The whole issue surrounding the closure of Guantanamo bay detention centre has gained World Wide attention. Those on the Liberal side of the fence suggest that Guantanamo is merely a place of torture against those who haven’t actually been charged with any crime, which in turn leads to growing antipathy across the World toward America.
Conservatives meanwhile argue that Guantanamo is an essential deterrent to any would be terrorist, that if you mess with America, you’re going to be sorry.
Both the Liberal and the Conservative stance on the issue have good points worth paying attention to. Both want the same ending, but both go about it a different way. This is the nature of Democracy.
I put myself slightly more in the liberal camp when it comes to Guantanamo, purely because although there are doubtless terrorists rightly locked up in that detention centre, whose human rights I have very little time for; there are also those who are not guilty or haven’t been charged or are there simply for resisting American aggression. These people, have largely been ignored in the debate. Suddenly, the debate should become not whether Guantanamo is needed for the protection of America, but should be whether Guantanamo is actually Constitutional. An intelligent American cannot substantially claim to be against Gun regulations because it’s unconstitutional, yet be in favour of a camp that for some, holds their right to detention without trial as inconsequential. Of course, the placing of Guantanamo puts it out of reach of the law of the Constitution, which is convenient to say the least.
I do not however succumb to the ultra-Liberal belief, despite my Liberalism, that the World will be better without detention centres like this, or that terrorists will suddenly decide to stop their string of hatred toward the West. Nor do I accept that ultra-Conservative view that with the closure of Guantanamo, suspected Terrorists will be freed, and allowed to live next door to us, in the same way that I don’t accept our British Countryside Alliance, who seem to think that banning fox hunting will means the Country is over run by a mass Fox offensive stealing our jobs and raping our women.
Over the past eight-teen months since the ‘abdication’ of Tony Blair and the arrival of the guy at the Treasury, who had been waiting for the top job for fifteen years; Gordon Brown, we have seen exactly how disastrous this man really is. Mismanaged the economy before taking over as Prime Minister by claiming to do away with boom and bust, and yet not saving money when the Country was doing brilliantly well economically; abolishing the 10p tax band, hitting Labour’s core support base the hardest and alienating them some more; Using the phrase “British Jobs for British Workers” which has subsequently come back and attacked him viciously through the slogan being attached to placards used by the strikers recently.
Brown has, in affect, had a terrible eight-teen months. However, none of that comes close to the revelation this week that a British detainee at Guantanamo had been tortured, and that the British Government were complicit in it. The story is that the U.S had absolutely no evidence against Mr Mohamed when they charged him with conspiracy to build dirty bombs whilst in Kabul, and then later dropped the charges. Mr Mohamad was then charged again, this time by the new Office of Military Commissions, and then the charges were dropped.
Whilst being held at Guantanamo, Mr Mohamed claimed to have been tortured, humiliated, and injected with heroin to get him addicted. He claimed that those who tortured him had information about his life that only the UK Government could have provided. In July 2008, the British Government sent a letter according to The New York Times, to Benyam’s Lawyer ‘Clive Stafford Smith’ confirming that it knew and had detailed information about Mr Mohammed’s apparent abuse at Guantanamo. In July 2008, Smith and a team of lawyers filed a petition to make the Foreign Office hand over the evidence, so it could help Benyam’s trial hopes. However, the evidence was never made public because the High Court said that if the Foreign Office thought that making the documents public would affect the special intelligence relationship with the U.S, it should be kept away from the public domain.
Partially released rulings from the hearing to release the documents by the High Court who are fighting to release them fully, stated that the Bush Administration threatened to stop intelligence sharing with the UK if the documents citing the alleged torture of an innocent man was made public, because it threatens the National Defence of the U.S. According to inthenews.co.uk “Forty-two separate British intelligence services reportedly demonstrate awareness of Mr Mohamed’s torture.” Which is just incredible. The level of secrecy is unimaginable.
Clive Stafford Smith is quoted as saying: “For the foreign secretary to give in to these illegal demands by the Bush administration is capitulation to blackmail, pure and simple. It is hardly Britain’s finest hour.“
If this in fact true, if Benyam Mohamed is innocent, and if he was tortured. It does not in any way threaten National Security other than revealing to the World that the Bush Administration condoned the torture of those who had not been found guilty or even charged with any crime. It is merely a way for them to cover their tracks. For me, this is a scandal of the greatest proportions. If the Bush Administration knew about this and did try to surpress it, they need to be bought to justice. If I were to torture someone I suspected of threatening me, i’d be locked up for years.
If the U.K Government were complicit in the torture and the covering up of information that would prove Benyam Mohamed is innocent and that he was tortured for no reason, then every problem Gordon Brown has had up until now, will be nothing in comparison to what is to come.
Cori Crider, a lawyer, speaks for me and every other Liberal and Conservative who feels somewhat disgusted by these allegations, when she said recently : “Secretive and lawless to the last, one of the final acts of the Bush administration was to try to bully its closest ally into sweeping Binyam Mohamed’s torture under the rug. This is repugnant to the principles of open justice on which both our societies were founded. “
Both the Attorney General and the Intelligence Services Committee are investigating any legal wrong doing. However, as we’ve seen with the Hutton Enquiry into the 2003 death of Dr David Kelly, these Committees and these investigations will do nothing of worth, and always clear the Government.
The Foreign Secretary, recently back from a trip to Washington in which he smiled joyfully along side his American counterpart, Hillary Clinton, is under increasing pressure to explain himself. According to the Beeb, “The Tories say he needs to explain why he had not asked the new US government to allow intelligence material about the man’s treatment to be published.” The Tories in this case, are right. However, Miliband has said he feels no obligation to lobby the Obama government on this issue. Which suggests, further covering up. They want this issue ending without having to admit they acted completely unlawfully. Therefore, they are no better than the Bush Administration. Similarly, if the rumours that Obama has also already asked that the documents be withheld, then the Obama government i’m afraid to say, is also complicit and in the same realms of immorality as the Bush administration.
Unfortunately, I do believe this wont go any further. No charges will be bought. No deep independent investigation will take place and justice will never be served. That’s the way of the modern World and modern Politics.