The last four British citizens held in Guantanamo Bay are to return to the UK today after almost three years detention without trial. However, the ordeal is not over. They are to be arrested by British Police on their return.
Senior police sources say there is virtually no chance of the men being charged, (the evidence gained from Guantanamo would be inadmissible due to the methods used to obtain it), so what it the reason for this vindictive action?
Helen Bamber (founder of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture) has criticised this move, pointing out that after three years of abuse it is unlikely that the British Police will gain any useful information from the men. Iqbal Sacranie (the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain) reminded the Home Office that "These people are not criminals or terrorists, they are people who have been detained for no reason because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time", but it seems that
you are now guilty until you can prove your innocence, and
you cannot prove your innocence if you are not told what you are being charged with
It is interesting to note that Condoleezza Rice hypocritically described Cuba as "an outpost of tyranny" only last week. Of course, she was not talking about Guantanamo, but the rest of the country.
Only days later President Bush started his second term with a promise to unleash "the force of freedom" noting "the best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world"..... unless (of course) the US can make a profit from the repression and tyranny.
For example, the UN reported that torture in Uzbekistan was "systematic, pervasive and persistent... throughout the investigation process". The opposition leader Muzafar Avazov was actually boiled alive for refusing to abandon his religious convictions while imprisoned for disagreeing with the Government.
Yet in 2003, Bush granted a waiver to Uzbekistan for failing to improve its human rights record, so that the aid package could continue. In February 2004, Donald Rumsfeld (as the US secretary of defence) visited the country's dictator, Islam Karimov, and confirmed "The relationship [between our countries] is strong and growing stronger. We look forward to strengthening our political and economic relations."
You see, there may be an estimated 10,000 prisoners of conscience in Uzbekistan, but it also hosts a US military base that offers easy access to Afghanistan and the rest of the region.
Meanwhile, back in Iraq "Human Rights Watch" have issued a report stating that "The Iraqi interim government ... appears to be actively taking part, or is at least complicit, in....grave violations of fundamental human rights. Nor has the US, the UK or other involved governments publicly taken up these issues as a matter of concern."
So Bush the hypocrite tells us "America will not pretend....
1. "that jailed dissidents prefer their chains" (unless they are in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay)
2. "that women welcome humiliation and servitude" (unless they live in Saudi Arabia)
3. "that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies" (unless they live in Uzbekistan or Israel).
The new White House nominee for the post of attorney general (Alberto Gonzales) not only refuses to rule out torture under any circumstances, he came close to defining torture as treatment that led to "dying under torment" (in August 2002). So if you survive, you were obviously not tortured! This pleasant chap also chaired meetings in which some nifty methods of torture were discussed, such as;
the threat of being buried alive, and
"water-boarding" (the victim is strapped to a board, forcibly pushed under water, wrapped in a wet towel, and made to believe he will drown).
Now (according to the Washington Post), the US are proposing to build new prisons in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen (to add to those in Cuba, Jordan, Egypt, and Diego Garcia) to allow them to hold more people indefinitely without access to legal representation and without the protection of international or US law.
A global poll for the BBC last week showed that people in 18 out of 21 countries felt a second Bush term would have a negative impact on peace and security. About the only person with a positive view of a second Bush term is our "beloved leader", Mr Tony Blair. "Evolution comes with experience," he quipped.
Unfortunately, Bush does not believe in evolution, and Blair does not learn from experience.