UK Guantanamo detainee settlements

Making a Commons statement on 16 November 2010, Mr Clarke said: “The government has now agreed a mediated settlement of the civil damages claims brought by detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

“The details of that settlement have been made subject to a legally-binding confidentiality agreement.”

He added: “No admissions of culpability have been made in settling these cases nor have any of the claimants withdrawn their allegations.”

The full 45 minute statement to the House of Commons by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke can be found at the BBC website.

This settlement allows the government to kick the formal inquiry about government complicity in maltreatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees to a judicial review, of which the most obvious benefit is that secret papers from the intelligence services will not be subpoenaed to be presented in an open court. On the other less obvious benefits, well – it would be wise to keep an internal monologue of Sir Humphrey Appleby’s thoughts running in the background of all future announcements about this enquiry:

“The Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets, it is to protect officials.”
~ Jobs For The Boys

“It is only totalitarian governments that suppress facts. In this country we simply take a democratic decision not to publish them.”
~ The Greasy Pole

“It is axiomatic in government that hornets’ nests should be left unstirred, cans of worms should remain unopened, and cats should be left firmly in bags and not set among the pigeons. Ministers should also leave boats unrocked, nettles ungrasped, refrain from taking bulls by the horns, and resolutely turn their backs to the music.”
~ The Whisky Priest

“Britain should always be on the side of law and justice, so long as we don’t allow it to affect our foreign policy.” | “The public aren’t interested in foreign affairs. All they want to know is who are the goodies and who are the baddies.” | “You can’t put the nation’s interest at risk just because of some silly sentimentality about justice.”
~ A Real Partnership

N.B. Sir Humphrey would have been proud of them timing this speech for the day before the royal engagement was announced (on which of course the Cabinet would have been given the heads-up). Well buried, sirs.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, law & order, social justice

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