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Old 02-12-2005, 05:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Blair Apology to 'terrorists'

This week PM Tony Blair made a formal apology to the Guilford Four and Macquire Seven.

Quote:
Blair apologises for false IRA convictions
By Kirsten Aiken in London and agencies

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has issued a public apology to 11 people who were victims of one of Britain's most notorious miscarriages of justice.

They are known as the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven - 11 people who were wrongly jailed for up to 15 years for IRA attacks on English pubs in 1974 which left seven people dead.

Appeal courts overturned the convictions of the four in 1989, and the seven in 1991, amid allegations of falsified evidence and confessions obtained under coercion.

The Guildford Four achieved international fame when their wrongful jailing was dramatised in the 1993 film In The Name Of The Father.

In a videotaped statement, Mr Blair delivered the long-awaited apology.

"I am very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and such an injustice," he said.

"That's why I'm making this apology today. They deserve to be completely and publicly exonerated.

"I recognise the trauma that the conviction caused the Conlan and Maguire families and the stigma which wrongly attaches to them to this day."

One of the victims, Gerry Conlon, was delighted by the apology, even though it came too late for his father Giuseppe, another victim of the injustice, who died in prison 25 years ago.

"We just feel as if we have still been suffering as if we were in prison," he said.

"I am hoping for some sort of closure on this. This has dominated two-thirds of my life.

"This happened when I was 20. I am now coming up to 51. I have had no peace from it.

"This hasn't ended for us. But today is the start of the end."

Mr Blair, who has made a peace agreement in Northern Ireland one of the priorities of his premiership since 1997, campaigned as a young parliamentarian for the release of the Guildford Four.

A deal to seal a final political settlement has stalled after claims the IRA was behind a $A63 million bank robbery in the province in December and its withdrawal of a conditional offer to put its weapons beyond use.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems...2/s1299566.htm

It's great that Blair has issued this apology. I also think that this case should serve as a glaring example of how the erosion of human rights and legal safeguards can destroy people's lives. Everybody deserves the right to a fair trial, guilty or not. This Guantanamo Bay situation seems like it could spawn the same problems, except of course in England the terrorists were being held for 5 days without proof requirement, it could be years before we find out more info about the people locked up in there. What do you think?
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Old 02-12-2005, 05:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almostaugust
This week PM Tony Blair made a formal apology to the Guilford Four and Macquire Seven.



It's great that Blair has issued this apology. I also think that this case should serve as a glaring example of how the erosion of human rights and legal safeguards can destroy people's lives. Everybody deserves the right to a fair trial, guilty or not. This Guantanamo Bay situation seems like it could spawn the same problems, except of course in England the terrorists were being held for 5 days without proof requirement, it could be years before we find out more info about the people locked up in there. What do you think?

Dude, you understand that the Gitmo prisoners were picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan, right? They're not hard working people rounded up in the US and brought there without due process.
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Old 02-12-2005, 06:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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the battlefield in Afghanistan
That's the whole country. Wiseassery aside, the point is that trials keep the system honest. they give us confidence that the guilty are behind bars, and that only the guilty are there.
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Old 02-12-2005, 06:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCB
Dude, you understand that the Gitmo prisoners were picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan, right? They're not hard working people rounded up in the US and brought there without due process.

That is the question that lies at the core. Are they rounded up and "abducted' from their homeland and held without legal aid, or are they "illegal combatants". A lot of people feel that the Gitmo prisoners are held without a sound legal base or status. And if they are innocent they will have been locked up for no reason with no legal base. If that turns out to be true the perverbial sh** wil hit the fan.

If they are guilty they will not receive much sympathy, but it is a precarius situation. Not unlike the 11 mentioned before, this could turn sour
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Old 02-12-2005, 07:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCB
Dude, you understand that the Gitmo prisoners were picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan, right? They're not hard working people rounded up in the US and brought there without due process.
Well, id like for these things to be established, but right now we dont know really that much at all. A couple of weeks back a US federal judge ruled that this type of activity is unconstitutional because the war on terror cant negate basic human rights like a lawyer and proper trial. I'm all for these guys being dealt with, just so long as its done properly.
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Old 02-12-2005, 10:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I do respect Tony for actually having the political balls to apologize. It was forced, but at least it actually happened.

What do you think it'd take for Bush to apologize for something like this?
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This is why neither torture, denying people due process rights, or any other human right is acceptable:

Quote:
Who is Maher Arar? He doesn’t fit the mold of public hero. A man of slight build, unassuming character and average looks, Arar is strident yet soft-spoken. Before his detention at J.F.K., he was an apolitical workaholic who was obsessed only with making ends meet and spending free time with his family. “Engineers by nature are machines,” he says. “They work 9 to 9. They do what they’re told to do.” But it wasn’t a bad life. The Damascus native, now 34, immigrated to Canada with his family in 1987 and became a citizen four years later. By 1997, he was making a decent living in Ottawa amid the city’s high-tech boom. Two years later, while his wife Monia Mazigh was completing a Ph.D. in finance at McGill, Arar took a job at the MathWorks, a Boston-area computer company. In 2001, wanting to be near family and friends, he returned full-time to Ottawa and started a consultancy specializing in wireless technology.

That life came to an abrupt end on Sept. 26, 2002, when Arar was pulled aside while passing through J.F.K. after a vacation in Tunisia, where most of his wife’s family lives. He was detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, where he says U.S. authorities questioned him for 10 days. Then, in the middle of the night, he was put into shackles and spirited away via Jordan to Syria, a country he hadn’t been to in 16 years— despite the fact that he was a naturalized Canadian citizen traveling on a Canadian passport en route to Canada.

Arar ended up in a dark, 1-m by 2-m cell he calls the “grave” in the Syrian military intelligence agency’s Palestine branch in Damascus. He was held there without charge for 10 months and 10 days. During his first two weeks, he claims, he was interrogated about people he had known in Canada, sometimes for 18 hours at a time, and tortured. One punishment, he says, was repeated lashings with a 5-cm black metal cable on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips. The mental ordeal was also brutal, he said in November 2003 at one of the most dramatic press conferences ever televised in Canada. “The second and third days were the worst,” he told the world that day. “I could hear other prisoners being tortured, and screaming.” During his first week in prison, he says, he falsely confessed that he had received military training in Afghanistan.

Many would have crumbled emotionally under such duress, but Arar hung tough. Finally, almost a year later, on Oct. 5, 2003, the Syrians released him, saying publicly that they considered him “completely innocent.” When Arar made it back to Canada, Amnesty International’s Neve was among those who met him at the airport in Montreal. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind,” Neve declared at the time, “that he has been through a horrific ordeal.”

Arar now faced a dilemma: whether or not to go public with his story. He says most members of his family, who grew up in Syria under the oppressive rule of Hafez Assad, advised him to get on with his life and not cause problems for relatives still in Syria. But there was also the opposing pressure of many unnamed sources who were leaking stories to the media alleging that Arar was not the innocent he claimed to be.

In the end, Arar says, he decided he had a “responsibility as a Canadian and as a human being to talk about it,” and not just for his own sake. “There are people who are being tortured now as we speak,” he says. “There are people who are being jailed unjustly.” Mazigh, who ran unsuccessfully for the New Democratic Party in the 2004 federal election, says she supports his decision, but it has been a rough period. Going public, she says, led to “total confusion about our feelings, about our relations, about our new life.” Her husband, she says, is “absolutely a different person” from the one she met and married a decade ago. Others close to Arar describe him as distraught, stressed out. Mazigh works full-time at n.d.p. headquarters in Ottawa, while Arar, unable to find a job, stays home most days helping care for their young children. He spends hours each day responding to the various political and legal issues that affect his case, his reputation and the broader cause he has agreed to defend.

Canadians have warmed to these media-awkward souls, Arar and Mazigh, partly because they are so typical—a young couple, both professionals with Canadian university degrees, struggling to raise two children. Canada’s Muslims and Arabs, especially those who are from “problem countries” with suspected links to terrorism, can easily identify with them, says Riad Saloojee, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations—Canada. Among Arar’s many supporters, the perception is that what happened to him could happen to almost anyone else. Muslims “live in the shadow of Arar,” Saloojee says. “There has been a loss of confidence in the Canadian government as to its commitment to the citizenship of Canadian Arabs and Muslims.”

Arar’s case points to the risks inherent in America’s dominant role in the post-9/11 world. It appears that U.S. officials triggered the entire episode, but they have offered little in the way of explanation and refuse to participate in the Canadian inquiry. Arar may get some answers if his U.S. lawsuit survives its first major challenge—a motion to dismiss the case on technical grounds. If the case moves to the discovery phase, says Steven Watt, one of Arar’s U.S. attorneys, “that should enable us to get our hands on documentation that would definitively show what the U.S. involvement was in his removal to Syria, and the extent of it, as well as that of Canada.”
http://www.timecanada.com/CNOY/story.adp?year=2004

P.S. The U.S. government is attempting to dismiss Arar's lawsuit on "national security" grounds. At least Blair might have had the balls to apologize.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...11.html?sub=AR
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Old 02-12-2005, 03:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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the operative logic in bushworld for this seems to be that you cant miscarry justice if you set up a system that excludes the idea of justice up front.
so you get things like this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/13/in...rtner=homepage

which links to a 3 page ny times article about the ordeal of Mamdouh Habib

and this

Quote:
UK claims freed Britons pose terror threat

Travel ban on four released from Guantanamo based on evidence alleged to be gathered under torture

Vikram Dodd
Saturday February 12, 2005
The Guardian

The government has decided that four Britons released from Guantánamo Bay pose a terrorist threat to the United Kingdom, on the basis of evidence alleged to have come from the men's torture and ill-treatment, the Guardian has learned.

The home secretary, Charles Clarke, ruled that there are "strong" grounds to believe the four are dangerous, according to a government letter to the men. He has decided to ban the Britons from travelling abroad and has written telling them they are being denied passports.

It is the first time the British government's view about whether the men are a danger has been clearly stated.

The four were arrested by anti-terrorism police on their return last month, only to be released without charge a day later.

The Home Office says the security assessment of the men was made on information from the US obtained during their time in Guantánamo, where it is alleged they were tortured and ill-treated.

The four spent up to three years in Guantánamo in conditions condemned by human rights groups. They were never tried by the US, who claimed they were "enemy combatants", and were denied access to a lawyer for most of their detention.

It is believed that some or all of the four made admissions of involvement or knowledge of terrorism. Their lawyers claim these admissions are false and were made under duress.

The four men are Moazzam Begg, Martin Mubanga, Richard Belmar and Feroz Abbasi. Three of the men's passports were kept by the US, while Mr Mubanga says his was in the possession of an MI6 officer who interviewed him in detention.

In the letter to the men, a Home Office official writes that the home secretary has the power to deny passports when "in very rare cases, persons whose past or proposed activities were so demonstrably undesirable that the grant or con tinued enjoyment of passport facilities would be contrary to the public interest".

The letter continues: "On the basis of the information which has come to light during your detention by the United States, the home secretary considered that there are strong grounds for believing that, on leaving the United Kingdom, you would take part in activities against the United Kingdom or allied targets."

Shortly after the announcement that the US would free the men, a US paper claimed a restriction on travel abroad was part of the deal between London and Washington that led to their release.

Mr Clarke has said that proposed control orders, dubbed by some as house arrest, could be used against the four.

The US alleges one of the Britons met and talked with the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden while in Afghanistan, while others trained at terrorist camps.

Guantánamo Bay has been dogged by allegations of torture and ill-treatment. The Pentagon says that al-Qaida training manuals tell its fighters to claim they have been abused.

A lawyer for Mr Abbasi says he suffered a series of mental breakdowns after being kept in isolation for 18 months. Mr Begg is alleged to have been repeatedly beaten and to have heard screams from a next door room he was told was coming from the torture of his wife. Mr Mubanga has alleged he was beaten and humiliated by his US captors.

Louise Christian, solicitor for two of the released Britons, said: "When you rely on evidence from torture you are acquiescing with the torture.

"It is wholly unreliable. We know that people have made false confessions under torture at Guantánamo Bay."

A Home Office spokesman said they would not comment on individual cases and refused to confirm the decisions made by Mr Clarke to withdraw the passports: "We unreservedly condemn the use of torture. We will consider in each case whether torture is used."
source:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/...411456,00.html

and the situation outlined in the post just above this one.
and you will keep getting it
there is no doubt that innocent parties are detained at guantanomo--bushworld deals with it by not allowing a determination of guilt or innocence to be made.

i do not understand--at all--why conservatives, who are all about the importance of individual rights--have allowed their thinking on this to be smothered by the long heavy-handed application across their faces of the pillow of "national security"...but i guess so long as the folk being tortured are in the main muslim. anything goes...
so long as the folk being tortured are in the main brown people from far away, anything goes.
this from the same folk who, more often than not, understand david koresh as some kind of martyr, killed in the context of an arbitrary use of force--who understand the folk killed at ruby ridge as being martyrs on the same grounds--two weights, two measures: one for....one for....

amazing stuff.
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Old 02-12-2005, 08:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I actually agree that it is wrong to round people up in their countries and transport them back to face indefinate imprisonment. I also think it's unfair to subject them to our legal system. I would prefer if we subjected them to their countries law-televised execution.
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