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. Continue reading

Britain’s involvement in rendition is being swept under the carpet

In the last week or two before Xmas, always a good time to bury bad news, the government has repeatedly exploited its prerogative to prevent the serious misdeeds of several sections of the established powers-that-be being brought to light and appropriate penalties imposed. A few days ago the extremely serious issue of whether the UK was involved in rendition (covertly seizing a targeted person anywhere in the world and bundling them off to a prison, usually in the Middle East, where it was known they would be subject to severe interrogation under torture) was swept under the carpet by a government decision taken secretly within the bowels of Whitehall.

Amongst other cases this involved two opponents of Gadaffi being intercepted on their flights through the intervention of UK agents, detained and flown off to be tortured in Gadaffi’s dungeons. The inquiry by Sir Peter Gibson was suspended because of police involvement of possible charges against officials and the then foreign secretary. The government then promised for more than 3 years that an independent judge-led inquiry would examine the allegations, but has now abruptly announced that the investigation will instead be handed to the Intelligence & Security Committee (ISC), which is as good as saying the whole thing will be kicked into the long grass. Continue reading

Which Minister authorised UK rendition?

What did Labour ministers know?

There are two revelations in the latest batch of CIA documents found abandoned in Tripoli which are truly shocking. One is that the British Government didn’t just tamely comply with the US rendition programme, but actively ran its own rendition operations organised by MI6. Second is the repeated assertion by senior officials in Whitehall that in doing this, they were following “ministerially authorised government policy”. Rendition is the utterly illegal activity of running a network of agents to seize targeted individuals off the streets anywhere in the world and to fly them to detention in countries where it was arranged that they would be interrogated under torture. The British Government has always previously insisted that it had no part in the US rendition programme, let alone run its own, and that it never approved the use of torture. The Tripoli documents now reveal that these are lies. Continue reading

The Blairites are morally bankrupt

The likes of Alistair Darling are keen to step-up to the plate and sling mud over our record in government but rather less willing to discuss a real issue, like our record on conducting and assisting torture and ‘rendition flights’. This shows the complete moral bankruptcy of the politics of Blairism in this Party. It spoke with such compelling moral force in its prime, but now it’s a sad whimper of that, exposed like the Emperor of legend, completely naked, bereft of clothes and any moral authority. Over the weekend, we have been subjected to a barrage of revelations about Mr Blair’s links to the Gaddafi dictatorship which should make all decent members of this Party, at least those who have any moral fiber to call their own, blush with shame. Continue reading

The questions on Libya Tony Blair needs to answer

Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair and former Foreign Secretaries Jack Straw and David Miliband, now face some extremely tough questions as to how much they knew about the extraordinary rendition of prisoners to Libya where they were tortured. The discovery of some extraordinary archives in the ruins of the Ministry of Information in Tripoli by Human Rights Watch suggest that the British security services had much stronger links with their opposite numbers in Gaddafi’s Libya than hitherto thought. And while the security services will befearing even worse revelations, they must also be kicking themselves for not getting to the files first. Continue reading