Thus, a secret deal appears to have been worked out between the U.S. and Bermuda, one that didn't include the country's colonial overlords over in the U.K. The former detainees - who were nabbed in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2001 but have been found not to be enemy combatants - are in Bermuda now, staying in a guest cottage without security or electronic monitoring. In an interview with Fox News, they said that being in China would be even worse than being in Guantanamo, and that they didn't hold any ill will toward the United States.
It's unclear what, if anything, Bermuda gets out of the deal. Therefore, let's speculate recklessly about how the U.S. may have sweetened the pot. Maybe it's simply giving Bermuda a big wad of cash for accepting the men. Or perhaps, since Bermuda is so dependent on the U.S. banking industry, it accepted the former inmates in order to stay in the good graces of the Yanks, all the better to keep the offshore capital flowing. It's also possible that it hopes to bolster its tourism ties, knowing that 90 percent of its visitors come from the U.S.
Conspiracy theories aside, this seems like the kind of issue that will blow over in a few weeks, but it does get me thinking about Bermuda, and how nice it is. I was pretty young when my parents took us there on vacation, but I remember liking it a lot. We happened to be there for something called The Peppercorn Ceremony, in which the government demands the sum of one peppercorn from the Freemasons as rent for the Old State House. There were bands and all kinds of British pageantry and men wearing three piece suits with shorts instead of slacks. It might be kind of tough for these Uighurs to blend in, but I'm sure they'll get used to it in time. It sure beats the alternative.
[Photo: AP via BBC News]
· US Kept Guantanamo Deal from UK [BBC News]
· America's Bermuda Solution Angers Britain [The Guardian]
· Detainees Freed in Bermuda Say China Worse Than Gitmo [Fox News]
· Guantanamo Bay Detainees to Get a Permanent Palau Vacation [Jaunted]