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Panel on Moving Guantanamo's Uighurs

Panel on Moving Guantanamo's Uighurs

By Special Report With Bret Baier - June 11, 2009

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IAN KELLY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We understand that there are some concerns about some of the details of the resettlement, and we're confident that we can work - work these things through with the government of the U.K.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX HOST: That was the State Department doing some damage control after it apparently forgot to tell the British it had struck a deal to relocate some Chinese Muslim detainees in Bermuda. It's all part of the Obama administration's effort to unload Gitmo inmates, wherever it can.

Let's bring in our panel: Mort Kondracke of Roll Call; Nina Easton of Fortune magazine; and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

So let's - and you need a program to keep track of this. Four Uighers to Bermuda, the remaining 13 to Palau. Is this, Charles, a sensible way for dealing with them and, possibly, a model for dispersing - dispensing with all the Guantanamo, or at least most of the Guantanamo detainees?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, it certainly has an element of comedy about it. You can see the new al Qaeda slogan, "Join al Qaeda, see the world."

It's win-win. If al Qaeda defeats the United States, you rule the world out of Mecca. If you lose, you end up on a tropical island, Bermuda shorts, holding a daiquiri in your hand.

Look, the Uighers are the easiest of the issues. It's hard to get excited about the Uighers, because they're like the Basques or the IRA. They are terrorists, but they're not particularly anti-American. They're ambitious...

WALLACE: At least they weren't before they went to Guantanamo.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm not sure how - you know, how much that will change them. Their interest is in the western elements of China, which are Muslim, and liberating it.

Their ambitions are geographically circumscribed, so getting them out of Guantanamo is reasonably easy. And yet we had to shop around to 100 countries who said no, and they end up on these island dependencies in the middle of nowhere.

The real issue is going to be the Yemenis, who the Saudis have hinted they may take, but the Saudis have a record of releasing people who end up at war with us again.

And the insoluble issue is the ones who are not tryable and not releasable, who are going to be stuck in Guantanamo with nobody in the U.S. taking them.

WALLACE: I want to return to the Uighers for a minute, Nina, because not only are - what is it - four going to Bermuda, but there is now the plans for 13 to go to the heavenly island in the South Pacific of Palau after the administration - perhaps it's a coincidence. The Obama administration made a decision to give that island $200 million in foreign aid.

The Wall Street Journal did a calculation today. It works out to $10,000 for every citizen of the island. And they also worked out that at that rate they, for $615 billion, could pay to move Guantanamo to France.

NINA EASTON, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: They didn't ask my neighborhood. Maybe we would like to collect a little ten grand here and there.

WALLACE: An economic stimulus bill.

EASTON: It's like an economic stimulus plan. And, you know, the funny thing in all of this, if we're looking for humor is that at least - particularly with the ones that are transferred to Bermuda, the Obama administration says they're perfectly safe.

But they're not allowed to travel here, and we've got all these ways set up to - all these security measures set up so that they can't travel here.

But I agree with - I agree with Charles, that the big problem are these Yemenis. There's 100 of them. If the Obama administration, what he's trying to do is create a sense of speed on moving these cases forward.

And I think if he can - I think for Obama that Saudi rehab is the answer. You can't send them back to Yemen, because that country is unstable. There's ties to the Islamic fundamentalists. There - you can't rely on them.

But if they went through the Saudi rehab program, which some of the Saudis have done, I think that's a better bet for the Obama administration.

WALLACE: Yes, let's talk about that more, because they're talking about - talking about sending out 100 Yemenis to Saudi Arabia. Now, we talked about the Saudi rehab program. Some of the people have graduated from Saudi rehab and gone back to the battlefield.

MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: Absolutely. I mean, nobody knows for sure. And apparently, it is impossible to tell which of these guys is rehabilitatable and which isn't, because some of them get released when we thought that they were harmless, or weren't terrorists, and end up being terrorists after all.

Look, let's not forget that George Bush said that he wanted to close Guantanamo, too. And Obama comes in, and then he makes this announcement without a plan, and now he's stuck with trying to get rid of them and sending diplomats all over the world, begging various countries to take handfuls of them at a time.

There are going to be something like 200 that are yet to be accounted for. Some of the hardest cases are going to probably end up in the United States. Nobody wants them, but we could - we could easily house them in super max prisons, you know. They're not going to bust out, and nobody is going to bust in. But it's just this "not in my backyard" syndrome.

 

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