Jamal al-Harith, a former Guantánamo Bay detainee, was reportedly paid £1m in compensation by the UK government [Image: Andy Hall for the Observer].

The fact that This Site is going to have to defend Tony Blair, after having criticised his attack on Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit, simply goes to show how fragmented politics is becoming.

Blair launched a rather futile campaign to keep ‘Remain’-supporters at odds with those who support Brexit last week, in a bid to nobble Labour’s chances of winning the by-elections in Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland.

But the Brextremist Daily Mail seems to have taken umbrage and launched a front-page attack on Mr Blair over the death of Jamal al-Harith, a UK subject formerly known as Ronald Fiddler, who allegedly killed himself in a suicide bombing in Iraq, earlier this month.

Fiddler/al-Harith is or was a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was released at the request of the then-Labour government in 2004, because there was no evidence that he was an enemy combatant in the war in the Middle East that was ongoing at the time.

The Mail‘s story alleges that Labour paid him £1 million – but Mr Blair has denied this, pointing out that the money was in fact paid by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition government in 2010.

It seems to This Writer that an opportunist at the Mail saw the information that al-Harith had died in a suicide bombing and considered it a chance to smear Mr Blair in response to his anti-Brexit speech last week.

Here’s Mr Blair’s response to the story:

As you can see, the Mail did indeed report favourably on al-Harith’s release in 2004.

The UK government did indeed make a payout to the ex-Guantanamo detainees, and it was indeed made by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition – not Labour – in November 2010. It was to settle civil damages claims brought by the detainees and the conditions were subject to a legally-binding confidentiality agreement – so the amount that may have been paid to al-Harith was not known.

So the Mail‘s claims are not true.

Why publish a lie, then – if not to undermine Mr Blair’s credibility?

Source: Tony Blair attacks Daily Mail’s ‘hypocrisy’ over suicide bomber | World news | The Guardian

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