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Thread: Palau will take the Uighurs

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Palau will take the Uighurs

    Palau to take Guantanamo's Chinese detainees

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Palau agreed to accept 17 Chinese Muslims who have languished in legal limbo at Guantanamo Bay, indicating a resolution to one of the major obstacles to closing the U.S. prison camp.

    The announcement Wednesday by the Pacific archipelago, which would clear the last of the Uighurs from the camp in Cuba, was a major step toward the Obama administration's goal of finding new homes for detainees who have been cleared of wrongdoing but cannot go home for fear of ill-treatment.

    The U.S. feared the minority Uighurs would be tortured or executed as Islamic separatists if returned to China, but the Obama administration faced fierce congressional opposition to allowing them on U.S. soil as free men. The men were captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2001, but the Pentagon determined that they were not "enemy combatants."

    President Johnson Toribiong said the decision of Palau, one of a handful of countries that does not recognize China and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, was "a humanitarian gesture" intended to help the detainees restart their lives. His archipelago, with a population of about 20,000, will accept up to 17 of the detainees subject to periodic review, Toribiong said in a statement released to The Associated Press.

    "This is but a small thing we can do to thank our best friend and ally for all it has done for Palau," he said.

    China, which has demanded the men be extradited to their homeland and pressured countries not to accept them, had no immediate reaction.

    Two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. 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.

    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 U.S.

    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.
    With eight main islands and more than 250 islets, Palau is best known for diving and tourism and is located some 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean.

    Uighurs are from Xinjiang, an isolated region that borders Afghanistan, Pakistan and six Central Asian nations. They say they have been repressed by the Chinese government. China long has said that insurgents are leading an Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang.

    A federal judge last year ordered the Uighur detainees 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 ever since.

    Human rights groups say there are as many as 40 other Guantanamo inmates who, if freed, cannot be returned to their homelands because they could face abuse, imprisonment or death. They come from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Afghanistan, Chad, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

    The U.S. has described a lack of resettlement options for them as an obstacle to emptying the prison. And President Barack Obama singled out the legal situation of the Uighurs in his May speech on national security.

    Asked Tuesday about discussions with Palau on the Uighurs, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly declined to comment beyond saying the U.S. is "working closely with our friends and allies regarding resettlement" of detainees at Guantanamo.

    In 2006, Albania accepted five Uighur detainees from Guantanamo but has since resisted taking others, partly for fear of diplomatic repercussions from China.

    The State Department said last week that Daniel Fried, the career diplomat who was named earlier this year 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.


    Earlier this month, the 27 European Union countries agreed to take in "several dozen." Some European countries have accepted their own nationals while Albania, France, Sweden and Britain have also accepted non-citizens. Germany, which also has a Uighur community, believes the Guantanamo detainees should be resettled in the United States.

    Australia, which has a Uighur population, rejected two requests by the Bush administration to take the detainees but is said to be reviewing Obama's request to take some of the Uighurs. Obama has ordered the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be closed by January 2010 at the latest

    Palau to take Guantanamo's Chinese detainees - Yahoo! News--
    Last edited by witchcurlgirl; June 10th, 2009 at 12:22 PM. Reason: spelling
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    It's not stated in the article, but I think this whole thing was probably really arranged by Mark Burnett. After all, it's in Palau, and they always start with about 16 contestants.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    The tribe has spoken....

    Not a bad pay day for Palau....the $200 mil works out to about $12 mil per Uighur
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Well, at least they're being let go and being given a chance to start a new life. After all the hell they went through at GITMO they deserve a shot at a fresh start.

    And the fact that we have to pay Palau all of this cash shows just how hard it is to find countries that are willing to take detainees. Hell, if the government was paying me that kind of cash I'd take in some of them, too.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Well, at least they're being let go and being given a chance to start a new life. After all the hell they went through at GITMO they deserve a shot at a fresh start.
    I don't know if it's going to be any better on Palau. Doesn't anybody remember how emaciated the once-fat Richard Hatch was by the end of the first season of Survivor Palau???

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    Christ, they have to drop these INNOCENT Uighers on an island in the middle of the Pacific? I hope it's paradise for them, and that the US funds a nice lifestyle for them and their families, forever.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I don't know if it's going to be any better on Palau. Doesn't anybody remember how emaciated the once-fat Richard Hatch was by the end of the first season of Survivor Palau???
    And then he ended up in jail. But, then again, Hatch was actually guilty of a crime. Hell, Survivor could turn any paradise into hell on earth. But that first season was hysterical.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Ironically, Richard Hatch is being released from prison at about the same time as the Uighurs. Won't some country be willing to take in poor Richard Hatch? Preferably a country that is okay with public nudity and doesn't have a tax code.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    China objects to Palau resettling Guantanamo men

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Palau's president said Thursday that his tiny Pacific nation's tradition of hospitality prompted the decision to take in 13 Chinese Muslims in limbo at Guantanamo Bay, but China called them "terrorist suspects" and demanded they be sent home.
    The other four Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs, left U.S. detention for a new home in Bermuda on Thursday.

    Palau President Johnson Toribiong denied his government's move was influenced by any massive aid package from Washington, saying that the Uighurs have become "international vagabonds" who deserve a fresh start. China said it opposes any country taking them.

    It's the first time since 2006 that the U.S. has successfully resettled any of Guantanamo's Uighurs. The U.S. government had determined they weren't enemy combatants and should be released. But China objected, and it had been unclear where they would go free.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference the United States should "stop handing over terrorist suspects to any third country, so as to expatriate them to China at an early date." He did not say if China would take any action in response.

    Palau, a former U.S. trust territory in the Pacific, is one of a handful of countries that does not recognize China, instead recognizing Taiwan.
    Toribiong said Palau did not consider China's reaction when it accepted the U.S. request to temporarily resettle the detainees, who were captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2001.

    The Pentagon later decided they were not enemy combatants. Even so, the Obama administration faced fierce congressional opposition to allowing the Uighurs on U.S. soil as free men and so it sought alternatives abroad.

    The Justice Department on Friday issued a statement thanking the government of Bermuda for helping resettle four of the detainees. Ilshat Hassan, vice president of the Washington-based Uighur American Association, confirmed that four of the Uighurs arrived Thursday morning in Bermuda.

    The U.S. has said it feared the men would be executed if they were returned to China.

    Palau had agreed to take all 17 remaining Uighurs in Guantanamo, but the resettlement of the four in Bermuda leaves only 13 left.
    Toribiong said the Uighur detainees from China's arid west would start their new lives in a halfway house to see how they acclimatize to his tropical archipelago west of the Philippines. He called Palau a "Christian nation" but with a 450-member Muslim community.

    "It's an old-age tradition of Palauans to accommodate the homeless who find their way to the shores of Palau," Toribiong told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "We did agree to accept them due to the fact that they have become basically homeless and need to find a place of refuge and freedom."

    Beijing says the men are members of extremist groups working to separate the far western region of Xinjiang from China.

    "We understand these ... people are not terrorists but separatists from their national government in China," Toribiong said. "If China objects to their being in Palau, I would think their objection was also directed at their detention in Guantanamo Bay."

    Toribiong said Palau would send a delegation to Guantanamo to assess the Uighur detainees.

    With eight main islands and more than 250 islets, Palau is best known for diving and tourism and is located some 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of the Philippines.

    Palau has retained close ties with the United States since independence in 1994 and is entitled to U.S. protection under an accord.

    Two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said earlier this week that the U.S. 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.

    Toribiong denied the report.

    "We are not linking this act to the financial assistance from the United States," Toribiong said.

    How long the men stay depends on whether they can find a better place to go, Toribiong said.

    "So we'll accept them and the details of the arrangements will be worked out, and they will be here until we can find out where they should be permanently located," he said. Asked if there had been any public reaction in Palau to the decision, Toribiong said, "Palau's people are always on the side of the U.S. government."

    Palau will take the Uighurs
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    show of hands from anybody who gives a shit what China thinks?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    They also released 3 of them to Bermuda.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^ yes, the above article mentions it a few times


    It appears the British aren't too happy about it, and it's possible they may get sent back to Cuba:

    Foreign Office fury over settlement of Guantánamo Uighurs in Bermuda

    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.

    We've underlined to the Bermuda Government that they should have consulted with the United Kingdom as to whether this falls within their competence or is a security issue, for which the Bermuda Government do not have delegated responsibility," an FCO spokesman said.

    "We have made clear to the Bermuda Government the need for a security assessment, which we are now helping them to carry out, and we will decide on further steps as appropriate."

    The four freed men – Abdul Nasser, Huzaifa Parhat, Abdul Semet and Jalal Jalaladin – were among 17 men from the largely Muslim Chinese minority groups still held in Guantanamo Bay.

    After seven years of extra-judicial detention, the men did not appear to mind which island paradise they ended up in – and formally thanked for Bermuda for taking them.

    “Growing up under communism, we always dreamed of living in peace and working in free society like this one,” Abdul Nasser, one of the four, said in a statement released through his lawyers. “Today you have let freedom ring."

    It was reported yesterday that all 17 Guantanamo Uighurs were to be temporarily rehoused on the South Pacific island paradise of Palau as President Obama moves to close down the hated detention camp.
    The 17 were part of a group of 22 Uighurs allegedly captured by Pakistani bounty hunters in Afghanistan after the US-led invasion in October 2001 and taken to Guantanamo Bay the following year.

    US authorities ruled four years ago that they were not involved in extremism and had gone to Afghanistan to escape persecution in China. Five of them were resettled in Albania but attempts to rehouse the others in the United States ran foul of public opinion.
    For the past four years, the Uighurs have been held at Camp Iguana, a low-security facility in Guantanamo Bay, with views of the Caribbean and pizza deliveries.

    After news that Palau, a former US territory, had agreed to take in the Uighurs, China today demanded that they be sent back there to be tried as terrorists – but the United States refuses to do so.

    Palau's decision appeared to be linked to a US offer of $200 million in "development and budget aid", but it was not clear whether Bermuda had been offered a similar amount.

    Ewart Brown, the Bermudian Premier, said that the United States had agreed to bear the costs associated with relocating the men on the island.

    In a statement, Mr Brown said the men have “the opportunity to become naturalised citizens and thereafter afforded the right to travel and leave Bermuda, potentially settling elsewhere", although he said that the resettlement of the inmates was still contingent on the advice from Britain.

    Mr Brown said he felt a responsibility to help the men “who have been caught in a web of reaction to tragic events which at the time of their happening were not well understood".

    “Those of us in leadership have a common understanding of the need to make tough decisions and to sometimes make them in spite of their unpopularity, simply because it is the right thing to do,” he said.
    Sabin Willet, one of two lawyers who accompanied the men, hailed Bermuda for its “act of grace". He said: “Nations need good friends. When political opportunists blocked justice in our own country, Bermuda has reminded her old friend America what justice is."


    Foreign Office fury over settlement of Guantánamo Uighurs in Bermuda - Times Online
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    If England doesn't want the detainees in Bermuda then they should bring them to Britain.

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Why won't China take them back?

    A government big enough to give you everything you want,
    is strong enough to take everything you have. ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Because they're a Muslim minority that are viewed as separatists, and a threat to China's oppressive government.

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