Guantanamo detainees to Berkeley?
February 13, 2011
The Berkeley City Council is set to vote this week on a recommendation from its Peace and Justice Commission that allows one or two “cleared” Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in the Bay Area town. [SF Chronicle]
Peace and Justice Commissioner Rita Maran said that the idea was to invite to Berkeley “the kind of people you’d like to have living next door to you or dating your cousin.”
While the resolution doesn’t name the one or two detainees, Maran’s panel presented material that cites two – Russian-born Ravil Mingazov and Algerian-born Djamel Ameziane – whom it claims have been “cleared.” The resolution also asserts that “cleared” detainees have been determined to “pose no threat to the United States.”
The Director of National Intelligence reported in December that 25 percent of released Gitmo detainees have been confirmed or suspected of engaging in terrorism. And attempts by a reporter to investigate the records of both Mingazov and Ameziane show that neither detainee has been officially cleared by the U.S. government.
The proposal, set to be voted on Tuesday night, has been criticized by UC Berkeley law professor and former Bush White House attorney John Yoo. “It’s the perfect combination of futility and stupidity. It is futile, because what happens to Gitmo detainees is up to the federal government. It is stupid because only Berkeley would want to be a magnet for resettlement of Gitmo detainees.”