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Thursday, February 23, 2017
Tony Blair has called out the Daily Mail for the 'utter hypocrisy' of this front page
The Daily Mail's fury over the compensation paid by the British government to a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay, who subsequently joined Isis, has been called 'hypocrisy' by former prime minister Tony Blair.
Being angry about where 'my taxes' go is a common concern among voters, and particularly among Daily Mail headline writers.
Combine that with Isis, civil liberties, and Tony Blair, and you've got a prepackaged feud ready to go.
Guantanamo Bay is a detention centre on the island of Cuba, leased to the US government for use as a prison.
As it exists outside of US jurisdiction, persons detained at Guantanamo are not entitled to the same legal rights as they would in any other prison
Multiple British citizens have and are being held there,often without formal charges.
Among them was Ronald Fiddler, now 'Jamal al-Harith', who was released in 2004 after a lengthy campaign by human rights advocates.
Fiddler was detained in 2002 at Camp X-Ray. According to his CIA file he was believed to have knowledge of 'Taliban interrogation tactics'.
Upon his release, Fiddler was awarded one million pounds (GBP) in compensation, paid for by the British government.
The British security service, MI6, was accused by Fiddler of being complicit in his mistreatment at Guantanamo by the American government.
On Sunday, Fiddler, who had been free for almost 13 years, committed a suicide bomb attack in Mosul, Iraq on behalf of Isis.
The photograph on the Daily Mail's front page on Wednesday was reportedly taken moments before Fiddler carried out the attack.
The Daily Mail's campaign
The Daily Mail has consistently opposed the use of torture, and Britain's collaboration with security services which used sites such as Guantanamo for interrogation.
In that regard they previously supported the release of Ronald Fiddler.
Upon Fiddler and three other men's release, Mail Online ran this story, headlined:
Freedom at last for Guantanamo Britons
This fact, they neglected to mention as they lambasted the paying out of compensation to a man who joined Isis over a decade after his release.
This fact fails to appear in Wednesday's article, but what does feature is a claim it was the government of Tony Blair that campaigned for Fiddler's release.
After intense campaigning by Tony Blair’s government led by then-Home Secretary David Blunkett, the British citizen was freed two years later.
Writing on his website, Blair denied his Labour government had campaigned for Fiddler's release, pointing out that it was under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government that compensation payments were made.
He also called the Daily Mail's coverage 'utter hypocrisy'.
Responding to Blair via a comment piece in their paper, the Daily Mail stated:
Yes, as he points out, the Daily Mail led the campaign to close Guantanamo, describing America's brutal detention camp in Cuba as a recruiting sergeant for Islamist terrorism and a stain on the reputation of the West.
Indeed, to this day, nothing has shaken our view that the camp, where men have been held for up to 14 years without trial, is an affront to civilised values, dragging America down to the level of our enemies and inflaming anti-Western feeling.
In the same piece the Daily Mail did concede that a headline on its sister site Mail Online misled.
The headline read: 'Still think he wasn't a threat, Mr Blair? Fury at Labour government's £1million compensation for "innocent" Gitmo Briton who fled UK to blow himself up in Mosul.' The mistake, of course, was that it was the Conservative-led Coalition, not the Labour government, which agreed to pay Fiddler.