Sunday, March 19, 2006

Even a Poodle Can Snap

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been the earliest and staunchest supporter of the Emperor's excellent adventure in Iraq, often to the detriment of his own political capital. Yet even he has found a line that should not be crossed, and he finally made a clear statement to that effect. The UK Independent has the story.

Tony Blair joined the growing calls for the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay to be closed after he was questioned about the claims of torture by two British residents held there.

Mr Blair was challenged at his regular monthly press conference at 10 Downing Street yesterday over the graphic and shocking claims by two men who lived in Britain that they were handed over to the CIA by the security service MI5 for torture in the notorious "dark prison" in Kabul, Afghanistan, before being taken to Guantanamo.

...The Prime Minister in the past has said holding the detainees in the camp in Cuba outside the normal rules of war or criminal courts was an "anomaly" which had to be ended.

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, recently went further by calling for the camp to be closed, but Mr Blair had been reluctant to do so to avoid allowing a diplomatic breach with the US President, George Bush, over Guantanamo.

..."I have said that I think it would be better if it [Guantanamo] was closed for all the reasons that we have given over a long period of time."

...The Prime Minister's call for Guantanamo to be closed was welcomed last night by Andrew MacKinlay, a Labour member of the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is conducting an inquiry into the war on terrorism.

But he said Mr Blair had been a "wimp" in failing to make stronger protests to President Bush in the past after a UN report last month found that some of the treatment of prisoners amounted to torture.
[Emphasis added]

A dramatic shift in Mr. Blair's policy? An open disagreement with the Emperor in Chief?

Probably not. What I suspect has happened is that the US regime has signalled that it is ready to close the Guantanamo prison camp in order to relieve some of the pressure it has been feeling from the rest of the world, especially after the recent UN report. The US needs the UN right now to serve once again as a backdrop to its push against Iran.

Guantanamo may be closed, but I would be very surprised if BushCo released all of the prisoners currently being held there. Many, if not most, will simply be transferred to other sites, the ones the US claims do not exist in central and eastern Europe and in the Middle East.

The US was recently forced to reveal the names of all prisoners being held at Guantanamo. It will be interesting to match those names with those actually released should the prison camp actually be closed. Then we'll see if Mr. Blair is truly concerned about human rights.


Anonymous sister of ye said...

Sadly, I suspect you're right on when with your theory of why Blair is calling for the closing, and why the U.S. might be willing to do it.

Bush and his cronies will never stop torturing by proxy. It makes them feel like such manly men.

6:58 AM  

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