Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Torture Flights. Dissent

Two reports I found whilst browsing, about the protests at Prestwick, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports.

The first from the Scottish Socialist Party website.

The second from Cage Prisoners web site.

The SSP need no introduction to Scots. They have campaigned fearlessly for an end to the council tax but more recently for their campaign to stop asylum seekers being whisked off in the wee small hours of the morning to be returned to countries where they face incredible dangers, including kidnapping, torture and murder. These families are being rendered, not by the CIA, but by us. Well, when I say us, I mean 'our government'.

Another issue reserved for Westminster.

Anyway, the SSP figured very highly in the three protests as did the Stop the War coaltion and in Ayrshire the Friends of Refugees Ayrshire, were also supporters.

Cage Prisoners have an excellent site. Spend some time there. You will find the campaign page where they are calling for a national demo in London on the 21st January.

The Scotsman has reported that 50 Edinburgh residents handed in a letter to the American Consulate in Edinburgh yesterday. They are urging the American government to stop the CIA using Scottish airports for refuelling the torture flights. More information on BBC News.

I'll post more reports in the comments section as I find them.

Thursday 22nd.
There will be debate this morning at 10.30, in Holyrood about the torture flights. You can watch on Holyrood live television.

I have sent a letter to Irene Oldfather urgung her to break her silence on this subject.

Dear Irene,

It's not too late to register disgust over the CIA torture flights.
Carolyn Leckie now has a motion condemning the flights and importantly calling for a police investigation.
Given that the police in England are now conducting their own investigation, what can be the justification for the police in Scotland to continue not to.
The Scottish Executive has stated that they will support any police investigation into this illegal and immoral practice.
There will be a debate today in Holyrood, concerning the torture flights and I will follow it with interest and will post the result on Dens Den.
Scotland’s reputation as the Best Wee Country is not standing up to international scrutiny.
Please, I am urging you again to reconsider your position on the issue of the Extraordinary Renditions.
Silence is not an acceptable answer. In my opinion it only supports those who would use our Country for their nefarious purposes.
At this time of the year we should try to remember what Christmas is meant to signify.
I was taught that it was about the birth of the Prince of Peace.
What greater gift then can there be then, than to stand up for those whose peace has been destroyed by the unlawful kidnappings and rendering process which can result in torture.

Stand up for Scotland Irene and for the victims of torture.

Yours in peace.


Blogger Denise said...

Report from SCND on the three airports protests.

No Torture on Scottish Tarmac

Successful protests were held on Sunday 18 December at Prestwick, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports against the use of Scottish airports by US aircraft involved in the brutal and illegal process that US goons call "extraordinary rendition". This involves taking prisoners to countries like Egypt where they can be subjected to forms of torture even more extreme than those practised by US personnel. There are also reports that prisoners are being taken to special CIA interrogation centres eastern Europe. Any such centres would be in clear breach of EU rules and could trigger serious sanctions against the countries involved.

The protests were supported by SACC, Edinburgh Stop The War Coalition, Glasgow Stop The War Coalition, Ayrshire Friends of Refugees, the Scottish Greens and the parliamentary group of the Scottish Socialist Party.

The Scottish Parliament will debate this issue on Thursday 22 December. The exact terms of the motion to be put to the Parliament have still to be finalised.

Please contact your MSPs urgently and ask them to vote on Thursday for the Scottish Executive to take action to make sure our airfields can't be exploited in this outrageous way. We can't tolerate torture on Scottish tarmac.

8:28 am  
Blogger Denise said...

This is frrom Steve, who attended the Edinburgh protest.

The protest was very well received by the public, we ran out of
leaflets very quickly and for every 1 negative comment there must
have been - i dunno - 20 positive ones.

Also I've never seen such "sensitive" policing in all my life. At
the beginning the police asked the protestor in a guatanemo style
jump suit and manacles - to remove his manacles for "health and
safety reasons" as he "might trip up". They also expressed concern
that he was not sufficiently well dressed to survive the rigors of a
cold edinburgh day. I kid you not.

Later on, worried about the protestors general well being, the
police advised us that they had been in touch with management and
that it was ok for us to use the airport facilities to warm
ourselves from time to time.

After a few hours of this I seriously wondered if I had fallen into
an alternative universe.

However it does show I think the extreme sensitivity felt by the
establishment on this issue - and vulnerability - I'm guessing the
police were told - whatever you do - don't get heavy handed.

I think this is an issue that won't go away - and the political fall
out from it will be very interesting.

8:57 am  
Anonymous Carol said...

You make some very interesting points about the police Steve. I can understand their sensitivity in not wanting to be seen to manhandle demonstrators who are protesting against the inaction of Chief Constables. They must also fear a widespread public outcry, if "good" protestors were mistreated.

I've also been surprised by the way the media have pursued this issue. Maybe they are assuaging their guilt for not questioning the lies we were told about WMDs etc, prior to the invasion of Iraq.

There was a debate in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, with the Scottish Parliament calling for an inquiry into these CIA flights, in accordance with the advice of the European Commissioner. Disgracefully, the majority of MSPs didn't vote for this.

Unfortunately I can't post a link to the coverage in the Herald newspaper, because the Herald site is down.
But you can buy the paper or maybe someone can post a link later.

There is a front page story about the renditions debate, but the
really useful thing is the leader opinion column which
holds those two-faced publicity seekers in some parties to account.

"Scotland had a real opportunity yesterday to play its part in this
by launching its own inquiry......"

"Yesterday's Holyrood, sponsored by the Scottish
Socialist Party witnessed powerful speeches...... However, when it
came to the vote, a majority plumped for an anodyne motion from the
Conservative Phil Gallie.......expressing trust that the foreign
secretary's assurances that such flights have not landed in Scotland
are true."

Well done to the SSP MSPs and to all of the other MSPs who voted for their motion.

I think maybe our next demo should be at Holyrood, for people who
can get there, or at the airports for people who can't. Once we find
out who spoke out against the flights, but voted against having an
inquiry, we can really hold them to account.

Have a great Christmas everybody.

11:47 am  

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