A profile in cowardice

Fears that consume U.S. Terrorism policy are difficult to find anywhere else in the world

Published February 16, 2010 10:17AM (EST)

From The Associated Press, today:  "Spain said Monday it was willing to take in five inmates from the American prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, three more than it had announced last month."  Previously:  similar agreements to accept our Guantanamo prisoners were entered into by the EU, Italy, AustraliaFrance, Britain, Latvia, PortugalHungary, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, SlovakiaJordan, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Albania, Bermuda, and Palau.

By cowardly contrast, from CBS News, October 1, 2009:  "The House went on record Thursday against allowing detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be transferred to the United States, even to face trial or to be jailed in maximum-security prisons . . . If such a ban were to become law, the Obama administration would be hard-pressed to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January as Obama has promised. Eighty-eight Democrats broke with Obama and House leaders on the nonbinding recommendation, an ominous sign for future votes."  And:  "other Democrats have made it plain they don't want any of Guantanamo's detainees sent to the United States to stand trial or serve prison sentences. 'We don't want them around,' said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev."  And:  "Congress flatly barred the release of any Guantanamo prisoner into the U.S. . . . and surrounded with conditions the President’s power to transfer any detainee anywhere in the world."

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Identically:  from the AP, yesterday:  "Five Muslims were sentenced Monday to 23 to 28 years in prison in Australia for stockpiling explosive chemicals and firearms for terrorist attacks on unspecified targets . . . .The men, aged 25 to 44, were found guilty last October on charges linked to preparing a terrorist act between July 2004 and November 2005."   Previously:  "LONDON - Three British Muslims accused of helping the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks on London’s transportation system in July 2005 went on trial on Thursday."  "The trial of 29 people accused of involvement in train bombings that killed 191 people in March 2004 has opened in the Spanish capital, Madrid."  "DENPASAR, Indonesia (CNN) -- The first suspect charged with the October 12 Bali bombings, which killed over 200 people, has gone on trial in an Indonesian court."  "MUMBAI:  The sole surviving gunman from last year's Mumbai attacks, a Pakistani national, on Monday pleaded guilty at his trial, admitting for the first time his part in the atrocity that killed 166 people."

By cowardly contrast, from McClatchy, February 1:  "Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to introduce a bipartisan bill Tuesday to block funding for civilian trials of five alleged plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001."  And:  "The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trials nearly 50 detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison."  And:  "Holder also announced that five other detainees held at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be sent to military commissions."

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Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

By Glenn Greenwald

Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.

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