Let’s talk about Mullah Abdullah Zakir, the Guantanamo Bay prisoner turned Taliban commander

That Mullah Abdullah Zakir, a former inmate at Guantanamo Bay, is now a Taliban commander is a huge propaganda coup for those who believe we need to give up some of our freedom if we are to defeat those who would take our freedom away.

Mullah Abdullah Zakir is now free to wage war on British troops and that’s what he’s chosen to do.

And that makes it all the more important that those of us who take pleasure in the closure of Guantanamo Bay stand up and justify our position. Pentagon claims that eleven per-cent of ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees are now involved in terrorist activity are disputed, but arguing over figures is not the way to go. Some will say that the death of just one British soldier is too many.

No legal system is perfect. There will always be miscarriages of justice and there will always be instances where the guilty get off. In agreeing the principles or our approach, we need to consider which is worse; to lock up a greater proportion of the guilty in the knowledge that some innocents will be imprisoned alongside them or to minimise the risk of imprisoning innocents in the knowledge some guilty will escape justice.

Those who support Guantanamo Bay (and so presumably accept the Pentagon’s statistics), appear to believe that a justice system in which 89 per cent of inmates are not guilty is okay.

Not only is that figure is too high for me, it is almost certainly too high for those susceptible to radicalisation. It exposes Western, and particularly US, justice and the rule of law as a myth. Having exposed the rule of law as a myth, it provides justification to those who wish to wage war.

5 thoughts on “Let’s talk about Mullah Abdullah Zakir, the Guantanamo Bay prisoner turned Taliban commander

  1. You’re taking liberties with the numbers. “11% of ex Guantanamo Bay detainees are now involved in terrorist activity” does not mean that 89% are not guilty. What you can reasonably assume is:

    1) 11% of those released are confirmed to be involved in terrorist activity. There may be more that are unconfirmed.

    2) This does not mean that the other 89% were not involved in terrorist activity prior to being arrested.

    3) This does not mean that only 11% of the other inmates not yet released are guilty of terrorist activity.

    You can only assume from this data that if you were to release all the inmates that 11% of them would reoffend.

  2. Sean
    You forget that none of the inmates are convicted and so none are guilty in the eyes of the law.

    You are guilty of presuming guilt in the absence of a trial, which is an affront to the democratic values the war was supposed to defend.

  3. Stephen,

    Some of those 11% may even have become radicalised in Guantanamo after spending time there innocently, but that is hardly the point.

    Gitmo has been and still is a disgrace, yes, and its lack of legal standards has placed America and the West in world of ethical and legal dilemmas.

    However, to say that 89% are innocent just because only 11% are confirmed as involved in terrorist activity is just completely lacking logical coherence.

    By the way: The vast majority of those involved in the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes has never been found guilty in a court of law, yet you would surely not call them innocent?

  4. Hi anon
    My reply to Sean above answers your point.

    You either accept that people are innocent until proven guilty or you don’t and if you don’t, you cannot claim to believe in the rule of law.

    Your reference to the holocaust isn’t very useful. That many Nazis escaped justice is a bad thing, but we can’t point out individuals. To capture and convict Nazis would, even 60 years on, be a good thing.

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