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Government duplicity on torture from Blair to Cameron: eleven evasions

waterboarding__spanThe whole narrative of the UK government’s response to the brutal revelations of US rendition and torture at Guantanamo and ‘black sites’ spread across E. Europe, the Middle East and Asia has been one of subterfuge, deception and downright lying, in sharp contrast to the determination of the political class in the US to get (most of) the ugly truths out in the open. It casts a profoundly dishonourable shame on this country both for its smothering blanket of secrecy and almost total lack of accountability for the grave misdeeds of Britain’s deep shadow State. The duplicity of all UK governments over this issue in the last decade has been shocking.

Evasion 1: The Blair government systematically denied any involvement for years, even though government memos were disclosed which showed that Straw delivered British Terrorism suspects to Guantanamo and even though Blair knew that the US was torturing its prisoners.

Evasion 2: British collusion was still not admitted even when a cache of secret correspondence from MI6 detailing their rendition co-operation with the CIA, Gadaffi and Mubarak had been discovered in Tripoli after the Libyan revolution.

Evasion 3: In 2007 the feeble and ineffective Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) concluded blandly that MI5/6 had simply been ‘slow to detect the emerging pattern of renditions’ when in fact Sir Mark Allen, the head of counter-terrorism at MI6, had been given a 3-hour briefing by the CIA on their future rendition plans.

Evasion 4: In 2010 Cameron as PM announced that:

I do not think for a moment that we should believe that the ISC should be doing this piece of work….It is right to have a judge-led inquiry.”

He therefore appointed the judge Sir Peter Gibson to lead it, but then a year ago shut it down when the police inquiry began.

Evasion 5: Gibson then published an interim report saying he had seen evidence of UK involvement in rendition and identifying 27 issues which he believed should be further investigated. Cameron then, having originally rejected the ISC out of hand, put the inquiry back in their hands.

Evasion 6: Now the ISC is saying it cannot examine the Libyan renditions while the police inquiry is in progress – a classic example of putting the whole investigatory process (deliberately?) in a double bind.

Evasion 7: Even if the ISC did finally complete its investigations, the report they make to the PM can still be redacted in any way the latter wishes or even not published at all.

Evasion 8: Even if those subject to rendition do get their case int court, UK government lawyers still argue that the case should be thrown out of court because it might ‘damage the UK’s relationship with the US’!

Evasion 9: Even if cases against the UK government do proceed, the most damaging evidence may be heard secretly, with even the claimants and their lawyers excluded, under the secret court provisions of the Justice and Security Act.

Evasion 10: When the US Senate Committee report was published last week, Cameron said that “in Britain we have had the Gibson inquiry”, as though he had forgotten that he himself had closed it down! He also said that because the ISC was now dealing with the matter, he was “satisfied that our system is dealing with all the issues” – thus flatly denying what had said just over 4 years ago.

Evasion 11: Are all these UK deceptions and lies because MI5/6 were fully authorised by both the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister?

Image credit: image of waterboarding from film “Zero Dark Thirty


  1. Robert says:

    I know we all knew, for god sake, what you telling us now we guess years ago, so what do you think we should do about it, vote labour because Miliband is in power, or vote UKIP because they have not been in power.

    If the American clap a hand Miliband would come running the little man has stated he loves America.

    The problem is labour not the party I grew up with it’s a P*ss poor copy of the Tories these days.

    I will do my bit I will not vote for any of them.

  2. we seem to be forgetting Iraq. Is the Chilcot inquiry still running? Its a farce, and will not demand the communications between Blair and Bush.

    So is Miliband right to demand a parliamentary committee rather than a judge inquiry? Mail wanted a judge inquiry. The very fact it is the Mail sounds alarm bell=s.

    The issues are now about how to inquire into Blair – and that is not just about these revelations, it is the whole dirty little man’s politics.

    As I have said before, blog comments get nowhere. There has to be focused action. Without a focus the machine plays for time and wins. As over Chilcot

    trevor fisher.

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