And on that bombshell...
Blimey! Yesterday’s high political drama has left me shakin all over. The David Davis bombshell! The Guantánamo court ruling shocker!
Well, while the Davis resignation is obviously the really BIG news on the UK media scene, the US Supreme court decision is the one that really matters.
It’s not the first time this court has ruled against the US government on GITMO. Shaken but not stirred by its defeat, in the past the US administration has just tinkered with the arrangements at the base and sailed blithely on. They’re threatening to do the same again.
Meanwhile, the years have ticked painfully by. We’re now into the seventh (the seventh!) year of this travesty of justice – and still no-one (nobody!) has been put on trial. Not one.
Of course the present irony is that if anyone actually ever gets a trial at Guantánamo it’s going to be of the distinctly unfair variety anyway: a wholly military court, secret evidence, no free choice of lawyer, possible death sentence, no guarantee you’ll get released if not found guilty.
Read our new letter to Gordon Brown on this ahead of Bush’s UK visit this weekend – and if you’re in Belfast this Sunday check out our demo. A big concern is that the UK resident Binyam Mohamed is falling apart after six years at Guantánamo. His American lawyer thinks he’s going to end up leaving Guantánamo “either totally insane or by being carried out in a coffin”. Please send an appeal on his behalf.
Meanwhile, ask yourself: why did the US put its “war on terror” prisoners in Cuba in the first place?
Not for the convenience – the operation must have been a logistical nightmare and a financial burden. And not because it’s in anyway tied to the “war on terror” – Cuba and the Caribbean don’t figure (to my knowledge!)
The reason, it seems, was always to do with keeping prisoners completely off US soil. It’s led to the US government being able to muddy the argument about whether prisoners could challenge their detentions in a US court. It’s worked for a long time but maybe now the game is up.
The UK’s own recourse to draconian measures (Belmarsh, control orders, 90 days, 42 days) has had a nasty habit of backfiring: legal challenges, Commons rebellions, House of Lords rulings … er, shadow home secretaries resigning. (Incidentally – join the emerging Amnesty debate about whether to now get behind David Davis’ re-election campaign in Yorkshire!)
Anyway, so here’s an idea for Messrs Brown and Bush.
Instead of waiting for the courts to catch up with you why not show the world that you actually care about “liberty”, “freedom” and “democracy” by upholding the laws that actually help guarantee these values in the first place?
Ok, it was just a thought.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.