"Wanna; don't wanna" seems to be the US attitude about thinning out the population at Guantanamo. As described in the New York Times today, the administration appears to be conflicted at best.
There's Alberto Gonzales' "give 'em back to their home country but only if their home country will behave as sadistically towards them as we have."
In the recent case of a Tunisian detainee, Abdullah Bin Omar al Hajji, his lawyers sent a series of e-mail messages to government officials in May and June trying to stop a planned return to Tunisia, a court filing shows.
The lawyers told the officials he had apparently been convicted in absentia in Tunisia for affiliation with a nonviolent political party at a time when human rights monitors had said such trials were not fairly conducted.
They warned that he would face torture and a 23-year prison term without having had the chance to defend himself. On June 15, one message shows, the lawyers demanded to see their client when they were to arrive at Guantánamo on June 17. But that day, he was shipped back to Tunisia. Not long after, according to an affidavit by his Tunisian lawyer, he was put in jail, where he was slapped and threatened with rape and told that his wife, too, would be raped.
In one case, the Justice Department is eager to deport one detainee because he's likely to get sliced and diced by factions at home:
This week, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is considering a request from a detainee, Ahmed Belbacha, to stop his planned transfer to his native Algeria.
Lawyers for Mr. Belbacha have said he is at risk of torture or death by Islamist radicals because he once served in the Algerian army, and by the government, which is likely to view him as a terrorist because of his tenure at Guantánamo.
In a filing on Wednesday, the Justice Department opposed any order barring a transfer of Mr. Belbacha, saying that “as the United States has explained, it is in no one’s interest to detain enemy combatants longer than is necessary.”
In another, the AG doesn't want a prisoner sent home because home might treat him like a human being.
In the case of the British detainees, American officials wanted some of them to be jailed for a period of time and closely monitored upon release, including having their communications intercepted, according to documents in a lawsuit in England.
The administration is behaving more like dangerous prisoners than the detainees themselves -- sometimes angry, sometimes mean, and usually desperate.
G. Brent Mickum IV, the American lawyer for one of the detainees with British ties, said the administration was continuing to portray many of the detainees as extremely dangerous, while insisting that other countries have a duty to accept them.
What seems clear is that the Bush administration created a huge problem, fueled by an enormous lie, and now it wants to back off without conceding it made any mistakes.