Friday, December 16, 2005

Torture Flights. Out of the Box

Friday 9.30am

There is a must see Channel 4 video, 'Kidnap and Torture American Style' on The Information Clearing House.

18.00pm.

Visit the Despatches Channel 4 website for more information.

I have only just watched all of this film. I am finding it hard to find words.

I want to cry, I am angry, I am feeling kinda numb.

Assurances. What do they mean? A great big nothing. They mean nothing to me. No, not nothing. They do mean something . They mean, that they don't really meant it when they say 'Let me assure you'.

No weapons of mass destruction, No torture. No state involvment in torture or kidnapping or facilitating torture flights.

Let me assure you George and Condi 'I am not assured.'

I try when I can to avoid seeing or reading accounts of tortures.

I was brought up with war documentaries showing me the realities of war, of camps, of detention centres, and gas chambers. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, of Agent Orange, of My Lai.

I've seen it already.

My children have seen it.

I want for my grandchildren one day to be able to tell their children that all these crimes against humanity are a thing from the past, before 'ordinary people' made it stop.



George Bush has said 'If you are not with us, then you are against us'.

Who are the, 'us', Oh Great Bush?

It ain't me. It ain't millions of other 'ordinary people'.

Is it the 'extraordinary ' people you share your values with?

I am struggling not to give full vent to the stream of vitriolic that is now coursing through me.

Why?

Because I know that violence breeds violence.

I am not a terrorist. I am not a fundamentalist of any kind.


I am not a Muslim or a Christian or any kind of Religous person, but I am a human being and can't, won't, and never will accept, that kidnapping people, drugging them, flying them to countries where there will be sadistic torturers waiting, with razor blades, electricity cables, threatening rape, and denying any of the hard won rights that have been won ,for and by, so called, 'ordinary people', is right. Is ever morally justified.



George Bush, doesn't care. He just doesn't care.

As for the rest of the architects of the' Project for the New American Century', they do.

They care very much.

They care that the interest of BIG money is free to claim everything that will increase the millions to their shareholders.

This value system based on greed and exploitation and an unquenchable desire for power, domination and absolute control, is cracking up.

Like a mirror.

And 'things' just don't 'look' right. The image is distorted by the treachery, and secrecy, and violence, perpetrated by our so called representatives who are supposed to reflect, protect and advance the greatest of all human quests.

The quest to live in peace, love, dignity, security and freedom.

As for Tony Blair and Straw and Reid and Hoon et al. They are not fit to be weilding the power of the state.

The power we have invested in them to wield wisely, justly and with proper regard for human rights is undeserved.
If they can't, don't, or won't care about the victims of renditions leading to torture, why on earth would
we believe that they care for everyone else in some kind of need? Whether that need is for
the sanctuary of asylum, a decent job, or house ,or education, or more basic needs, like food and shelter.

9pm.

Newsnight ran a programme last night where the format was loosly based on trial procedures.

Their programmes are available to watch again for about 24 hours. If you do miss it, the site is still worth visiting. Viewers have left comments there. Click on the Editor's column while you are there.

Saturday 17th

There will not be a public inquiry into the July 7th bombing. But there should be.

Please sign the petition.

Monday 19th

According to BBC reports more than 150 people protested at Scottish airports in Scotland.

Here is a short account from one of the protesters at Prestwick.

good turnout despite the weather.
Around 30 people turned up in the pouring rain to protest against the use of Prestwick airport as a stop over for CIA torture flights.
The airport's slogan of! Pure dead Brilliant! was changed for the day by protestors holdng up banners saying "Pure dead Torture"
Althought the demo was small a wide variety of groups were represented, from community councils to political parties. Speakers from the SSP in the form of 2 MSPs -Rosemary Byrne and Carolyn Leckie were joined by contributions from the young SNP group and Friends of Refugees as well as members of the Stop the War coalitionand a message from Chris Ballance the Green MSP was read out . There were also people from no political or campaigning group They all agreed to be back at the airport if the flights do not stop, and all will be continuing the campaign until no CIA flights come from Prestwick


I went to Prestwick with a small group to hand in a letter for Steven Fitzgerald, the man responsible for managing Infratils asset.

I am writing to you Mr Fitzgerald about the daily reports of extraordinary renditions which are published in national newspapers and other media, not only here in Scotland but also throughout Europe, the Americas and in Oceania

The CIA regularly fly to Glasgow Prestwick Airport to refuel, what we in Scotland call, ‘torture flights.’

It appears that the CIA illegally kidnaps, drugs, blindfolds and handcuffs people they suspect of being terrorists. They then fly them to third countries where there is a real risk of their suspects being tortured. Indeed, we know that tortures have taken place. We have read accounts of these tortures, eg, waterboarding, which the US government have sanctioned as an acceptable interrogation technique or beatings, electric shocks, or the threat of, or actual rape. One victim’s account included his penis being cut with a razor blade

Torture is also illegal. It is also morally unacceptable.

It is also unacceptable that Scottish airports, including Prestwick are being used to facilitate these flights. In fact, Glasgow Prestwick is a favoured refuelling spot.

Do you have any knowledge concerning these torture flights?

I am sure that your company does not want to be associated with them. No decent publicly minded company would. Your company professes the advantages of partnership with local communities, but the community here in Ayrshire do not want our county and our’Pure, Dead, Brilliant’ airport to be party to facilitating the CIA in their extraordinary renditions

In her recent trip to Europe, Condoleeza Rice admitted that a ‘mistake’ has been made in that an innocent man was kidnapped by the CIA and transported to a third country where he was tortured.

But he is not the only one.

When I first read of the CIA’s extraordinary renditions I was appalled to discover that only a few miles from my home these flights land and refuel. I immediately wrote to my MP, Brian. H. Donohoe to express my concern. Unfortunately his reply offered me no assurances that no such illegal practices are taking place.

I would like to remind you that complicity in torture is illegal according to international and domestic law. Individual governments are being advised to investigate these alleged crimes, furthermore, individuals can be held responsible if there is evidence that it was known that the torture flights were or are taking place.

I also wrote to all the MSP’s in Holyrood and many of them are as appalled and disgusted as myself. The European MP’s for Scotland are also against these flights. In the European political arena Westminster and Holyrood many questions have been asked and at present there are motions calling for police investigations to be instigated.

Does your company have any authority to prohibit the refuelling of the CIA owned or chartered flights at Glasgow Prestwick?

If not, can you tell me which institution or individual does have that authority?

If your company does have that authority, will you not use it to stop facilitating this inhumane, immoral and illegal practise?

Does the CIA pay any fees for the services Glasgow Prestwick provides, or is it the private companies who own the aircraft, which pay, what I can only describe as ‘blood money’?

Glasgow Prestwick is a regional gateway for business and our Local Authorities here in Ayrshire are really keen to promote tourism, but the reputation of Scotland and Ayrshire is being brought into disrepute and by facilitating the extraordinary renditions I believe, as do many others, that our Country, county and airports are even bigger possible targets for unwanted terrorist activity.

So many of us here in Ayrshire, Scotland, Europe and the wider global community travel through Glasgow Prestwick and we no longer feel as secure as we should be, because of the CIA policy of abduction to third countries including Guantanamo, Cuba, where we know that torture is routinely practised.

I have sent a similar letter to BAA concerning the use of other Scottish and UK airports asking them to answer similar questions.

I think that I should add that my letter writing campaign has grown since my first letter to Brian H. Donohoe. I started a blog, Dens Den, where the replies to my letter are published and now a new group has been formed which will ceaselessly campaign to end the renditions and torture.

This letter will be published on the site as will your reply should you chose to respond.

I urge you to do all that you can to bring an end to the inhumane, immoral and illegal practise of extraordinary renditions.

I look forward to your response.

Tuesday 20th

Carol has posted reports about the protests in the comments section. Thank you everyone who made it to one of the airports and thank you for all the work that was done to get the protests organised so quickly.

I am hoping now, that more people will try to do something to stop these horrible flights.

Update on Guantanamo marchers.

The marchers spent three days at the base fasting and praying and then returned back to the states.

They were detained for a while and had to explain why they went to Cuba without first getting permission.

But visit their site at Witness against Torture to read their own accounts.


There is an interesting item in the Sunday Times about moonlighting soldiers. They moonlight in Iraq too according to the report I linked to in an earlier post. A Fistful of Contractors.

I have recieved a mail from Ian who wrote to Katy Clark. An MSP. She is concerned about the torture flights.

Read her letter on the comments section of this post.


Wednesday 21st

Good article in Common Dreams.


Another piece on the Privatisation of Interrogation from Democracy Now. You can read, watch or listen.

Here is a message from the Guantaname Marchers.

Dear Friends,

On Saturday, December 17th, the last group of the Guantanamo 25 returned
to the United States, flying into Newark with bags of dirty clothes and a
lot of good stories. We were stopped by OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets
Control) and questioned about our activities in Cuba. They went through
our bags, made copies of papers and our passports, and had us fill out a
questionnaire. We are not sure what will come of this "processing," but we
are pretty confident that threatening letters from the U.S. government
will soon darken our mail boxes. We will let you know what happens.

But, enough about us! We want to thank all of you for your prayers and
support and fasting in solidarity with the prisoners. We walked and
vigiled as a group of 25, but we were constantly aware of all of you
walking and vigiling with us.

In the few days since we returned, we have been overwhelmed with
appreciation for our Witness Against Torture. Pressure against torture and
illegal detention grows along with hunger and thirsting for justice.

As we prepare for the holidays, we are especially grateful for everyone in
our communities who had double portions of work while we were gone. We are
also grateful for the work of a few extra hardworking people-- Mike
McGuire, Matt Smucker, David Meieran and Jonathan Greenburg.... their
media and web expertise, tireless phone work and attentiveness to us on
the ground made our witness possible, and made it possible for others to
know about it, and witness with us.

The group will be meeting soon to evaluate the action and consider next
steps. In the meantime, we will continue to update the website
(www.witnesstorture.org). If you have photos or reports from solidarity
actions, please email press@witnesstorture.org.

11 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

From Carol.

I welcome Bush's climbdown over torture. It's only a partial victory
for those who have opposed torture though, and a tactical retreat on
the part of these neo-cons. They'll be back for more, next time they
can wind up a few terrorist nutters enough to kill Western
civilians.

They're not banning renditions flights, to traffic terror suspects
to countries where torture is commonplace.

And considering they've redefined torture, so that it doesn't
include practices such as waterboarding or painful, dangerous,
lengthy restraint, I wouldn't be sleeping any easier in my bed, if I
was an innocent Muslim, such as Khaled el Masri.

They've also not admitted that some of the people who have died in
US custody were tortured to death.

They absolutely refuse to admit that abuse of prisoners has been
official policy, rather than the actions of a few misguided sadists.

Hope many of the people on this site can make it to the actions
against the use of Scotland's airports to facilitate renditions
flights on Sunday at noon. There are demos at Prestwick, Glasgow,
Edinburgh and Inverness.

Someone sent me a wee song to sing. Shame I cannae. I hope others
can.

O say can you see by the dawn's early light
An American plane, CIA torture flight.
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the crimes of George Bush and his lies to the brave....


Nice one Carol.

All together now...

1:38 pm  
Anonymous Alistair said...

From Alistair

I am discusted with how the people supported to protect our families and friends are atually allowing tortures in and above our countries.

I cant express as well as Denise nor Carol. But simply saying that it is wrong is an understatement of understatements.

These tortures are happening all the time and arnt being stopped nor slowed.

I am utterly discusted with the fact that they are called soldiers. In the dictionary they are described as so: 'A diligent worker for a cause.' What is this cause? What is the reason for this suffering to continue? And why is it still continuing?

I have heard G.Bush use the word 'justice' but where is this justice? Yet again i have looked in the dictionary which says it is a quality of just, integrity, rightness, awarding what is due. I want to know what can be said of this. How i also wish that in many years, as Denise has also said, to be able to call war, torture and other such things as pat times never to re-endured.

Denise stated that many great accoplichments have benn done by 'ordinary people.' I wonder what our so called 'superiors' think of this, and I hope this is difficult for them to explain, cover up and even constantly lie about it as the more difficult for them the better for us.

My final question is this: is there an end to all the lies and deceite?

3:26 am  
Anonymous Carol said...

I'm just posting some of the media coverage of the renditions demos here. It seems we've had a big impact.

On Sunday's the early evening Scottish news yesterday, the demos were the top story on the BBC and ITV.

When the police tried to move the protestor in the orange jumpsuit and chains, in case he "injured himself" the reporter said "It is this attention to the law that the protestors want the police to show .....to these flights."

There is favourable coverage in the Herald today (Monday) but you'll have to buy it, because it's not on their online version. (Because they know we'll buy their paper to see the coverage?) It's worth buying today anyway, because there are three excellent letters re renditions.

There is also a positive story in the Scottish Daily Mirror, but
it's not online, so again you'll have to buy it to see it.

The coverage in the Scotsman is fantastic, in that they take up a
whole page letting the American Consulate defend the USA on all
sorts of stuff, before putting the demo story on the next page. Who
is feeling the pressure?

From the Scotsman:

Protester Robert Lawrence lies bound, blindfolded and gaged, and
wearing an orange boilersuit, at the entrance to Edinburgh airport.
Picture: Colin Hattersley
US slams 'frenzy of paranoia' over prisoner flights but rules out
any British inspections
GETHIN CHAMBERLAIN CHIEF NEWS CORRESPONDENT
Key points
• US Scottish consul says allegations on extraordinary rendition are baseless
• Cecile Shea says accusers wish to tarnish America's reputation
• Ms Shea says detractors always ignore US philanthropy toward other nations
Key quote
"The fact is that the Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] has said that we do not move terrorist suspects to third countries in order for them to be tortured, and I take her word for it. I have
no reason not to believe it" - Cecile Shea
Story in full THE United States has accused its critics of indulging in a "frenzy of paranoia" over the movement of prisoners around Europe.
Cecile Shea, the US consul in Scotland, said a small group of
people in Europe were determined to use "baseless allegations" to
tarnish her country's reputation.
The US has been accused of using European airports as stopping-off
points during the movement of prisoners to third countries, a
process known as extraordinary rendition. There have been claims
that those third countries practise torture to extract information, and last Thursday, the European Parliament announced an investigation.
The US has refused to confirm or deny the allegations, but, in an
exclusive interview with The Scotsman, Ms Shea said the furore over the alleged use of British airports - including Glasgow and
Prestwick - by aircraft operated by, or on behalf of, the CIA was
misplaced.
"There is this almost frenzy of paranoia that every plane that is
passing through Prestwick must have something illegitimate going
on, and the fact is that we don't think that any of those planes
have anything illegitimate going on and, indeed, most of them have
absolutely nothing to do with intelligence," she said. "I will say that there seems to be a very small group of people in Europe who
will criticise us no matter what we do and who are not afraid to
use baseless allegations against us.
"The fact is that the Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] has
said that we do not move terrorist suspects to third countries in
order for them to be tortured, and I take her word for it. I have
no reason not to believe it."
Ms Shea went on: "I think that the underlying thing that has been
lost in this controversy is what we are trying to do. We are trying
to prevent another 9/11 or 7/7 and we believe that we have already
prevented terrorist attacks against our citizens and against your citizens."
She said unwarranted assumptions were being made about every US
government flight into Scotland. However, she said she could not
confirm or deny the claims that some were involved in extraordinary
renditions.
"The fact is that our co-operation with the various European and
Middle Eastern and with all the intelligence agencies around the
world is saving people's lives, which is what our goal is against a
very dangerous enemy," she said, adding: "We haven't engaged in any
behaviour that is illegal. Everything we have done has been
consistent with international law."
But Ms Shea ruled out allowing British officials on to American
flights to check them, arguing that the US did not carry out such
checks on the aircraft of other countries using its airbases to
refuel.
The US has come under sustained pressure from around the world over
the allegations surrounding its handling of terrorism suspects, but
Ms Shea said she believed the level of public antipathy towards her country had been overstated.
"I think that there are a small number of people who make a lot of
noise about not trusting the US and not liking the US right now,
but I do not think that represents the majority, certainly in
Scotland; that is not my experience," she said. "People have a right to complain; people have a right to ask questions. What I think we need to ask ourselves is, 'Do people have any factual basis for these allegations?' and the answer is 'no'."
She said the reality was that most people understood that the US
was involved in an unconventional war with a very dangerous group
of people. "I don't think we are rewriting the rules, but I do think that some traditional concepts do not apply when dealing with non-state combatants," Ms Shea said.
It was not possible, she went on, to deal with the terrorists in a
conventional way. "Who do we negotiate a peace treaty with right
now? What country are we actually trying to defeat? There is no
country - there is a loosely knit group of individuals who basically hate everything that we stand for and have stated that they want to destroy our way of life," she said.
Ms Shea said it would be a mistake to worry about how to make the
more vocal critics of the US love the country. Instead, her
nation's first priority was to protect its citizens and those of
its allies, adding that the UK still ranked as the US's "most important ally". She said: "I think in the long term people will respect that and will appreciate it, and whether or not people respect or appreciate it today or yesterday or right at this very second, we really can't waste too much energy being concerned about that."
However, she did express some irritation at the way the US is
perceived by the rest of the world, citing its humanitarian work in Africa as an example of positive action going unrecognised.
"We don't get credit for the enormous amount of money that we are investing in Africa right now, in terms of fighting AIDS, in terms
of treating AIDS patients, in terms of building schools, in terms
of educating, particularly women and children," she said.
"It is an enormous amount of money and, yes, we have an enormous
economy and we should be investing that sort of money in the health
of the world's poorest countries, but when you read what some
people said in the press, a person would think that we are not
spending a dime."
Instead, she said, critics preferred to misrepresent the US
response to climate change talks.
"I think part of the reaction to the US on climate change is
sometimes a little bit self-serving and naive," she said.
Ms Shea defended her government's approach, arguing that if,
through a commitment to fighting global warming, the US wrecked its
economy, that would have a knock-on effect around the world which
would cause even greater suffering.
"In the end, by protecting our economy, we also are helping the
world. But no-one looks at it that way," she said.
"What happens if there were to be a major global economic downturn?
What do you think the mood of all the populations in the world
would suddenly be to conservation and working on climate change? I
think there would be a really negative reaction to the decisions
that have been made and we want to avoid that."

Protesters target Scots airports allegedly used by 'torture flights'
RHIANNON EDWARD
SCORES of demonstrators yesterday protested at three Scottish
airports allegedly used for refuelling stops during the CIA's
secret "torture flights".
About 150 protesters from groups such as the Stop the War coalition
joined opposition MSPs to hand out leaflets at Edinburgh, Glasgow
and Prestwick airports.
The protesters claim the UK has breached international law by
allowing the extraordinary rendition flights, which some claim
carry terror suspects to be tortured by US-friendly regimes, to
land on Scottish soil.
At Edinburgh airport, the Scottish Socialist Party leader, Colin
Fox, said: "Our government admits and the CIA admits that these
flights stopped at this airport. They say they were normal and
routine but we don't believe them.
"The onus is on them to prove to us that these flights did not
contain people kidnapped from one country and taken to another
because it has a regime that allows torture."
He added: "People here are going away for Christmas to escape the
cold weather and they would be horrified at the prospect of their
planes parked on the tarmac next to a 'CIA tours' jet with
passengers in orange jumpsuits and manacles on their way to Bagram
prison or Guantanamo Bay."
Protesters at Prestwick and Glasgow released 176 balloons to
symbolise the number of CIA flights they say have landed in
Scotland.
However, police in Edinburgh vetoed the release as the helium-
filled balloons could have presented a danger to aircraft.
Also attracting the attention of Lothian and Borders Police was
Robert Lawrence, who attempted to lie down in front of the main
entrance dressed in an orange boilersuit, blindfold and shackles.
The 27-year-old Royal Mail employee was moved on.
Carole Alubaid, 65, a retired casualty nurse from Bathgate, brought her nine-year-old granddaughter Elodie Baldwin, to the hour-long protest.
"I'm fighting for this child's future," she said. "These flights
are nothing better than a form of state terrorism."
Ian Drummond, a student at Edinburgh's Trinity Academy, said: "This reminds me of the most blood-chilling dilemma of the 20th century - why did the German people do nothing when the Jews were being transported to the death camps?
"It is our duty as citizens of a country that still has some
vestiges of democracy to make sure we do something."
Not everyone agreed. South African holiday-maker Etienne De Fortier
said: "I don't support [the flights] but these people are a bit
naive if they think it never happened before."
Keir McKechnie, co-secretary of the Glasgow Stop the War coalition,
said more protests were planned in the New Year.

[I sincerely hope I find the time to write a letter to The Scotsman about that. Firstly, the claims of America's benevolence by Ms Shea are all mush.
Secondly, I can assure you that air traffic control in Glasgow and Prestwick said it was safe to release the helium balloons. How come the Edinburgh balloons posed a danger? You naughty Edinburgh protesters!
Lastly, to Mr De Fortier, we are not naive, we just believe that when the UK Government, the Scottish Executive and senior police refuse to intervene to stop Scotland fuelling torture, we will intervene.]


This next one is from the Daily Record:

>IRPORTS PROTEST AT 'TORTURE FLIGHTS
ABOUT 150 human rights campaigners staged protests at three
airports yesterday against CIA "torture flights". MSPs joined
groups such as Stop the War Coalition at Edinburgh, Glasgow and
Prestwick airports.
They were backing claims by Amnesty International
that "extraordinary rendition" flights have landed on Scottish soil.
The flights used Scots airports to refuel while taking terror
suspects to US-friendly regimes where torture could be used in
interrogations, say Amnesty.
Scottish Socialist Party leader Colin Fox called for action from
police chiefs and answers from First Minister Jack McConnell.
He said: "It is an outrage that the UK Government accepts American
denials. The Scottish people are not going to follow others into
the murky depths of history, claiming that they didn't know what
was being done in their name."
One of the protesters was postman Robert Lawrence, 27, who was
dressed in a Guantanamo Bay-style orange boiler suit with his hands
and feet shackled to represent the alleged human rights abuses.
Demonstrators released 176 balloons at each of the three airports
to symbolise the number of CIA flights to have landed on Scottish
soil.
At Glasgow Airport, Fox's SSP colleague, Rosie Kane MSP, said: "The Executive can't hide under the cloak of devolution any longer.
"The evidence is mounting that a crime under Scottish and
international law has been committed on our soil and so why won't the police and ministers act?
"The people of Scotland don't want to align ourselves with this
barbarity."
The Scottish parliament will discuss the flights on Thursday.

[The SSP has called the debate on Thursday. Hopefully they and the Greens and others will get the Scottish Executive to take action over this.]

4:02 pm  
Anonymous Carol said...

Here is coverage from the BBC website:

Protest over 'prisoner flights'

Edinburgh Airport was the scene of one of the protests
More than 150 people took part in protests at three Scottish airports over allegations they have been used for CIA "prisoner transfer" flights.
Scottish Socialist Party MSPs and the Stop the War Coalition were among those at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick.

The protest came days before an SSP debate at Holyrood on the flights.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said there was no evidence America was using UK airports to move CIA terror suspects.

Amnesty International has claimed that planes refuelled in Scotland after transferring detainees to countries where they risked torture.

It said it had information about two flights in 2001 and one in 2002 where planes had landed at Prestwick after taking detainees to Jordan and Egypt.

Sunday's protests were staged by campaigners who want Scottish police to investigate the "rendition" flights.

'Political will'

Socialist MSP Rosie Kane urged First Minister Jack McConnell to ask the US Government whether it has used Scottish territory for extraordinary rendition.

"The Scottish Executive can't hide under the cloak of devolution any longer on this," she said.

"The evidence is mounting that a crime under Scottish and international law has been committed on our soil and so why won't the police and ministers act?


Balloons were released at Glasgow Airport on Sunday

"The people of Scotland don't want to align ourselves with this barbarity."

Scottish National Party justice spokesman Kenny MacAskill said the Scottish Executive had "stood idly by" while prisoners were transported through Scotland.

"This is fundamentally a political and not a police matter, and so it requires a political will to end it," he said.

"Ministers must ensure that Scotland's police forces are in no doubt that they will have the executive's full backing if they intervene to stop this practice now."

US denial

The protesters at Edinburgh Airport included 27-year-old postman Robert Lawrence, who was dressed in a Guantanamo Bay-style orange boiler suit with his hands and feet shackled.

Demonstrators released 176 balloons at the three airports to symbolise the number of CIA flights they claim have landed on Scottish soil.

The US has admitted that terror suspects have been flown abroad for interrogation, but denied they were tortured.

The SSP will stage a Scottish Parliament debate on the flights on Thursday.

4:06 pm  
Anonymous Carol said...

And lastly, here is the coverage of the demos from the Times:

The Times December 19, 2005

Airport protests over CIA 'torture flights'
By a Scotland Correspondent







MORE than 150 human rights campaigners staged protests at three airports against alleged secret CIA “torture flights” yesterday. MSPs joined groups such as Stop the War Coalition at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick to demonstrate over claims by Amnesty International that so-called “extraordinary rendition” flights have landed on Scottish soil.

They said that the UK would be acting illegally by allowing Scots airports to be used for any refuelling flights taking terror suspects to United States-friendly regimes where torture could be used in interrogations. Speaking from Edinburgh airport, Colin Fox, the Scottish Socialist Party leader, called for action from police chiefs and answers from Jack McConnell, the First Minister. “US denials that their regime traffics terrorist suspects for the purpose of torturing them are based on an Orwellian redefinition of torture, which excludes techniques that most civilised people would regard as torture,” Mr Fox said. “It is an outrage that the UK Government accepts these denials. The Scottish people are not going to follow others into the murky depths of history, claiming that they didn’t know what was being done in their name.”

Strathclyde and Lothian and Borders Police said there were 50 protesters at each of the three airports and the demonstrations were peaceful with no arrests.

4:09 pm  
Anonymous Carol said...

I was at the demo at Glasgow Airport and it was good fun, despite the horrible weather. I thought the turn out was good. The actions were called at short notice and not publicised in advance, in case they were banned. It was the last Sunday before Xmas and the airports are expensive to get to.

We've made a big impact just by being there.

It's heartening to know that the American Consulate will give a lengthy newspaper interview in response to the protests of just 150 demonstrators. Obviously not in the least bit bothered by our actions, and our ability to sway the minds of the people!

Well done to everyone who has been involved in this campaign in any way.

Alistair, I am really glad you posted here. Your sense of outrage at what is being done in our name is an inspiration to me to keep going with this.

The lies and deceit will be exposed. We've got them on the run on this issue.

4:20 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks Carol for searching out all those newspaper reports and posting them here.

Its great that three airports were visited by the protesters. It was very short notice and the weather was rotten. Added to that , it is so close to Christmas.

The balloons looked great and the slogan is spot on.

Congratulations everyone for getting this first day of action against the torture flights organised.

3:30 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Hi Alistair.

Thank you for taking the time to post here.

You are right about the torture flights being disgusting.

It is hard to believe that in the 21st century human beings can still behave as if they had never heard or learned about justice and human rights.

The US and UK governments not only preach democracy and expect our 'civilised society' to adhere to the rules and laws which are meant to govern our behaviour but they also bomb, kill, torture, lie and deceive and will justify their appaling actions as a means of democratising other civilian populations.

It doesn't make sense. Does it?

What it does mean is, that our democracies are not as democratic as they would have us believe.

But the whole idea of bringing freedom and democracy to an oppressed nation can now be seen for what it really is.

Oil, and the wealth and power which accrues to those who control the oil rich nations.

The US and the UK have no intention of leaving Iraq until they have the oil secure.

Personally I don't believe that will happen unless Iraq's resources are owned and managed by and for the people of Iraq.

In the meantime the War on Terror will continue as will the war on democracy.

If more people turned their disgust into something positive, the way you and Carol have and all the other people who are trying to end these injustices have done, we could end these flights.

We've got to believe we can. We've just got to keep trying.

Thanks again Alistair.

Keep us posted of anything you do to further the cause.

Remember, if you cannot do something big, do something small. But do something. Every little bit helps.

3:57 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Reply from Katy Clark MSP

Thank you very much for your fax dated 20 November 2005 regarding the above matter. I am glad that you have raised this matter with me as I am completely opposed to such practices.

I am planning to table a Parliamentary Question on this matter as I feel that my constituents should be aware of what is occurring at Scottish airports. I am opposed to the use of any airport, Scottish or otherwise being used as re-fuelling stops for these flights which are allegedly carrying terrorist suspects who will then be taken to camps where there is a risk of torture.

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue and please do not hesitate to contact me again on this or any other issue.

With very best wishes,


Yours sincerely,

- signed -


Katy Clark

Mmember of Parliament

North Ayrshire and Arran

Thank you Ian for writing to Katy.

I had heard that Katy is one of the 'good guys' and I was saddened that we hadn't heard from her.

But now we know better.

I would appreciate it if you have written to one of yor representatives about the torture flights and had a reply to let Dens Den know.

We might misca' a sympathiser. I wouldn't want to do that.

11:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blog is great,unique,essential but be much better with more attention paid to formatting, seperating thoughts/articles, (and more http://links), bold headings nad key bits etc etc widening column

9:38 am  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for that Anon.

The compliment and the criticism. :)

I realy do need to improve the look of it.

In my case ignorance is not bliss and is no excuse either. I am trying to learn as I go along but you are defintootly right.

Will try to get to grips with it over the holidays.

10:18 am  

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