Jun 25, 2008

Sniper fire in Birmingham

"At least 30 of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the battlefield." — Justice Scalia, on his dissent in Boumedienne using as examples the "Mehsud suicide-bombing in Pakistan; Tipton Three and The Road to Guantanamo; Uighurs in Albania".

The Tipton Three were three British citizens who were captured in Afghanistan, because they were thought, wrongly, to be in a videotape of a rally featuring bin Laden. After British intelligence cleared them of that charge (one of the three had in fact been working at a Curry's electronics store in Birmingham when the rally was taking place in Afghanistan), they were released. After that, they participated in the movie The Road To Guantanamo. As for the Uighurs, they comprised Abu Bakker Qassim who published an op-ed in The New York Times and Adel Abdul Hakim who gave an interview to the press about his wrongful incarceration.

Apparently, this counts as "returning to the battlefield".

It's true. I've been to Curry's: the queues are a nightmare. As a Brit living in America, one of the unintentionally comic effects of watching the war on terror unfold is seeing the searching floodlights of international suspicion fall on places like Luton, Finsbury Park, Hemelhemstead, Bangalore — places that, to English ears at least, conjur up nothing so much as damp Saturday mornings, supermarket queues, and bored, smoking teenagers. Not really hotbeds of anything much besides the urge to shoplift the odd Mars bar. It's hard to translate the incongruity but imagine the sentence 'the innermost cell of Bin Laden's terror network was traced yesterday to a basement apartment in downtown X' but in place of the X, put "Louisville." Or "Pittsburg."

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