Britain’s Guantanamo Bay……

29 May

‘Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Defence, has today been forced to admit that up to 90 foreign nationals are being held illegally at a secret military detention centre……’

The Secretary of State insisted that the detention centre at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, is not secret and was discussed in the House of Commons last year.  Although it may not be an ‘eyes only’ secret, this is the first time the majority of the public will have heard about it.

Philip Hammond & Some Bombs

Philip Hammond & Some Bombs

The detainees, some of whom have been held for 14 months, have been denied access to legal representation and have not been charged with any offences but Philip Hammond said “Many of those held posed a danger to troops”.  He claimed the reason they had not been handed over to the Afghan authorities was because of concerns that they would be mistreated.

UK lawyers acting for eight of the men have launched habeas corpus applications in the High Court in a bid to have them released, raising comparisons with the outrage over the GuantanamoBay prison camp.  The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) rules dictate that British Forces are only allowed to hold suspects for 96 hours.

Gitmo_SignpostPhil Shiner, the lawyer for eight of the men, said the Government had failed to train Afghan Security Forces how to treat people lawfully and humanely, leading to the secret detention facility to protect their human rights, ironic though this seem.  Shiner again reaffirmed that the prisoners has not been told what they were accused of and denied access to legal representation, except for two men who had been allowed a one hour phone call each with a lawyer on Wednesday.  Hammond again said that many of the detainees were suspected killers of British troops or known to be involved in the preparation, facilitating or laying of improvised explosive devices and it would be wrong to put them “back on the battlefield”.

“We would like nothing more than to hand these people over to the Afghan authorities so they can be dealt with by the Afghan judicial system,” he told the Radio 4 Today programme, dismissing the description of Camp Bastion as a secret facility as “absurd”, but then he’s not the one being illegally detained there.

Yet again we see the erosion of basic human rights by our Government, indefinite detention without trial and access to legal advice and the ‘rebirth’ of the Data Communications Bill allowing access to your private email, text messages and internet searches.

And while the Data Communications Bill is on the agenda; my understanding is that one of the intentions is to stop people ‘preaching’ hatred and inciting attacks on one group by another.  Does this extend to the vile rhetoric of politicians misleading statements about immigrants or the divisive ‘them and us’ approach to the ‘shirkers and strivers’, those who want to ‘work hard and get on’, as opposed to those, who by implication, don’t want to work hard and get on?

As for the 90 detainees at Camp Bastion, when the coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan they should be released, as is standard practice for prisoners of war unless they are responsible for crimes against humanity.  An Afghan national who attacks the invading forces with whom they profoundly disagree should be treated as any other prisoner of war at the end of a conflict and released.  After all, the invasion was carried out under the pretext of dismantling ‘Al Qaeda’ training camps which were abandoned long before American boots hit the ground.  In the interim the coalition forces, under the control of the new world order, have sought to impose their ideological ‘democratic’ model on a country which as never operated such a system and probably never will.  Instead, imposing a government comprising ex-warlords and some very shady characters that will fall apart the minute foreign forces withdraw.

Will we also be bringing American and UK forces to the International Criminal Court for the extra-judicial execution of Wanted01innocent civilians and their families by drone aircraft in another sovereign country’s airspace and one which is not involved in the Afghan dispute?  I doubt it……

 

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