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

112 Comments:

Anonymous Carol H said...

Here is a reply from George Reid the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, to my email. He has to be impartial, so under those circumstances, I thought it was quite an encouraging reply.

Here it is:

Thank you for your email message, which I have read carefully.

If you were one of my constituents, I would ask you to meet me to discuss the issue further with me privately.

As Presiding Officer I cannot make public comment on any matter upon which I may have to adjudicate in terms of motions, amendments and choice of speakers. This to ensure the impartiality of the chair of Parliament.

I think you will know, however, that as a director of the International Red Cross for 12 years I was actively involved in human rights cases worldwide and in the visiting and liberation of political prisoners.

George Reid MSP

4:25 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

And here is the reply from Linda Fabiani, SNP MSP. (She always keeps replies brief, but she replies quickly.)

I've already given Chris my support Carol

Linda

4:29 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Chris Ballance.

Dear Denise,

Thank you for your encouragement. I too was truly horrified to read last
week's article in the Sunday Herald. My assistant had been doing some
research on the Prestwick issue to try to build up a case to take to the
police, and I've asked the justice Minister a couple of questions in the
parliament.

But seeing how closely involved our government seems to be in the
torture was an eye-opener. Thanks for your support in writing to other
MSPs and MPs on this - I'll keep you in touch with any developments.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Ballance msp,

8:42 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Cathy Jamiesons researcher.
Check the link. I get the feeling she is choosing her words very carefully.Thank you for contacting Cathy Jamieson MSP and I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.

Dear....

I have forwarded your correspondence over to Cathy's Ministerial Office in the Scottish Executive for a formal response. In the meantime, you may wish to try the link below which takes you to a question answered by Cathy on 29th September regarding this issue.

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/
officialReports/meetingsParliament/or-05/
sor0929-02.htm#Col19664

Yours,

Paul Kilby
Researcher for Cathy Jamieson MSP

8:50 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Here's one from Europe.

Thank you for your email. Under an informal arrrangement, my SNP
colleague Alyn Smith MEP has primary responsibility for your part of
Scotland and I will lend any support he may require in this matter.

Best wishes
Ian Hudghton MEP

8:52 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Christine Graham,

I know my colleague Adam Ingram MSP is dealing with this issue and that he supports the motion by Chris Balance which I shall also be signing

8:54 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Adam Ingram. Contains the motion of Chris Balance.

Dear Ms Morton

Many thanks for your email regarding CIA flights and in particular from Prestwick. Chris Balance MSP has lodged a motion in Parliament which I have set out below. I fully support the motion and hope this may go some way to bring this to the attention of the Executive.

S2M-3418 Use of Scottish Airports by CIA Rendition Flights - That the Parliament notes the information from the US Federal Aviation Administration concerning the use of Scottish Airports by CIA redition flights which states that such flights have stopped at Prestwick Airport on 75 occasions and Glasgow Airport 74 times; notes that these flights transport terror suspects for interrogation in countries where torture is accepted and even commonplace; notes that torture has been illegal since 1984 under the UN Convention Against Torture and calls on the Scottish Executive urgently to investigate and report on all CIA rendition flights that have used Scottish airports and to make a statement regarding what measures are being taken to ensure that Scotland is not complicit in nor guilty of aiding and abetting torture.

Regards

Adam Ingram

Adam Ingram MSP
Scottish National Party, South of Scotland

8:57 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Linda Fabiani.

Hi Denise - thanks for this, and I am in complete agreement with everything you say. Green party colleagues are actively campaigning on this issue and raising it in Parliament at every opportunity with cross-party support.

Linda

8:59 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Catherine Stihler.



Thank you for your e-mail.

I share your concerns over rendition flights.

I have now raised the issue within the European Parliament by tabling
two priority written questions - one to the Commission and one to the
Council - on rendition flights and the EU.

I will forward you copies of the eventual replies. MEPs may table one
written question per month to the Council and Commission and replies
should be received within a month.

Yours sincerely,
Catherine Stihler, MEP for Scotland.

and here are the questions.

Question to the Commission.

The term 'extraordinary rendition' refers to the US policy of taking moving suspects from one country to another without any court hearing or extradition process, currently being investigated by the United Nations. Suspects are denied legal representation, and their detention is concealed from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The most common destination is Egypt, but other destinations apparently include Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Syria. Renditions have rightly been condemned as a violation of human rights. Is the Commission co-operating with the United Nations enquiry into renditions and does it condemn extraordinary renditions?

Question to the Council.

The term 'extraordinary rendition' refers to the US policy of taking moving suspects from one country to another without any court hearing or extradition process, currently being investigated by the United Nations. Suspects are denied legal representation, and their detention is concealed from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The most common destination is Egypt, but other destinations apparently include Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Syria. Renditions have rightly been condemned as a violation of human rights. Is the Council co-operating with the United Nations enquiry into renditions and does it condemn extraordinary renditions?

I will post the replies to her questions when she sends them to me.

9:10 am  
Anonymous Carol H said...

I've had replies from four MSPs who've said that parliamentary protocol prevents them from answering me, because I'm not one of their constituents. As I understand it, that's not strictly true - they can write to me once, but not engage in a lengthy exchange of letters with me.

So those of you who live in their constituencies, please write to them and get a response out of them about what they are going to do to stop Scotland facilitating torture. I'm sick of politicians hiding behind parliamentary protocol and "that's a reserved matter" excuses, on matters that bring shame to our nation.

They are:

Helen Eadie, Dunfermline East,

Karen Gillon, Clydesdale,

Cathie Craigie, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth

Mike Pringle, Edinburgh South (although he is still considering my email, his researcher just suggested I contact my own MSP).

So go on, if you are one of their constituents, contact them now and put pressure on them to do everything in their power to stop Scotland's complicity in torture.

9:16 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Irene Oldfather. An Ayrshire MSP.

Dear ,

Thank you for your recent email in which you outline your
concerns about the use of Scottish airports, including
Prestwick airport, as staging posts for flights chartered by the CIA.

While I have taken note of the points which you raise,
Prestwick airport lies outwith my own constituency.
Furthermore, aviation is a reserved matter for the UK
Parliament at Westminster.

I would therefore suggest that you contact my colleague Brian
Donohoe MP, whose Ayrshire Central constituency now includes
Prestwick airport. He can be contacted via email on
donohoeb@parliament.uk or at his constituency office on 01294 276844.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to
contact me on this very important matter.

Yours sincerely,

Irene Oldfather MSP

This reply demonstrates amongst other things that Scotland needs to be fully independent.

But reading between the lines she is not unsympathetic.
It will be interesting to see how she replies to Carols letter concerning her support for Chris Ballance.

9:19 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Phil Gallie,

I am more concerned over the inhuman practices of some of those to whom you refer who are presumably passing through Prestwick. At a time when there is real human suffering and indeed further tragedy awaiting in Pakistan I can not understand why Islamic militants in Iraq and Afghanistan are tying up valuable resources in those countries when aircraft of all kinds could be put to better use.

Phil G

I know he says he is "more concerned, etc, but I hope this means that he is at least not unconcerned. I did reply to him agreeing that resources are needed elswhere therefore people suspected of being terrorists should stand trial. Not totured. Awaiting another reply from this Conservative.

9:26 am  
Blogger Denise said...

I received a snail mail from Brian Donohoe.
Here is the text.

Dear Denise,

Thank you for your letter dated 23rd October through the 'Fax Your MP' service regarding Prestwick Airport and CIA Flights.

I have raised this matter with the Defence Secretary and will contact you again as soon as I receive a response.

Yours Sincerely

Brian
Brian H.Donohoe MP
Central Ayrshire

No opinion here then.

9:33 am  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Re Phil Gallie: I hope he realises that if any of these people who are "rendered" through Scottish airports ARE terrorists, they will now never be successfully prosecuted in a court of law. Any "evidence" obtained through abduction and torture will be thrown out of court. So if they are terrorists, they'll either have to be held illegally, murdered, or let go. That maybe doesn't concern him, but it concerns me. The law may be an ass, but it's not as much of an ass, as the legal team who have told George Bush to put these alleged terrorists beyond the law.

9:51 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Couldn't agree more Carol

11:10 am  
Anonymous Carolyn Leckie MSP said...

I'm grateful for the opportubity to put on record my disgust at the collaboration of our Government and authorities with tortute. I believe the flights should not be given permission to land or indded cross our air space. I would call on all workers at these airports to do what they can to halt these flights. All teh ebst in your campaign and I'm happy to help in whatever ways possible.

1:43 pm  
Anonymous Carolyn Leckie MSP said...

Please excuse typos in last message- guess that's what the preview pane is for!

1:44 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Shiona Baird.


Dear Denise

Thank you for your e-mail outlining your concerns about the use of
Scottish airports as staging posts for CIA 'torture' flights.

I would like to assure you that I am fully in sympathy with your views
on this matter. I am equally appalled that the government has failed to
take decisive action to prevent the use of Scottish airports by flights
which are implicated in such blatant abuses of human rights.

I have signed the following motion recently tabled by my Green MSP
colleague Chris Balance and will do all I can to ensure that no such
stopovers are allowed on Scottish soil. Scotland must be seen to firmly
reject the use of torture and all other forms of human rights abuse.

S2M-3418 Chris Ballance (South of Scotland) (Green) : Use of Scottish
Airports by CIA Rendition Flights- That the Parliament notes the
information from the US Federal Aviation Administration concerning the
use of Scottish airports by CIA rendition flights which states that such
flights have stopped at Prestwick Airport on 75 occasions and Glasgow
Airport 74 times; notes that these flights transport terror suspects for
interrogation in countries where torture is accepted and even
commonplace; notes that torture has been illegal since 1984 under the UN
Convention Against Torture, and calls on the Scottish Executive urgently
to investigate and report on all CIA rendition flights that have used
Scottish airports and to make a statement regarding what measures are
being taken to ensure that Scotland is not complicit in, nor guilty of,
aiding and abetting torture.


Thank you once again for taking the time to bring your concerns to my
attention.

Yours sincerely

Shiona Baird

Shiona Baird MSP

I hope many more MSP's are going to sign this motion.

1:08 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Rosemary Byrne.

Dear Denise, I have signed Chris Balance's motion against these
flight's, and will look further into this matter and get back to you.
Rosemary

I received this from Rosemary a week ago and was waiting to hear from her again.I am posting it now until we hear again from Rosemary.

1:13 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

I can't help but notice that it is the
partys which stand for independence that are unafraid to speak on matters which are reserved for Westminster.
But maybe we will get some Labour rebels yet?

1:16 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Denise and I have put together a huge Word file of information on Extraordinary Rendition. If you would like it, just email me at:

chainey@gmail.com

Alternatively, if you have any extra information you think should be included in the file, you can also send it to me there, or just post it here on this blog site yourself.

I’ve had another five responses from “jobsworth” MSPs, who won’t give me an answer about what they are going to do to stop Scottish airports being used to traffic human beings to torture regimes. It’s the usual excuses: I’m not one of their constituents, or this is a reserved matter for the Westminster Parliament. As I understand it, abduction is a crime. The police deal with crime. As Chris Balance MSP has already shown, policing IS a matter for the Scottish Executive.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but being part of Scotland’s “modern flexible workforce” I think I would be severely reprimanded if I came out with the “It’s not my job” line, at work. These “jobsworth” MSPs are being paid £50 000/ year, plus generous expenses to represent us. In my opinion their job doesn’t begin and end with representing their own constituents and their own political party interests. If they care about Scotland’s complicity in torture, why don’t they use their considerable influence and for example, arrange public meetings in their own constituency, to raise awareness of this issue, or write to newspapers?

I’m going to name them, and if you are one of their constituents, I hope you will contact them and shame them into giving a more productive response to Scotland’s involvement in these grave human rights abuses.

They are:

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, Conservative MSP for the Lothians.
David Davidson, Conservative MSP for North East Scotland.
Jamie McGrigor, Conservative MSP for Highlands and Islands.

And the next two are MSPs for Glasgow. Nearly half of these abduction-for-torture flights have passed through Glasgow airport. PLEASE, if you are a constituent of either of these two, contact them now and try to persuade them to do something constructive to stop these flights.

Robert Brown, Liberal Democrat MSP for Glasgow.
Patricia Ferguson, Labour MSP for Glasgow, Maryhill.

I have had a constructive response, from Adam Ingram, MSP. I won’t post it here, to avoid duplication, because it is very similar to the response from him, that Denise has already posted.

Here is a reply from Donald Gorrie:

Thank you for your email. I was one of the early signatories to Chris Balance’s Motion and share the widespread anger that, to all intents and purposes, airports in Scotland are colluding in this devious and unethical practice. It is, of course, for the Foreign and Commonwealth Minister to protest in the strongest terms to the USA, but I would support any measures that the Scottish Parliament and Executive can take to persuade Scottish airport authorities to discontinue their co-operation.

Donald Gorrie MSP
Central Scotland

Here is one from Nora Radcliffe:

You are 'preaching to the converted' on this issue - I agree entirely with your sentiments on the matter and will act accordingly.

Yours sincerely

Nora Radcliffe

Here is a response from Rosie Kane, the Scottish Socialist Party MSP for Glasgow. Her reply indicates that if we don’t do everything in our power to oppose these torture flights and get them stopped, the Whitehall and Westminster apologists for George Bush have even worse things planned:

Thank you for this and for the incredible work you are doing to expose the facts and change things for those who suffer. It has also come to our attention recently that the government intend to begin special flights for the deportation on asylum seekers.

Currently those who are deported are removed via domestic airlines - more and more these days cabin crew are refusing to accept distressed folk onto flights. It was such an action by cabin crew which prevented the removal of Mercy and her daughter. She was being sent Uganda despite the fact she came from Cameroon. When she showed the baby's Irish birth cert the cabin crew refused to fly her to Africa.

The Home Office are now planning to use chartered flights which will fly across the world stopping at the relevant airports and leaving off asylum seekers.

There will be no cabin crew and no travellers - only asylum seekers and their escorts. In the past these escorts have assaulted people and have got away with it.

It also means that when the plane arrives in some very dangerous countries the folk getting off will stick out as people who have fled and will have no chance to slip through passport control and customs.

This is the equivalent to flying people back to torture.

I will keep you posted.

Once again thank you.
Yours in peace and solidarity

Rosie

Here is a message from Sandra White:

Carol,
fully share your concerns and have signed motIion
Sandra

And lastly for now, here is a reply from the Green MSP, Shiona Baird.

Please be assured that I am entirely in sympathy with your views on this
matter and that I have already signed my Green colleague Chris
Ballance's motion which highlights these blatant human rights abuses.

Kind regards

Shiona Baird

I’ve emailed all of the MSPs and MEPs, so now I am going to get busy emailing the Westminster MPs, starting with my own. If you don’t have time to write a letter, Denise and I are happy for you to cut and paste and use either of ours.

Also, do you have any great ideas for what else we should be doing to stop these torture flights? Share your ideas here.

Carol H

3:51 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:08 pm  
Blogger fridgemagnet said...

Thanks for posting this; I was linked to it just now, and I've posted it on my own links list. I knew about the practice of "extraordinary rendition" but I didn't know that Scottish airports were being used for the practice. This needs greater publicity.

8:55 pm  
Anonymous secretsquirell said...

Gotta agree with the fridgemagnet. I heard of these flights, but assumed(naive!!) it was only military bases. Less talk, more action. Give us a shout D.

12:22 am  
Blogger Denise said...

A few comments here.

Carol is the one who put the huge word document together. I contributed but it is mainly her work.

Lots of good info in it.

Could I ask you if you do have an article please send it to Carol at the e mail address she left.

I would like as far as possible to keep the comments section for your comments.

Carol is right about some MP's passing the buck back to Westminster.

Does New Labour owe fealty to King Blair?

It sure looks that way.

But I will keep my hopes up that a rebel or two will come out of the shadows. It's up to us to push them if neccessary.

As for the police... Well the CIA laughed at the very suggestion that the Scottish police would investigate the torture flights.

Did Scottish policemen feel their pride being bruised?

Aren't they capable of investigating this crime?

Time will tell.

As for naming the MP's who are copping out. Go for it Carol.

I know that they are elected by members of constiuencies BUT collectively they represent our whole population.
This issue crosses constituency lines.
Are they only accountable to their own discrete electorate?

Not a mature democracy, in my opinion.

Is 'persuading' the Airport authority the best the Parliament and the Executive can do?

So many questions.So few answers. But with persistence, we will get them.

Glad to see Nora Radcliffe knows the right thing to do.

Rosie Kane makes some very good points and I believe she is quite right about things getting worse.And not just in the UK and the US.

But it is up to us here in Scotland to refuse to comply with the 'war on democracy'.

The issue about the asylum seekers is an important one.The deportation of asylum seekers from Scotland and the methods employed are shameful.

There are generations of Germans who feel ashamed and gulity. People who were not even born until long after the war.
I want our children and grandchildren to be proud of their parents and granparents.

Don't you?

One more thing.

I hold to the principles of non violence.

So please do not post ideas for actions which are of a violent nature.


Human and civil rights are under constant threat right now because of Emperor Bush and King Bliar aided and abbeted by their various praetorian guards.

We can and must do better.

8:23 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Fridgemagnet and secret squirrel...
You're right.Ther does need to be more publicity about the torture flights.
I didn't know until I read Meil McKays article in the Sunday Herald. But you know it has been happening for years now.
Neils Article made me sit up and take notice.
I don't think Murdochs press would print this type story.
Congratulations to the Sunday Herald for bringing the torture flights to the attention of our people.
Thanks fridgemagnet for linking to Dens Den.
Your site looks so good. I will visit at my leisure.

Maybe some other bloggers will do the same.
If anyone gets replies post them please. Even if the reply is from someone whose response has been posted.
This issue will I believe develope and some MP's might change their tune.

Yes, I am talking to you New Labour MSPs.

(See Catherine Stihlers reply near the beginning.)

8:40 am  
Blogger Denise said...

By the way the post I deleted was an article from the New Yorker Carol sent in. It is excellent and will give you a history relevent to the campaign.
It was just too long for this section but I have placed a link on the front page at the bottom.

Sorry about that Carol.

8:46 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Derek Brownlee.

Please excuse the delay in replying to you.

I will forward your comments on the Scottish Executive. I suspect that they may say that the matter is reserved to Westminster, but from what you write below you have also contacted your MP.

Derek Brownlee


Passed the buck.

8:49 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Sahrah Boyack

Dear Ms Morton,

Thank you for your e-mail to Sarah Boyack MSP below. I regret that Parliamentary protocol precludes her from making representations on the personal behalf of those outside the Edinburgh Central constituency, however please be assured that your comments have been noted. If you haven't already done so you may wish to contact your local MP Brian Donohoe who would be able to take your concerns forward.

Best wishes

Ross Gilligan
Assistant to Sarah Boyack
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Central
www.sarahboyack.net

Will she sign the motion?

I think she might. A wee persuasive note to her from a constituent would help. Anyone from Edinburgh Central?
Get those keyboards clicking.

8:55 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from David McLetchie. !!!!

Dear Ms Morton

Many thanks for your recent email.

There is a strict code of conduct governing the way in which MSPs deal with individual cases and I am only allowed to take up cases for those who live in my Edinburgh Pentlands constituency.

I am therefore passing this on to your constituency MSP who is Irene Oldfather to deal with although as your enquiry relates to a reserved matter she will probably pass this on to your local Westminster MP.

Yours sincerely
David McLetchie MSP

He's out the game though.

8:58 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Robert Brown.

Dear Denise.... ,

Thank you for your email about the use of evidence obtained by torture. I must confess I had not seen any reports linking this to Prestwick, but, as far as I can see, it would be a matter for the Westminster Government, and I have accordingly raised passed a copy of your note to one of my Liberal Democrat colleagues in Westminster. I might add that I share your opposition to the use of evidence obtained by torture.

Best wishes,

Robert Brown MSP

Doing what he can I suppose.

9:02 am  
Blogger Denise said...

I am a substitute member of the committee and have not been involved in any debate on the issue. My own views are against supporting any government involved in such illegal activities.

Brian Adam
MSP for Aberdeen North
825-827 Great Northern Road
Aberdeen AB24 2BR
tel 01224 789457 fax 01224 695397
email Brian.Adam.msp@scottish.parliament.uk


Sign the motion Brian. Sign the motion.

9:05 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Margo McDonald.



Dear Ms ....,

For many years I've opposed torture, by any Agency, including State Agencies. I've also opposed treating evidence obtained under torture as not valid, and will continue to do so.

As regards the CIA flights, I have signed the Motion in the name of Chris Balance MSP on the matter.

Yours aye,

Margo

Margo MacDonald MSP
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh

That what we need to hear. An independent voice. Thanks Margo.

9:09 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Another reply from Cathy Jamiesons office.
I sent Cathy an indivdual follow up letter after her initial response.
It is included in the reply.

Dear Denise,

You should receive a reply within 20 working days of the correspondence being received.

Yours

Paul
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2005 12:48 PM
To: Kilby P (Paul)
Subject: Re: E-mail from Scottish Parliament's Internet site


Dear Paul,

Thank you for replying to my letter concerning what many of us now call torture flights.

I note that you have passed on my letter to Cathy's Ministerial office in the Scottish Executive for a formal response.
I have not as yet received any reply. I understand that Cathy must have a rather busy schedule. I hope though to hear from her soon.

I have now started a blog so that other concerned people can join me in the campaign to stop these flights.

http://densden1.blogspot.com/


It is my intention to post any replies I receive from the various people I contact.


I did follow the link you provided to the questions and answers in the house on the 29th September between Chris Ballance and Cathy.

I was a little heartened that Cathy did not try to defend the torture flights but neither did she condemn them.

I hope that she will support a police investigation.


As the Justice minister she should always be in the lead to promote justice for all. Not only for Scots but for all peoples.

But if some other MSP or party takes the lead in this matter

she should welcome their participation in discovering the truth.

Cathy like myself is an Ayrshire lass. I first met her through the Woodcraft folk and attended Paisley college with her husband Iain. I know at that time they were both committed to resolving conflicts by encouraging co operation and non violence.

If Cathy still holds to these ideals it must be very difficult for her at the present time to be a witness albeit indirectly to a criminally offensive and morally corrupt practise such as the torture flights.

I hope that Cathy will do the right thing and openly support Chris Ballance is seeking an end to our country being used to facilitate these flights by the CIA and the US/UK alliance.

I look forward to her reply.

Denise.

Come on Cathy. I know you can be feisty. You will get the backing of a lot of people. Sign the motion.

9:16 am  
Anonymous David said...

Dear Denise:

Thanks very much for getting this campaign off the ground. Here's a copy of what I sent to my MSPs today.

All the best,

Davie

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.

10:18 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Dennis Canavan ,

Dear .....

Thank you for your recent email.

I share your concerns about Prestwick airport being used as a staging post for CIA flights which result in the torture of human beings.
I enclose a copy of a parliamentary motion which I have signed and you can count on my continuing support on this matter.

With best wishes
Dennis Canavan MSP.

Good man Dennis.
I didn't include this in the post as it is already on the site.

10:21 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Correction to my comment on Dennis Canavans reply.
I meant I did not include the copy of the motion as it is already on this site.

Bear with me. I'm new at this.

10:26 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks Davie.

Good letter.

Would you post the replies when they come in, please.

I'm glad you wrote your own.

10:32 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Jackie Baillie,

Dear Denise

Thank you for your e-mail. As you are not my constituent, I have passed your e-mail to Irene Oldfather MSP who is your local representative. Parliamentary protocol is such that I am only able to pursue matters on behalf of my constituents, rather than those of another MSP.

I am sure she will be in touch.

Best wishes

Jackie


Parliamentary Protocol. Grumph.

She could've added a note of support though. Could she not?

She is a member of the Justice 2 Committee. Let her see to it that justice must be done.
She is the Labour member for Dumbarton. Any of her constituents out there?
Don't let her pass the buck.

2:45 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Another reply from Irene Oldfather.

She was responding to a follow up letter of mine letting her know that replies are being published.

Dear Denise,

Thank you for your email. I note that you have contacted my colleague Brian Donohoe MP and I understand from personal discussions with him that he has raised the matter with the Defence Secretary, and will be back in touch with you when he has received a reply.

I am sure you will agree with me that as Brian has direct access to speak with and influence John Reid, he is in the position to elicit the best possible response on this important matter.

Thanks once again for making me aware of your concerns. Please be assured that I will bear them in mind.

Yours sincerely,

Irene Oldfather MSP

And my reply.


Dear Irene,

Thank you for replying and impressing on Brian how seriously the issue of the torture flights is being taken by so very many people.

Brian has indeed been in touch to let me know that he has passed on my concerns to John Reid.

The best possible response should be that he will stop the flights,and that our intelligence services will not participate in facilitating torture flights, or use evidence extracted under torture.

I hope that you will sign the motion tabled by Chris Ballance.

Yours sincerely

Denise.

2:50 pm  
Blogger Barbara said...

Thanks for setting up this site and for all the work - this is outrageous, I hadn't realised this was going on although I suppose nothing really surprises me any more about the UK and US governments' appalling actions. I will help keep up the pressure by writing to my MSPs and MPs. I think some people in the Prestwick area are planning some form of action?

4:18 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

It is outrageous Barbara.

And it is important to turn your outrage into something positive.
Thank you for joining in.
I hope you will send any replies you get.
The more of us that do something to register our disgust, the more seriously the politicians will take it.
The way I see it is,the MSP's in Holyrood who are prepared to take a stand against the torture flights, and who don't hide behind the 'this is a reserved issue' need, and I mean need, to know that they will have the support of the Scottish People.
Of the MSP's who do hide behind the reserved issue, they need to know that if they do take a stand that self same support will be there.
So keep the pressure up Barbara.
Thanks again.

6:08 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Frances Curran.

Dear Denise,

The SSP group at the Scottish Parliament are appalled at the revelation that torture flights are being accomodated in Scotland, we support your campaign to highlight this blatant and illegal abuse of human rights and will be calling on the First Minister to intervene to end this use of Scottish soil to aid Blair and Bush with their undermining of international human rights.


Spot on Frances. I hope the Free School Meals Bill gets through.

I think I should mention that earlier today I read that Tommy Sheridan SSP and Sandra White SNP alongside about 30 others took part in a blockade at the UK Immigration Service in Glasgow. They were protesting about the dawn raids to deport asylum seekers.

Immigration.

Another reserved issue.

It's good to see cross party support here, and, that the politicians are supporting a grassroots initiative.

6:31 pm  
Blogger Alister said...

All the best in this campaign. I see it was getting coverage on channel 4 news today, they mentioned that the flights were causing controversy in the Scottish Parliament. So beginning to make a real difference.
I have linked you from my blog.

8:13 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Thanks for that Alister. That's superb. I didn't see the Channel 4 news. At this rate, we'll get these torture flights stopped.

It’s great to see all of these new supportive comments.

That’s fantastic that the campaign has the backing of the SSP parliamentary group.

David, your letter is excellent. Denise, what do you think about copying David’s letter to the start of the blog, beside the other two, so that people can use it as a template, if they like?

I’ve managed to email six MPs today, including Brian Donohoe and Jim Sheridan, who represent the constituencies where the airports are.

Here are the responses I’ve had today.

The first one is from John Swinburne, the Central MSP for the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party. His personal assistant wrote:

“Thank you for your email regarding 'Extraordinary Rendition'. Mr Swinburne has signed Mr Ballance's motion condemning the use of Scottish airports to transfer suspects by the CIA.”

The next one is from Robin Harper, MSP for the Lothians:

“We are doing all we can to stop this”
Robin Harper, Co convener, Scottish Green party

I got an enigmatic reply from Michael Matheson, the SNP MSP for Central:

“Thank you for your email. I have spoken to our spokesperon on this issue to ensure that they are aware of the issue.”

What does that mean? Is he going to sign the motion or not? Is he going to do anything about these torture flights? Is the SNP spokesperson the only one who is allowed a say?

Now for the “jobsworths”. Peter Peacock and Maureen MacMillan, both Labour representatives for Highlands and Islands are hiding behind protocol, saying they can’t reply to me.

Sarah Boyack, Labour MP for Edinburgh Central also does that, although she does at least say that my comments have been noted.

David McLetchie (Edinburgh Pentlands, Conservative) informs me that he cannot reply to me because this is a reserved matter for Westminster AND that because I’m not one of his constituents, it would breach protocol. Well I suppose he has to adhere to some of the parliament’s protocols!

Lastly I got an encouraging reply from my local MSP, Dennis Canavan. He said:

“I share your concern about Prestwick and Glasgow Airports being used as a staging post for CIA flights which result in the torturing of human beings. I have therefore added my name to Chris Ballance’s parliamentary motion and you can count on my continuing support on this matter.”

That’s the sort of response we want.

Hopefully we’ll have enough interest soon, to get some demonstrations organised.

I was delighted to see the closure of the Immigration Office in Glasgow, on the telly, particularly in view of Rosie Kane's comments that asylum seekers are next in the queue for these dodgy flights.

You’re so right, Denise. Those protestors certainly showed what they thought of the concept of “reserved” matters.

8:49 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks Alister. Not only for taking part but also for linking this site to yours. I missed the Channel 4 news. If anyone finds a link to the story pass it on to Dens Den.

Keep the replies coming in folks. I think it is important for anyone who drops in here to see what kind of response and support this campaign is getting.
Some people just need a wee bit of encouragement and to know that writing a letter can contribute to the campaign to bring an end to Scotlands complicity in torture flights.

Davids letter Carol.
I agree.

Being an old? Treky fan I can't resist saying 'make it so'.

7:33 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Bill Butlet.

Dear Ms Morton

Thank you for your recent e-mail to my office.

The issues you refer to are, in fact, reserved to the Westminster Parliament. As such I would refer you to your local MP, Brian Donohoe. I have attached a weblink to his website that will provide you with his full contact details.

http://www.briandonohoemp.co.uk/

Yours sincerely

Bill Butler MSP

Passed the buck.
Scottish Labour, Glasgow Anniesland

Deputy Convenor of the Justice 2 Committee.
On the Parliamentary site under his register of interests it is written...
The Scottish Co-operative Party made a donation of £1,075 towards expenses incurred by my candidature at the 2003 Scottish Parliament election.

I shop at the Co-op. Is this how they spend our money?

6:32 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

I’ve had a promising reply from Alex Neil today. Here it is:

“Thank you for your e-mail …. regarding the issue of extraordinary rendition. This issue is being pursued by myself and my colleagues as it is a totally unacceptable practice and should be stopped. I hope that we can manage to put an end to it.

Yours sincerely

Alex Neil MSP”

I also got an email from Richard Haley, of SACC. This shows the power of networking via the internet. I’m just working my way through elected politicians at the moment – I want to start on the police, airport trade unions and community groups next. But someone has passed news of this blog and this campaign onto Richard, and it’s excellent to have this support. Here is part of Richard’s email:

“I'm writing on behalf of Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC). SACC is grassroots group that campaigns against the terrorism laws and offers solidarity to the communites most affected by them - more about us at www.sacc.org.uk

We've long felt that this was an issue we should take up, and that the fact of these flights is an affront to our campaign, as it is to everyone in Scotland. Only problem has been that we've had quite a lot to do. So it's great that you've taken it up and we'd be delighted to support you in every way possible.

I think this is a good time to raise this issue, since a number of foreign citizens with who we're in contact are facing deportation to countries that practise torture - Britain's complicity in rendition shows the absurdity of supposing that the government is serious about getting these regimes to promise good behaviour.

SACC holds planning meetings in Edinburgh on the 2nd Tuesday of every month …..Posties Club (CWU), 15 Brunswick Street, Edinburgh 7.30.

….. will publicise your blog

Best wishes,
Richard Haley (Secretary, SACC)”

11:46 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

That is a promising reply from Alex Neil, Carol.

He is SNP. The three Independence parties, SNP, Greens and SSP are prepared, it seems, to stand up to Blair, to refuse to be constrained by parliamentary procedures and to challenge this whole reserved power business.

4:30 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

It's great that SACC are supporting this campaign.
They work so very hard. I'm glad we can help.

Here is a quote from the last paragraph of their article 'Creating Suspects',

We are meant to distrust others as 'terrorist suspects' and to accept new state powers as our benign protector. Attacks on civil liberties are not simply a means but also a fundamental purpose of this 'war on terror'. Recent legislation grants powers for a police state, at least on paper. Such powers will be implemented even more –unless we oppose them and exercise the rights which they would take away from us.

A police state.

Scarey, isn't it?

4:52 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Now here is an interesting thing.

A while ago I signed up to a site

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/about/

It keeps you up to date with what your MP says in Westminster. If they speak, they send you an email.

Today my MP. B.H.Donohoe asked a question.

Quote from Hansard follows.

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assistance he is giving to (a) airports, (b) airlines and (c) other service providers in respect of insurance premiums to cover against acts of war or terrorism. [18453]

HMMMMMM.

Well, If I were in charge of the British Airport Authority or a shareholder in an airline company or service provider I would want to know if would I be compensated if any damage was done to my property.

I mean the whole world now knows Scotland is being used to facillitate torture.

Do they think that there is an increased threat to their investments?

Are Prestwick and Glasgow in more danger now?

Is BAA getting itchy?

There is a way out.

STOP THE TORTURE FLIGHTS.

5:36 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Are the Ayrshire Councils starting to wonder if the CIA flights will affect Scotlands image.

Ayrshire is being promoted as Burns Country.

He wrote,

'Anything that mitigates against the woes or increases the happiness of others, this is my criterion of goodness; and whatever injures society at large,or any individual in it, this is my criterion of iniquity'


Burns must be birlin

5:59 pm  
Anonymous Steven R said...

I am absoluely appalled that these flights are allowed to pass over Scottish airspace "under" my nose!
What is the legal basis for this? Not to mention the poor sods on these aeroplanes who at best face obvious deportation but at worst face a very uncertain and probably horrific future that may result in death! Who is to answer for this crime against these peoples basic human rights? George Bush, Tony Blair or the CIA. Will we ever know? Can someone explain more to me because I find it absolutely abhorrent!!! Tony do us a favour and lose your job - would make my day! Steven R

9:39 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

I got a reply from Murray Tosh (Conservative – but impartial at the moment due to his role as Deputy Presiding Officer). He represents the West of Scotland and has lived in Prestwick. I am grateful to him for sending me the following exchanges, but can anyone work out if he’s on our side or not? This is what he sent to me. ….

“as I am not an MSP for your area, I cannot make any representations on your behalf.
However, I thought it might be courteous to send you the official report of recent exchanges in the Scottish Parliament on this matter.
Murray Tosh
29th September 2005
Torture
4. Chris Ballance (South of Scotland) (Green): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is satisfied that no offences of attempting or conspiring to commit torture are being committed in Scotland or Scottish airspace when US aeroplanes are transporting prisoners between Guantanamo bay and countries where the torture of prisoners is commonplace. (S2O-7722)
The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson): Under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, foreign civil aircraft can make stops for technical reasons, such as refuelling, without requiring the permission of the state that they stop in. The Executive is therefore not informed if aircraft make stops of that nature, whatever their passengers or cargo might be, and has no legal authority to prevent such landings.
If anyone has evidence of torture, of conspiracy to torture or of the aiding and abetting of torture in Scotland, they should take the matter to the police.
Chris Ballance: Is the minister aware that international human rights law places the onus firmly on the country with territorial jurisdiction? Is she aware that figures released by the US Federal Aviation Administration show that planes that are used by the Central Intelligence Agency to move prisoners across the world have used Prestwick airport for refuelling 75 times since 9/11 and other Scottish airports 100 times? Now that the evidence that the minister has asked for is in the public domain, will she instruct the police to investigate, or shall I?
Cathy Jamieson: I thought that I had given a fairly clear answer to that in my first reply. The Executive believes that the legal and judicial measures that are in place in Scotland meet international human rights standards. Under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, torture is a crime that carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment. I think that I have made that point in the chamber before. The act applies not just to people who commit torture in Scotland, but to people of other nationalities who commit torture in other countries. I say again that if anyone has evidence of any of those activities, they should take the matter to the police.
John Scott (Ayr) (Con): Although I have discussed security issues with the senior management of Prestwick airport and have been reassured by them that all proper and reasonable measures are in place for the transportation of these most dangerous people, can I also have the minister's assurance that she, too, is happy with the security arrangements for the transportation of such prisoners through my constituency?
Cathy Jamieson: I refer Mr Scott to my first answer on this question. The Executive is not routinely informed—in fact, it is not informed—of such stopovers; nor would it be informed of the cargo. Mr Scott will also be aware that in my capacity as an Ayrshire constituency MSP I have met the senior people at Prestwick airport and have received assurances in that context.

3rd November 2005
Torture
1. Eleanor Scott (Highlands and Islands) (Green): To ask the Scottish Executive whether the police are taking sufficient action to ensure that no offences of attempting or conspiring to commit torture are being committed in Scotland or Scottish airspace. (S2O-7967)
The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson): As I have said in the chamber before, attempts to commit or to conspire to commit torture are crimes under Scots law and are punishable by up to life imprisonment. The police in Scotland take appropriate action to investigate cases whenever there is evidence to support allegations of torture.
Eleanor Scott: The minister is aware of press reports of the use of Scottish airports, certainly in the central belt and possibly in the Highlands, for Criminal Intelligence Agency rendition flights taking prisoners to countries in which they can be tortured. Is she aware that two weeks ago my colleague Chris Ballance wrote to the chief constable of Strathclyde police to alert him to our concerns and to request a meeting to detail them? So far, the chief constable's office has failed to offer that meeting and the press office confirmed this morning that no investigation of the flights is under way or planned and that it is considering the legal implications of our request.
Does the minister agree that there are more than reasonable grounds for suspicion that criminal acts are being committed in our jurisdiction and that the police should uphold their legal duty to investigate without regard to any political embarrassment that might be caused?
Cathy Jamieson: Again, as I have made clear in the chamber before, if information is provided to the police it is their responsibility to assess it and decide what action to take. They will, of course, consider whether there is evidence to warrant further investigation. I am aware that the member's colleague wrote to the chief constable of Strathclyde police; it is for him to respond appropriately.
Ms Rosemary Byrne (South of Scotland) (SSP): This might not be a devolved matter; the issue is not legal or political, but moral. People like the minister and me—ordinary people—who have not been tried before any court are being transported through Scottish airspace. Will the minister give an assurance that she will intervene in this moral issue? Will she speak to her colleagues at Westminster to stop such people being sent to be tortured?
Cathy Jamieson: The member is correct that this is not a devolved matter; it is for the United Kingdom Government to consider the appropriate legislation. I refer the member to recent exchanges in the House of Commons, where the UK Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has answered, fairly comprehensively, questions about the current legal position and stated that it is not the Government's policy to deport or extradite any person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they will be subject to torture or where there is a real risk that the death penalty will be applied. The UK Government takes the issue seriously.”

I think the only conclusion I can draw, is that there should be no “reserved” matters. We need independence, so that we can hold Scottish politicians to account. I haven’t received a single reply yet, from anyone at Westminster. Probably got more important things to worry about than torture being facilitated at provincial little Scotland’s airports!

Well done to Eleanor Scott and Rosemary Byrne for pursuing the issue.

I think it's time for all of us to write to the Chief Constable of Strathclyde and ask him to pursue this issue.

By the way, I wonder how our American allies feel about John Scott MSP (Conservative), referring to the CIA as “these most dangerous people”? Hee Hee.

Here is an encouraging reply from Margo MacDonald:

"Thank you for getting in touch. Ms MacDonald has signed the motion to which you refer in your own email. She will also look for opportunities to raise this issue in Parliament.

Kind regards"

Peter Warren
Office Manager- Margo MacDonald MSP

Margaret Mitchell, Conservative MSP for Central Scotland, informs me that James Douglas-Hamilton has forwarded my email about extraordinary rendition to her. Guess what? She says it is a “reserved matter” and I should contact my Westminster MP – well I have and he hasn’t replied yet.

Maybe it’s time to take to the streets. Any actions at Prestwick or Glasgow, please let us know.

10:23 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reading between the lines Carol,

I think there are a lot of MSP's who would really like to condemn these flights.

They need courage to stand up and tell Blair that Scotland the Brave is Brave and will no longer accomodate CIA torture flights.

I read in the Glasgow Herald tonight that the Tories in Holyrood are even thinking of a possible coalition with the SNP.

Weird that, in a sense. They are the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Maybe it will shake up the Labour /Liberal coalition in Scotland.

As for Cathy Jamieson
It's very sad Carol.

Once upon a time Cathy would have vociferously objected to these flights. But she is part of Government now. I believe she wants these flights to stop.But she also feels constrained by a political straight jacket. The party line must prevail.

But how do we get the evidence she reckons the police require?

I can't see anyone, other than police, getting aboard a CIA plane.

The Chief Constable it is then.

Back to the keyboard.

Watch this space.

11:50 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

This is a link to the Channel 4 news site, although you will probably have to type it out yourself to get it to work. The report focuses on Glasgow and Prestwick airports. In my opinion, it should certainly give grounds for the police to investigate. Please read the report and watch the video:


http://www.channel4.com/more4/news/news-opinion-feature.jsp?id=40

8:51 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Steven, you ask 'Who is responsible for this'.I would say Bush,Blair, the CIA, and everyone who has knowingly cooperated in facillitating these hellish torture flights.

I hope the workers in the Scotish airports take up this issue with their unions and that they tell their employers that they will not bloody their hands by 'resourcing' these flights.

I'm reminded of Lady Macbeth who in her own mind was unable to wash her hands clean of the blood of her murdered King.

Another question though.

Who is resposible for stopping these flights?

1:13 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

carol.

Thank you for the video link. I received same link from a Neil.

Here is the link again as I see a bit of the URL is missing from your comment.

www.channel4.com/more4/news/
news-opinion-feature.jsp?id=40

I will try to put it on the front page.

1:19 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Here is a letter I sent to Strathclyde Chief Constable today. I also sent a similar one to Strathclyde Police Federation, which is their sort of trade union. Feel free to cut and paste it, and ammend it any way you like. (I've already plageurised, from other posters!)

"Mr Willie Rae,
Chief Constable,
Strathclyde Police,
173 Pitt St,
Glasgow.
G2 4JS

Dear Mr Rae,

I am writing to ask you to ensure that recent allegations in the Sunday Herald newspaper are investigated. The newspaper claimed that Scottish airports, in particular Prestwick and Glasgow, are being used to facilitate the practice of "extraordinary rendition." This apparently involves CIA agents abducting terrorist suspects, against whom there is insufficient evidence to mount a legal prosecution. These people are then reportedly subdued with sedatives, loaded into planes and flown to countries where they may be tortured or even murdered. It is reported that approximately 150 of these flights have landed and refuelled, at Scottish airports.

This process is in breach of Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Scotland Act clearly states that Scotland is covered by this convention.

It has been argued in the Scottish Parliament, by the Justice Minister, Cathy Jamieson, that Scotland has no authority to stop these flights, because under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, foreign civil aircraft can make stops for technical reasons, such as refuelling, without requiring the permission of the state that they stop in.
I believe that this is an erroneous position, because it depends on the interpretation that these are civilian flights. In actual fact, a civilian plane, used by the CIA for this sort of purpose should be deemed to be a state aircraft (Chicago Convention, 1944, Article 3 [b] [c]). State aircraft need authorisation to land.

The Justice Minister said in the Scottish Parliament last week that it was the responsibility of the police to assess information about these flights and decide what action to take.

I am therefore disappointed that no investigation is yet underway, or is even planned, into these renditions flights.

I believe that there are more than reasonable grounds for suspicion that criminal acts are being committed in Scotland’s jurisdiction and that the Scottish police should uphold their legal duty to investigate, without regard to any political embarrassment that might be caused.

I would like the Scottish police to identify and board these flights and arrest anyone on board who is suspected of involvement in abduction and people-trafficking to torture regimes.

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. Denmark has banned these CIA flights and Austria scrambled fighter jets to see them off.

I do understand that some of these people who are allegedly being abducted by the CIA and flown through Scottish airspace to be tortured elsewhere, ARE terrorists. This is not the way to deal with them. As a police officer, you of all people must understand that these alleged actions of the CIA, are putting terrorists beyond the law for ever. Courts will be unlikely to convict on the basis of dubious testimony that has been obtained through abduction and torture.

I am concerned, that if the Scottish police are not seen to investigate and take seriously these alleged human rights abuses, facilitated at Scotland’s airports, largely against asian men, Scotland and in particular our airports, may become more of a target for terrorists.

There is plenty of background information available, including the registration numbers and registered owners of the planes involved, in online versions of newspapers and at Channel 4 News online.

I would appreciate a response from you, Chief Constable Rae, indicating that this matter is being treated seriously and that an investigation is underway."

Right then. Now I'm off to glorify terrorism. Only joking. I'm going to a fireworks display with lots of weans.

5:09 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

My letter to Claude Moraes Euro MP.

Dear Claude Moraes,

I have written to all the Scottish MSP's concerning the extraordinary renditions carried out by the CIA.

I am writing to you now as I saw your contribution on the Channel 4 news.

I was appalled to learn that the UK, in particular Scotland, is being used to facilitate these horrendous torture flights.

I did not know that such flights were taking place until I read about them in the Scottish Sunday Herald.

I was immediately prompted to write to my own MP. Brian H. Donohoe, to convey to him that I find it totally unacceptable that my country, in fact my own county of Ayrshire, is part of the process which enables the CIA to transport human beings to countries where torture is systematically practised.

Since then my letter writing has grown into a campaign to stop the CIA from using Scottish Airports.

http://densden1.blogspot.com/

Please know that I am determined to keep the pressure on our elected representatives here in Scotland and at Westminster until these illegal, immoral and inhumane torture flights are forced out of our air space and territory.

I am urging you to do all that is in your power to stop the flights.
They are an affront to all of us that care about civil and human rights and we want our country to be free of any complicity with the CIA.

Catherine Stihller and the other Scottish MSP's have sent messages of support and they have been very much appreciated and I ensure that their replies are posted on the Dens Den site.

I have reason to believe that this small contribution in the campaign to stop the use of torture is having an effect in the Scottish Parliament.

I want my country to join with those other European countries which have refused to facilitate torture flights.

Please keep on asking questions, support any motion which condemns extraordinary rendition and help to persuade the UK government to put an end to this hellish practise.

Yours sincerely

9:42 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Letter to BAA.

I am writing to you about the practise of extraordinary renditions and BAA's role in facilitating these torture flights.

I strenuously object to the UK, in particular my country, Scotland being used to refuel these flights which result in the torture of human beings.

It may be that another section of your company can answer my questions but I will settle for your section getting this communication to the appropriate section.

To the questions.

1. Why is BAA facilitating torture flights for the CIA?



2. Do you consider the aircraft used in the torture flights as State aircraft, because they are chartered by the CIA from private companies or do you consider the aircraft as civilian?

3. If your company considers these aircraft as State aircraft are you certain and have evidence that permission has been granted for our air space and ground to be used to refuel and resource the flights?If so who has granted permission?

4. If you consider these aircraft as civilian craft, who, or what body, is responsible for allowing these aircraft to enter our airspace?

5. What authority do you have to refuse or grant permission for these aircraft to use our airspace and land on our territory? It cannot be that you have no authority to grant or refuse permission for any aircraft otherwise there would be chaos.

6. Do BAA approve of the UK and Scotland being used by the CIA or any other group in facilitating these flights?

7. Does BAA receive any monies from the CIA or any other department of state for the services your company?

8. If you do not receive monies from the CIA or any other State department for the services you provide, who does pay? Is it the civilian owners of the aircraft?

9. If you have the authority to refuse permission for these aircraft to use our airspace and ground services why do you not exercise this option?

10 If you have not the authority to grant or refuse permission where would that authority be sought?



BAA's own code of ethics includes the following,

Scope
This code applies to all employees of BAA plc and all those working alongside, in partnership and on behalf of BAA plc.

Policy and Procedures
Every employee of BAA plc should

Treat everyone with dignity and respect listening carefully to our stakeholders
Treat the company’s assets & equipment as you would your own
Operate within the letter and the spirit of law, exercising power and influence responsibly
Respect the laws and customs in countries in which we operate.
and most importantly in relation to the issue of extraordinary rendition


These policies underpin BAA’s acceptance of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation Conventions. These apply to the management and operation of BAA plc, and everyone involved. In addition, BAA’s Ethics Committee has the role of considering any ethical issues which may arise in the business under this policy.

Compliance
In establishing whether or not any conduct or activity may be in contravention of this Code, ask yourself whether it

is legal?
is in breach of this or any other policies?
could be perceived as bringing you, your colleagues or BAA plc or associated companies into disrepute?
could be perceived as compromising you, your colleagues or BAA plc or associated companies?
could be considered by the public as ethical, appropriate and acceptable?
11.Why is BAA not ensuring this code is being applied in relation to the CIA flights.

12. Given that your code of ethics states that all employees are bound to accept this code would you support any employee who refuses to accommodate the CIA flights?

Your reputation as an international company is under scrutiny now that the illegal, immoral and inhumane practise of extraordinary renditions is being widely published in National newspapers, national media, in the Scottish Parliament. the Westminster Parliament The European Parliament and on various internet sites.

I urge your company to do all that it can to bring an end to the torture flights which use UK resources.



I await your reply.

Yours sincerely

10:05 am  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Here is an email I received from Jim Sheridan, the Labour MP whose constituency contains Glasgow Airport.

"Thank you for your e-mail dated 2nd November 2005 with regards to the transfer of persons from their countries of origin to the United States by intelligence officers of the US Federal Government and the complicity of the UK Government by allowing the planes transporting these persons to land and refuel on UK soil.

I would be grateful if you could provide me with copies of your evidence that that the Central Intelligence Agency is conducting such abductions and that any such transport planes have passed through Glasgow Airport.

Yours sincerely,
Jim Sheridan MP
Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North

Constituency Office:
Mirren Court (Three)
Ground Floor North
123 Renfrew Road
Paisley
Renfrewshire
PA3 4EA

Telephone: 0141 847 1457
Fax: 0141 847 1395

E-Mail: enquiries@james-sheridan-mp.org.uk
Web: http://www.james-sheridan-mp.org.uk"

Firsty, I did not tell him that people were being transferred to the United States for torture, unless he is meaning “Guantanamo” when he says “United States.”

Secondly it drives me into a rage when this man asks me for evidence. Obviously I will send him all of the info that I have (which is a considerable amount and most of it is very credible. I’m sure journalists and victims gild the lilly to some extent, but I do believe that these torture flights are happening.) Jim Sheridan wasn’t too fussed about asking for solid evidence of WMDs when he voted to invade Iraq. This New Labour operative has voted for continued war and occupation in Iraq on every possible occasion. He has also voted for repressive anti-terror laws on every possible occasion. Jim Sheridan, voted to spill the blood of countless numbers of Iraqis and many working-class soldiers, including Scots, without a shred of the evidence he now expects from me, a mere member of the public, before he will take this issue forward.

I am asking for help. Does anyone live in this man’s constituency? If so, if you haven’t done so already, would you please write to him and put the pressure on, re these torture flights. Please also write to the local paper and expose him for what he is.

Here is a letter I received from Shona Robison, MSP for Dundee East.

“Thank you for your email of October 30th.

Firstly, please allow me to share my concerns over ‘extraordinary rendition’. I find the practice morally repellent, and would in any case have serious reservations about the value of any ‘intelligence’ extracted from anyone interrogated under such circumstances. For this reason I will be happy to add my name to motion S2M-3418.

I believe that Strathclyde Police are now undertaking an investigation of their own into the flights alleged to have landed in Scotland, which will most likely result in a report being prepared for the Procurator Fiscals service to consider. On a separate but related matter, I understand from a recent report in the Sunday Herald newspaper that Human Rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith is now taking the British Government to court over alleged breaches of the 1984 Un Convention on Torture with regard to these flights.

I trust that this is in order. However, if I can be of any further help, please do not hesitate to contact my office.”

Here is a letter from David Hamilton, Labour MP for Midlothian.

“Thank you for your e-mail outlining your concerns and as you are aware as I am not your constituency MP, I am unable to take on your complaint.

I do understand your concerns on the appalling practices surrounding this issue but protocol dictates that you must allow your own MP Eric Joyce to represent you in this matter.

However I will keep abreast of the campaign at Westminster with interest.”

If only a constituent from Midlothian would write to him, we might get a more firm commitment to oppose Scotland’s complicity in torture, from this former miners’ delegate.

Here’s my reply from David Martin, Labour MEP. He’s dodging the issue:

“Thank you for your e-mail. Unfortunately this is not a matter for the European Parliament and probably not the Scottish Parliament either. I suspect that you would be best to take this very serious matter up with your Westminster MP who can raise it with the Foreign Secretary and the Home Office, who have the real power in these matters.

All the best

David”

Well David, Claude Moraes is a Euro MP and he is championing this issue. The only person I’m allowed to write to is Eric Joyce and somehow I just know I’m not going to get a reply from him, my local New Labour careerist.

Trish Godman, the Labour MSP for West Renfrewshire (fairly near Glasgow airport) is dodging the issue in the meantime:
“I will be taking this matter up with Ministers and when I have a response, I will decide whether or not I am going to support this Motion.”

9:08 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Here is my reply to the request for evidence, from Jim Sheridan, the MP for Glasgow Airport:

Dear Mr Sheridan,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, regarding the issue of "Extraordinary Rendition" flights. I am a bit surprised that you are asking me, a member of the public, for evidence. You must have at least equal access to online newspapers and periodicals as I have. I was under the impression that members of parliament had paid researchers and I had assumed that they would have shown you the reports in the Sunday Herald at least, since this concerns the airport in your constituency.

Anyway I have done as you asked. I enclose for you a huge Word file, with all of the reports I have gathered. (It is not "evidence" in the strictest sense. But you surely cannot be expecting me, a member of the public, to stake out airports with binoculars, to gather evidence, in these days of shoot-to-kill-to-protect.) You will probably not have time to read all of it, so just skim through. I would suggest that you look at all of the Sunday Herald articles, the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch information and also the New Yorker article, which is great for background information. The Channel 4 news report is of particular relevance to the Glasgow Airport allegations.

I know he is not in your party, but if you require further evidence, I am sure Sir Menzies Campbell, could provide it, since he is involved in a cross-party campaign in the House of Commons, to have these flights banned.

Once you have read some of this information, I am sure you will agree that there are grounds for the police to investigate these flights. I am sure you will also see that the legal basis for the permission given to these flights to land here is flawed.

I hope that when you have had the time to read some of this information, that you will use all of your influence to encourage Strathclyde Police to investigate these flights and thereafter, put pressure on your colleagues in the Government to end these human rights abuses.

It would be awful if Scotland's airports became more of a target for terrorist attacks, because of these flights. Once I have written to politicians, if these flights are still taking place, I am going to contact the local papers, including the Paisley Daily Express. I believe there is going to be an article on these flights this week, in one of the Prestwick Airport local papers, The Irvine Herald.

10:27 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

re Jim Sheridan.

Maybe his researchers aren't as good a you Carol.

Should make for unconfortable bedtime reading though. If he reads it.

There is thoug a possibility he already kenw of the torture flights. If you take a look at his bio.


http://www.dodonline.co.uk/engine.
asp?lev1=4&lev2=37&menu=45&biog=y&
id=25305

you will see that he has links with the MOD.

My opinion... STALLING.

Good response from Shona.

The others.

Well what can I say...FEARTIES.

Mind you when you take a look at Tony Blair these days if I was one of his supporters I would be a bit feart too.
David Hamilton might be persuaded to show a wee bit more courage if one of his constiuents had to complain.

11:02 pm  
Blogger Kevin Williamson said...

Well done to Carol, Denise and everyone who got this Blog and campaign up and running to help fight to get rid off these Anglo-American imperialist abominations from Scottish soil.

Jim Sheridan may be useless but in the Scottish Parliament you got one of the best MSPs of the whole lot in Rosemary Byrne to help ya fight the cause. She's a gem.

And just who do these warmongering Brits and Yanks think they are dragging the good name of Scotland into their scummy CIA mire?

Kevin Williamson

1:08 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Good to hear from you Kev.
Thanks for the words of support.
If you decide to write to an elected representative or some other involved body like the police or BAA, would you send in a copy and any reply you might get.

1:55 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:32 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

The last post was deleted, as there was an embarrassingly large amount of typing errors. Mine.

I need some fresh air.
It was a reply from Eleanor Scott.



I share your concerns. I asked a question in the Scottish Parliament last Thursday, 3rd November. I have attached the relevant extract from the Official Report which may be of interest. I am writing to the Chief Constable of Highlands and Islands as there has been concern expressed that Highland airports may also have been used.

Yours in peace

Eleanor Scott
from Eleanor Scott,

I have not included the extract Eleanor refers to as Carol has already posted it.

So,Highland airports are maybe being used too.

Is it not bad enough that Scotland is one of, if not the most, nuclearised country in the world?

Our landscape is contaminated with depleted uranium at the firing range at Dundrennan, and Hunterston and Dounreay nuclear facilities have bad safety records because of leakages and accidents. Recently, householders around Hunterston in Ayrshire have been given pills to take in case of an accident.

I am totally fed up with Scotland being used as a huge laboratory by successive Westminster governments.

I want for us to make our own mistakes, to work for our own successes.

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion." Thomas Jefferson, September 28, 1820

4:30 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Euan Robson.

Sorry but are you a constituent ? Parliamentary protocols say that I should direct you to your local constituency MSP. The issue you raise is a very serious one about which I do not have many details as yet. Also issues relating to Foreign Affairs and Defence are of course reserved to Westminster.

Sincerely Euan Robson MSP

and my reply...

Dear Euan,

Thank you for your reply,

I am not one of your constituents but I am a concerned citizen.

I do understand that protocol says that you should direct me to my local constituency MSP, but as I said in my original letter I am contacting all the elected representatatives at Holyrood.

The issue of the torture flights is not only a moral issue but is also, according to International Law and the Scotland Act, illegal.

If you do not have enough information can I suggest that your researchers make the necessary enquiries.

A dossier has been compiled and if your researchers need any help to source information they could email Carol H. at this address.

chainey@gmail.com

Maybe Chris Ballances team would also help them unless protocol prohibits this.

He believes that there is enough information to warrant a police enquiry.

Failing that the Sunday Herald, 16th and 24th of October, covered the story. They could take their lead from there.

I'm sure though that they are more than able to find information themselves but why take up their time when a lot of work has already been done.

I also know that Foreign Affairs and Defence issues are reserved for Westminster, but a crime or crimes appear to be being committed on Scottish soil. Therefore we should all be making sure that the police are conducting a vigorous investigation.

As a concerned citizen I believe that it is beholden on me to do all that I can to bring the illegal CIA renditions to the attention of our MSP's.

That way, no MSP can plead ignorance, if ever called to account for Scotland's complicity in facilitating these dreadful flights.

I hope that I have been of help, and that I have clarified for you, why I contacted you in the first place.

Yours sincerely

Denise Morton


We'll see what happens.

5:17 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Murray Tosh.

Dear Ms. Morton,

as I am not an MSP for your area, I cannot make any representations on your behalf.

However, I thought it might be courteous to send you the official report of recent exchanges in the Scottish Parliament on this matter.

Murray Tosh

Again I have not posted the official exchanges.

My reply

Thank you for your reply and for the courtesy of sending me the recent exchanges which have taken place in the Parliament.
I note that from the register of interests that you are very much at heart an Ayrshire man. I reside in Irvine, attended school in Kilwinning and married in Prestwick.
I love my country and county as I am sure do you.

I understand that you may not make representations on my behalf and that your position as Deputy presiding officer to the Parliament means that you must show impartiality in the chamber and to avoid public comment on nationally political issues.

I wrote to you as I believe it is beholden on me to bring the issue of the CIA rendition flights to the attention of all our politicians and the people within the communities of Ayrshire and beyond.This is a promise I made myself and in contacting you I am fulfilling that promise.

Yours sincerely

5:40 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Mike Rumbles.

Thank you for your e-mail about the issue of how Scottish airports are being used as staging posts for what would appear to be illegal use. I have added my name to the motion lodged by Chris Ballance on this issue.
Mike Rumbles


Well done Mike.

6:03 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Mary Scanlon

Denise

Thank you for the e-mail regarding the use of Prestwick Airport. I have passed this information to my colleague, John Scott MSP who is the constituency member representing Prestwick Airport.

With regards

Mary Scanlon

Mary Scanlon sits on 16 committees!

Strange that she has no opinion on torture flights?

Buck passer.

6:14 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Ian Smith.

Thank you for your e-mail. Can you please forward you full postal address?

Yours sincerely,

Is he gonna write to me?

I await.

Interestingly Iain Smith attended a seminar on, "Empowering regions, stateless nations and subnational government in the new Europe" at the European Parliament, Brussels on 4th February 2004

I hope he is a good guy.

6:21 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from John Swinburne,

Dear

John Swinburne MSP agreed to sign this motion the week prior to receiving your motion.

Yours sincerely

Nick Mac'An't-Saoir
PS to John Swinburne MSP

Knows whats right.

6:26 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Jamie Stone deleted my mail to him without reading it.

Oh well. Back to the keyboard.

I just tell myself Where there's a will there's a way.

6:40 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

It was very remiss of me to not thank Eleanor.

Too busy blowing off some steam.

Thank you Eleanor.

8:10 pm  
Anonymous mary s said...

Here is s reply from Alex Neil, MSP.
Dear Mary

This issue is of great concern and a number of MSP's have raised it. So hopefully we will see a stop to this practice

Yours sincerely

Alex Neil MSP

9:27 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Thank you Mary S for joining the campaign to stop the torture flights.

Alex Neil knows it's wrong.

Thnk you too for posting here.

It's good to get some feedback.

10:15 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

I found this quote today and couldn't resist sharing it.

"A man who has in mind an apparent advantage and promptly proceeds to dissociate this from the question of what is right shows himself to be mistaken and immoral. Such a standpoint is the parent of assassinations, poisonings, forged wills, thefts, malversations of public money, and the ruinous exploitation of provincials and Roman citizens alike. Another result is passionate desire - desire for excessive wealth, for unendurable tyranny, and ultimately for the despotic seizure of free states. These desires are the most horrible and repulsive things imaginable. The perverted intelligences of men who are animated by such feelings are competent to understand the material rewards, but not the penalties. I do not mean penalties established by law, for these they often escape. I mean the most terrible of all punishments: their own degradation."Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

11:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following was posted on NewsHog blog:
http://cernigsnewshog.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Join The Dots - Lockheed, Detainee Abuse and John McCain

On a day when every media outlet was talking about Interro-Gate, as Hill Republican leaders and the CIA calling for an investigation over leaks alleging secret CIA prisons existed in Eastern European nations, a related and perhaps just as important story went largely un-noticed.

in his article "Meet the New Interrogators: Lockheed Martin", Pratap Chatterjee sets out how Lockheed took over a company called Sytex for $462 million back in February and thus positioned itself as the premier provider of contractors for interrogation work to the U.S. military.

In June alone, Sytex advertised for 11 new interrogators for Iraq, and in July the company sought 23 interrogators for Afghanistan. It has also been seeking experienced report writers and program managers who have worked in military interrogations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, former Yugoslavia, or the Persian Gulf War.

Ads on several websites frequented by current and former military personnel offered a $70,000 to $90,000 salary, a $2,000 sign-up bonus, $1,000 for a mid-tour break, and a $2,000 bonus for completing the normal six month deployment. Those returning for a second tour get double bonuses at the beginning and end of their stints. In return, the employees are expected to work as necessary—up to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. (The companies, however, get to bill the military up to $200 an hour for this work, according to Cherif Bassiouni, the former United Nations Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan.)

“Sytex is one of our best customers,” says Bill Golden, a former military intelligence analyst with 20 years Army experience, who now runs IntelligenceCareers.com, one of the biggest intelligence employment websites in the business. “They are the main company hiring 97E workers today.”

97E is the official classification number for the interrogator course taught at military colleges including Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Sytex interrogators work side-by-side with military interrogators conducting question-and-answer sessions at United States-run military jails across the world holding detainees suspected of involvement in terrorism. In 2004, before the Lockheed takeover, Sytex revenues were $425 million - brought in by providing civilian contractors for “personnel and technology solutions to government customers including the Pentagon’s Northern Command, the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, and the Department of Homeland Security.”

However, there have been several complaints that these civilian interrogators are not always well trained. In July 2004, a report for the Army Inspector General found that:

of the four contract interrogators employed by Sytex in Bagram, Afghanistan, only two had received military interrogation training, and the other two, who were former police officers, had not.

Other companies subcontracting for Sytex have also been involved in controversy, with one contractor being accused of involvement in the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal that broke in May 2004. The interrogator involved, it emerged, "had received no formal training in military interrogation, which involves instruction in the Geneva Conventions on human rights."

Outsourced contractors are in a grey area when it comes to the rules, raising questions of accountability and of enforcement of regulations designed for the military. They wouldn't fall within the remit of the USCMJ, for instance. Deborah Pearlstein, director of the U.S. Law and Security Program at Human Rights First, says:

“Based on the Pentagon’s own investigations and other reports that are already public, it seems clear that contractors are less well trained, less well controlled, and harder to hold accountable for things that go wrong than are regular troops...“unless and until contract interrogators can be brought at the very least up to the standards of training and discipline expected of our uniformed soldiers, the United States may well be better off without their services.”

Of course, Republican Senator John McCain has been much in the news recently, proposing a ban on the use of torture during interrogations.His proposed amendment would "prohibit cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of persons in the detention of the US government," according to the text of the measure.

"I hope that we can reach some kind of conclusion that would prevent us from ever doing that (using torture), and I don't have to tell you or anybody who's watching, our image in the world is suffering very badly, and one of the reasons for it is the perception that we abuse people that we take captive," McCain said.

Which makes it odd indeed that the McCain 2006 campaign shows as one of its top contributors...Lockheed Martin. The company have never before figured as a prominent McCain backer but for the 2006 campaign they show as his 12th largest single donor, having already contributed $13,250.

We can only hope that Senator McCain is not aware of this conflict of interest, where a company who has a subsiduary which has been implicated in previous abuse and over whom questions hang is a major contributor to a politician who has made so much political capital from his implacable opposition to torture and abuse. Perhaps he will return their contribution, and so avoid that conflict.

The Senator must also be aware that, if the administration were absolutely intent on torturing suspects (and they certainly seem to be), then his proposal would have the effect of driving more business towards private contractors - who will always be less open to public, military and Congressional scrutiny. Lockheed would get the lion's share of any new business.

posted by Cernig at 7:55 PM

2:38 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for that post Anon.

NewsHog will see me as a regular visitor I expect.

I remember two of my history teachers telling the class to follow the money.

Was good advice.

The relationship between the military and industry has long been known.
Out sourcing of services is a natural extension.

But what a service.

Horrific.

It seems to me that there is a growing polarisation in opinion concerning the War on Terror. The more we learn the less we like.

Not that I ever did ,of course.The idea of inflicting pain on another human being is repellant. But it is getting harder for some to justify the methods used to 'protect' us from acts of terrorism when they themselves practise or fund torture.

As for Lockheed Martin and Senator McCains campaign funds, it does raise the question of his credibility and motives.

Thanks again, Anon.

Please people.... You may feel that you cannot do a lot to stop what is going on. I am asking you then to at least do a little.
Write to your MSP or MP or your Euro MP. All three would be better still.
But every letter sent does help.

6:04 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Struan Stevenson.

Dear Ms Morton,

I just wanted to inform you that Mr Stevenson did agree with your email
and we have consequently sent a letter to the Commissioner of Justice,
Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini, asking that the EU look into this
serious matter.

We also will be sending a letter to Secretary of State for the Home
Department, Charles Clark, to inform him.

We hope to hear a response in the next month and will of course let you
know.

Best wishes,

LISA ROSE
Parliamentary Assistant to STRUAN STEVENSON MEP
ED Vice-President of the EPP-ED Group
Conservative Member for Scotland

European Parliament
Rue Wiertz 60
Brussels B-1047


and here is Struan's letter to the Commissioner of Justice.


Commissioner Franco Frattini
DG Justice, Freedom and Security
Rue de la Loi, 200
Brussels - B1049


9 November 2005





I am writing to you regarding some recent correspondence I have received from my constituents regarding the chilling practice of "extraordinary rendition" in Scotland. It has been suggested over the last few months that Glasgow Airport and Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland are amongst some of the airports in Europe being used as staging posts for CIA flights. These CIA flights are transporting people, against whom there is insufficient evidence to mount a legal prosecution, to countries where they may be tortured or even murdered.

It has also been implied that security forces from our own services are complicit in the torture, by providing questions for foreign interrogators, and using this information to harass others.

As Italy has already set a precedent for challenging "extraordinary rendition" by issuing arrest warrants for 19 CIA agents, suspected of such practices, it is now important that the EU investigates this matter.

I have included two articles, one from the Sunday Herald and one from the Guardian.

I look forward to your response.

STRUAN STEVENSON MEP


This is very encouraging.

Struan Stevenson is listening to his constituents.

Keep at it Struan.

6:12 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Campbell Martin.

An Ayrshire MSP.

"It is incumbent on all of us, as citizens of Scotland, to speak out against the use of covert US flights that transport to third-party countries people suspected of actions against the United States. These flights, and the torture that those transported receive in the third-party countries, contravene the human rights of the individuals and violate international law. The fact that the United Kingdom Government is allowing the use of Scottish airports, and others in England, to provide support to these flights makes the Blair government complicit in abduction and torture.

"I am a supporting signatory to the Motion lodged in the Scottish Parliament by Chris Ballance MSP, which calls on the Scottish Executive to urgently investigate and report on all CIA rendition flights that have used Scottish airports and to make a statement regarding what measures are being taken to ensure that Scotland is not complicit in the actions of the UK Government in supporting US abduction and torture."

Campbell is right.

It is incumbant on us all to speak out.

The Scottish executive must take our objections to Blair.
These flights will be stopped.
I am getting more convinced that we Scots will win this one.

Blair should be held accountable.

I can't say that I believe he will be.
How long has it taken to bring Pinnochet to Justice?
And now we are making friends with the Chinese government whose human rights record stinks.

Follow the money.

Thats what its all about, is it not?

6:34 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

A further reply from Euan Robson. If you remember it was Euan Robson who wrote
'The issue you raise is a very serious one about which I do not have many details as yet.'

I made some suggestions as how how he could appraise himself with the issue of the torture flights.

He replied....

Thank you for your helpful response.

Euan is the member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire.

Anyone out there from that neck of the woods?

I am sure he would appreciate a wee letter.

7:16 pm  
Blogger mary straub said...

a reply from Donald Gorrie,
Dear Ms Straub,

Mr Gorrie has signed the Motion-prior to your helpful e mail.

Regards

Hugh O'Donnell
Regional Aide to Donald Gorrie MSP

8:36 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Thats great Mary. Thanks for posting.

Chris Ballances motion must be getting a lot of names now.

I wish I knew how many more he needs.

Anyone in the know?

11:31 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Shona Robisons senior researcher.



Thank you for your email of November 9th, to which Shona has asked me to
reply.

Shona has asked me to express to you her concerns over ‘extraordinary
rendition’. The practice is morally repellent, and in any case, raises
serious questions about the value of any ‘intelligence’ extracted from
anyone interrogated under such circumstances. For this reason, Shona has
said that she will be happy to add her name to motion S2M-3418.

I believe that Strathclyde Police are now undertaking an investigation
of their own into the flights alleged to have landed in Scotland, which
will most likely result in a report being prepared for the Procurator
Fiscal service to consider. On a separate but related matter, I
understand from a recent report in the /Sunday Herald /newspaper that
Human Rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith is now taking the British
Government to court over alleged breaches of the 1984 UN Convention on
Torture with regard to these flights.

I trust that this is in order. However, if we can be of any further
help, please do not hesitate to contact Shona again.

Yours sincerely,


Richard Thomson
Senior Researcher to Shona Robison MSP


Well done Shona.

Good news about the investigation.

Will the CIA keep on laughing?

Or will the Strathclyde Police wipe the grotesque grins off their faces.?

2:52 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Here are my recent replies from elected representatives:

This is from Adam Ingram , Labour MP for East Kilbride and Minister of State for the Armed Forces.

“Thank you for your letter…..setting out your concerns about the practice of ‘extraordinary rendition flights’ which use airports in Scotland.

While I read your comments with interest, I am afraid that Parliamentary protocol is such that I can only take up matters raised with me by people who live within the constituency I represent. I am however forwarding your letter to your own member of Parliament, Eric Joyce……”

So a Minister of State for the Armed Forces is dodging my questions on military flights, connected to the war on terror. Is there no accountability?

Here is a reply from John Sutherland, the MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Wester Ross.

“………I find the whole concept of what is described in the article as “extraordinary renditions” perfectly revolting. Like you, I am certain that the vast majority of people in Scotland……..are opposed to such methods for which I believe there can be no excuse.”

I hope that means you are going to try to get these flights stopped, John.

“Thank you very much for your e-mail. As the local MSP for Prestwick Airport, this is an issue which I have raised with both the airport's operators and the Justice Minister. Whilst I understand from information sent to me by the Foreign Office that their powers over such flights is limited, this nonetheless remains an issue which I intend to continue to pursue.
Kind regards.
John Scott”
This Conservative MSP is being a bit disingenuous with me. If you read my earlier posts, you will see that this MSP did not raise the matter of Scotland’s complicity in torture. He raised concerns about potentially dangerous terrorists being transported through his local airport. People aren’t dangerous when they’re stuffed with sedatives, John and they might even be innocent – although we’ll never know, unless we insist on due legal process for every human being. It’s obviously going to take more than a letter to get John Scott to act to prevent illegal torture flights from passing through his constituency.

This is from Ken Macintosh, Labour MSP for Eastwood:

“Can I thank you for your e-mail and for bringing this matter to my attention.”

Yes, Ken, And??????

This is from John Swinney

“Thanks for your note. I agree with your concerns and I will support Chris Ballance's motion.”

Here is an encouraging reply;
“just wanted to inform you that Mr Stevenson did agree with your email and we have consequently sent a letter to the Commissioner of Justice, Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini, asking that the EU look into this serious matter.
We also will be sending a letter to Secretary of State for the Home Department, Charles Clark, to inform him.
We hope to hear a response in the next month and will of course let you know.
Best wishes,
LISA ROSE
Parliamentary Assistant to STRUAN STEVENSON MEP”

And lastly, here is a reply from my local MP, Eric Joyce. He never replied to my original letter and is only replying now, because dozens of other politicians have forwarded my emails to him:

“I have received a copy of your letter concerning [extraordinary rendition] which was forwarded to me…..

I have written to the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, The Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, on your behalf to make him aware of your concerns, and I will contact you again on receipt of his response……”

So the more pressure we apply, the more of a response we will get.
These flights are illegal. That is why everyone is passing the buck.

Public meetings are being planned and we will post the details here when they are finalised. Then there will be demos and actions. In the meantime, keep writing and spreading the word about this issue. None of our elected representatives will be able to claim that they were unaware of these torture flights.

10:50 am  
Anonymous Carol H said...

I’ve got a few more replies about stopping the torture flights, from our elected representatives.

Jack McConnell (First Minister) and Tavish Scott (Lib Dem, Shetland, Minister for Transport – which surely includes aeroplanes) acknowledged my email on Nov 1st and said they would reply soon. I’m still waiting….

Andrew Arbuckle, Lib Dem MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife thanks me for my email, but avoids commenting on the issue, because of protocol, since I don’t live in his constituency.

The Lib Dems are a puzzle. Those in Westminster are leading the campaign to stop these torture flights (i.e. Menzies Campbell.) But those in the Scottish Parliament seem strangely shy of voicing an opinion. Could that be because they are prepared to compromise their beliefs and not oppose Scotland’s complicity in torture, in exchange for the share of power they hold in the coalition in Scotland?

Margaret Mitchell, Conservative MSP for Central Scotland tells me it’s a reserved matter. Another jobsworth!

I have had a reply from the Department of Transport, in Westminster, saying that they have no responsibility for the torture flights. Is aviation transport? I think I’m getting the run around. The Department of Transport have redirected my letter to the Scottish Executive. Ha Ha Ha! They’ll say it’s a reserved matter and send it straight back to Westminster. This must be a political hot potato though, the way none of them want to keep hold of it. Let’s keep the pressure on.

Gordon Banks, Labour MP is another one who passed the buck to my local New Labour MP, Eric Joyce. Boy, Eric Joyce must love me!

Douglas Alexander, Labour MP for Paisley noted my comments. Thanks Douglas. Is that it? Have you nothing else to say about these torture flights that pass through your local airport and fly over your head?

I got the following response from Alasdair Morgan, MSP for the South of Scotland:

“Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding the use of Scottish airports as staging posts for American CIA flights. I have read your email with interest and thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

Obviously it is a matter of no small concern that Scottish civil airports are apparently being used for refuelling stops by the CIA as they transport suspected Islamic terrorists from Guantanamo Bay for ‘repatriation’ to North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. What, beyond interrogation, awaits these suspected terrorists is open to conjecture, nevertheless, the UN has indicated that the Americans’ actions here contravene international law. It is regrettable that the UK Government chooses to allow access for the CIA and thus involve Scottish civil airports in this procedure, however, given Labour’s willingness to accommodate the Bush administration in so many matters, it is hardly surprising.

Please be assured that the SNP, whilst mindful of modern security realities, encourages a critical appraisal of the UK’s involvement in the ‘war on terror’. To this effect, both myself and my colleagues will continue monitoring the situation as regards the CIA flights and, where relevant, we will support any Parliamentary motion which urges a reasonable approach to the issue.

Please feel free to contact me……..”

I really appreciate Alisdair Morgan’s detailed reply and invitation to contact him, despite the fact that I am not his constituent. He is obviously keen that his party are seen as responsible enough to govern Scotland, despite being opposed to these torture flights. It sounds like he and his colleagues will sign Chris Balance’s motion.

10:41 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Check this out on Indymedia. If it's true, it is dynamite! It's the details of all of the planes the CIA use and a lot more!

It also gives contact details for planespotters. I need to go to bed now, but I will be contacting them soon to find out what I can about the flights through Scotland.

I apologise for not being able to post a link properly. If you copy and paste it, it should work:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/11/327851.html

11:31 pm  
Blogger George Doole said...

Another thing you can do to help is to help keep track of the rendition planes.

Someone (not the New York Times, naturally)has actually posted a list of all known CIA planes at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/11/327851.html

This is dynamite! I strongly urge all to go to that link and download the 2 charts.

The main ones to look for in Scotland and elsewhere are the 3 marked with asterisks (*).

Again, look at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/11/327851.html

6:46 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Great stuff George.

Hope the plane spotters pick up on this.

Thank you very much.

I'll pass this info round and I ask for anyone who knows a plane spotter to do the same.

8:01 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Replies between Helen Eadie and myself.

Dear Denise,

Thank you very much for your email. There is a rule in the Scottish Parliament that requires MSPs who are approached by constituents from another MSPs geographical area to refer the constituent back to their own elected representatives.

The following are the names of the MSPs who were elected to represent your area:



MSPs
Constituency
Cunninghame South
a

Constituency MSP
Irene Oldfather

and the regional representatives for your particular area are:-

Regional MSPs
Chris Ballance
Rosemary Byrne
Phil Gallie
Christine Grahame
Adam Ingram
Alasdair Morgan
Derek Brownlee

I hope that you will find this helpful.

Yours sincerely,



Helen S, Eadie
Dunfermline East Constituency
-----Original Message-----
From: oracle@prodweb.scottish.parliament.uk
[mailto:oracle@prodweb.scottish.parliament.uk]

Same old, same old.

My reply to her.

Dear Helen,

Thank you very much for your email.

Re the rule in the Scottish Parliament 'that requires MSPs who are approached by constituents from another MSPs geographical area to refer the constituent back to their own elected representatives', I was aware of this before I started to write to all the MSP's.

I have received communications similar to yours from MSP's before, mainly from the Labour Party with a few Liberals thrown in for good measure.

The protocol has not prevented MSP'a from other party's expressing an opinion nor has it prevented them from telling me that they will be signing Chris Balance's motion.


Like myself they must consider the issue concerning the CIA torture flights as an issue that is so important that they have signed the motion, and informed me, regardless of protocols and the questionable nature of reserved powers.

You must be entitled to an opinion. I am sure that you must have one.

If you feel that you really are not permitted to answer my question of whether or not you will support Chris Balance's motion, why not just sign the motion and I can check it out on the parliamentary site.

That may help you out of what appears to be a difficult situation.

Yours sincerely

Then she replied again!

Dear Denise,

I have signed up to agreements both with Westminster and with other MSPs - what hope is there if we, when it suits our convenience, break those agreements? What hope is there for resolving conflict if we simply break our agreements with each other to suit the last person that we spoke to? Why is your energy not channelled into making the same efforts to make representations and lobby the Westminster Parliamentarians who actually have the decision making powers on the matters that you raise? How do you think that you can be most effective? Don't you think that your time could be more effectively employed on behalf of those that we all want to help if you do channel your efforts direct to the Westminster team of Parliamentarians.?

Kind regards,



And my reply,

Dear Helen,

Thank you for responding in spite of the rules.

I agree that we should not break rules just because it suits us.

However, I do have to say that it good to know that at present the Scottish electorate is not bound by the a rule which stipulates that we cannot communicate with any or all of our representatives.

I hope to put your mind at rest concerning my energy, although I do thank you for your concern. I have, in fact, contacted several MP's in Westminster and am working my way through the rest. It does take some time and energy and commitment but this is an issue that I feel very strongly about so it is not an onerous task.

Rule breaking is an interesting issue. There is a question that Scotland's representatives may be complicit in the breaking of a law, more far reaching in it's scope than the one which you say prevented you from corresponding with me.

Can I refer you to article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

It is written thus,


"Article 3 prohibits torture, and "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". There are no exceptions or limitations on this right."
The Scotland Act is underpinned by this act.

However I should not have to quote Law. There is a question of morality here. Don't you think?

I did not need a law to tell me that my country in being used by the CIA to facilitate the torture of human beings is complicit, knowingly or unknowingly, in the actual torture of human beings.

I became aware in corresponding with MSP's that some did not know of the practise of extraordinary renditions and Scotland's role in co operating in the transfer of people who have been charged with no crime and have no access to representation

This made it more important than ever that I wrote to all our MSP's. You may have been one of the MSP's that had no knowledge of the rendition practises of the US government agency, the CIA.

I would not like at some future date for any of our representatives to be accused of doing nothing while this horrendous crime was being committed, through being ignorant.

I have made it my responsibility to alert all of you in Holyrood and Westminster of the torture flights. That way I am confident that all of you have been alerted and can then do something to stop it happening.

I note from the register of interests you participated

"in (a) round table discussion forum, ‘Reviving democracy – from indifference to involvement’, at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, 26-28 March 2004. Travel and accommodation met by the organisers, ENCOUNTER (independent organisation supported by the British and Irish governments which organises periodic conferences and seminars, with a wide range of representation, on economic, social, cultural and other matters of common concern with a view to promoting mutual understanding, useful co-operation and good relations). (Registered 14 February 2005)."

This gives me reason to believe that you are indeed interested in Reviving Democracy and want to promote mutual understanding,useful co-operation and good relations.

Lofty ideals to which I also aspire.

In this spirit then I ask you once again to sign Chris Ballance's motion.

Yours sincerely

Will she sign?

Come on Helen. You KNOW it's the right thing to do.

8:08 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

I got the same reply from Alasdair Morgan as Carol did so I won't re[eat it.

Like Carol, I too appreciate the fact that he took the time to consider his reply to me. He is one of my local representatives.

My old Granny used to say that, good manners cost nothing.

In my opinion a receipt acknowledging my letter is not enough. Too many MSP's have done only that.

Carol and myself are keeping track of all the MSP's who do not reply.
That list will be published soon.

9:14 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Patrick Harvie.

Many thanks for your email. I am aware of this issue and certainly share your grave concerns about the complicity of the UK in acts of torture. I have done some media work on this, arguing that the use of torture evidence in court should be prohibited, and that there should be a police investigation into 'extraordinary rendition' flights with a few to protecting the human rights of anyone on board. I know that my colleague Chris Balance has already been in contact with Strathclyde Police to call for such an inquiry, and I will monitor his progress.

Regards,

Patrick Harvie

10:31 am  
Blogger Denise said...

2 more replies.

First.Janis Hughes.

Dear Denise,

Thank you very much for your email. Unfortunately, parliamentary protocol is such that I am unable to take up this case on your behalf as you live outwith my constituency. However, I have passed your email on to your own MSP, Irene Oldfather, and I am sure she will be in touch in due course.

Kind regards,

Janis Hughes

Heard it before Janis. It don't wash.

Think again.

Second. Bruce McFees researcher Alison

Dear Ms Morton,

I write on behalf of Bruce McFee MSP to thank you for your recent email, and for bringing this matter to his attention.

Mr McFee has gladly signed the motion in the Parliament, and wishes you all the best in your campaign.

Yours sincerely,
Alison Thewliss
Researcher to Bruce McFee MSP


That's more like it.

Thanks Bruce.

6:00 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Read this today in the New York Times.


www.nytimes.com/2005/11/16/
international/
europe/16spain.html


"Spain is a sovereign country, and as a sovereign country it has to have full knowledge of what is contained within any means of transport, such as an airplane in this case, that passes through its territory," he said.

In March, the Spanish police opened an investigation of 10 visits to an airport on the Spanish island of Majorca between January 2004 and January 2005 by three airplanes widely identified as owned or rented by the C.I.A.

The investigation followed reports by a local newspaper, Diario de Mallorca, that suggested the planes had been used by the C.I.A. to transport terrorism suspects to countries where, according to rights groups, some may have been tortured.

The list of European countries opposing these tortur flights is growing.

They at least have their sovereignty so there's a chance they will be successful in puting an end to their country being used by Bush and the CIA.

Too many of our MSP's will not stand up and be counted.

It is shameful.

Theyhide behind protocols and 'reserved powers'

It's a cop out.

7:00 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Robin Harper.

Dear Denise
It is the Scottish Green party that highlighted this disgrace a month ago - Chris Balance MSP is pursuing the issue with vigour
Best wishes
Robin Harper MSP

And we are all beside him Robin.

9:21 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Check out this link.

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/publications/
reports/intelligence/
treatdetainees.pdf.

sorry for the length.

9:33 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Colin Fox.


'I fully endorse the need to bring to the attention of the Scottish People
the extraordinary and appalling evidence exposed here.

To think that our airports are complicit in such an outrageous excercise
shocks me deeply.

I have just read about the CIA's involvement in covering up the guilt of
thosewho carried out the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, so nothing shocks me
about what they do. But to think this abduction and kidnap and torture is
happening under our very noses is appalling.

I will write, as SSP Justice spokesperson to Cathy Jamieson the Justice
Minister demanding an explanation.

Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party -National Convenor'

Good for you Colin. Thanks for the message.

I know we got a message from the whole SSP parliamentary group but it's good to get your individual response.

2:55 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Mike Pringle.

Thank you for your email about the above matter. I can safely say that I am fundamentally opposed to these flights and them stopping in Scotland and I have signed the motion on the issue. it is frankly disgusting that the US authorities fly these men to and from other countries so that they can be questioned outside US jurisdiction. This can only be because they want to use torture. Scotland should follow the lead of Denmark which has gone as far as banning these kind of flights from its airspace.

Thank you for contacting me and if there is anything else I can do to help then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours
Mike Pringle

3:42 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Now, I am asking, if the Danes can refuse permission why can't we?

The Labour/Liberal coalition in Holyrood say it is a reserved matter and that under the Chicago Convention civil aircraft can land refuel and leave without asking permission nor are they obliged to disclose what or who they are carrying.

Denmark signed the Chicago Convention on 28th February 1944.

So what's the difference between Denmark and Scotland as regards this issue?

The difference is, they can determine for themselves whether or not to allow these flights.

Scotland cannot.

We need Westminster to make that decision.

Is that acceptable?

Not to me it isn't.

4:28 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Here is an excellent reply from Ian Hudghton, SNP Euro MP:

“Thank you very much for your email…..

I have sent the enclosed copy letter to the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security in which I express my anger that this practice is being permitted in the European Union. That Scotland’s airports are being used to facilitate proceedings is shameful.

You will see that I have asked Commissioner Frattini a number of questions in the final paragraph of my letter. Once I have his response, I shall contact you again….”

This is Ian’s letter to Commissioner Frattini:

“Dear Commissioner Frattini,

Abuse of European Airspace

Recent press reports have revealed that EU airports are being used to facilitate “extraordinary rendition” proceedings. This is when suspects, against whom there is insufficient evidence to mount a legal prosecution, are abducted by CIA agents, who fly them to countries with dubious standards of human rights. There they are subjected to torture, or murdered or “disappeared”.

Constituents have written to me expressing their anger and shame that many of these flights have used Prestwick and Glasgow airports, in my constituency, to refuel.

The EU has rightly earned a good reputation as a guarantor of human rights and civil liberties. I believe that many of the EU’s citizens are outraged that our airports are being used to shuttle untried suspects out of countries where human rights are respected to destinations where they are openly flouted. Our common policies on airspace in particular and on transport in general render the EU responsible for the correct use of our air transport network. If this is being abused for the purposes of facilitating activities which are in blatant breach of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights then the EU has a duty and responsibility to investigate and intervene.

Italy, I am informed, has mounted a challenge against the use of “extraordinary rendition” proceedings and issued arrest warrants for CIA agents, suspected of abduction. Other member states may well follow suit.

I would therefore be obliged if you could give me the Commission’s overall view on the practice of “extraordinary rendition.” Could you also let me know what the EU is doing to ensure that persons, of whatever nationality, during their transit time in EU airspace or within our airports, are fully protected by the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights to which all of the EU’s member states are, of course, signatories? Finally what steps are being taken by the Commission to ensure that member states and EU applicant countries do not permit detention centers to be located in their territories?

Yours sincerely

Ian Hudghton MEP"

It's great to know Ian Hudghton is doing every thing he can to halt these human rights abuses.

4:32 pm  
Anonymous Carol H said...

Here is a reply from Brian Monteith, formerly Conservative and now an independent MSP:

“I am unable to deal with this as you are not a constituent in Mid-Scotland and Fife.
You may wish to refer the matter to Margaret Mitchell MSP.”

I did, Brian. She told me it was a reserved matter. Jobsworths!

The Labour MPs Anne McGuire, Ann McKechin and Rosemary McKenna all acknowledged my message, but said they couldn’t represent me, as I am not their constituent. Jobsworths!

I got a nice message from Chris Balance, the Scottish Green MSP, who contacted the police and who has raised a motion against these flights, in the parliament:

“Carol
Thanks very much for sending these letters off. I would be interested to hear what support you have had back. I understand that generally MSPs except Phil Gallie are supporting, and Labour MSPs not replying?”

That’s about the size of it, Chris. The Liberals haven’t been replying either, with a few honourable exceptions, like Donald Gorrie. The Tories have been passing the buck to Westminster.

I got a polite response from Strathclyde Police Federation:
“The contents of your attached letter to our Chief Constable raises some serious issues with regards the practice of “extraordinary rendition”. You have quite rightly raised your concerns with him and as Chief Constable I am sure that he will respond to this serious issue in due course.
I would like to thank you for raising the awareness of this practice with me.”

I hope the Chief Constable responds to Chris Balance’s letter soon, if not mine. Maybe more people should write to him?

6:21 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Another letter to Irene Oldfather from myself.

Dear Irene,



As you know, I have been writing to all MSP's concerning the extraordinary renditions practises of the CIA.



There is no doubt Irene that the US does practise torture.



I would like to refer you to a cabinet document.



www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/publications/reports/intelligence/treatdetainees.pdf



This is a report by the Intelligence and Security Committee, which was chaired by the Rt. Hon. Ann Taylor, and is dated March 1st 2005.





I know Irene that defence and security issues are reserved for Westminster and that you and so many of your colleagues at Holyrood say that there is nothing you can do other than pass on my concerns to my MP Brian H. Donohoe.



I am aware too, that Brian is also your representative in Westminster.



I simply pass on this report for you own interest. There may be issues contained within this report that you as an individual would want to raise with Brian.







There is also no doubt the CIA regularly use Scottish Airports for refuelling. Not just Prestwick and Glasgow but some suspect highland airports are also used.



The US Vice President Dick Cheney has been trying to get exemptions for the CIA to use interrogation techniques, which are contrary to International and US Domestic Law. He is simply trying to get formalisation for existing practises. It’s an admission that torture is routine and he just wants it to be legally sanctioned.



Italy, Spain, and other European countries are now conducting investigations of their own concerning the use of their air space and airports for CIA rendition flights.



Yesterday I read that the UN has formally rejected a US invitation to visit the Guantanamo prison camp, saying it cannot accept the restrictions imposed by Washington.



Again Irene, this information is for your own interest. If you do truly feel and believe that your hands are tied because of the reserved powers business, you do still remain a constituent of Brian’s.



I do have several questions for you however.



1. Do the MSP's I have written to pass on my mails on to you?



2. Do you in turn pass them on to Brian?



3. Were you aware that the CIA regularly stopover in Scotland.





I don't know if you will pass on this mail to Brian but I will copy it and send it to him, as well as my other local representatives, in any case.





I have heard nothing from him since his initial response, when he told me that he had raised the matter with the Defence Secretary. That was the 26th October.



It is rather disappointing to have had no answer.



One further question Irene.



Can you give me a reason why you have not signed the motion tabled by Chris Ballance?



As before, your reply will be posted on the Dens Den blog. (Address below)

Yours sincerely

Here is the link again for the Intel Doc.

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/publications/
reports/intelligence/
treatdetainees.pdf.


Please cut and paste to your browser to access the document.

10:37 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Several responses.

Firstly, Mary Blackford, Margo McDonalds Constituency Assistant.

Dear Ms Morton,

I apologise for the delay in replying to your email. Margo MacDonald had already signed Chris Balance's Motion on the subject of CIA Rendition Flights of which you are probably already aware but, in case not, I have pasted it below. Should Chris Balance seek a debate on the Motion, Margo would put her name down to speak in favour.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Blackford,
Constituency Assistant

Good for you Margo. Thats good news.
It's good to see the courage in Margo. I bet there are more who will find their courage if we keep telling them that we don't want these flights and that we will support them in facing up to the Blair/Westminster fraternity.

How many?

We will see.

Rosemary Byrne wrote saying,

I have written to Mr. D and press released some info as well. The press release related to my supplementary question to Cathie Jamieson and was printed in the Ayrshire Post but not the Irvine papers. Chris has a question again this week and I have put my name in for a supplementary. Chris and I are working closely on this. The way questions work is that I submit my name every week for all categories of questions however I have not had the luck of the draws recently hence the supplementary. I will be covering extraordinary rendition in my speech tonight at the Ayr public meeting.

The question is not going to go away in Holyrood or in Westminster.

Or in Europe.

I believe that there was a lot of support from the crowd that attended the meeting in Ayr.

The next reply is from Miles E F Briggs Parliamentary Aide to Dr Nanette Milne OBE MSP

Thank you for your e-mail regarding Extraordinary Renditions.

The issue you raise is a reserved matter for the Westminster Government and I would advise you to express your concerns to your local MP.

As you may be aware my Scottish Conservative colleague David Mundell MP, was quoted in the Herald Newspaper on Sat 19th Nov saying:

"It is very important, particularly for the US to retain its credibility on the world stage, that it does abide by international law. It is not possible to lecture others if we ourselves don’t follow this procedure. Even if this is technically within the law, it is certainly against the spirit of it".

Thank you once again for your e-mail.

With my very best wishes
Yours Sincerely,

Nanette Milne OBE MSP
for
North East Scotland.


Remember Highland airports are being used. Sympathy but "Reserved Issue" raises it's head again.

Feels a bit like a straight jacket to me.


Lastly, a reply from Jim Wallace.



Thank you for your email of the 25th October regarding the reports that US planes calling at Scottish airports to refuel, are carrying prisoners to and from countries where they may be subject to torture. . apologise for the delay in replying



I share your concern about this matter and have been in close contact with Liberal Democrats in Westminster regarding the issue, to try to find effective and legal ways by which the issue can be addressed. I agree with Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, who said, "So-called 'rendition' is illegal and immoral. The UK should not facilitate the transfer of individuals from countries where torture is illegal to countries where it is permissible. We should have no part of that."



I raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament at last week’s Question Time when I asked the Lord Advocate, (as the Scottish Minister with responsibility for the Crown Prosecution Service):

“Given that article 4 of the United Nations convention against torture refers not only to acts of torture but to "an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture", will the Lord Advocate tell the chamber whether our obligations under that convention would override any obligation under civil aviation conventions, such as the Chicago convention, in respect of persons on board planes and in transit through Scotland about whom there could be reasonable grounds to suspect that they had committed offences under the convention against torture?

Replying, the Lord Advocate said, “I understand people's concerns about such matters. They are serious concerns that should be addressed seriously. I note that Mr Wallace's colleague at Westminster, Menzies Campbell, is progressing that matter and I look forward to seeing what the Westminster committee does.

“The conventions do not compete; they are obligations that the United Kingdom has to implement. However, as far as I am concerned as Lord Advocate, I give the member the assurance that if offences are committed in the jurisdiction of Scotland and I am made aware of supporting evidence, they will be investigated. At the moment, however, we require evidence of specific conduct on specific flights before any movement can take place on the matter.”

The Lord Advocate’s reference to a Westminster committee relates to a cross-party backbench committee which Sir Menzies Campbell has set up along with senior MPs from the other parties, including the former Labour Foreign Office minister Chris Mullin, to investigate the rendition allegations.

Meanwhile I am pursuing the issue in Edinburgh, having tabled a series of Parliamentary Questions to seek information on:

· the jurisdiction the Scottish criminal justice system has over people on board planes in transit through Scottish airports, both in general and in respect of suspected complicity to commit torture.

· whether records are maintained by any Scottish public authority or body in respect of the transit of planes through airports in Scotland.

· whether any Scottish public authority or body has received any information in respect of the transit through Scotland of planes carrying persons being deported or involuntarily transferred to a foreign country.

· any guidance issued by the Lord Advocate to chief constables in respect of investigating alleged breaches of the UN Convention against Torture by persons physically present in Scotland.

· whether Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) has received any representations from the US Government or agencies acting on its behalf in respect of planes seeking to use HIAL facilities for transit purposes or has any information in respect of planes carrying US Government officials which have stopped in transit at any HIAL airport in the last two years.

These issues are covered by my Written Parliamentary Questions, Nos S2W-21087 - S2W-21093, which are due for answer by the 12th December. The replies, when they are issued, will be available on the Scottish Parliament website at:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/webapp/wa.search



While I fully accept that the police and the Scottish Law Officers must act within the terms of the law, I will continue to pursue the issue, working along with Sir Menzies Campbell, to seek legal ways that can be followed so that the use of Scotland’s airports, and indeed of all UK airports, by the US for rendtion flights will cease to be possible.



Yours sincerely,



Jim Wallace
[Wallace J (Jim), MSP]

Well, putting pressure on Westminster is what many of the MSP's want.

I thank Jim Wallace for making his reply a matter of Public record.
As I do for all the MSP's and Euro's who have replied.

Pity the Labour Party in Holyrood is keeping shtum. But that's what seems to happen when politics and career converge.

6:18 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Jack McConnell's personal assistant

Thank you for your email. As your message is not a constituency matter for Mr. McConnell, I have passed your message on to the First Minister's office for a reply. Should you wish to contact the office directly, please email scottish.ministers@scotland.gsi.gov.uk or telephone 0131 556 8400.

Yours sincerely,



Richard Tullett
Parliamentary Assistant to Jack McConnell MSP
Motherwell and Wishaw


I wait with bated breath.

12:50 pm  
Anonymous Carol said...

I am so glad the blog is fixed, Denise.

I have lots of replies to post, which I will do later this week.

Also, there may be an action very soon!!!

2:07 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Good to hear from you Carol.

I'm very glad too that the blog is still working. I did not know that people were having problems until I started to have problems.
Apologies to everyone who tried to read or post to the comments section.

8:13 am  
Anonymous Alistair said...

I cannot express what I think of all this in words that is. The fact they are using airports that are accesable to the public and are quite large and busy aswell. Many of my friends use these airports and are unaware of any of this. To know that almost 150 have refuelled in Scottish airports!!!

And the fact that our own security gaurds are providing questions for these torturers, this news just shatters me. I am not sure what im supposed to be shoked at anymore after these incidents.

The fact that our Lawmakers are breaking their own laws. I find this highly hypricritical.

This is but one of the jets tied to the toture flights.
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/images/1228-04.jpg

I will not be able to call anything civallised after this incident.

I hope that if any1 reads this they can use it in anyway possible to stop these tortures.

4:07 am  
Anonymous Alistair said...

I am sorry that the picture didnt show i dont know how to post pictures yet.Here is a link you should copy into your address field to view this picture.
http://www.commondreams.org/ headlines04/images/1228-04.jpg

P.S. remove the space between the / and the h.

4:18 am  
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5:50 am  

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