Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Algerian 6: Another Bush detainee foulup

I just stumbled across this article in the Washington Post that details the trials and travails of the so called Algerian 6.

To briefly recount the story, 6 Muslims, 5 who held dual citizenthip with Bosnia and Algeria were arrested by Bosnian authorities based upon U.S. intelligence reports that they were planning to blow up the American embassy. These men were acquitted of the charges in Bosnia, but the U.S. made a huge stink and effectively forced the Bosnians to turn the accused over to U.S. authorities when they were released from Bosnian custody. Also of note is the fact that besides the Bosnians acquitting the accused of the original charge, that American authorities have dropped the embassy bombing accusation as well, but still insist that these men ought to be held as enemy combatants.

The reasons these men are still considered to be security risks are simply unbelievable. One is being held because he is a Karate champion and taught orphans in Bosnia Karate. He is also proficient in the use of computers. Seriously! This man is not allowed to be free because he is good with computers and he knows martial arts. Another man is being held based upon the fact that he was wearing a ring that is similar to rings worn by a militant wing of Hamas. According to his wife this ring is a commonly worn anniversary symbol and multitudes of Bosnian Muslims are guilty of being terrorists if this is the standard for evidence. Another man is accused of actually meeting Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan... whilst he was actually in Bosnian custody due to the American charges in the first place.

This entire case, from the disproven bombing charge to the reasons given now for continuing to hold these men as enemy combatants fairly reeks of high handed tyranicism. This is just another of a long list of mistaken identities and false charges that have led to everything from ruined travel plans to ruined bodies and ruined lives. Where do these men go to get these years back? Can you imagine the absolute hope crushing situation facing the falsely accused? Having been found innocent they find the mundane details one could expect to find in any life used to justify their detention. You know martial arts. You're good with a computer. You helped with charity work. You are the enemy!

It is time. It is well past time. The excesses of this administration in "keeping America safe" must be stopped and repudiated. With the many examples of the innocent lives ruined, to give this administration more power to continue their mistakes is pure folly. We ought to be giving them a hard check and demand they either prove their case against these and all the rest of the detainees in fair trials or shut down the entire effort and send these people home.

The last option is not very appealing. It seems that when you hold a person incommunicado, subject to torture, based upon falsehoods and information gleaned by the torture of others, that person sort of gets radicalized against you. I mean when John McCain was released by the North Vietnamese he hardly came back the model commie convert. Heck... McCain ought to have held an expectation of long term captivity based upon his mission and it's outcome in his war. The people we are mistakenly uprooting from their homes and lives based upon lies and wrongly held assumptions have no such expectation. Can you imagine the hatred you would feel for the nation responsible for treating you, or a family member like this? We are creating enemies where none existed in the first place, and that seems to be a calling card for this administration.

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