Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Chinese Uighurs

National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said this week that some Gitmo detainees may very well be released into the United States; not only that, they would have to be provided with assistance and training to start their new life. As one might expect, this created a firestorm of criticism in the press.

The group most likely to be released here would be the Chinese Uighurs who were cleared for release quite some time back but have no place to go. The United States is concerned that they would be tortured or killed if returned to China. The Uighur population in China is primarily from the northwest region but there are smaller communites throughout China.

I went back to my friend Gordon Cucullu who wrote Inside Gitmo and took another look at the Uighurs. He writes:

"To the security-minded Chinese government officials, the Uighur community has a darker side. Within the Uighur community are extremist groups who are radical Islamist fundamentalists dedicated to using terrorism to achieve their goals of independence."

Well, now that's reassuring. Isn't it? No? Cucullu continues:

The Uighurs "were captured in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, in which they were by their own admission undergoing training so that they could return to China to be terrorists supporting an independent Uighur Islamic nation."

The camps where they were captured were in the notorious Tora Bora region.

Thomas Joscelyn at The Weekly Standard has done some excellent reporting on the Uighurs. He writes:

"First, the Uighur detainees are alleged, for good reasons, to be members or associates of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). The ETIM is a designated terrorist organization affiliated with al Qaeda.

There is sound evidence that the Uighur detainees are affiliated with the ETIM. For example, most of the detainees have made admissions during their tribunals and hearings at Guantanamo that tie them to the group. The ETIM is a jihadist organization and not part of some noble anti-China resistance. So, even if you have sympathy for the Chinese government’s opposition (as I do), including other Uighur organizations, the Uighur detainees at Guantanamo are not part of any legitimate, anti-Chinese government organization that deserves our support. The ETIM is an ideological cousin of al Qaeda that seeks to establish a radical Islamist state throughout South and Central Asia."

"The ETIM has openly targeted and threatened civilians, as it did last year during the Chinese Olympics. In a publicly-released video, an ETIM member stood in front of al Qaeda’s black flag as he threatened anyone who attended the Olympics. The ETIM has also executed terrorist bombings against civilian targets inside China. ETIM trainees have fought alongside Taliban forces in Afghanistan on a number of occasions. They have also been used to buttress other al Qaeda-allied jihadist forces throughout Central Asia, including in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan."

Why on earth would we choose to import terrorists? And why are we so concerned with what happens to them in the first place? I say send 'em back to China and let China worry about them.

The idea of bringing them to the United States is crazy enough on its own without the additional insult of using taxpayer dollars to fund their new life. Welfare. The euphemistic "assistance."

The Obama administration is more concerned with keeping an ill-conceived campaign promise than with the security of the American people. Are they so naive that they think this move will raise us up in the eyes of the international community and erase the "blight" of Guantanamo? Iran could care less if we bring these guys over here and give them "assistance." They'll continue to hold Roxana Saberi without charge in a Tehran prison. They won't be impressed with our magnimity.

Where will we settle these guys? Will they have to register in the same way sex offenders do? Not likely. Will they settle in "sanctuary cities"? Will we keep track of them? I guess we'll have to so we can keep sending them those welfare checks.

The Uighurs are still committed to their cause and there is little reason, according to Cucullu, that they won't continue to fight from within the United States.

Bone-headed idea.

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