Algerian prisoners choose mo’ Gitmo over going home
About the worst thing the Obama administration could do is close the pleasant little detention center at Guantanamo Bay on the sunny Caribbean isle of Cuba, according to some of the folks who want to make it home.
It’s true enough that six of the residents of Gitmo who have changed their minds were taken there against their will.
While unsubstantiated horror stories about Gitmo have circulated around the world and the president made a still-unfulfilled promise to close the place, the Algerians are demonstrating a marked fondness for sun and fun on the sands of Gitmo, as opposed to the similar sands of Algeria.
Strange, given that for them, home is the largest country on the Mediterranean Sea on latitudes similar to that of Gitmo.
Perhaps the first hint of why the Gitmo Six don’t want to go home lies in the official name of the place they call home, that being the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.
When something claims to be the people’s democratic republic of anything, it’s pretty much a given that it’s not particularly democratic, almost certainly not a republic and without question, not the people’s.
Take the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Please.
You get the point.
The Gitmo Six know perfectly well that they could end up worm chowder on arrival at home.
And if they do survive, they’re still out three square, comfy cots, regular bathing and high-definition TV.
They don’t even have to put up with vuvuzelas, which means they get more ear protection than your average soccer hooligan.
One of the Gitmo Six, Aziz Abdul Naji, 35, is resisting the siren call of home.
Actually, “resisting” doesn’t quite cover it.
He’s “adamantly opposed to going back” and “It would be outrageous and inhumane to take him against his will,” Doris Tennant, one of his lawyers, said.
Nice. Aziz rates more than one barrister. Aziz’ epic battle to stay behind bars in Gitmo apparently demands more than Perry Mason ever offered one of his clients, and they all were innocent.
The detainees “would rather stay in Guantanamo for the rest of their lives than go to Algeria. That speaks volumes,” said David Remes, an attorney who represents Ahmed Belbacha.
By and large, of course, we all would rather go to Guantanamo than Algeria, so Ahmed might not be so unusual after all.
What is unusual is that Human Rights Watch maintains that transferring detainees from Gitmo to other places could be verboten because the United States has a legal obligation not to send people to countries where they could be tortured.
Uhh, Gitmo is supposed to be torture central. It’s supposed to be Waterboard Wonderland, which is why Obama pledgded to close it down.
Now, suddenly, detainees want mo’ Gitmo?
Could it be that the torture talk was just that, so much talk?
What to do, then?
Well, here’s a thought.
They’re in Cuba and there’s plenty of room nearby where the medical care is free, everyone is literate, the transportation similar to that known by Mohammed, the populace accustomed to constant surveillance, intimidation and fear and foodstuffs every bit as regularly available as in Algeria.
The Gitmo Six, presumably committed followers of a Castroite authoritarian regime, would fit nicely into Cuban society.
What more could anyone ask?
They wouldn’t have to go to Algeria, they would be in even nicer climates than that of northern Africa, and they’d still be incarcerated, only this time by people who actually know torture, do it well and frequently and even under the noses of the likes of Human Rights Watch, which can’t be bothered to condemn it.
The only flaw, of course, is that it would be wrong to release a band of terrorists into the undeserving populace of Cuba.
It would seem to any fair observer that they have suffered enough.