Anorak News | Self-Evident Truths

Self-Evident Truths

by | 9th, January 2004

‘“THE only thing I know for certain,” President Bush said when questioned about the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, “is that these are bad people.”

‘Did they catch Richard Hillman?’

It is hard to know what is more worrying – that the President of the United States knows only one thing for certain, that he feels able unilaterally to decide who is, and who isn’t, a bad person, or the fact that the nine British detainees could soon be out and on their way home.

According to the lead story in this morning’s Times, it could be only a matter of weeks before the first of the nine is repatriated.

And the only condition of their release is that they are “managed” by British authorities – a term which could refer to nothing more than being kept under surveillance.

Previously, the US government had demanded that any men released should either be put on trial or detained indefinitely.

The obvious implication of this move (which the Times calls a “clear softening” of the US’s previous stance) is that the nine Britons in question are not “bad people” after all.

And the corollary of that, given the President’s remark quoted at the top of this article, is that President Bush now knows nothing for certain.

Or, as punctuation pedantry is all the rage at the moment, perhaps we should say that the leader of the free world knows nothing, for certain?

However, the United States (in the person of Pierre-Richard Prosper, the US ambassador at large for war crimes) insists that the Brits are still all categorised as high-risk or medium-risk.

But that is a situation that could change as new information became available.

“In time, as you learn more about the individuals, they could flow within the categories…they are a spectrum,” Mr Prosper said.

Of course, there is one tried and tested device for learning more about individuals, for testing new information and for determining what kind of threat a person poses.

It’s called a fair trial.’

Posted: 9th, January 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink