Guantanamo Uyghurs to Palau?
From the farthest land away from the ocean to a little island in the middle of the Pacific ...
US eyes Pacific to resettle Uighur detainees
By MATTHEW LEE and DEVLIN BARRETT
The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 9, 2009; 10:46 PM
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is nearing agreement with the remote Pacific island nation of Palau to resettle a group of Chinese Muslims now held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, The Associated Press has learned.
As they attempt to fulfill President Barack Obama's order to close the Guantanamo facility by early next year, administration officials are looking to Palau to accept some or all of the 17 Uighur detainees due to fierce congressional opposition to releasing them on U.S. soil, officials said.
A federal judge last year ordered them released into the United States after the Pentagon determined they were not "enemy combatants." But an appeals court halted the order, and they have been in legal limbo since. Thus far no country has agreed to take any of the 17 individuals.
Three U.S. officials familiar with the situation said, however, that Palau is now a prime candidate for their relocation. Palau, with a population of about 20,000, is an archipelago of eight main islands plus more than 250 islets that is best known for diving and tourism and is located some 500 miles east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean.
One senior official said Palau had indicated it is willing in principle to accept some Uighurs, but that specific numbers had not yet been determined and a deal was not yet concluded.
"We have spoken with the Palauans, but neither they nor we have made any decisions," the official said. That official and two others spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks.
Asked Tuesday about discussions with Palau on the Uighurs, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly declined to comment beyond saying the United States is "working closely with our friends and allies regarding resettlement" of detainees at Guantanamo. He said the department would not comment on talks with individual countries.
Two of the officials said the United States was prepared to give Palau up to $200 million in development, budget support and other assistance in return for accepting the Uighurs and as part of a mutual defense and cooperation treaty that is due to be renegotiated this year.
The United States will not send the Uighurs back to China for fear they will be tortured or executed. Beijing says Uighur insurgents are leading an Islamic separatist movement in China's far west and wants those held at Guantanamo to be returned to China.
In 2006, Albania accepted five Uighur detainees from Guantanamo but has since balked at taking others, partly for fear of diplomatic repercussions from China. Palau is one of a handful of mainly Pacific island, Latin American and African countries that does not recognize China and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
The State Department said last week that Daniel Fried, the career diplomat who was named earlier this year by Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to oversee Guantanamo's closure, had visited Palau but offered no details on his mission. Fried has been negotiating with third countries to accept many of the Guantanamo detainees.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Fried had visited Australia and Palau as part of a tour of the Pacific. The three officials said Fried had been discussing the disposition of Uighurs.
Australia has already twice rejected U.S. appeals to resettle the Uighurs, but its foreign minister said late last month it would consider a new request to take in 10 Uighurs. The previous requests were turned down on immigration and security grounds and it is not clear if a new Australian review of the Uighurs would have different results.
Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller declined to comment and an official at the Embassy of Palau in Washington said he had no information about the negotiations.
A former U.S. trust territory in the Pacific, Palau has retained close ties with the United States since independence in 1994 when it signed a Free Compact of Association with the United States.
While it is independent, it relies heavily on U.S. aid and is dependent on the United States for its defense. Native-born Palauans are allowed to enter the United States without passports or visas.
Re: Guantanamo Uyghurs to Palau?
I guess the whole Fairfax Virgina plan didn't work out: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...ZaycgD989E1HO2
Prospect of Gitmo prisoners in US stokes fears
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER – May 19, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is reaching out around the world to find new homes for Guantanamo Bay detainees. But he is running into trouble in his own backyard.
Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican lawmaker who represents some of the Virginia suburbs outside Washington, is fighting the possibility that Obama will resettle 17 Uighurs — Turkic Muslims from western China — in or near his district. That resistance comes despite Wolf's history of supporting Uighurs (pronounced WEE'-gurz). Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently acknowledged that some of the Uighurs are likely to be released in the United States, but the administration has not announced plans to move them.
Wolf's efforts, and those of other lawmakers, could derail Obama's attempts to resettle detainees in other nations, especially those in Europe, which have cheered Obama's plans to close Guantanamo Bay next year.
Obama hopes Europeans and other allies will back up their words of support by accepting some of the prisoners. Last week, a Guantanamo detainee, Lakhdar Boumediene, was released to live in France, which accepted the Algerian as a gesture to the Obama administration.
But U.S. officials say they will be hard-pressed to persuade other countries to accept released detainees when the United States has not done so. Attorney General Eric Holder said as much last month, telling an audience in Berlin that to close Guantanamo, "we must all make sacrifices and we must all be willing to make unpopular choices."
So far, that isn't happening. The House passed a war spending bill last week that forbids releasing Guantanamo detainees in the U.S. And on Tuesday, a top Democratic official said Obama's Senate allies will deny the Pentagon and Justice Department $80 million to relocate Guantanamo's 241 detainees.
Earlier, Virginia's senior senator, Democrat Jim Webb, added his name to those opposed to relocating the Uighurs to Virginia, home to the United States' largest Uighur community.
Uighurs are from Xinjiang — an isolated region that borders Afghanistan, Pakistan and six Central Asian nations — and say they have been repressed by the Chinese government. China has long said that insurgents are leading an Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang. The Uighur detainees were captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2001. China has demanded their extradition, but the United States has refused to do so.
"The best indication we have so far as we look through their files is that they went to Afghanistan, not to take up arms against the United States — and this is not to excuse that — but to oppose the Chinese government," Holder said during a congressional hearing last week.
Wolf is a longtime advocate of the Uighurs and a fierce critic of China. In an interview, he said he still supports Uighurs, but "a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist." He noted the path that landed these particular Uighur detainees in Afghanistan, and expressed concerns that they might have become "radicalized" in Guantanamo.
"This could be a deal stopper," said Sarah Mendelson, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who published recommendations last year on how to close Guantanamo. "I don't see how we close Guantanamo if Congress passes legislation saying we can't take in detainees."
In a May 1 letter to Obama, Wolf asked for declassification of all intelligence surrounding the Uighurs' capture, detention and the administration's assessment of the threat they may pose.
"The American people deserve to have all the facts about these individuals before they should be expected to tolerate their presence in our communities," Wolf wrote.
Wolf is to get a briefing from the FBI on Tuesday afternoon.
Jason Pinney, a lawyer for the detainees, said his clients "have expressed concern that some Americans will mistake them for terrorists because they have been held at Guantanamo."
Nury Turkel, a lawyer in Washington and past president of the Uyghur American Association, said the community feels betrayed by Wolf.
"It's unclear why he is turning his back against us now," Turkel said.
The men are not considered enemy combatants, and last year, a federal judge ordered their release, but an appeals court ruling overturned that decision. The Uighur-American community argues that the men are neither terrorists nor a threat, and Uighur families have volunteered to take them in.
"They got to Afghanistan in the wrong time, wrong place," said Ilshat Hassan, a soft-spoken Uighur who recently signed a lease on an apartment in Alexandria, Va., where he plans to live with two detainees. "I will take them because they are my countrymen. They are innocent."
Another area congressman, Democrat Jim Moran, said it makes sense to settle the men in Uighur communities. He said he does have concerns about their coming to Virginia, but, "I also have a concern that we don't have any better plan."
"To just detain somebody to rot in prison for the rest of their lives, who is in there because they oppose the policies of a nation that we also oppose, is not a sufficient plan of action," Moran said.
Associated Press writer Desmond Butler contributed to this report.
That's true 很多人不屑我的態度
I don't give a fuck about 人家說什麼
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