of ANY kind. The courts have ruled this to be the case.

Phantom is as usual being a paranoid, bigoted choad. Update at 11.

this Phantom person is the only non-dumb unny here. Of course these are not ideal neighbors, and believe me, I am not unsympathetic to them. But they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they are terrorists, just not anti-US terrorists. Sorry, the nice men in Beijing who control all those factories and buy all those Treasuries are the people we need to keep happy, not these poor bastards.

Disclosure: I've actually been to Urumchi, unlike you dumb cunts.


Thanks for the tactical air support.


I love when people use terms like " bigoted " without knowing the meaning of the word.

Mark: not that I don't see your perspective here. The Western Allies did the same in World War Two, repatriating Soviet POWs, who Stalin then killed for desertion. Ironically, the hawks viewed that as a clear sign of weakness in the face of communism, berating forced repatriation of POWs both in WW2 and in Korea; now they view the equivalent action as strength.

More than 80% of those held at Guantanamo were turned over to U.S. forces by bounty hunters for money. None of the Uighurs held in Guantanamo were T any sort of Al Qaeda training camp. I have met one of the attorneys working on their case, Brett Mickum.

"Tactical air support" against a charge of bigotry is further bigotry (unsubstantiated charge of "terrorist" by the dude who has "been there" and knows what it's all about, hur hur*) and the calling of people "dumb cunts"? Can my irony meter be more broken now?

*Like British soldiers knew about the darkies.

Mark, Phantom: the US govt cleared these individuals of all involvement in terrorism, yet you insist that they are terrorists.

What do you know that the US govt doesn't? Please be specific: names, dates, details -- facts. If you have such evidence, I'm sure the US govt would be very interested in it.


You tell me who they were associating with in Afghanistan, and if they were involved in any way with any movements, first.


Have you ever known an attorney who admitted that his client was guilty?

Or a criminal lawyer who gave you the full truth, holding nothing back?

That's not what these guys do.

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