Saturday, 6 August 2011

Torture In Our Name
A couple of days ago it emerged that ten groups including Liberty, Reprieve and Amnesty International, were withdrawing from the Inquiry into British complicity in torture and rendition under Sir Peter Gibson. Their reasons were very clear. The government were not going to be transparent and were putting barriers in the way of justice. 
Sir Malcolm HuffandPuff was wheeled on to defend the Inquiry and express disdain for the naivety of the organisations. Yet another establishment stooge who has sold his soul to the security set up in our country. He is one of many. 
The more that is learned about NewLabour and its attitude towards security and the so-called ‘war on terror’ the more awful they appear. (Man of) Straw, Millionaire Blunkett, Bliar and Milibean senior were all up to their eyeballs in sophistry and deceit. The latest revelations in the Guardian, ‘Secret Policy on Overseas Torture’ (5/8/11) clarify just how complicit they were. 
“Intelligence officers were instructed not to carry out any action "which it is known" would result in torture. However, they could proceed when they foresaw "a real possibility their actions will result in an individual's mistreatment" as long as they first sought assurances from the overseas agency.
Even when such assurances were judged to be worthless, officers could be given permission to proceed despite the real possibility that they would committing a crime and that a prisoner or prisoners would be tortured.
"When, not withstanding any caveats or prior assurances, there is still considered to be a real possibility of mistreatment and therefore there is considered to be a risk that the agencies' actions could be judged to be unlawful, the actions may not be taken without authority at a senior level. In some cases, ministers may need to be consulted," (My emphasis).
In another nugget, “The importance of the information being sought must be balanced against “the level of mistreatment anticipated” - the degree to which the prisoner or prisoners will suffer.” (ibid) 
It was even acknowledged that for the policy to become known it would provoke more folks into becoming jihaddists. That is why there has been so much wriggling and weaselling on Newsnight and similar programmes over the last couple of years. It explains why Milibean senior fought tooth and nail to keep this issue out of the courts. It was also acknowledged that evidence so gained could not be used in a court in the UK but it could be used in other ways to inform government decision-making. 
There are a large group of unempathetic citizens who feel that torture is perfectly acceptable. They see it as a necessary tool to defeat those who wish us ill. They are wrong. Torture is never acceptable. 
Cameron promised transparency when he set up the Inquiry. He sadly like so many before him, has listened to the siren songs of the security services, which is why the human rights organisations have withdrawn their co-operation. 
The pictures of Mubarak in his cage in the Egyptian court must have heartened people across the middle east. There are many in the west who would love to see Blair, Straw et al in the dock too. 

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