The Village Voice detect hopeful signs that Gordon is not as much of a poodle as Tony. I hope they are right. It is worth following the link, not so much for my namecheck as for the lovely photo.
It would be churlish not to congratulate the government for at long last calling for the release of five British residents, against whom there is no smidgeon of evidence, held in Guantanamo Bay. My own campaigning on this issue has been mostly with the Save Omar campaign from Brighton. I have no doubt the government’s welcome change of heart is related to the departure of the odious Blair.
The BBC, however, seems to think it necessary to report the story with reference to the dangers the government is running by potentially letting innocent people walk the streets.
In the meantime the government is revealing its callousness towards all Iraqi life by refusing to allow Iraqi interpreters, working for the British forces, to have asylum in the UK. Of course we must, as we leave defeated, get out all Iraqi civilians who have worked for us and their immediate families. I do not want to see our soldiers training their guns on their own desperate staff as the last helicopter takes off.
When the government tried to stop me publishing Murder in Samarkand, one of the more despicable arguments they used was to try emotional blackmail by asking me to consider what reprisals the Uzbek government would take on my ex-staff. The obvious answer to that, is that of course the Uzbek government already knew the whole story, and who my staff were. What we should have been doing was offering to get my ex-staff out with their immediate families and give them asylum. They refused to contemplate that.
In fact the UK Embassy in Tashkent has since I left substantially reduced its local staff and, as far as anyone can tell, now performs no discernible function. I am happy to say that at least three of my close staff members have indeed managed to escape the country so far.