Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rendition to Torture

A derisive report by MEPs has attacked Britain’s role in torture flights and shown the Labour Party top brass up for the lying reprobates socialists have always claimed they were. The report states that European governments, including the British, knew all along about the CIA practice – known as extraordinary rendition – of flying ‘terror’ suspects to countries where there was a high probability they would be tortured.

Not only is the report highly critical of Geoff Hoon, minister for Europe, it further lambasts the chief legal adviser to the Foreign Office, Sir Michael Wood, for holding the view that receiving or possessing information extracted from torture was not forbidden by international law if there was no direct participation in the torture.

The report further focused on UK residents who had been seized in The Gambia, handed over to US agents and flown to Guantanamo Bay, and to Martin Mubanga, a UK citizen, also flown to Guantanamo Bay in 2002, where he was tortured for 4 years before being released without charge (or trial).

The report referred to 170 CIA rendition flights that had stopped over at British airports, bound for countries known for their appalling humans rights abuses.

No doubt the wily Blair will wriggle free from this mess and, come the next election, selective-amnesiacs will have forgotten all of this and voted in their millions for the Labour Party’s new clown prince – Gordon Brown. Neither will they recall that it was Blair who once referred to Guantanamo Bay as”an anomaly.”

Cast your mind back. Prime Minister’s Question Time. 7th December 2005:

Charles Kennedy (then Liberal Democrat leader): "The United States Secretary of State said yesterday that "extraordinary rendition" had been conducted in co-operation with European Governments. To what extent, therefore, have the Government co-operated in the transport of terrorist suspects to Afghanistan and elsewhere, apparently for torture purposes?"

Prime Minister Tony Blair: "First, let me draw a very clear distinction indeed between the idea of suspects being taken from one country to another and any sense whatever that ourselves, the United States or anyone condones the use of torture. Torture cannot be justified in any set of circumstances at all. The practice of rendition as described by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been American policy for many years. We have not had such a situation here, but that has been American policy for many, many years. However, it must be applied in accordance with international conventions, and I accept entirely Secretary of State Rice's assurance that it has been."

Mr Kennedy: "Given that assurance, can the Prime Minister therefore explain why the published evidence shows that almost 400 flights have passed through 18 British airports in the period of concern? When was he as Prime Minister first made aware of that policy, and when did he approve it?"

Mr Blair: In respect of airports, I do not know what the right honourable gentleman is referring to

Come forward a week: Prime Minister’s Question Time. 14th December 2005:

Charles Kennedy: "Last week, the Prime Minister acknowledged that he had been aware of the United States' policy of rendition for quite some time. If terrorist suspects are not being transported to a third country for the purposes of torture or mistreatment, will he explain to the House for what purpose they are being transported?"

Tony Blair: "First, let me again make it clear to the right honourable gentleman that this government are completely and totally opposed to torture or ill-treatment in any set of circumstances. Our country is a signatory to the United Nations convention against the use of torture, and we will continue to uphold its provisions absolutely.

And forward another week: Prime Minister’s Press Conference, 22nd December 2005:

Question: "Prime Minister, speaking of European leaders who have expressed ignorance of the American practice of shipping prisoners back and forth through airports in Britain and Europe to countries that may practise torture, Colin Powell said this week: 'Most of our European friends cannot be shocked that this kind of thing takes place. The fact is that we have over the years had in place procedures that would deal with people who are responsible for terrorist activities, and so the thing that is called rendition is not something that is new or unknown to my European friends.' Now that you know, do you approve it or will you stop it?"

Mr Blair: "Well it all depends on what you mean by rendition. If it is something that is unlawful I totally disapprove of it; if it is lawful, I don't disapprove of it…. all I know is that we should keep within the law at all times, and the notion that I, or the Americans, or anybody else approve or condone torture, or ill treatment, or degrading treatment, that is completely and totally out of order in any set of circumstances.
In capitalist politics there are lies, damned lies and then Labour Party leaders.

Just for the record:

“No State Party shall expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.’
From Article 3 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT). Britain and the USA are both signatories.

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