15 July, 2010

So-called "Detainee Legacy Issues" ...

The Guardian 15th July 2010 reports on documents made public in a High Court case brought by certain former detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Key passages from the documents may be seen on the Guardian's website - here.  The Guardian's report states:

"The true extent of the Labour government's involvement in the illegal abduction and torture of its own citizens after the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001 has been spelled out in stark detail with the disclosure during high court proceedings of a mass of highly classified documents.
 Previously secret papers that have been disclosed include a number implicating Tony Blair's office in many of the events that are to be the subject of the judicial inquiry that David Cameron announced last week.
Among the most damning documents are a series of interrogation reports from MI5 officers that betray their disregard for the suffering of a British resident whom they were questioning at a US airbase in Afghanistan. The documents also show that the officers were content to see the mistreatment continue."
The present government clearly wishes that this litigation would come to an end and that the cases are settled by mediation.  An inquiry has been announced (see here) to be chaired by Sir Peter Gibson (a former Lord Justice of Appeal).  The government appears to refer to these cases as "detainee legacy issues".  Of course, the cases are one aspect of the appalling mess left behind by the Labour Government but it is the United Kingdom (as a State) which will have to bear any eventual responsibility and it is the U.K. which is a signatory to the international Convention on Torture.

The UK Human Rights Blog (prepared by barristers at 1 Crown Office Row) covers this story.

The possible involvement of Jack Straw and Downing Street in the rendition to Guantanamo of Martin Mubanga is also of concern - see here.  

There is now more than adequate material to say that the former Labour government has definitely got a "case to answer" and it is high time that the public heard the truth instead of government always hiding behind the mantra of national security.  In the aftermath of "9/11" some western politicians appear to have forgotten just what our traditional values are.

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