The Washington Post has a long front page story (5/3/13) about thee prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, and the renewed debate over what the U.S. government can do to free those who it cannot charge with any crimes.
“There are 166 detainees at Guantanamo Bay, 86 of whom have been cleared for transfer by an interagency task force,” the Post reports.
But then the paper’s Peter Finn and Julie Tate grant a U.S. official anonymity to explain
that 56 of the 86 cleared detainees are from Yemen. In 2010, after a plot to bring down a U.S. commercial airline over Detroit was found to originate in Yemen, the administration suspended transfers to that country because of concerns about the security there and the possibility that detainees could reengage in extremist activity.
Hold on a second. If these people are being held without charge, and there is no available evidence to charge them with any terrorism-related offenses, why is the Post talking about the possibility that they may “reengage in extremist activity”?
This is reminiscent of the reports the Pentagon used to churn out–and outlets like the New York Times so eagerly reported without skepticism–about how former prisoners were “returning” to the battlefield after being released.
If Guantanamo prisoners were guilty of something, you’d expect the U.S. would charge them with something. In most cases, they’ve haven’t. So why treat them otherwise?