Palau takes the Uighurs and the cash

posted at 8:47 am on June 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Palau has accepted the Obama administration’s offer of $200 million to bring 17 trained al-Qaeda terrorists to their island nation.  The government in Palau announced this morning that they would agree to it as a gesture of friendship to the US for all of our assistance to them.  They also don’t mind doubling their GDP this year:

The tropical Pacific island nation of Palau announced Wednesday it will accept up to 17 Chinese Muslims who have languished in legal limbo at Guantanamo Bay despite a Pentagon determination that they are not “enemy combatants.” …

President Johnson Toribiong said Palau was accepting the detainees “as a humanitarian gesture” intended to help them restart their lives. His archipelago, with a population of about 20,000, will accept up to 17 of the detainees subject to periodic review, Toribiong said in a statement released to The Associated Press.

“This is but a small thing we can do to thank our best friend and ally for all it has done for Palau,” he said.

Hey, don’t mention it!  At all, preferably, because many of us are embarrassed that the US demanded the favor in the first place.

One can’t blame Palau for taking the deal.  First, their entire GDP for 2008 was $164 million, according to the CIA Factbook.  Over 85,000 tourists visited Palau and provided about $120 million of that.  Now 17 Uighurs will come to Palau with $12 million each.  If they’re truly rehabilitated, well, what a deal, right?  Plus, Palau gets to stick a finger in Beijing’s eye; they don’t recognize the communist regime at all and have close ties to Taiwan.

Of course, with a recidivism rate for released Gitmo detainees of around 14%, odds are that a couple of the Uighurs might not be quite as cuddly as Obama promises.  Hopefully it will work out all right for Palau and its tourists, but if I were making decisions on expensive South Pacific vacations, I’d start looking elsewhere.

As for the other Gitmo detainees, the bidding starts at $12 million per terrorist now.  With around 230 left after the departure of the Uighers, it will cost the US $2.8 billion to empty Gitmo — and you know that France, Germany, and others won’t take a dime less than we gave Palau for hosting them.

Update: Glenn Greenwald calls me “fear stricken,” which is rather humorous from the man shrieking with fear over the Bush administration’s surveillance programs.  How many people did the surveillance kill, and how many people got killed by people trained at al-Qaeda camps?  I’ll wait for Glenn to do the math.


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obama administration is looking forward to turning this island nation, and the whole archipelago into a terrorist
safe haven? is it one of those things Joe Biden warned us about?

runner on June 10, 2009 at 10:00 AM

funny

allahallahoxenfree on June 10, 2009 at 10:06 AM

I say it blows up in their faces.

EnochCain on June 10, 2009 at 10:07 AM

I say it blows up in their faces.

EnochCain on June 10, 2009 at 10:07 AM

You Think???

allahallahoxenfree on June 10, 2009 at 10:08 AM

This stinks … The one gets really pissed off when he doesn’t get his way, just like your two year old.

tarpon on June 10, 2009 at 10:09 AM

$200 million – cost of one box of ammunition = excellent return on investment.

Mr. D on June 10, 2009 at 10:10 AM

The average household income in Palau is $12,000 and there are less than 5,000 households.

The $20M is 10% of their total GDP. I think Palau should take all the detainees at this rate, wait a year and have an accident. Just think of the lifestyle improvement!

barnone on June 10, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Good Lord! Why didn’t Obama ask me? I would have done it for a $100 million. I would have given them a ginormous mansion with luxury suites for each (and hookers around the clock, too).

nk on June 10, 2009 at 10:15 AM

How many jobs in Palau does this save or create?

Ted Torgerson on June 10, 2009 at 10:15 AM

This Magical Mau Mau does not know the value of other people’s money.

nk on June 10, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Wait. So if I’m a terrorist, I get $12 million and a free island vacation?

I’m like totally in the wrong line of work :(

lorien1973 on June 10, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Rendition to Palau is the kinder, gentler approach to detainment of dubious legality. It’s a literal Gulag Archipelago for the 21st century (maybe we can get sent there when we become threats to the Dear Leader). I wonder what law in Palau will apply, and how long before a court there says you’re free to go.
.
By the way, it seems like POTUS has a RICO exposure – 17 predicate acts of kidnapping for hire; POTUS and the AG better get a lawyer. It doesn’t look like Sec. of State HRC is in the loop on this (or much of any foreign policy), so her legal defense fund is safe for now.

Mark30339 on June 10, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Sorry for hogging the thread but … do you think the ChiCom intelligence/counter-terrorism services are just going to leave these guys live in peace there?

nk on June 10, 2009 at 10:19 AM

help them restart their lives

How touching. I think about the families of 9/11 victims trying to restart theirs.

shick on June 10, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Lorien, you get the free vacation but the island government gets the cash. Still not a bad deal. Win-win.

jwolf on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 AM

With around 230 left after the departure of the Uighers, it will cost the US $2.8 billion to empty Gitmo — and you know that France, Germany, and others won’t take a dime less than we gave Palau for hosting them.

No worries…we’re made of money…there are still checks in the checkbook, right?

AUINSC on June 10, 2009 at 10:23 AM

A lesson for the future, take no prisoners. Kill ‘em where you find ‘em and everyone will be happy.

echosyst on June 10, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Phew!!!! Our conscience is now clear!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on June 10, 2009 at 10:26 AM

echosyst on June 10, 2009 at 10:24 AM

It was all Bush’s fault.

OldEnglish on June 10, 2009 at 10:26 AM

YOu have to ask yourself if you would be willing to take one Uigher for 12 million. While I’d most likely say no, It would give me some pause! lol

jeanie on June 10, 2009 at 10:27 AM

If Palau is smart, these terrorists will have a fatal “accident.” Take the money and run (the country).

Daggett on June 10, 2009 at 10:28 AM

While I’d most likely say no, It would give me some pause! lol

Me too. Just put some bars on the window of the spare bedroom. Get another dog…maybe two.

What could go wrong.

SteveMG on June 10, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Seriously. Back in the Soviet Union days, we were deporting Nazi war criminals to the Soviet Union knowing that their “due process” was going to be bullet in the back of the head in a prison basement.

This stupid _____ _____ missed a big chance to send a message to all terrorists by not sending these guys back to China — “If we don’t kill you, your country will”.

nk on June 10, 2009 at 10:34 AM

What if the unemployed agreed to take a Gitmo prisoner for say, $100K per year. It would solve two problems and keep the money here.

Jeff from WI on June 10, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Let me see if I understand this…We’re going to dig our economy deeper into the hole to the tune of two-hundred million dollars, so we can send two squads of trained terrorists to a South-Sea island. What’s to prevent them from taking the first plane out of Dodge and rejoining the fight? Oh, and who is their sworn enemy? China. The people from whom we borrowed the two-hundred million dollars. What could possibly go wrong?

potkas7 on June 10, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Abby Adams on June 10, 2009 at 10:05 AM

Right on! When History looks back on this one it’s going to say the same thing. We have a perfectly good, well run state of the art place and Obama is going kiss a-s with his far left buddies and close it. This is almost certain to go down as one of his stupidest mistakes. He’s allowed himself to be painted into a corner by his own rhetoric and can’t get by with flip flop on this one.

jeanie on June 10, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Their fabulous tourism association slogan:
Palau – the new Australia!!

Brat on June 10, 2009 at 10:36 AM

Sorry for hogging the thread but … do you think the ChiCom intelligence/counter-terrorism services are just going to leave these guys live in peace there?

nk on June 10, 2009 at 10:19 AM

I hope not.

Alden Pyle on June 10, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Sorry for hogging the thread but … do you think the ChiCom intelligence/counter-terrorism services are just going to leave these guys live in peace there?

nk on June 10, 2009 at 10:19 AM

ChiCom spies:

“We have to make it look like an accident. Bring out the deadly CO2.”

Daggett on June 10, 2009 at 10:41 AM

If it’s to impress his Muslim buddies, they’ll only demand more and more..and complain about where he’s put their ‘people’any way. But, looks as if he’s chosen bringing peace to the middle east as his presidential legacy. So, we’re all stuck with what ever pandering he selects to make it so. Also stuck with the problems of whomever he mortally offends along the way and there are sure to be some.

jeanie on June 10, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Brat on June 10, 2009 at 10:36 AM

If that’s the case, all things considered, Palau got a bargain.

OldEnglish on June 10, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Mr. D on June 10, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Exactly what I was thinking. I feared it was unspeakable.

connertown on June 10, 2009 at 10:46 AM

I wonder if the Chinese are happy with the fruits of their investment.

evergreen on June 10, 2009 at 10:50 AM

But if you were Palau, why wouldn’t you take ‘em? Seems so stupid on our end when we could have just saved the money and kept ‘em in GTMO for the immediate future.

Abby Adams on June 10, 2009 at 10:05 AM

Gitmo bad.
You dumb.
End of thread.

LibTired (KO) on June 10, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Jeff and SteveMG: It might work, with 12 million dollars you could probably afford a small facility on the property and rent-a-cops to keep an eye on them.(also the dogs)Just be sure to choose a very small Uigher–would be easier to handle and cheaper to feed.

jeanie on June 10, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Then I guess CBS can go forward with its new season of “Survivor: Palau.” See this Onion-style parody entitled “CBS Previews First Episode of “Survivor: Palau;” Show Features Team of Former Detainees Released from Guantanamo Bay,” carried over from a previous post:

http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/06/cbs-previews-first-episode-of-survivor.html

Mervis Winter on June 10, 2009 at 10:59 AM

These days, anything under a billion is sort of an insult, isn’t it?

Oh well, it’s double their GDP, so whatever.

I think they will meet with “accidents” there if they misbehave. Or, they will be spirited off the island back to jihad and the officials will shrug their shoulders.

PattyJ on June 10, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Simple math. Palau has a population of about 21,000 and is tkaing in 17 bad guys. Assuming that the population of the US is 350m, that is the equivalent of us accepting and turning loose into society 283,500 known terrorists. Good luck Palau.

Hucklebuck on June 10, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Mervis Winter on June 10, 2009 at 10:59 AM

LOL!!

jeanie on June 10, 2009 at 11:05 AM

12 million each?

I have an extra room. I’ll take a couple. And no, they won’t be a problem. Give me some time to remodel and give me all of them.

poteen on June 10, 2009 at 11:13 AM

I guess Murtha and Montana overbid. I think it’s more like $12 million per tourist. They’ll be pardoned before they turn a grey hair.

Bob in VA on June 10, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Coalition of the bribed.

Blacksheep on June 10, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Bob in VA on June 10, 2009 at 11:39 AM
Maybe they’ll be pardoned, but I’ve been reading about Palau and if I were an Uighur I’d be happy to be there and would immediately set about turning this delighful place into an Islamic nation. Then I’d invite other jihadists to join me and we’d all live happily ever after bombing everyone and oppressing women and running training camps on the shores of the blue Pacific. And, they’ll owe it all to obama and the far left.

jeanie on June 10, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Inscrutable Chinese investors say: “Hey, Obama is nuts, we made bad investment”. Much shame on us.

Jeff from WI on June 10, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Palau is in a trading game. Once they own those weegurs, they’ll turn around and sell them to China.

If Obama objects—sorry, the tribe has spoken!

PC14 on June 10, 2009 at 12:08 PM

The wife and I have a spare room – we will be more than happy to take 1 off their hands for $12M.

Plus we breed caterpillars.

Odie1941 on June 10, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Palau is in a trading game. Once they own those weegurs, they’ll turn around and sell them to China.

If Obama objects—sorry, the tribe has spoken!

PC14 on June 10, 2009 at 12:08 PM

G-d I hope so.

Also, would that qualify as buying back some of our debt?

bluelightbrigade on June 10, 2009 at 12:10 PM

BTW, is Spam halal? It’s one of the local “delicacies” in Palau, as are rice, frozen turkey tails, and ramen noodles.

March Hare on June 10, 2009 at 12:20 PM

I sure hope the people of Palau don’t harbor any grudge against the jihadis just because a soldier from Palau, Army Sgt. Jasper K. Obakrairur, 26, was killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb on June 1…

profitsbeard on June 10, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Well, there are a lot of small islands in Palau.

If they were setting up some sort of prison system, much like the one in that movie that helped to kill Ray Liotta’s career (the name escapes me), I think it would be a great plan.

reaganaut on June 10, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Of course, $12 million is the price for those deemed not dangerous. The rest will come at a higher price I’m sure.

Kafir on June 10, 2009 at 12:33 PM

I’ll take ‘em all, and I don’t need the stinking millions. As I said yesterday in a separate thread:

“It puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose again”

Laura in Maryland on June 10, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Odie1941 on June 10, 2009 at 12:09 PM

ROFLMAO! Thanks for making me spray pizza chunks all over my monitor.

Laura in Maryland on June 10, 2009 at 12:37 PM

I’d like to know what will happen if Palau comes back asking for more money in a few months. I mean, I don’t know the politics of the place, but if they were so inclined I would think they could threaten to free or return the Uighurs. What choice would we have then, other than losing money one way or the other? We’ve essentially given them hostages, albeit ones we want them to keep…

Heresy of Cain on June 10, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Let’s see….$12M per prisoner to remove them from a perfectly good state of the art prison from which none of them has escaped. This Administration just continues to amaze me.
“Life isn’t like a box of chocolates. It’s more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow. “

Eagles Dominion on June 10, 2009 at 12:50 PM

I don’t suppose, for a similar amount of cash-per-head, we could negotiate some beach time for Pelosi & Co too?

ExPat on June 10, 2009 at 12:56 PM

So which department’s budget is this $200 million coming out of? Or is the Obama White House thinking of paying for this fifth of a billion out of petty cash? I don’t remember hearing that the House and Senate passed an allocation for this.

Socratease on June 10, 2009 at 1:04 PM

I wonder if Palau won’t get a swine flu outbreak that causes the deaths of, ummm, 17 citizens a week after the check clears.

caygeon on June 10, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Should have left them off the coast of China in rubber dinghies…lessee here, we can go to Shanghai, Haiphong, Taiwan…hmmm…

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 10, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Maybe we’ll have a repeat of history and require Marines to storm the beaches a second time.

Tim Burton on June 10, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Palau has accepted the Obama administration’s offer of $200 million to bring 17 trained al-Qaeda terrorists to their island nation.

False.

For one thing, the State Department says the money is not a quid pro quo. I can understand your skepticism about this claim, but it’s only fair to mention that.

More importantly, they’re not trained. They’re not al-Qaeda. And they’re not terrorists. You might have noticed in the part of the article which you quoted that the Pentagon says they’re not enemy combatants.

many of us are embarrassed that the US demanded the favor in the first place.

“demand a favor”? That doesnt even make sense.

with a recidivism rate for released Gitmo detainees of around 14%

Also false. The NY Times realized they were wrong about this story. The number should be 5%.

orange on June 10, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Given the court ruling on the Uighers, what’s keeping the Uighers in Palau? How much of that $200 million will it cost Palau for 17 one-way Palau-Mindanao air fares to “resettle” them with their nearest Muslim – i.e. AQ-trained and funded Moros Islamic Liberation Front – sympathizers?

Remember, there are neither Chinese nor Muslim communities on Palau. So it would be “inhumane” to keep the Uighers in such a “friendless” country. And how much news of Palau has the MSM been known to track in recent … decades?

This is nothing but BO burying his “mess” in the rose bushes on the taxpayers’ dime, after “soiling” himself. And while we’re at it, what’s the future billing for FBI/CIA operatives needed to keep tabs on all our new “catch-and-release” policies?

Btw, if it costs $12M a head for the Uighers, what’s the going rate to “resettle” the rest of Gitmo’s detainees? Is there a listing for current trading on the NYSE? Are there first round drafts?

Enquiring minds want to know.

orville on June 10, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Obama and the socialists are going to bankrupt us,,,

dcheckie on June 10, 2009 at 2:24 PM

$12M doesn’t buy very much nowadays, does it?

unclesmrgol on June 10, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Well, hey, what a coincidence. I just discovered that I’m a Uighur rehabilitated terrorist too. Please send me to Palau.

rbj on June 10, 2009 at 8:58 AM

LOL…that makes two of us.

coyoterex on June 10, 2009 at 9:02 AM

Seriously.

I visited the area while stationed on Guam and Palau is roughly the same size, though their population is less than half.

That whole area of the Pacific is positively gorgeous.

I’ve always vowed to go back for a visit but I hate flying such long distances over water….especially now.

LAX to Hawaii isn’t a problem, it’s that additional 8 hours to Guam stuck in coach.

Now, give me a first class seat and I’ll be at the airport in an hour.

The Ugly American on June 10, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Considering they’ll be outta there in weeks if not days, quite a bargain.

ProudinNC on June 10, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Something needs explaining: WHERE did Obama get $12,000,000 PER INMATE to send these people to Palau? WHO agreed to allow it in Congress? Is Obama just spending money we don’t have yet AGAIN with no oversight? This is idiotic. Send them to San Francisco, let them stay at Nancy’s house.

bradley11 on June 10, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Over $10 million for each? Give me a fraction of that and I’ll take reeaallly good care of them for the rest of their lives.

On the other hand, if the government is willing to spend a million dollars for every job saved, maybe this isn’t such a bad deal…

taznar on June 10, 2009 at 4:38 PM

I am certain that if they misbehave there the official or unofficial penalties will be harsh. Served as chum for shark fishermen?

federale86 on June 10, 2009 at 5:19 PM

Update: Glenn Greenwald calls me “fear stricken,” which is rather humorous from the man shrieking with fear over the Bush administration’s surveillance programs. How many people did the surveillance kill, and how many people got killed by people trained at al-Qaeda camps? I’ll wait for Glenn to do the math.

Actually, Mr. Greenwald doesnt avoid traveling to the US based on his opposition of illegal surveillance programs, so I think you win the “more fearful” award here.

Also, he was juxtaposing your tough-guy war-supporter stance with your fear of innocent people we’ve locked up for years. Mr. Greenwald has never taken the tough-guy war-supporter stance, so even if he actually was as fearful as you, it wouldnt look quite so ridiculous.

orange on June 10, 2009 at 6:18 PM

How much does it cost to run GITMO for the 200+ that are there now?
It costs 27,000 per prisoner per year in the USA. So if we assume the terrorists are 20 years old and they lived until 80, 60 years * 27K each = 1.62 Million. So Palua is getting a very nice deal and the taxpayers are again screwed by Ogumbe.

MidWestFarmer on June 10, 2009 at 7:14 PM

Maybe I’m missing it but I can’t see anything in this story that tells me these Uighurs are obligated to even unpack their suitcases in Palau. They aren’t prisoners, after all. They are free men. And as free men, what’s to stop them from leaving Palau any time they want?

DarkKnight3565 on June 10, 2009 at 7:55 PM

American Power tracked-back with, “Shooting at National Holocaust Museum – UPDATED!!”:

http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/shooting-at-national-holocaust-museum.html

Donald Douglas on June 10, 2009 at 8:04 PM

I am of Palauan descent and currently residing in Guam where I grew up. Last night while watching the news via www. kuam.com the President of Palau made statements to the effect that they were assured that Uighers were not enemy combatants by the Obama administration..The last time I checked, these Uighers were discovered in Afghanistan and had received training from AlQueda..So wait a minute…they went there to train…and they are not enemy combatants because they did not get to use the skills that they obtained from the training? Thats like trying to say that I received my Drivers License however, I am not considered to be a driver because I have yet to operate a vehicle after I got the license?!! WTH!! Oh, and to even put more icing to the cake, the President of Palau stated that these Uighers will be living in half way houses and that he doesn’t know how much money that they will be receiving from taking care of this idiots…I am angry that the President of Palau would stoop that low and sell out the people for $200 million.. he even went further to say that he met with other leaders and they agreed to take these idiots in.. i wonder if the President of Palau ever considered to why no other countries want these idiots…The Obama administration is just using Palau to hide these Uighers…So the next big question is, how long are the Uighers going to be in Palau? i know, lets safe taxpayers money and send them to mainland China….More then likely, the Chinese government will execute them which will be a lot cheaper thean giving $200 million dollars to a banana republic…

coconutboy on June 10, 2009 at 8:24 PM

Hell, I’ll take one of them for 6 mil. I’m writing my letter to the president today to ask that I be considered as a host family for one of those harmless, poor souls that have been living on 3 meals a day at Gitmo.

Erockk on June 11, 2009 at 7:02 AM

Jeff from WI on June 10, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Now THAT’S the kind of progressive thinking we need in Washington!

oldleprechaun on June 11, 2009 at 10:02 AM

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