I am pleased to report that Candace’s still-detained-at-GTMO client… has finally… FINALLY… been cleared for transfer. He’s been detained there for just about TWENTY YEARS. A yuuuge thanks to Andy for breaking this great news. It is not an understatement for me to say that I have been following the case of Said Bakush (one of many spellings for the Alegerian detainee known on base as ISN 685) as long as I have known Candace, to wit, since I interviewed her in 2007. I have followed her travails both with respect to Mr. Bakush (including traveling to Washington both for the public portion of the habeas hearing before Judge Richard Leon of the District Court, and then later, before the Circuit Court of Appeals, with then Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh presiding), and with respect to her other client Abdul al-Ghizzawi of Libya, who was released in 2011 as part of the wave of releases by the Obama Administration, and is now finally at home in Libya with his family.
Once in a while, one takes a deep breath, and thinks “for whatever role I have had in this, perhaps my life has made some kind of a difference, after all.” Well… “one” does, anyway. In 15 months in office, the Biden Administration has, thus far, released three of the forty men it inherited from Donald “Fill Guantanamo With Really Bad Dudes” Trump, thereby tripling the number released by Trump. So, other than the tiny handful of men (around a dozen) facing military commissions trials (including the alleged 9-11 plotters), it looks like the Biden Administration is quickly putting itself in a position to release just about everyone else. Unlike many of the Yemeni prisoners, where war-torn Yemen presents serious problems of return and third countries are sought, Mr. Bakush could be sent home to Algeria with far less trouble. Fingers crossed that efforts are under way to do so. Team Biden needs to step up the releases, and move this particular moral abomination off of the United States’s ledger sheet, once and for all.
Accusing the Russians of war crimes continues to strike a dissonant note for each day that GTMO remains open; to the extent that we are moving closer to closing it, then it is a good day.