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June 10, 2009

GITMO Uighurs Palau-bound

The Uighurs of Guantanamo finally catch a break:

They were plucked from their ancient Silk Road home in central Asia eight years ago and sent to Guantanamo Bay as part of the "war on terror". Now cleared of being enemy combatants, the 17 Chinese Uighurs, who once lived about as far away from the ocean as it is possible to live, find themselves bound for a new life on the remote Pacific island of Palau.

The 1.6 million sq km of their home province, Xinjiang, is a major earthquake zone, which includes three deserts as well as the famed ancient trade route; the 350-island archipelago of Palau was only founded in 1994, has just 20,000 inhabitants and is a renowned scuba diving destination.

The relocation will be the biggest single release of Guantanamo detainees to date, and a major relief to US President Barack Obama, who has been searching for a way to resolve the prisoners' situation since he declared his intention to close the American military camp. [Independent]

Pelau's president President Johnson Toribiong has earned the gratitude of the United States and a $200 million dollar "donation" from Washington through the soon-to-be renewed U.S.-Palau cooperation treaty.

Kudos to the diplomats who brokered this deal and to the sane, compassionate people of Palau.

If you like human rights and like tropical paradises with great scuba diving, you might consider rewarding Palau for its service to the international community by booking your next vacation there.


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I'm not ready to praise the US diplomats when the island gets $200 million of our tax dollars and "The transfer is not expected to be permanent."

If the question of where-can-the-Uighurs-go returns in a year or two, then it wasn't much of a deal.

And if China wants them badly enough, is Palau going to be able to protect them? The former Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev was assassinated, presumably by Russian agents, despite living in US ally Qatar.

I seriously doubt China will dispatch secret agents to Palau to take out 17 Uighurs.

Maybe it was compassion, or maybe the opportunity to scam a comically fearful superpower out of $200 million... either way, they've earned my respect.

Palau is of course the nation highly threatened by global warming. The Uighurs may have to move again when the water is above their ankles.

Comically fearful is right.

Woe is us. The Uighurs will turn Palau into a hotbed of terrorism and the dominoes will start falling clear across the Pacific. I'm buying guns and piling sandbags around the windows before islamisized zombies from Easter Island storm ashore here in Washington.

I want to see Palau some day.

But shame on them for taking this lot in.

Mandos, you're the one who's fearful. The adults in the Congress and now, even Obama, who has real responsibilities and can't bullshit as a Senator can,- they're just being prudent.

You should thank them.

Al Gore GW theories on this thread? What a hijacker!!

Four of them were sent to Bermuda.

So a maximum of 13 will go to Palau.

$200 million is a lot of money to pay an island to let 13 people go there on a temporary basis.

Phantom, unfortunately Obama needs to balance off his goals with the demagoguery of Republicans looking for an opening which would allow them to score political "points" in the news cycle. I really have no idea why you're going to bat for the Republicans on this, who are more interested in public manipulation for political benefit than any real issues.

But kudos to Palau for exploiting American weakness in order to score $200 million in cold, hard cash.


Palau exploited Barack Obama who chose to piss off $200 million on this.

Phantom, and?

To keep them would have been simply allowing right-wingers' penchant for driving themselves off a moral cliff to be exploited. At least the wily little Palau comes off a winner here. But, hey, any concern for the plight of the Uighur prisoners might be called "empathy," Phantom, and then your friends would make fun of you, so I understand the rhetorical position you've backed yourself into at the moment. My advice: stop trying to please your Republican friends by adopting their talking points and attitudes. It's unbecoming and makes you come across as sort of an imbecile.

My " Republican friends " for the most part have never heard of this sight and will never see these conversations.

Agree or disagree with my conclusions as you wish.

Tyro, I don't understand your last comment. Are you trying to order Phantom to stop being a conservative, or something? Because that requires more than just asserting that he should stop being a conservative.

Palau has nice snorkeling, from what I understand.

Now, the Uighurs are most likely not water-people, but who knows, some of them might adapt and end up liking it.

It's not home, but it might be OK.

I applaud Palau and the masterminds behind this negotiation. Palau could probably use $200 million...I'm just glad we didn't let China have their way with these people. Just like we shouldn't have detained them, we shouldn't just hand them back to the place they were oppressed just because there's a chance China will come looking for them.

But shame on them for taking this lot in.

Mandos, you're the one who's fearful. The adults in the Congress and now, even Obama, who has real responsibilities and can't bullshit as a Senator can,- they're just being prudent.

You should thank them.

Prudent...about what, exactly? I haven't seen anything to be prudent *about* "this lot". I mean, I require evidence. Without evidence, what Palau did and how much it scored in cash puts it on the side of simple justice.

This lotas respects those released to the lovely island of Bermuda, of which I am very familiar.

There are a lot of unhappy people in Bermuda, and you will be hearing about that soon.

You'll forgive me if I am very skeptical of testimony given or reported by anyone at Guantanamo about anything.

That is, of course, the very problem with the Guantanamo concept. If it had been given in a standard criminal justice court on legit US soil, I wouldn't discount it. Otherwise, I will change my mind about one thing: it was a shame that Palau had to take them in. They should have been released in Virginia.

According to news reports, the major difficulty in finding a place for the Uighers to go was that the Chinese were putting intense pressure on countries not to accept them. Sad to say, that apparantly includes the US.

Palau doesn't have a diplomatic relations with China. Neither does Burmuda (as a somewhat-but-not-fully-independent UK dependancy).

Why Phantom is carrying water for the communist PRC we don't know, but it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

Man, we should offered them places in the California State University. We could use $200 million right about now.

I remember when $200 million was nothing to sneeze at.

I don't support the Communist Chinese. But if the devil is China's enemy, then let's go China on this issue!

Who is the devil here?

Perhaps the terrorists who admitted training in a terror camp in Tora Bora

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