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Blair silent on Guantanamo
THE CAPTURE and subsequent release by Iran of 15 British sailors has largely obscured news of the release of a British resident from the US's military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The media also largely ignored the latest hunger strike by 13 inmates at Guantanamo Bay who are protesting at their lack of human rights and the harsh conditions they endure in this maximum security camp.
Tony Blair has been mute in criticising the US for running a 'concentration camp' in Guantanamo Bay - where only ten of the 385 inmates have been charged and where trial is by 'military tribunal'. UK resident Bisher al-Rawi was recently released without charge, after being held in Guantanamo Bay for five years. The British government had refused to intercede on his behalf.
Seven other British residents, including Jamil el-Banna, arrested along with Mr Rawi in the Gambia after an MI5 tip-off, continue to be incarcerated in Guantanamo.
SINCE THE US opened the camp in January 2002 to hold "enemy combatants" there have been many hunger strikes by prisoners against the injustice they face. The US authorities' response has been to force-feed the strikers. In 2006, three prisoners committed suicide. A senior US administration official outrageously stated that these deaths were a "good PR move" while the camp commander described them as "an act of asymmetric warfare against us".
Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the secret CIA 'rendition' flights etc, only serve to fuel hatred among the populations of the Arab and Muslim countries (as well as amongst sections of the population in Europe) against Western governments. Consequently, Bush and Blair's 'war on terror' is swelling the ranks of members and sympathisers of right-wing political Islamists such as al-Qa'ida.
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