Uighurs, China and the The Guantanamo Shuffle

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An interesting piece by my colleague Mark Kukis in Washington about the fate of the 17 Uighurs detained in Guantanamo. Their situation really does deserve the much abused description of Kafkaesque. Having been delivered into U.S. hands by bounty hunters in Afghanistan, they were cleared of terrorist connections in 2003 (yep, 5 long years ago) but are still at Guantanamo because the U.S., which is bound by law not to return them to a country where they might face persecution which is certainly the case where China is concerned, can’t find anybody else who wants to risk Beijing’s wrath by accepting them. Oddly, the only country that would accept a previous group of five Uighurs released under similar circumstances was China’s former client, Albania where they are now stuck pretty much forever. Even Albania won’t take this next batch though. That lamest of lame ducks as another colleague (Joe Klein; his excoriation of the hapless W. is here) referred to President Bush should of course simply to the decent thing and given them U.S. citizenship (assuming they want it; a green card would do the trick probably as I assume there is no love lost for America in their hearts by now, if there was any in the first place). Even conservative and church groups in the U.S. have called on him to do so. But with characteristic mule-headedness, he’s not budging so it’ll be up to Obama to deal with, pretty much like everything else.