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Neatly combines two pertinent themes of the moment: the corrosive effect of the Bush administration’s decision to publicly abandon the law when dealing with prisoners, which can even be seen to have percolated down to the recent alleged actions of Enfield police officers in “waterboarding” suspects, and the British establishment’s attitude to whistleblowers—or “filthy traitors”, to use the official designation.
Lord Thomas of Gresford: The Baha Musa court-martial, in which I was also involved, revealed unacceptable and disgraceful conditioning that was being carried out in the British Army regarding the way that prisoners were handled. A senior colonel from the legal department arrived at Basra airport and saw groups of prisoners sitting on the ground in the sun with their hands bound and with blindfolds over their heads. When he made a fuss about it, all the way up to the Ministry of Defence, he was told, “Well, the Attorney-General says it’s all right, and if you think any better then you should be the next Attorney-General”. Of course the House of Lords held that the Human Rights Act does apply to soldiers in the field, but that has not helped the career of that particular officer.

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December 2015
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