Thursday, May 11, 2006

Shame of Guantanamo Bay

Britain's attorney-general says The United States prison camp at Guantanamo Bay is a discredit to the American tradition of freedom and should close.
Lord Goldsmith called the Guantanamo camp's existence "unacceptable," the strongest condemnation of the prison by a British government official.

Only 10 of the current 490 detainees at Guantanamo have been charged with war crimes.
One of those is former Adelaide man David Hicks, who is still battling the British government to receive UK citizenship in a bid for release from detention.
The Australian government has steadfastly refuse to intervene on behalf of Hicks, which led to his move for British recognition.

Goldsmith said: "It is time, in my view, that is should close. Not only would it, in my personal opinion, be right to close Guantanamo as a matter of principle, I believe it would also help to remove what has become a symbol to many - right or wrong - of injustice."
He added, “The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol.”

Views within the government tend, at least to some degree, along the Goldsmith lines.
Prime Minister Tony Blair has described the camp's continued existence as an 'anomaly' but has never demanded it be shut down.
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has said, when queried on the issu: "I would prefer it was closed, yes."
Foreign Office minister Kim Howells said in March that the camp should close if it was thought to be undermining the cause of democracy.
Four British citizens released from the US prison camp have won the right to sue their captors for violation of their religious rights.

The four - Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul from Tipton, in the West Midlands, and Jamal al-Harith, from Manchester - have spent the past two years pursuing a wide array of complaints against the Pentagon and their military captors, including allegations of physical and mental abuse as well as affronts to their Muslim faith. This, though, marked the first time that a significant legal decision has gone in their favour.

Unlike their British counterparts, the Australian government has consistently toed the Bush administration line on the camp.
Prime Minister John Howard has brushed off Britain's strongest criticism of the US military prison in Cuba, saying Australia will go its own way in the handling of terrorist suspect David Hicks.
Australia's Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, says his British counterpart is entitled to make his personal views known about Guantanamo Bay.
But Ruddock says the Australian Government believes the military commission at the detention centre is capable of delivering a fair outcome.
Ruddock and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer revealed Australia had signed an understanding for the transfer of prisoners sentenced under the US military commission process.
Under the agreement, Hicks would have to serve the full term of his US-imposed sentence in Australia.
However doubts have been expressed over the legality of the agreement. Hicks’ father posed the key question: How could his son be imprisoned in Australia if he was guilty of no crime under Australian law?
Hicks, 30, was captured with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in December, 2001. He has been held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba since January, 2002.
He faces charges before a US military commission of conspiracy to commit war crimes, attempted murder and aiding the enemy.
Terry Hicks said his son was still fighting to gain UK citizenship – but US officials had blocked British officials from visiting the Australian for a swearing-in ceremony.
Gaining UK citizenship remains the Adelaide man's best hope of being released as all British citizens have already been freed from Guantanamo Bay under a deal struck between Washington and London.

1 comment:

reality-based educator said...

In Bush's war on terror we are supposedly trying to export democracy and freedom to areas of the world that do not have it, yet we torture and/or render terror suspects, we hold people as terror suspects in jail without charging them with any crime, we plant propaganda paid for by US tax dollars in the newspapers both here and in Iraq, and we hold elections on Diebold machines that are awfully easy to corrupt.

If only preznit bush understood the meaning of ironic!