Yesterday, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald accused me of being fear-gripped for noting that I’d not likely spend a fortune to vacation on an island with released Islamic militants running free. Oddly, the Obama administration seems to be gripped by the same fear. Today they announced the release of four Uighurs to the Bermuda, but imposed travel restrictions that blocks them from entering the US:
The Obama administration put out some seemingly mixed messages on the Uighur transfer, saying that their release to Bermuda would make the US safer, while insisting the government would guard against their travel to the US.
An Obama administration source told ABC News that “the Uighurs will not be able to travel to the United States unless the U.S. government consents in advance.”
The official said by using biometric identification “in our consulates and ports of entry, advance passenger screening systems, and watch lists, we are confident that the United States has the measures in place to assure against such travel.”
Wow! Is Obama another “war-supporting tough guy” who let himself get gripped by fear over a few harmless Uighurs?
The Obama administration has good reason to block their entry to the US, and in fact had good reason to hold the Uighers all along. Thomas Joscelyn explains:
For example, all four of the Uighurs admitted during their combatant status review tribunals (CSRTs) at Gitmo that they received training in the Taliban’s Afghanistan. And all four of them received this training at an ETIM/TIP terrorist training facility in Tora Bora, a key area once controlled by the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Three of the four Uighurs transferred to Bermuda also admitted that they had firsthand ties to senior terrorists such as Hassan Mahsum and Abdul Haq – the leaders of the ETIM/TIP. Haq was recently designated an al Qaeda terrorist by the Obama administration’s Treasury Department, which noted that he is also a member of al Qaeda’s elite Shura council. Mahsum was killed in a Taliban and al Qaeda stronghold in northern Pakistan in 2003.
In other words, they allied themselves with al-Qaeda and the Taliban willingly, at the very least. That’s enough to get disqualified for entry into the US on its own, as well as internal release, which is why the Obama administration eventually fought a judge’s order that would have forced the US to release them in a Washington DC court.
Both Thomas and Jake Tapper note the problem in attaching these conditions. The Europeans have insisted that the US has to allow any Gitmo detainees they take to have the right to travel to the US. That’s understandable for political reasons; after all, why would a German want to take people the US considers to unsafe to admit in our own nation? The travel restrictions on the Uighers, considered the least problematic of the Gitmo detainees, make it pretty clear that the Obama administration doesn’t consider them safe at all — nor should they, considering their history of terrorist training in Tora Bora with AQ and the Taliban.
Update: I guess Germany is fear-gripped, too:
A German government spokesman says the U.S. asked Berlin to consider taking two prisoners from Guantanamo Bay but Germany turned down the request.
The spokesman says the request in late May was not backed up by enough information to prove that the men would pose no threat in Germany. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the U.S. had not made the request public.
If we can’t satisfy that standard, maybe we shouldn’t be releasing them at all. At the risk of being, y’know … fear-gripped, and all.
The British Government responded with ill-disguised fury tonight to the news that four Chinese Uighurs freed from Guantanamo Bay had been flown for resettlement on the Atlantic tourist paradise of Bermuda.
The four arrived on Bermuda in the early hours, celebrating the end of seven years of detention after learning that they were to be accepted as guest workers.
But it appears that the Government of Bermuda failed to consult with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the decision to take in the Uighurs – whose return is demanded by Beijing – and it could now be forced to send them back to Cuba or risk a grave diplomatic crisis.
Bermuda, Britain’s oldest remaining dependency, is one of 14 overseas territories that come under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, which retains direct responsibility for such matters as foreign policy and security.
So Obama never bothered to consult the British on this release? How incredibly stupid is that?