When it comes to being detained indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, it’s not so much what you know as whom you know. Or whom you are alleged to know. Or whom you may know. Someday.
That was the case back in 2002—when the government’s own best evidence showed that most of the detainees had been picked up for “associating” with the Taliban or al-Qaida (and that most were turned in for bounties rather than captured by U.S. forces). And it’s still the case this week, as the Obama administration announces that about 30 Yemeni prisoners—already cleared for release from the camp—will not be freed after all, merely because they’re from Yemen. The clearance they’ve received is now meaningless: Men poised to begin their ninth year of incarceration at the camp will remain there, not because of anything they have done, but in fear of whom they may meet on the streets back home in Yemen. The new twist, then, is that prisoners can now be held indefinitely not just because they once knew a terrorist, but because they may meet one someday in the future. [continued…]