The Chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs is Mike Gapes, the Labour MP for Ilford South.
The Committee published their report on a visit to Guantánamo by a group of 7 Members in September 2006 yesterday. It does not deal with the detention or interrogation of terrorist suspects in the field, or by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); nor does it consider the practice of extraordinary rendition.
At Section 2 2 Summary of the visit Paragraph 13 they report;
13. Apart from US Joint Task Force personnel, the only people who are permitted to meet detainees are their lawyers and the Red Cross. Having consulted the International Committee of the Red Cross before the visit, we accepted their advice that it would be contrary to the provisions of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions for us to meet detainees.This is a flat lie. A blatant untruth. It is a fabricated and dishonest statement Whilst they did indeed meet the ICRC, this was after their visit and the condition that they could not meet the detainees was laid down by the US Authorities prior to their visit. It is for this reason that the UN have still failed to visit Guantánamo. It did not deter our 7 intrepid Parliamentary truthseekers(!).
They do however say in their Conclusions and Recommendations that
5. We conclude that, in choosing unilaterally to interpret terms and provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the United States risks undermining this important body of international law. (Paragraph 83)They do not explain that the curious and unique interpretation of Geneva Conventions by the US Attorney General denied the prisoners their Human Rights, - which they were content to accept without demur - they also make very comforting noises which will delight the US Authorities....
2. We conclude that, having visited both Guantánamo and Belmarsh, the facilities at Guantánamo are broadly comparable with those at the United Kingdom's only maximum security detention facility, but the conditions are not. Guantánamo scores highly on diet and on health provision; but it fails to achieve minimum United Kingdom standards on access to exercise and recreation, to lawyers, and to the outside world through educational facilities and the media. (Paragraph 46)...inter alia " on access ...to lawyers"
This is Jesuiticial in the extreme. Equation is made in a curious way that exhibits legalistic and compartmentalised thinking without the benefit of any moral construct. No chance for an Open University degree course is equated with denial of Human rights, habeas corpus, right of legal representation , access to family, no due legal process, no charges, no access to evidence or the identity of their accusers and witnesses.
For example the US Constitution plainly says - in Article I, sec. 9 - that "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court's opinion, written by Justice O'Connor, stated - citing the Constitution itself - that "[a]ll agree that absent suspension, the writ of habeas corpus remains available to every individual detained within the United States,'' and that all agreed habeas corpus had not, in fact, been suspended. Hamdi was detained in the U.S. - specifically, in a naval brig (quaint word for prison) in South Carolina.
If you wish to learn more about Guantánamo, it's prisoners, and their rights, go to the excellent cagedprisoners if, unlike the members of the House of Commons who, " were accompanied on the flight from Andrews Air Force base by Rear Admiral Harry B Harris Jr, Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Guantánamo and were able to ....lunch with JTF personnel; view display of detainee rations..." you could also send them a few quid.
Otherwise read the full report as linked from Hansard and see how casually your elected representatives accept the further and insidious erosion of Human Rights ...in the name of the "War on Terror" ... which the Director of Public Prosecutions told us last week does not exist.
You could also print this off and send it with a letter to your MP and ask for their views - especially if you live in Ilford.