Friday, 12 June 2009

"You thought a Region 1 DVD was a snub? Watch this!"

Britain was left scrambling to assert the vestiges of its colonial authority yesterday after Bermuda welcomed in four former Guantánamo detainees under a secret deal with the United States.

British officials knew nothing of the arrangement until the men, all ethnic Uighurs from western China, were already airborne en route from Guantánamo to the British island territory, better known as a haven for tourists and tax exiles than former terrorist suspects.
So, all that arse-kissing at Obama Omaha Beach didn't help you, did it, Brown?

In fact, it's not just The Messiah who's casually dissing Brown, it's the Bermudan authorities themselves:
Bermuda has control over internal affairs, including immigration, but not over foreign affairs, defence or security matters, under which, London made clear, the case of the Uighurs falls. In a statement shortly after their arrival in Bermuda, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office chided authorities there for failing to consult London on their decision to admit the men and insisted that security assessments must be carried out before their future was decided. “This was a decision of the Bermuda Government,” the FCO said.

We have underlined to the Bermuda Government that it should have consulted the UK on whether this falls within their competence or is a foreign affairs or security issue for which the Bermuda Government do not have delegated responsibility.”
Too late now. Possession is 9/10 of the law...

And it seems this wasn't just an oversight either, or another error for the struggling Obama administration, but a calculated act:
It emerged last night that senior US officials accompanied the four Uighurs on their flight to Bermuda, underlining the mission’s importance to the Obama Administration. Officials said that Greg Craig, a White House counsel, and Daniel Fried, special envoy overseeing the closure of Guantánamo jail, were on board.

Sabin Willet, a lawyer accompanying the men, hailed Bermuda for its “act of grace”. He said: “Nations need good friends. When political opportunists blocked justice in our own country, Bermuda has reminded her old friend America what justice is.”

Those words will smart in London, where questions are already being asked why the US felt free to consult Bermuda but not Britain on the deal. Comparisons have been raised with the Bush Administration’s covert use of another British territory, Diego Garcia, for the extraordinary rendition of terror suspects without British knowledge — leading to an embarrassing climbdown in Parliament for the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Don't, however, expect to see the left making anything of this. Or even mentioning it at all...

This would be yet another piece of ammunition for Call-Me-Dave or Brown's many rivals, if they could only discover their backbone. But I won't hold my breath...

11 comments:

Paul said...

The Bermudians are essentially independent in all but name these days anyway. The extent of colonial influence varies hugely depending on the territory in question.

Blue Eyes said...

This is what happens when you treat your long-term friends badly in order to impress your flashy new bit-on-the-side. Our "leaders" knew full well what they were getting into in 1973...

Paul said...

Don't forget that the people running the foreign office have been alienating our friends long before that - witness the treatment of Malta, for example.

Traitors to a man.

I trust people who speak our language, continue to drive on the left and respect us more than these Euro freaks.

JuliaM said...

"Don't forget that the people running the foreign office have been alienating our friends long before that..."

Good point! It's always been very well named...

Mark said...

This episode tells you all you need to know about the realities of the much vaunted 'special relationship'.The deportation of unwanted Guantanamo detainees to a French dependent territory is highly unlikely; and as for attempting such a move while keeping the Quai D'Orsay in the dark- forget it!

As it happens the US's desire for 'full spectrum dominance' gives the UK considerable traction over the 'cousins'- Diego Garcia and Ascension are essential parts of the 'global reach' jigsaw. However successive UK governments have allowed the US military a free hand in these far flung remnants of empire.

BTW Matthew Parris wrote an excellent article last year on our craven behaviour in this area-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5057772.ece

Mark said...

Full link here (I hope!)-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5057772.ece

James Higham said...

This man has dropped Britain's stocks in the eyes of the world to an extent one could scarcely have thought possible. Not to mention what he's done to the pound.

Umbongo said...

As Paul implies - and JuliaM notes - the Foreign Office should be reminded from time to time that its job is to represent our interests abroad, not to represent foreigners' interests here - and that includes the US.

Wasn't it civil servants in the Foreign Office who "negotiated" the (1) the terms of the latest US/UK extradition treaty (to the enormous advantage of the US, and gross disadvantage of UK citizens), and (2) introduction of the European arrest warrant (of which the LibDems enthusiastically approve) whereby some magistrate in corruption-soaked Rumania or Greece or Italy can have any UK citizen arrested and transported to whichever European paradise the magistrate sits with no need to demonstrate the existence of a prima facie case against him/her?

Ross said...

I wish I could get deported to Bermuda!

Paul said...

Ross: Going by what the locals say on their online forums many of them are keeping a very tight grip on their British passports as the Premier, Ewart Brown, is reputed to be a socialist nutcase obsessed with the idea of Independence - even against the wishes of the Bermudians themselves!

Anonymous said...

The US administration is not that keen on off shore tax havens.

Could this be an attempt to cuury favour?