‘We cannot deal with these people’: WikiLeaks shows true feelings on Guantánamo
In public, Arab countries call for closing Guantánamo and returning detainees to their home countries. In private, WikiLeaks documents show that many of these countries don't want detainees. This hypocrisy reveals an international community unprepared to deal with closing Guantánamo.
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When discussing the future of the Kuwaiti detainees, Kuwait’s minister of interior told a US official “You know better than I that we cannot deal with these people (i.e. the GTMO detainees).” And while publicly demanding that the United States send all the Yemeni detainees home, Yemeni leaders privately haggle over how much money Washington will pay to have them repatriated. Even Luxemborg fully supports the detention facility's closure but, like many of its neighbours, “cannot accept detainees for resettlement.”Skip to next paragraph
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This refrain is typical: In public, world leaders – including many Arab officials whose own citizens are in custody – respond to domestic political pressure by demanding Guantánamo’s closure and the release of detainees held there. In private, they admit that freeing these detainees may not be the safest option – for the detainee’s own country, much less the United States or international community.
What may be the most delightfully revealing part of the released Guantánamo cables is the list of “alternative solutions” suggested. The Kuwaiti minister’s advice: “You picked them up in Afghanistan; you should drop them off in Afghanistan” is high on the list. Equally wonderful is the unconventional proposal by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulla who suggested implanting detainees “with an electronic chip...and allowing their movements to be tracked with Bluetooth.”
As more classified Guantanamo discussions come to light, they will continue to reveal similarly curious negotiations and strange “We don’t want them, but how about you...” options. However, one thing is clear: Guantánamo has long been an issue the international community preferred to keep on Washington’s agenda, despite public proclamations otherwise. We should expect Guantánamo to remain open for some time. But, moving forward, we should place responsibility for that not just with the United States but with the entire international community.