The remaining prisoners in Guantánamo – 176 men still held there

This eight-part series tells, for the first time, the stories of the 176 men still held in Guantanamo.

Published on Global Research.ca, by Andy Worthington, Sept. 14, 2010.

… 58 of the men approved for release (or for “transfer,” to use the Obama administration’s language, learned carefully from the Bush administration) are Yemenis, whose release was halted in January. After the capture of the failed Christmas Day plane bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who was reportedly recruited in Yemen, President Obama capitulated to unprincipled criticism and issued a moratorium on any further releases to Yemen that appears to have no end date, and that clearly constitutes “guilt by nationality.” 

I find it interesting to speculate on which of the Yemenis have been cleared (and who are the 31 Yemenis recommended for trials or for indefinite detention), as this information has not been made publicly available by the Obama administration, but more generally I’m interested to hear whether readers can figure out, from these articles, why the administration believes that there is a good reason to either charge or to continue holding 82 of these men, as it has never seemed plausible to me that there are 82 men in Guantánamo who pose what might be described as “a clear and present danger.”

The lists also contain references to the prisoners’ ongoing habeas corpus petitions in the US District Court in Washington D.C., where the prisoners have won 38 cases and the government has won only 16. Much of what has been confirmed about unacceptable evidence based on statements made by the prisoners themselves (under torture or duress) or by unreliable witnesses in Guantánamo or in other “War on Terror” prisons (who were subjected to torture, duress, or, in a few cases, the promise of better living conditions), has come from these proceedings, and it is disappointing that, at the time of writing, 12 of the 38 men who have won their petitions are still held.

In addition, it is no less disappointing that the majority of those who have lost their petitions were nothing more than low-level Taliban foot soldiers (and, in two cases, a medic and a cook), whose ongoing detention, on an apparently legal basis, is not a validation of the habeas process, but is, rather, an indictment of the unjust basis for holding “War on Terror” prisoners – neither as criminal suspects, not as prisoners of war – that was conceived by the Bush administration, and that has been largely preserved under President Obama. (full text).

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