Do you ever feel like you don't recognize your country anymore? Maybe the moment came for you when five Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court handed a presidential election to one of their own. Maybe it came when the president took America to war based on pretenses that turned out to be false. Maybe it came when you saw those photographs from Abu Ghraib, or when you learned that the man who helped orchestrate America's torture policies would become its attorney general. Maybe all of those things built up in your mind until your idea of America started to seem a long way off from the reality around you.
I used to work with Tim Grieve at the Stanford Daily a lifetime ago. You can read him in the War Room over at Salon. He will introduce you to Abu Bakker Qassim and A'del Abdu al-Hakim whose story could be the screenplay for Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle as written by Franz Kafka. Two friends fleeing religious persecution in China, arrested in Turkey on suspicion of terrorist activity, turned over to the U.S. and delivered to Guantánamo Bay three years ago.
Although Qassim and al-Hakim were cleared in March, the United States didn't bother to share that fact with anyone outside Guantánamo. And having been denied contact with their lawyers or their family members, the men had no way to spread the word themselves. So for four more months, they sat in Guantánamo, cleared but not freed.
The U.S. says it can't send the men back to China because it fears they'll be persecuted there, and it hasn't found any other country that is willing to take them. Why not release them into the civilian population at Guantánamo until something better can be arranged? Can't do that, either, the government says. "They have been detained in here with some very bad people, under some very bad influences," Guantánamo spokesman and Army Maj. Jeff Weir tells the Globe.