Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Torture Flights, Scotland and Beyond.

The torture flights are now being reported daily in our media. More European countries are expressing their concern about the use of their airspace and airports in facilitating torture flights.
Protest groups have formed and actions against the flights are taking place. I believe that there will be more protests, some of which will take place in Scotland.
I will try to keep informed of any protests, and will appreciate it, if anyone hears of any actions being taken anywhere, if you could let Dens Den know.

In the meantime, I would like to recommend The Sunday Herald, BBC News web site, Craig Murray's web site, and Amnesty UK. I have signed up for the daily newsletter from the Information Clearing House. In todays newsletter for instance there are articles from the Guardian concerning the torture flights. You will also be able to read news reports from all over the world. Another very good site is Democracy Now. It is a US site. It is too easy to forget that not all Americans are oblivious to the realities of this world. Although I do think that there are many people in the US who were shocked by what they learned in the wake of the Katrina Hurricane. There are also some very good articles in the Guardian.




The letter writing campaign will continue and replies will be published. Please write to Chief Constable William Rae. contactus@strathclyde.pnn.police.uk or to your Chief Constable if you live outside of the Strathclyde area.
I have sent Chief Constable Rae a link to documents released by the US Department of Defense concerning autopsy reports on people who have died whilst under the care of US intelligence services.
21 deaths have been recorded as homicide.

Goodness knows how many more have survived brutal interrogation and how many more will die.

Is this the way to persuade non democratic countries to embrace democracy?

7pm

I have just heard a snippet of Harold Pinters acceptance lecture for the Nobel Prize for Literature and think that it's definately worth hearing more. He castigates the US and the UK for the horrible bloody mess of a country, that they have made of Iraq.

You will find the page at the Nobel Prize site. I don't know as yet whether or not he refers to the criminal acts of the CIA regarding the handing over of human beings to torturers but I will be surprised if he doesn't.
Good for you Harold.

7.30pm

I have just read it It is so very, very good. He says what I think a lot us of would say. He really made that opportunity to speak as a citizen. My blood ran cold when he recounted a conversation between a US Ambassador and a Nicaraguan priest.

I've just read that Harold Pinter has been admitted to hospital.

Thursday 12pm
The Law Lords have just ruled that evidence extracted under torture should be ruled as inadmissable. Read more here on the BBC news site.

I have also recieved information that Shannon airport is also being used by the CIA to refuel and that somehow Amnesty have managed to get their hands on flight logs. Read more about this at the Amnesty UK site.

Please write to your Regional Police.

3pm.
I have just read a very good article at the Information Clearing House site. Written by an S. Brian Wilson who at one time was head of an ASAF combat unit in Vietnam. He is now a peace campaigner. He argues that the use of torture is historic and widespread in the US.
From the early pioneers, who slaughtered the Native peoples through to today in Iraq and Guantanamo.
Let us remember though that the early pioneers were from the shores of Britain and the rest of Europe.

Friday 9am.

Witnesses Against Torture are an American group who are on a march to Guantanamo. They arrived in Santiago De Cuba on Monday 5th and will march 50 miles to Guantanamo hoping to arrive there on Monday 12th. I recieved a message from them and I have put it in the comments section below this post. On their site is a solidarity letter to the Commander of the Naval Base at Guantanamo, Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush. If you visit the site why not sign their letter.

6.30pm.

Earlier on to day I found out that Prestwick Airport is owned by a private company named Infratil and managed by another called HRL Morrison & Co.

Morrison & Co are an investment bank and will be headed up by the type of person who will put 'profit before people'.
For example, Sreven Fitzgerald who is Chief Executive for Prestwick worked for the Australian Department of Transport and wasresponsible for 'overseeing' the privatisation of Austrailia's airport infrastructure.

Infratil and HRL Morrison &Co. share directors. Lloyd Morrison is not only Chief Executive of Morrison's but also a director of Infratil.

In business anybody's money is as good as anybody else's.

I wonder how much they get in fees from the CIA for furnishing them with a 'torturers stopover' point?



5 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

I have just read in the Arizona Daily Star that the US has admitted that the abduction and imprisonment of a German citizen was a mistake.

You can read about the events surrounding this 'mistake' on the excellent democracynow site. The title of the article is,
'Extraordinary Rendition Scandal Reaches New Heights'.

You can read a transcript or listen.

I thank a lady named Colette for directing me to this info.

I was surprised to learn that it is a Tory MP, Andrew Tyrie, who is being interviewed. He is chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition.

I believe that this group has now formed because there are many people who are expressing their disgust about the torture flights, inside the corridors of power, outside the corridors and in the media.

Keep going folks.

3:41 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Letter to Irene Oldfather and others.

Dear Irene,

I send this to you for your information.

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news/
press/16659.shtml


You will note that I have sent copies to Chris Ballance, whose motion you still have not signed, Brain Donohoe, who I am sure will be interested in knowing and Strathclyde Police who may be able use this knowledge when considering an investigation.

You may also like to know that the Law Lords have just ruled that the use of evidence extracted under torture should be considered inadmissible in a court of law.

What more do the police require?

What more do the Labour Liberal coalition in Holyrood need before a public announcement condemning these flights is made?


The ruling by the Law Lords is very good news. If evidence extracted through the use of torture cannot be used then one of the disincentives for using torture is removed.
But the evidence will still be used in the US. This ruling is not enough. But is a good start.

The question I want answered is why arre the Scottish Police not investigating?

Are they breaking the law?

I think now that they probably are.
Keep writing to your local Chief Constable.

12:48 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

I have just found out that there is another motion tabled in the Scottish Parliament.
This time by Carolyn Leckie.

Here it is. It includes the information I sent to her about the autopsy reports on detainees under US supervision.


S2M-03709 Carolyn Leckie (Central Scotland) (SSP): Stop the Torture Flights

That the Parliament expresses extreme concern following the publication of autopsy reports, obtained under freedom of information legislation, of detainees held overseas who have died in the custody of the US Government. which show that, of 44 autopsies of detainees, 21 of the deaths were homicides, 8 of which appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees, information which can be obtained at http://action.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/
102405/;
believes that the admission of Condoleeza Rice about the practice of “rendition” and the latest information that Glasgow and Prestwick airports are the most often used airports for refuelling these alleged “torture flights” means that Scottish airspace and land has been used to facilitate the practice of torture and human rights abuses; believes that, given the widespread awareness of this information, the Westminster Government, Scottish Executive and Scottish police forces cannot claim to have no knowledge of this practice and have an unequivocal responsibility to bring into custody anyone who lands these planes in Scotland or who assists these flights in full knowledge of their purpose; notes that the former Law Lord and judge, Lord Steyn, has said that UK ministers may be guilty of war crimes if they are aware of the flights; believes that the Scottish Executive should issue a statement about its intentions in relation to its criminal justice and human rights responsibilities and indicate what it is doing to stop Scottish airspace and Scottish facilities being used for the purposes of facilitating torture and human rights abuses, and further believes that any workers at Scottish airports who refuse to co-operate with these flights and any citizens who take action to prevent these flights, or to bring perpetrators to justice, are upholding international law and should be commended for doing so.

Good on you Carolyn.

I guess it's back to letter writing to the MSP's.

Help us here folks, please.

8:16 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

This is the message I recieved fro the Guantanamo marchers.


“We made this camp for people who would be here forever. You should
never think of going home. You’ll be here for all your
life...Don’t worry. We’ll keep you alive so you can suffer
more.”
-A US interrogator speaking to a juvenile prisoner named Mohamed in
Guantánamo*
The detention center at the United States (US) Naval Base at
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba was made for the purposes of secrecy,
unaccountability and impunity. The few reports that do reach us tell
of prisoners - men who are fathers, sons and brothers - without contact
with their families, with very little or no contact with attorneys, of
interminable detention without legal charge, of rendition, of
kidnapping and the sale of prisoners to US authorities, of the
desecration of the Qur’an, and of unconscionable prisoner humiliation
and abuse. These reports have put the base with its counterpart in
Iraq,
Abu Ghraib prison, at the center of serious charges of US torture.
Despite US government and media attempts to hide it, there is every
reason to believe such horrific practices are routine there and in
other facilities around the world.
Inspired by the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy Day and the Catholic
Worker, we, people of faith from the US, plan to march solemnly to the
US Naval Base in order to state without compromise our rejection of
torture and abuse and loudly proclaim our stance in defense of human
dignity. Recognizing that it degrades not only the humanity of its
victims but also that of its perpetrators, we appeal to the soldiers at
Guantánamo, our brothers and sisters, to end the torture. We approach
the base to inform the world at large and the prisoners held within
that their treatment is not countenanced by people of goodwill.
We come with a simple request coming from the mandate to Christians to
perform the Works of Mercy: we come to visit the prisoners. As people
of faith, we believe our own dignity and humanity are bound up
undeniably with the dignity and humanity of all other people. We are
driven by faith and conscience to respond to this humanity. We hear the
cry of the prisoners when we read of hunger strikes and are compelled
to
do what little we can, to answer: you are not forgotten.
We come so far to visit the prisoners, to do a Work of Mercy, because
the very existence of the detention camps at Guantánamo Bay defies a
coherent ethical explanation. Putting detention camps at Guantánamo
Bay Naval Base is an effort to hide both the prisoners and the inhuman
and illegal practices allowed and enforced from ordinary Americans like
ourselves. In our name, and in the name of the war on terrorism, the US
government is committing immoral and illegal acts, mocking and ignoring
international law - all at a place it is illegal for us even to visit.
This secrecy, this silence, cannot go on.
Ordinary citizens have been asked by government and military leaders to
tolerate, indeed to fund, the continued violence as we go on with our
lives. Mohamed, the prisoner mentioned above, has said, “Before I
came to Guantánamo, I had hope. After this, I lost all hope.” We
cannot go on with our lives if it means we must tolerate what is
happening; while few are guilty of torture, we are all responsible. We
do, and we must, believe that we can do better than this.
We hold the treatment of prisoners, especially those, like Mohamed, at
Guantánamo Bay, as a mirror to our societal soul - as long as some of
us are degraded, all of us are; as long as some of us are chained, none
of us are free.
*Amnesty International, “Who Are the Guantánamo Detainees?” July,
2005. www.amnesty.org. Mohamed C., age 14 at the time of his arrival
at Guantánamo, is a Chadian national born in Saudi Arabia.
For more information, visit: www.marchtoguantanamo.org


I sent them a message of solidarity and recieved this reply,


Thank you for the note. Yes, let's stay in touch. And please keep us
posted on any solidarity action or vigil that you organize!

Best,
Mike McGuire

9:25 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Den I did a search for stuff about these torture flights, because
I am so angry that they are happening, and that Scottish airports
are being used for them, and I found your blog.

> I don't really want to show that I am a member of the UK but haven't yet learned
> how to make it disappear.An Independent Scotland should do it.

I'm a member of Independence First, the single-issue, non-party-political, campaign
which is demanding (yes, that's right, demanding, not petitioning for) a referendum
on independence for Scotland. The campaign just started this year. We think it should
take us about two years to win our demand for a referendum. Of course when we
achieve that goal, then we will be campaigning for a vote for independence IN that
referendum. We think that this is the best way to achieve an independent Scotland
and make the UK disappear.

(When I say that Independence First is "single issue" and "non-party-political",
I mean just exactly that. Of course individual members of the campaign
do have opinions on other issues, for instance, I just said I am angry
about these torture flights. But IF as such takes no position on anything
but Independence for Scotland. See our website www.independence1st.com .)

9:03 pm  

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