Miliband Blogs on Guantanamo

David Miliband has a blog up on the Guantanamo decommissioning process:

President Obama’s formal announcement of the decision to close Guantanamo is welcome. He has spoken in strong terms about the need to combine high ideals with strong policy. The British position has been to do our bit.

We have taken back all nine British nationals from Guantanamo, and said we are ready to take back six other former legal British residents, four of whom are back. We therefore have good and clear experience of the relevant security considerations and will feed them into European thinking. 

This is my comment:


As you will be aware, a number of Saudis released from Guantanamo have recently been reported as having returned to jihadism in Yemen.

Yemen itself saw an attack on the US Embassy yesterday.

Other ex-Guantanamo detainees went on to slaughter innocent Iraqi civilians upon their release.

There were great hopes for the Saudi model of deradicalising ex-Guantanamo detainees. However, nine supposedly ex-radicals have now been re-arrested in the KSA.

Britain has become home to a number of activists in militant jihadist groups over the years. They include senior and founding members of Hamas. Those individuals have used the United Kingdom as a base, from which they have recruited others to their extreme and genocidal politics.

How do you propose to ensure that this does not happen with the new ex-detainees that you have agreed to accept?

Now I read the article again, I’m not sure if this is an announcement that Britain will accept more ex-detainees, who are not citizens, or whether it David is simply rehearsing pre-existing commitments. I thought that there were only five British resident in Guantanamo. But perhaps I’m wrong.

Britain should, of course, accept British citizens who have been released from Guantanamo. As Lord Goldsmith put it:

Whatever they may have done they were British citizens entitled to our protection

We now know know that at least one of the Tipton Three was in fact in Afghanistan for jihadist training: and not because they’d taken a wrong turn on the way back from a wedding party, or whatever it is they’re depicted as doing in Michael Winterbottom’s film. That should make no difference to our obligation. They are this country’s responsibility.

However, the same cannot be said for those who are not British citizens, but were merely residents in this country.