Guantanamo 80 80

A romantic notion of a terrorist
A romantic notion of a terrorist…

Would you like Bobby Sands‘ phone number? It’s Belfast eight nothing eight nothing.

Ho ho, very funny at the time, as I recall,  if you weren’t actually living in Northern Ireland during the hunger strikes. While lots of people didn’t and don’t care if bad guys starve themselves to death, it created a theme of martyrdom – carefully orchestrated by the revolting and now frankly weird Gerry Adams – that has resonated to this day. Try visiting the dismal streets of Andersonstown in Belfast to see what I mean.

Just as democracy is the “least bad form of government”, trial by jury is the least bad form of justice. It’s not the only form, and sometimes it just doesn’t work. After the various legal debacles it was in theory to be abandoned for complex fraud cases, in the Fraud (Trials without a Jury) Bill of 2007, which rightly or wrongly bit the dust in the Lords, accompanied by lots of civil liberties angsting.

However, trial by jury is not infallible even in straightforward cases – like that of OJ Simpson, author of the amusingly titled If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.

All this is a preamble to the Guantanamo issue, where the lads living there are now hunger striking. It’s not the food they’re objecting to, rather that they feel hard done by on the whole justice thing. The Knife has great respect for  the Rule of Law, in so far as it can be defined. The problem over at Gitmo lies in the apparent flouting of these facets, which are part of the several definitions available:

“No one can be punished or made to suffer except for a breach of law proved in an ordinary court”


“The principles of natural justice should be observed, particularly those concerning the right to a fair hearing….The courts should be accessible; no man may be denied justice….The discretion of law enforcement and crime prevention agencies should not be allowed to pervert the law.”

Well, I can see the problem, but wasn’t all this predictable when Guantanamo opened, and that was why the Messiah (Barack) promised to shut the place ASAP. Oddly, that’s not happened, but it’s not difficult to see why. After Attorney General Eric Holder’s ludicrous attempt to try the self-confessed 9/11 planner, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in a Manhattan civil court, they reverted to the correct option of a military tribunal. After all, it began with an act of war.

Then the predictable shenanigans began, with the defence lawyers complaining about their offices containing a dead rat, plus a lot of yelling in court. There’ll be a lot more of this sort of nonsense in the interest of justice being seen to be served.

Why am I writing this? Really just to emphasise that unusual situations call for unusual solutions. KSM and his pals are lucky that they’re getting American military justice, given what they’ve meted out themselves. And just as Colditz etc served their purpose in WW2, Guantanamo is for POW’s too. After all, they’ll get out when the war is finally over.

The British government under Maggie steeled themselves to take the hit when Sands killed himself, so should the Americans. To quote Maggie:

“Mr. Sands was a convicted criminal. He chose to take his own life. It was a choice that his organisation did not allow to many of its victims”

...the less romantic version
…the less romantic version

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