Wednesday, May 07, 2008

National profiling

Abdallah Salih al-Ajmi did 3.5 years in Guantanamo Bay. He was released into the custody of the Kuwaiti government, charged with terrorism there, and acquitted. He showed up last week in Mosul as a suicide bomber, having apparently entered Iraq via Syria, killing himself and several Iraqi army soldiers.

Conclusion: No one should ever be released from Gitmo and everyone who is still there should be detained forever.

That's what the reactionaries will argue. But in fact it shows what happens in the twilight legal world that Gitmo represents. Without any checks or balances on what happens, who gets in or out is determined more by where they are from than what they are alleged to have done. So citizens of favoured Gulf allies are released while people with little or no evidence against them can languish for years.

There's also the possibility that Abdallah Salih al-Ajmi was embittered by his time in Guantanamo Bay, which would form another classic Bush reason for not releasing anyone: by locking them up, you've made them a threat, and so you can't let them go.

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