by RAY FLEMING
WE still don't know what advice the UK Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, gave to the Cabinet about the legality of the invasion of Iraq. We now know that the British government's most senior legal officer considers that the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention centre should be closed. He said in London that “the existence of Guantanamo Bay remains unacceptable.” The use of the word “remains” is interesting. Are we to understand that the British government has previously expressed this view? As far as we know, Mr Blair's opinion has not gone beyond thinking that the detention centre is “an anomaly”. If he has hardened his position, why has he not spoken about it himself rather than leaving the job to one of his ministers? Still, it is comforting to know that in a government which is ready to cut so many legal corners the Attorney General still defends the legal verities and is ready to point them out to the Bush administration. Describing Guantanamo Bay as a symbol of injustice to many, he said: “The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol.” The immediate reaction from Washington to the Attorney–General's speech was that the men held in Guantanamo are “bad people” who will attack the United States if they are freed. Perhaps so, but why are they not entitled to an open trial to establish their guilt? Are they to be held without trial indefinitely?