The letter below was posted as dated. I received a “standard reply” on a postcard, as did, undoubtedly, countless others correspondents.
Ambassador William Farish, 93c Venner Road, US Embassy, Sydenham, 24 Grosvenor Square, London SE26 5HU. London W1A 1AE. 020 8659 7713 E-Mail A_Baron@ABaron.Demon.Co.UK July 23, 2003 Dear Sir, I am writing to express my opinion - for what it is worth - about the Guantanamo Bay detainees. Unlike most observers I can see no objection to these men being tried by the United States, but they should be tried properly under US law and not by some quasi- totalitarian military kangaroo court as widely mooted in the media here. If there is evidence that any of them have committed crimes against US citizens, either in the United States or elsewhere, they should be arraigned before a grand jury. The atrocities of September 11 were the most heinous crimes ever perpetrated outside of war-time, and for this reason if for no other it is important that any of them indicted in this connection should receive the best defence money can buy, and that any convictions should be subject to the proper process of appeal all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. Regarding the sentencing of any of those convicted, I am in general opposed to the death penalty, and in this case even more so. It is common knowledge that Mohamed Atta and his fellow murderers regarded themselves as martyrs. The execution of any co- conspirators or fellow travellers will succeed only in making them martyrs, and will almost certainly create more martyrs for their murder machine in turn. Because of the complexities of the situation following the invasion of Afghanistan there has inevitably been considerable delay in filing charges, but this delay has now been excessive; any detainees against whom a prima facie case cannot be made out should be released forthwith, and any who can be shown to be totally innocent should be compensated and returned to their home countries. In his "farewell speech" Al Gore said that the War On Terror had been mishandled to such an extent that the enormous groundswell of goodwill that had been created for the United States by September 11 had been squandered, and that people were now more concerned by what "we" are doing than by what the terrorists are doing. If the United States does not conduct these forthcoming trials properly it runs the risk of alienating even its staunchest friends and allies. Yours sincerely, A Baron
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