The Uighurs: 4

I’m continuing to try to track down the truth behind the various claims made about the Uighurs. (Previous posts: 1, 2, 3.) This time, I want to consider this one:

“President Obama’s own interagency review board found that at least some of the Uighurs are dangerous.”

The original (and, to my knowledge, only) source for this claim is this Human Events article:

“White House lawyers are refusing to accept the findings of an inter-agency committee that the Uighur Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay are too dangerous to release inside the U.S., according to Pentagon sources familiar with the action.”

Human Events is not what I normally think of as a credible source. They publish Ann Coulter pieces like “The [sic] Shot The Wrong Lincoln” (Abraham, not Chafee, apparently.) Jed Babbin, in particular, has compared Barack Obama to Madame DeFarge, and opened an interview with Rush Limbaugh by saying: “I’m just so excited talking to you Rush … I’m jumping out of my skin.”

That said, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and Jed Babbin might, for all I knew, be right on this one. So I decided to ask around. Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch was kind enough to reply. Here’s his email (quoted with permission):

“There is no evidence that the panel has found them too dangerous to release; on the contrary, the administration has asked Germany and other European countries to resettle the Uighurs on their soil. And it understands that to persuade other countries to take the Uighurs, it may have to release some in the US to show there is nothing to fear. That doesn’t mean the panel concluded that the Uighurs are all goatherds either — just that they were not involved in terrorism or linked to Al Qaeda or the Taliban and pose no threat to the US or its allies. If there is any real source for the Human Events story, my guess is that it’s a Bush hold over at DOD or Justice who wants us to believe that the Bush positions are somehow being vindicated.”

If you would like to read a judge’s assessment of the evidence against one of the Uighurs, it’s here (pdf; start on p. 15.) This is the unclassified version of the decision; however, the judge in question saw the classified information that the Bush administration introduced to support its claim that this detainee was an enemy combatant, so I assume that had that information contained a convincing case, that fact would have been reflected in the opinion. It was not.

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