« Home | Scum-watch: Getting it horrendously wrong. » | More!, cry the salivating hordes. » | Money, oil and planes. (But don't mention the corr... » | Sickening stunts from the paper that brought you H... » | BlogPower awards again. » | In good news... » | Britain's most racist newspaper. » | Asking the difficult questions. » | Can we have some more death, please? » | Tough on terrorism, tough on the causes of terrori... » 

Saturday, June 09, 2007 

I never knew the sky was a prison.

How very strange and convenient that Michael Todd and ACPO chose the day after Dick Marty conclusively documented the complicity of European governments in the CIA's rendition program to claim with a straight face that Britain "did not allow CIA 'torture flights' to use its airports.

It's little wonder that Liberty have questioned whether Todd actually did any investigating at all. The government has itself admitted that CIA planes and chartered jets linked to the rendition program have landed in the UK - the question has always been whether their business here was innocent, or if their cargo had included "terrorist suspects" on their way to friendly countries willing to carry out torture on America's behalf, or to one of the CIA's own "legal black holes" which we now know to have existed in those new European countries of Poland and Romania. Seeing as the planes' landed here on over a hundred occasions, with reports suggesting they could have passed through as many as 210 times, it would be foolish to completely rule out the likelihood of at least one of them containing a rendered prisoner. In any case, that's to ignore the abundant hypocrisy of lecturing numerous countries across the world on human rights, while completely ignoring the blatant disregard which the Americans have shown for all vestiges of international law while conducting the "war against terror".

The ACPO itself seems to be confused. Liberty has stated that it received a letter from ACPO saying that it had "refused" to investigate, yet it's also issued a press release in which it's stated that after investigating there's no evidence to substantiate Liberty's original complaint. It might well be this sentence from the ACPO which is key:

"There was nothing to substantiate the claims in the evidence supplied by Liberty."

Which tends to suggest that ACPO's investigation went so far as relying purely on the evidence supplied at the time back in 2005, and not on the new facts which have emerged last year and this, including the Americans themselves owning up to having run a secret network of prisons, which it now claims to have closed down.

Marty's latest report itself (PDF) is intuitive in how the whole program of rendition was set-up in the immediate aftermath of September the 11th. While rendition had occurred before, in a number of cases during the Clinton years, the US government had always sought permission from the countries through which its planes would be traveling. Rather the potentially embarrassing its allies, the US instead approached NATO, which according to the report agreed on the authorisations for the rendition program on October the 4th 2001. This essentially allowed the CIA to act with complete impunity, passing through numerous European airports and in some cases even using detention centres such as those now thought to have existed in Romania and Poland to mistreat and torture those unlucky enough to have deemed been deemed as a threat to America. We additionally know that in some cases our own security services were wholly complicit in the program: MI5 providing the Americans with false information which led to Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna eventually being transported to Guantanamo Bay. Nato, like some of the governments involved, completely refused to cooperate with the EU's investigation: the organisation's chief executive refused to give evidence, while the alliance as a whole has never replied to any of the correspondence sent to it.

Apart from the government's own disregard for telling the truth over what it knew about rendition, the other scandal was just how silent most of the media apart from the broadsheets has been about the revelations. Today's Daily Mail then deserves for once to be congratulated for having the guts to splash on the report, even if the comments on the article show just how the "war on terror" rhetoric has debased that old principle of being innocent until proved guilty. As I've mentioned before, the really shocking thing has been just how quickly such counterproductive measures have become accepted - and while we can blame others, we're just as responsible for not raising our voices loud enough.

Labels: , , , , ,

Share |

Links to this post

Create a Link