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No Comment from Bermuda Tourism Bureau on Gitmo Release

12:29 PM, Jun 11, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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THE WEEKLY STANDARD just called the Bermuda Department of Tourism to see if there's any concern that the release of four Uighur Gitmo detainees will threaten the tourism business in the island nation. According to the CIA World Factbook, "Bermuda's tourism industry - which derives over 80% of its visitors from the US - continues to struggle but remains the island's number two industry."

Officials at the department declined to comment and referred us to the Royal Gazette, where Bermuda premier Dr. Ewart Brown has provided an official statement. Brown claims that "The United States Government will bear the cost surrounding this relocation"--but there's been no indication whether or not that "cost" includes potential losses due to a Gitmo-related hit taken by the tourism industry.

Brown also said in his statement:

Of the prisoners held [in Guantanamo] many are innocent men, held without trial or any form of due process; many are refugees from their own lands whose political views are contrary to the regimes in power there. They have committed no crime. They have laid no plans to harm innocent citizens of any nation, but have been caught in a web of reaction to tragic events which at the time of their happening were not well understood.

In the eight years since these men have been detained the Government of the United States has been clear for some time of their innocence and moreover of their inability to return to their countries of origin. ...

The nature of their arrest and detention is such that [the four Uighurs] are essentially stateless, without documentation and without the benefit of a fresh start will be condemned to languish as innocent men in some form of detention even after the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

As Thomas Joscelyn reports, the freed Uighurs do not appear to be innocent: all four were members or associates of an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group and received training at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. About 100 countries refused to take them.