Sunday, November 20, 2005

Torture Flights

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Torture Flights

I started this blog as a response to the articles I read in Scotland’s Sunday Herald, October16th & 23rd, concerning Extra ordinary Renditions.

But lets start with calling a spade a spade

Extra ordinary rendition = Torture Flights.

I decided to write to as many of our elected representatives as I could to convey to them the objectionable nature of this inhuman, morally corrupting, and illegal practise. I particularly object to my country being used to facilitate these torture flights.

If you feel and believe that the torture flights should stop please join me in the letter campaign.

A useful site can be found at www.writetothem.org

It will help you to identify your MP's, MSP's, Euro MP's and Local Councillors. It will also send your letters to the representatives.

My first letter was to my local MP but I will reproduce my letter to Scotland’s First Minister.

Please feel free to edit it. It's there just to give you a prompt.

Over time, I will post replies from the various elected representatives I contacted.
(See Comments below for replies.)

I would like to make it clear that I object to the UK being used at all for torture flights but as I am a Scot and an Ayrshire lass I highlight Scotland and my local county. This is my backyard and therefore I see it as a social responsibility to clean it up.

The Letter.

Dear First Minister,

I can't tell you how appalled I am that Scottish airports, in particular Prestwick, are being used as staging posts for CIA flights, which result in the torturing of human beings.

I want you as First Minister, and as a leading member of the Labour Party, to bring my concerns about this shameful, disgraceful and inhumane conduct to the attention of the Westminster government, and to call for the ending of our government’s complicity in this shameful practice.

Furthermore, I would urge you to argue against the use of confessions, or evidence, emerging from the use of torture.

When the state uses or condones the use of torture in secret it is abhorrent, but when it is done in full knowledge (as is the case now) it is unforgivable if those of us who treasure our democracy, and like yourself, represent our citizens, say and do nothing.

History shows us that.

Out of courtesy First Minister, I am letting you know that I am in the process of contacting as many of our representatives as I can concerning this issue.

Yours sincerely,


Here is another letter. This time from Carol H.

Dear --------,

I am writing to you to express my rage that Scottish airports, in particular Prestwick and Glasgow, are being used to facilitate the chilling practice of "extraordinary rendition." It beggars belief that people against whom there is insufficient evidence to mount a legal prosecution, are abducted all over the world by CIA agents, subdued and loaded into planes, then flown to countries where they may be tortured or even murdered. I am deeply ashamed that almost 150 of these torture-trafficking flights have refuelled at Scottish airports.

I am equally horrified that our own security services are complicit in the torture, by providing questions for foreign interrogators, and by using the dubious information obtained from these tortured souls, to harass others.

I am asking you, as one of my elected representatives, to do everything in your power to stop these abduction and torture flights from landing, refuelling or in any way being serviced on Scottish soil. I am also asking you to do everything in your power to prevent the use by our security services, of information, which has been obtained through torture.

You will no doubt be aware that the Italian authorities have already set a precedent for challenging "extraordinary rendition" by issuing arrest warrants for 19 CIA agents, suspected of abduction.

Please encourage the Scottish police to stop these flights and arrest anyone on board who is suspected of involvement in abduction and people-trafficking to torture regimes.

Please support Chris Balance's motion against the use of Scottish airports by CIA rendition flights.

Please let me know what steps you are taking, to stop Scotland's complicity in these obscene human rights' abuses.

Yours Sincerely,

Carol H.

Great letter Carol. Thanks for joining in.

A letter from David.

Dear MSP:

I was angered - but sadly not shocked - to discover in the Sunday Herald that Scottish airports are being used by US authorities in the process of extraordinary rendition of prisoners.

This process is in breach of international law. The Scotland Act clearly states that the Parliament cannot pass legislation that is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 1 of the Convention places a duty on the Parliament and the Executive to secure for every person in its jurisdiction the protection afforded by the convention.

The Parliament must use all its powers to ensure that every person in Scotland - no matter how short their visit - is subject to full legal protection from torture, detention without trial and other extra-judicial measures. If such an assurance cannot be secured the Parliament must prevent these flights from entering Scotland. Not to do so would leave the Parliament and Executive in breach of the convention.

I urge you to sign motion S2M-3418 in the name of Chris Ballance as a first step to ending this illegal and immoral process and urge you to push for a full Parliamentary debate and ministerial statement on this matter.

Hugh sent this letter. Thanks Hugh

As a regular user of Prestwick airport I am disturbed to find that according to a national newspaper it is being regularly used for refuelling for secret CIA flights which are transporting prisoners to regimes round the world where they are being systematically tortured to obtain information on the so called war on terror. The British government are clearly implicated in this since they share such information with the US. However Britain is a signatory to the UN Convention on human rights which explicitly forbids torture as does the European Convention on human rights which is now part of Scottish law. So my question to our representatives in the Scottish Parliament is, what are they doing about this clear breach of Scots law and our human rights? I know that the SSP members who cover Ayrshire, Rosemary Byrne MSP and Carolyn Leckie MSP have taken up this issue but my question is to our Labour MSPs from Ayrshire including our minister for justice Kilmarnock’s Cathy Jameison.Do they think that allowing torture flights through Ayrshire’s international airport is justified or don’t they want to offend Mr Blair’s best friend Mr Bush?

Hugh

Since starting Dens Den 3 weeks ago there have been many developments concerning rendition flights.

Other European countries are questioning the practise of extraordinary rendition and the use of their air space and airports.
Cheney is trying to get torture formally sanctioned by his government.
Revelations about the use of torture in Iraq by the very people the US and UK have installed and the use of phosphorous as a weapon of war has hit our headlines. The UN has refused to accept the conditions placed on them by the US concerning their visit to Guantanamo.

We need the Strathclyde Police Chief Constable, Mr William Rae, to investigate the rendition flights, which we believe, take place in our country. So please write to him.

contactus@strathclyde.pnn.police.uk

Strathclyde Police Headquarters
173 Pitt Street
Glasgow
G2 4JS

Telephone: (UK) 0141 532 2000

I have read a report, in the past few hours, about a protest, which took place in the US.

Here is a short excerpt.

UPDATE (Nov 18, 2005 - 12:10 pm EST): Fourteen of the protestors were arrested outside the offices of Aero Contractors Ltd. Eight were from the social justice activist community in and around the Johnston County, NC area, five were activists from Stop Torture Now and the Center for Theology & Social Analysis in St. Louis, and one, Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices in the Wilderness, was from Chicago. The activists were arrested while presenting their open lament for the victims of the CIA torture policy, including those detainees who have been renditioned with the help of Aero Contractors County.

If you want to go directly to the report of the protest go to

www.stoptorturenow.org/site/weblog.php

Should you decide to visit their homepage, I must tell you that there are very explicit photographs on it. Repellent and disgusting, tragic and heartbreaking.

I have sent a message of solidarity.

Ultimately, I think it will be the American people, who will bring and end to what the protest group call, ‘terror taxis’.

Our job is to help them, by making it harder for these flights to function. If we can get them banned in Scotland, it will be harder, if the ban is UK wide, harder still. If, the whole of Europe ban, then maybe, the flights become impossible.

I sense that there are many Scottish Representatives who hate these flights as much as the rest of us.

It seems they want us to do the work.

For more information see Sunday Herald
Amnesty USA
Amnesty International UK
Craig Murray