Shaker Aamer is a Saudi national who arrived in the UK in 1996. He was given permission to remain in the UK indefinitely. That was of course prior to 9/11. For the last 11 years his family have remained in the UK but he has been a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, the infamous US terrorist prison also known as Gitmo.Calling him a prisoner sort of implies a trial, verdict and sentence or at least
the promise of a trial. Yet here we are all those years later with no such legal action forthcoming.There have been online efforts for sometime aimed at freeing this man. The latest news today is that he is to sue the UK for defamation of character. He joins a long line of foreign nationals who have sued the UK. Only yesterday we reported on a rendtion case which cost the UK £2.2mil in damages but cost the individual a great deal more.The legal action that is to be launched will include recently declassified information.
It will be launched today, Friday, December 14, 2012.When Mr Aamer was arrested he was in Afghanistan. It was alleged that he was "involved in fighting at Tora Bora, an al-Qaeda stronghold targeted by the Americans as they hunted Osama Bin Laden. Mr Aamer denies this and says he was engaged in charity work."What will be shocking to many, if it is proved correct, is the accusation that British intelligance, that is MI5 and MI6 personnel, supplied knowingly false information to the US authorities.Whilst being hed in Afghanistan Mr Aamer was allegedly "subjected to cold water treatment, hog tying [and] sleep deprivation".
There are also allegations of brutality carried out in the presence of British Intelligence officers. You can read more about the allegations at the BBC here
.OpinionThe US authorities appear to believe that Mr Aamer is or was a member of an al qaeda linked terrorist organsitaion and that he was a " fully paid up member", shall we say. If that is the case the man should be tried accordingly in a court of law.This ongoing abandonement of the law has to be a grave cause for concern. We can hardly scream from the roof tops should one of our people be treat in such a manner. We have after all led by example. Yes it can take time to gather evidence and "extract" confessions but there has to be a timescale. Look at the Image of the man and his young children. Presumably they are teenagers now. Will the Western treatment of their father help make them law abiding respectful Western citizens? Hardly.You can make as many excuses about how 9/11 was a different scenario but none of it excuses some of the actions coming to light now. Is Mr Aamer simply going to be held forever without trial? Perhaps the idea is that in the end he will admit to something in order to be released. Would it suit the authorites better if he died? Harsh but it has to be said. Whatever the reason his case is a blight on the supposed democracy we are told the West is fighting for around the world.If as the West appears to believe Mr Aamer is
or was, "a UK-based al-Qaeda cell" and a close associate of Bin Laden who had "shown a willingness to become a martyr for his cause
"." then legally do something about it. If there is no evidence then he could be just one of perhaps many who have a hatred of the West. Will his case prevent others following suit?If he was in fact an innocent man set up by the authorities then what can we say.According to the BBC report, "The legal action is being brought by the legal charity Reprieve and names both Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May, whose departments supervise MI6 and MI5 respectively, and it will be launched at a press conference later on Friday"Updates will follow when available.In February 2012 The UK Independent carried a report in which it puiblished letters sent from Mr Aamer to his family. It also contained the following timeline of events:
Timeline: a decade without justice
December 1968: Born in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
1996: Moves to London and works as an Arabic translator for a firm of solicitors. Marries a British citizen and is eventually granted residency.
June 2001: Goes to Kabul to volunteer for an Islamic charity.
October 2001: US invasion of Afghanistan begins.
November 2001: Captured by the Northern Alliance and eventually handed to the Americans. Claims subsequently he was badly physically abused at Bagram, in the presence of a British intelligence officer.
February 2002: Brought to Guantanamo Bay, but is not charged with a crime, a situation which has not changed.
September 2005: Organises hunger strike among inmates and is placed in solitary confinement.
June 2006: Claims he was beaten for hours and asphyxiated during an interrogation on the same day three other Guantanamo inmates died.
June 2007: Cleared for release when the Bush administration acknowledges it has no evidence against him but remains interned.
February 2009: Becomes the last British citizen or resident at the camp when Binyam Mohamed is repatriated.
January 2012: The Independent reveals the UK Government has spent £274,345 fighting Aamer in court, including preventing his lawyers viewing evidence that may prove his innocence and end more than a decade in US custody.
Libya has been the scene of violence following outrage by Muslims in the country. Those involved were angry that a film which they claim disrespects their Prophet Mohammed had been produced. A mob was soon incited to go on the rampage and deaths have followed.
The American Embassy in Benghazi was attacked by a violent crowd using a rocket launcher. American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others died in the attack. This would normally be classed as an act of War. It will prove a hard situation for President Obama to resolve. For the dead and their loved ones the tragedy is unresolvable.
Benghazi was a stronghold of rebels fighting the rule of Gaddafi during last year's uprising. Many in the West wondered just who the rebels were. Similarly rebels in Syria fighting the Assad regime right now are an unknown quantity. It seems that in the West's haste to rid these countries of unelected regimes weapons and support are being offered to heaven knows who.
US President Obama issued a statement at lunchtime today:
"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives. I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward."
Earlier in the day Mitt Romney had chosen to issue a brief statement which was more aimed at using the incident to attack Obama than serve any real purpose.
The current Libyan government have been quick to blame the attack and killings on factions still allied to the old Gaddafi regime. It was expected that they would do this. They have said that troublemakers in the country have been stirring up religious anger and fervor. However in so many countries in this region strong Muslim faith is evident in all.
However all sides respond does not detract from the death of four people and the volatile situation in the Middle East. Egypt has also experienced violent protests regarding the film.
The timing of the attack may have been significant, launched as it was on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. During the last few months there have been other similar attacks but this is the first to result in deaths.
The film at the centre of the violence is called The innocence of Muslims. The man behind the film, Sam Bacile, an Israeli Jew, is now said to be in hiding. Made in July the film grabbed the attention of those in the Middle East after an Arabic version was thoughtlessly posted online. Perhaps though the idea was to anger and incite a mob.
Florida Pastor Terry Jones is also promoting the film. He is well known for inciting religious hate. Shame on him. What must his God think?
Around 100 wealthy Jews are said to have helped raise the money to make this film. They are keen to portray the Muslim faith as a "cancer". Their choice of word not ours. That reminds us of how the Nazis in World War Two treid to portray the Jewish faith.
Opinion: The way some Jews behave never ceases to amaze this blogger. As a race and faith which has experienced bitter hatred down the years you could be forgiven for believing they would want to preach peace. That they would want to happily co-exist with others. Instead all too many want to exterminate others, notably Muslims.
Those responsible for the movie or perhaps that should be this piece of garbage appear to believe that promoting such hatred will help Israel and its people to survive.
Religious hatred is deplorable, no matter where it comes from. It is no good hiding behind your religion and screaming anti semitism and the like when you have incited violent reaction.
Religion continues to be used by mankind for its own ends. In doing so it is just another weapon of war and hate.
RIP to those caught in the crossfire.
A detainee at the infamous Guantanamo prison died on Saturday September 8, 2012. Today the prisoner has been named as Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 32-year-old Yemeni who had been held in Gitmo since 2002.
A ten year jail term on a young man, which would have been so much longer had he not died. Incarceration at Gitmo rarely follows any rules or conventions. The US can paint the picture however they want to suit their own ends but the facts speak for themselves. When you forgo rules such as fair and free trials with proper sentencing you set a precedent which one day will bite back.
Look online to find a little information about this man and his death: "The detainee found dead in a maximum-security cell at Guantánamo was a Yemeni captive with a history of suicide attempts who at one time won a federal judge’s release order, only to see his case overturned on appeal and rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The detention center on Tuesday identified the dead captive as Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, in his 30s, held since January 2002 as prisoner No. 156. Latif was found unconscious in his cell Saturday afternoon, the military said. Guards and military medical staff could not revive him. He was the ninth detainee to die in the 11 years of the detention center.
The military withheld Latif’s identity while the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service began an investigation and the Obama administration notified members of Congress and Latif’s family of the death."
Today is September 11, 2012 eleven years to the day since the Twin Towers were struck by terrorists killing many immediately and many more in the years that followed. Two wars in the name of 9/11 resulted in too many civilian and military deaths. Two wars that helped destabilse a huge area of the World.
Gitmo, a notorious prison was created in a supposed civilised country, The USA. Prisoners maltreated. Prisoners who did not stand trial nor receive a sentence. Prisoners who were tortured. Prsioners such as Adnan who have died in Gitmo. Nine such deaths at the last count we believe.
In July 2012, 168 prisoners remained in Gitmo. Various sources online are still fightimg for their release. Some prisoners may be terrorists whilst others may be relative innocents caught up in the madness that followed 9/11. Gitmo remains as America's shame. If there are accusations and allegations to answer then so be it. Simply locking people up and throwing away the key is barbaric.
RIP Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif
When singer P J Harvey, Polly Harvey, won the Mercury Music prize for the first time it was 2011. She was touring the US and it was at that fateful 9/11 time.
That year the prize ceremony was held on September 11. Harvey won for her work, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.
Last night, September 6, 2011, Harvey became the first person to win for a second time.
P J was a popular choice of winner for 2011. She was the bookies favourite and Jools Holland seemed genuinely happy to be announcing her victory. Harvey won the award for her album, Let England Shake. Now 41 years old many would say that PJ just gets better and better.
Let England Shake has 21st Century relevance. War is at the heart of the album. P J told the mercury prize audience, "It's really good to be here this evening, because when I last won 10 years ago I was in Washington DC watching the Pentagon burning from my hotel window."So much has happened since then. This album took me a long time to write. It was very important to me. I wanted to make something meaningful, not just for myself but for other people, and hopefully to make something that would last."