Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Torture Flights. More Protests Planned.

On Sunday 5th February protesters will gather at Scottish airports to hold vigils. Scots are continuing to express their abhorance towards the CIA torture flights.There is a growing dissatisfaction at the way the Blair government is dealing with the process of extraordinary rendition.
See Edinburgh Stop the War coalition for more details.

You will also find details about the Stop the War National March in London on Saturday March 18th at the site.There are two themes to this march. Troops Out of Iraq and No War in Iran. Scroll down to the bottom of this page. You will find information concerning the top ten companies which are profiting from the illegal war in Iraq.
Buses will be leaving from Edinburgh.


At the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Socialist Party MSP Frances Curran has lodged another motion against the torture flights.

Here is the motion in full. So far only two signatures!

S2M-3881 Frances Curran (West of Scotland) (SSP) : No Cover Up On CIA Rendition Flights— That the Parliament welcomes Swiss Senator, Dick Marty's, interim report on his continuing investigation into alleged secret detention centres and the use of airports and airspace within Council of Europe member states to assist the US Government’s policy of extraordinary rendition; notes the Italian judicial investigation into an illegal abduction in the streets of Milan and the subsequent issuing of arrest warrants for 22 American agents as part of the judicial proceedings; notes that, despite Senator Marty's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights having written to member states asking for information concerning the use of their airports for CIA flights, the biggest problem for the committee has been the lack of information provided so far and the lack of co-operation from those governments; calls on member states to provide the information by the stated deadline of 21 February 2006; further notes that the Polish Government ordered an inquiry into the alleged existence of CIA detention centres in Poland, but that the findings have not been published nor provided to the committee; suggests that the real question that Senator Marty's report raises is what information is being hidden and by whom; believes that, if such flights were using airports in Scotland and across Europe for trafficking illegal immigrants, Colombian drugs barons or parcels of cocaine, governments would not be experiencing the same problems in obtaining information, and calls on all governments across Europe to co-operate with Senator Marty and his investigation.

Supported by: Rosie Kane, Tommy Sheridan

Lodged on 26 January 2006; current 26 January 2006

Please write to your MSP's urging them to sign the motion. You can e mail them or get other contact details at the parliaments own site.
Alternatively go to the Write to Them site.If you use Write to them, you will be contacted at a later date to find out if your representative replied?

If you want to write to your Westminster MP to inquire what they are doing to persuade Bliar and his Cabal to co operate with Senator Marty use Write to Them.

Senator Marty is trying to find out how involved European countries have been in the process of extraordinary rendition. He says. 'The whole continent is in the dock'
See the Scotsman for more details. Again in the Scotsman there is a brief report about Amnesty calling on the Scottish Executive to investigate the torture flights.

I have just heard that another British sodier has been killed in Iraq. That brings the total to 100.
See BBC News

Another uneccessary death.
Protests have already been planned.
I will post details as I get them

Today

Glasgow. STWC Tonight Tuesday. 6pm. Naming the Dead. Bridge behind St Enochs Station.

Edinburgh. STWC Tonight Tuesday 5.30pm Naming the Dead. Parliament Square

Aberdeen STWC Tonight Tuesday 5.30. Naming the Dead. War Memorial

Kirkaldy STWAC Tonight. Tuesday 7.pm Town House

Tomorrow.

Stop the War Coalition call for some action. A protest or vigil in every town, city or village in the UK tomorrow evening Wednesday 1st February.

Edinburgh Stop the War have organised a vigil at 5.30pm at Parliament square near to St Giles Cathedral on the High Street Tomorrow evening Wednesday.

Two good blogs to visit. One I have referred to before Reykjavik Transit and the other which I found today,
extraordinary renderings.




Saturday, January 28, 2006

Torture Flights. The pen and the keyboard can be mightier than the sword.

Craig Murray was in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe inquiry into Extraordinary Rendtion. On his way home from one 'democratic' country to another his lap top disappeared along with his notes, documents and personal belongings.
Read his account on his site.
Craig is open minded enough to admit that perhaps he may be a bit paranoid. And , well, yes, he could be, in ths instance, but given his past experience, it is not an unreasonable assumption to make that some state or states have intervened to bring about the disappearance of his personal belongings.

Bush has his snoopers eavesdrop on American citizens, and has them intercepting snail mail. Why not here in the UK.
There are some interesting and informative articles on Statewatch, concerning government powers to snoop here in the UK. Here, here and here.
So Craig, if you are reading this, you are not paranoid. It's a pretty safe bet that your instincts are right. Just make sure you get your lap top checked out by someone you trust before you start to use it again . Assunmng ,of course, that you do get it back.
Some excellent stuff on the Information Clearing House site.
Check out this one. The Killing Fields: Ghosts of the Walking Dead, by Manuel Valenzuela.
If like me you are impressed with the quality of this man's writing you can read more of his work on his own site.
Interestingly, whilst searching for more of this social commentators writings, I found this one about the changing political changes in South America entitled, Not in Our Backyard. It's worth spending some time exploring the site this article is on. See World Crises Web.

On ICH Cindy Sheehan tells us that, A New World is Possible.This one, she says is broken.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Torture Flights. Why have they taken off.

Trying to understand how it has been possible for the US Government to allow the torture flights through our skies is not difficult, when put in the context of US economic, political and foreign policy.

You need only read Rebuilding America's Defences. Strategy, Forces and Resources.

On the homepage of the Information Clearing House you can read key articles amongst which is one entitled Project for the New American Century. This is a summary of the Rebuilding America's Defences document.

You could visit the Projects own site. I like to suggest you take a look at the Stopsleeping site particularly their page on the Project for the New American Century.

Try to read the Amnesty Annual Lecture which was delivered by Noam Chomsky. He puts the so called, 'War on Terror' in an historical and global context.
John Pilger warned us 4 years ago that US policy was deliberately trying to ferment acts of terrorism. Read about it in The New Statesman article, headlined, John Pilger reveals the American Plan. December 16th 2002.

Robert Fisk writes in the Independent about how the images of war have been sanitised so that we the public never really see the true horrors that war inflicts on peoples who like us are trying to raise families and improve their quality of life.

I picked up an e mail yesterday which provided a link to a site containing very disturbing and distressingly horrific photographs of babies, who were born suffering from the effects of radiation poisoning due to the use of depleted uranium used in missiles in the war in Iraq.

Yet another crime against humanity. Another transgression of basic human rights. Done in our name.
For Freedom? For Democracy? To preserve our values and way of life?
To quote Craig Murray, 'Bollocks'.

It's all for power. Global power. Over all spheres of social life .Economic, political, cultural and social domination is the aim. As George Bush said, If you are not with us, then you are against us. How clearer does the man need to be. We need to believe him. Or the planet and all our peoples are going to go further down the road towards destruction.

The Bush Commission site has an audio version of the final session, which took place last weekend. The US congress are considering the possibility of presidential impeachment. That would be a start but it really is not enough. There are more like Bush waiting in the wings. They will have their next leader of the free world lined up.

I hope the American people can work this one out because we will all suffer if they can't.

Another atrocity was reported recently in the Glasgow Herarld on the 20th of January this year. I can't give you the link but you can read an almost similar report on the Yahoo news site. It concerns the deaths of 180,000 East Timorese. The document drawn up by the East Timor's Commission for Reception,Truth and Reconcilliation.
It recommends that reparations are made, not only by the Indonesian authorities, who occupied East Timor but also the countries which backed them, including Australia, Britain and the US.

Please write to you elected representatives expressing your concerns about any or all of the issues, which daily are being raised. You have a voice. Use it. Please.

You can access your MP's, MSP's Euro MP's and Councillors by visiting the Write to Them site.

Liberty can also provide you with campaigning material in the form of paper aeroplanes with information printed on them that you can use to get the message across. It may seem a trite thing to do in response to the barbarity that is being committed in our names but something is better than nothing. Elected representatives say they want to hear from us. Personally I don't think the majority do, but take them at their word. Try it. You might just create a stir, particularly if you can get others to join you. The original letter writing campaign here in Scotland did get the issue higher on the agendas of the Scottish and European Parliaments.

Remember, if you cannot do a big thing, then you can at least do a little thing to try to stop the blatant inhumane immoral and illegal treatment of human beings.

The last word to day is from Robert Burns who was born this day in 1759 and came from my part of the world, Ayrshire, Scotland.

'Whatever mitigates 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 measure of iniquity.'

Monday, January 23, 2006

Torture Flights. Standing up for Justice

The Bush Commission has heard the evidence. Will Bush listen? I fear not. Here in the UK Blair does not listen.
Why then would Bush, who reckons he is on a mission from God! Read more on the Craig Murray site.

Six people, four from Egypt, one from Pakistan and one from London have returned to the US to give their accounts of the treatment they 'enjoyed', whilst guests at the New York detention centre which they had been taken to in the aftermath of 9/11. Read about it at the New York Times.

The Today programme on BBC Radio 4, interviewed Martin Scheinin the UN's Human Rights Commission Special rapporteur.Amongst other things he is questioned about the UK and extraordinary renditions.
The US adminstration just don't want to talk at all.

Meanwhile, Guantanamo hunger strikers are close to death. Amongst them is a British resident. Clive Stafford-Smith of Reprieve represents this man and fears that detainees deaths will cause even more outrage than the desecration of the Koran.
Senator Dick Marty today delivered his interim assessment concerning torture flights throughout Europe. If you visit the Council of Europe site you should be able to access the report and the debate which will take place live at the Council. Craig Murray is due to appear.

Cindy Sheehan has written an article for Gold Star Families for Peace. She is calling for a Peace March on March 8th.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Torture Flights. Controlling the Spin

The newspapers eg, ,The Herald, Independent, and Scotsman are giving the New Statesman's scoop big licks.

The leaked document does make it quite clear that deliberate policy of ignorance to detail has been used to cover government complicity in the torture flights.

They want to hide behind the fact that the US has tried to redefine what is torture. But another thing which is clear is that advice was given to ministers to do all that they can to prevent any doubt being cast on the principle of government assurances. The British government seeks assurances from foreign governments that anyone the UK sends to other countries, eg Algeria, etc, will not be tortured.

In other words Diplomatic assurances are a sham. We did already know that to be the case but there it is, in black and white.

Spin. There's another word which has entered our everyday language. We used to say lie. Ex President Nixon suggested that 'economical with the truth' might be a useful phrase to employ as a way out of admitting that he lied.

Let's drop spin. Spin is lying by ommission.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Torture Flights. Crash Landings?

Are we surprised that there are more leaks?
Personally, I will be surprised if there are no more leaks.
As I'm writing I'm listening to the questions that are being raised with Geoff Hoon during the Business Session today in Westminster. The Today programme on BBC also had a lot of coverage on the latest leak.
I've lost count of how many MP's are raising the latest leak with Mr. Hoon.
Needless to say, he still has no details concerning the torture flights.

There will no doubt be more. People who work in the offices of state are beginning to find their voice. They are to be congratulated.

It's a criticism of our democracy that they should have to remain anonymous when all they are doing is exposing what many of us believe to be criminal behaviour. Complicity to torture is illegal.

Blair, Straw and Hoon, and who knows how many others, are definately suspected of aiding that other criminal administration over the ocean.
It's time for them to take responsibility for their actions, tell the citizens of these shores the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning their part in the practise of extraordinary rendition. While they are at it, tell us the truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the intelligence they based the desicion to wage the illegal war on Iraq.

Tomorrow, in the US, the Bush Commission, or to give it it's full title, The International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration commences it's second session. This initiative has come from concerned citizens. See the Craig Murray site and The Herald.

Is it not time that a similar Commission should be formed here in the UK?

If our elected leaders will not spill the beans, even under the increased pressure they are experiencing then maybe our citizens can at least prize the lid off the can a bit further.

For information relating to the latest leak see Liberty, The Guardian, The Scostman,

Human Rights Watch has just published it's annual report. Report in the Herald.

Friday 20th.

Craig Murray was interviewed on Democracy Now, before taking part in the Bush Commission. You can watch, read or listen.
To read the questioning of Geoff Hoon at Westminster yesterday visit Hansard. There is a lot of other business to plough through but it will give you an indication of the persistence of some MP's to get to the bottom of the recent leaked memo.
According to the Herald, Jack Straw will make a statement today where he hopes to assure the house that the government has fully disclosed all that it knows about the torture flights.

Visit the web site for the Centre for Consitutional Rights and look for the document, it's on the left column, entitled, The Tipton Report. It contains the account of two British detainees who experienced the trauma of kidnapping and torture.
They refer to Brtish involvement.

Friends of Craig Murray have a posted the photograph of a missing person. If you know or have seen this man let them know, please.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Torture Flights. Heroes and Villains

Colin Powell attended a fudraising night at the Glasgow Hilton the other night the Glasgow Herald reports that 200 protesters gathered to protest about the War in Iraq, torture flights and Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
The Scottish Socialist Party was there as well as Edinburgh's Stop the War Group Powell was also interviewed by Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, and he admitted again that the intelligence he presented in the run up to the Iraq invasion was false. There is a brief discussion concerning renditions and the problem of the Iran uranium enrichment issue and the possibilty of another invasion is discussed.

On the Craig Murray site you can read Al Gore's speech where he refer's to Craig's Tashkent Telegrams. You can also read Salman Rushdie's article on how the US government uses language as an attempt to obscure the real meaning of rendition.

Clive Stafford Smith the British American human rights lawyer gave a lecture to law students at Glasgow Strathclyde University. He talks about the prisoners in Death Row and in Guantanamo. Try not to miss this.
Inspite of the ghastly facts he discloses he also manages to entertain by exposing some of the ludicrous anomalies which exist in US law.
To read more about Clive's work visit the Reprieve site. Learn about his casework at the infamous torture camp at Guantanamo Bay.
More can be read about the Omar Deghayes campaign on a dedicated site. Check out their links section. See also Amnesty's site and the American Civil Liberties Union site.

The SNP have accused the Scottish Executive of turning a blind eye to the torture flights. They have compiled a dossier containg dates, places, aircraft numbers and photographs as supporting evidence. Read about it in the Scotsman.

The three independence parties, Scottish Socialists, Greens, SNP, are keeping the pressure on the Labour/Liberal coalition in Holyrood. I hope that they are working together on this issue but why, oh why, did the SNP vote against Frances Currans (SSP) motion in the debate that took place just before the Christmas break?






Monday, January 16, 2006

Torture Flights. Transfers

The ACLU have published documents they requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Many of them have been heavily censored. But amongst them I found this one which refers to transfers of detainees to Great Britain, Denmark, Spain and Russia, as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Other documents refer to Saudi Arabia, to tortures and to the FBI's attitude towards the Military's interrogation techniques.
I have not had time to read them all but..... to me they are damning. In at least one that I have read there is a mention of non governmental outside agencies.

I presume they mean Private Military or Security companies. These companies personel perform many tasks in Iraq and Afghanistan including 'translators', who are present at interrogations.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Torture Flights. The Egyptians are Talking!

The Egyptian fax story is covered in the Swiss Paper Sonntags Blick.

The English translation can be found on Watching America.

This article quotes from the Fax.


"The embassy has via its own sources ascertained that 23 Iraqi and Afghani nationals have indeed been interrogated at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base near Constanţa, Romania, just by the Black Sea. There are similar interrogation facilities in Ukraine, Kosovo, in Macedonia and in Bulgaria."
Furthermore, the fax says that the NGO Human Rights Watch, according to a newspaper article, has evidence that "on the 21st and the 22nd of September 2005, prisoners were transported in U.S. military planes from the Salt Pit base in Kabul, Afghanistan to both the aforementioned Romanian base and the Szymany base in Poland."


Is the dam begining to burst?

Read more on the BBC News site.


The Daily Iraqi Cheese Grader is a blog worth visiting.
The writer has now finished his one year in Iraq. He has lots of informative links and you do get a feel for what his daily life in a war zone has been like. His up's and downs and in between's. I'm glad he got through it.
One of posts did jump out at me. On June 22nd 2005 he describes an incident which happened in Mosul when US soldiers got suspected insurgent mixed up with civilians. They all ended up in detention as they were not able to correct the 'mistake'.

Another blogger to visit is Reykjavik Transit.

Following a link from Reykjavik Transit to the Chicago Tribune I found that the protests in Scotland in December had been reported.
Actions.

I have received a communication telling me that the letter that is being handed in to the US Consulate in Edinburgh on Monday will be handed in on Tuesday instead.

If you would like to join the delegation contact sacctheacts@yahoo.co.uk
On Monday there will be protest at the Hilton Hotel where Colin Powell will be attending a Gala dinner.

For more information see Edinburgh Stop the War



Torture Flights. Who's talking?

Is it Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, former Commander of the ghastly Guantanamo Bay torture camp?
Nope.
The General reckons he has said enough! Good old Constitution. It works for some then.
New York Times has story.

Maybe Nicholas John Andrew Langman will have something to say. He's back here in the UK.
Indymedia has the lowdown on him.
I put Nicks name into a search engine and got a bit of a surprise.
His name comes up in Richard Tomlinsons deposition on the death of...... Princess Diana.
Like Rumsfeld I am not going to inject myself into that particular acitvity.

Curious though.

The American Civil Liberties Union has published many documents which they requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

A not so recent Guardian article reported that the Private Military and Security companies wanted more firepower for theirprotection. It seems they are not getting enough protection from the Official military forces.

I wonder if they got what they wanted?

II'll write to Brain H. Donohoe and ask.

Another site worth visiting is The Centre for Public Integrity.
There's an article from 2002 by Duncan Campbell on the marketing of Private Military and Security Companies. Tim Spicer features large.
The second article Cozy, Clubby and Covert. Is an excellent read.
It refers to a few places in London where concerned people might get a chance to question those 'in the know'.
I don't suppose they want to say much either. And let's face it if you can be charged for saying nonsense at the Labour Party Conference, or for ringing a bell whilst reading out the names of the dead in Iraq, or for walking on a cycle path, or wearing a tee shirt calling for the impeachment of Tony Blair, it might be considered too provocative to ask if any of the clubbers know anything about the torture flights.

Has anyone heard of Task Force 6-26?
Gen up here at the Waging Peace website and at the ICH

Someone else who will never talk again or defend others who do want to talk, is missing Thai Human Rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphijit. He is dead.
According to Craig Murray, Thailand is one of the countries that the CIA use for proxy torturing.



Thursday, January 12, 2006

Torture Flights Meaning What?

Dick Barbour-Might answers questions about the practice of extraordinary rendition in the Scottish Socialist Party newspaper the Voice.

He covers a lot of ground from today’s torture flights and failed vote in the Scottish Parliament back through the 70’s to Pinochet’s Chile and even further to 1930’s Germany.

Dick refers to the US government’s redefinition of torture.

Now the BBC wants to redefine the use of the word ‘terrorist’, according to the Times. Terror attack is ok, but not terrorist. Alternatives, which have been suggested to BBC news editors, by Mark Thompson the BBC Director General, include bomber, attacker, kidnapper, insurgent and militant.

Sounds dodgy to me. Particularly using the word ‘militant.’ Is Cindy Sheehan militant? or Rosie Kane? I'm sure both women would say they are militant about the search for the truth and in stopping an illegal war.

But another article in the Times is even more worrying.

Louise Arbour, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights wrote to Charles Clarke on November 28th raising concerns about the new Terrorism Bill that was to go before the House of Lords.

Clarke did not place the letter in the parliaments library until the 9th of January this year!

It’s bad enough getting no answers, or inadequate answers or downright lies but to not even have the opportunity to ask questions is beyond acceptable in a democracy.

What else has been concealed in this underhand way?

But it’s out now.

Drip. Drip Drip

You will no doubt be aware of the’ war for information’ in the US. The Infomation Clearing House has many articles on the Us government's activities. Here's one from a 'whistleblower' and another about US mail sent from abroad.

Here’s a question.

Will logging your email combat terrorism in Europe?

See what you think. Read this Guardian article.

Here's an obituary for Hugh Thompson the US pilot who tried to stop the My Lai massacre.

I found this site when searching for My Lai. And here are the names of the people Thompson and his comrades could not save.

Will there be peace parks in Iraq in the future?


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Torture Flights. Downed for Sale.

The Gulfstream V known as the Guantanamo Bay Express is up for sale.

Read about it on the Frequency Monitoring Centre website. They advise plane spotters to change their radio frequencies if they are searching for CIA planes.

It's selling below market price.

Don't suppose there has been any forensic investigation on the plane?

Interesting site though.

This page at Amnesty has the evidence they published a day or so ago. The Gulfstream V is named as is Prestwick.

I've mentioned Theyworkforyou.com before.

Here is the result of a wee search concerning questions asked by Menzies Campbell.
You are able to vote on whether or not you think the question was in fact answered.

You might want to read the Craig Murray posting 'When Moonbats Attack'.


How long has Jack Straw been lying? How long is a piece of string?

What about the rest of them? Have they all been lying long? or were they lied to as well? and now they are all trying to lie low and say nothing.

Well, they're getting fun oot! Check the Herald about yesterday's questioning in Westminster

On the other hand....

On ICH today I learned that two British men are going on trial for outing Bush for saying that he wanted to bomb the headquarters of Al Jazeera. CBC World News carries the story as does the Guardian. The story is covered again in the Guardian but this time focussing on the two Labour MP's involved in the leak.

There's also an article about the missing US Journalist. She writes for the Christian Science Monitor and it seems the American Press waited 2 days to report. Read about the media blackout here.

And while we're on the subject of gags and leaks this article is about a leaked Swiss document

Will the leak swell to a deluge.
Throw that man a sandbag.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Torture Flights. Here, There, Everywhere

So the Swiss knew according to reports in Swissinfo and the US Financial Times. Read more on the IFC site

Although ICH carries a lot of articles on the Abramoff scandal there is an article about the forced feeding of the Guantanamo detainees. They also refer to the upcoming trial of an 18 year old, detainee

Try to read the report about the Iraqi war widows.The imposition of American style democracy has not brought a better life for them or their children.

Two Actions.

On Saturday January 14th Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition will be holding a vigil outside the US Consulate, at Regent Terrace, Edinburgh between 12 noon and 1pm. After this they will be collecting signatures on Princes Street. On Monday the 16th, they will hand in the signatures attached to a letter to the Consulate. If you click on the Contact Us link on the left you may be able to add your name to the list.

The second action is the demonstration in London on Saturday 21st.. Details can be found on Save Omar Deghayes web site. I believe Craig Murray will be one of the speakers.

I have just followed a link from the Omar Deghayes site to The Memory Hole. Click on the link about leaked photos of the transportation of detainees to Guantanamo. Be warned though they are disturbing.

The Celtic League have sent a letter to Interpol.

"Ronald K. Noble
Secretary General
INTERPOL
General Secretariat
200, quai Charles de Gaulle
69006 Lyon
France

Dear Mr. Noble,

You will be aware of the controversy aroused by
revelations that persons have been transferred against their will
through several European countries by agencies of the United States
of America engaged in what is termed 'extraordinary rendition'.

Has Interpol received any requests from State parties to apprehend
individuals involved in this people smuggling operation?

As this so-called 'extraordinary rendition' is simply people
smuggling
with a fancy name what is your organisations stance on the issue?

I do trust that Interpol does not close its eyes to illegality if
it is perpetrated by State organisations such as the United States
CIA or NSA.

We look forward to your early response.

For information the Celtic League have made a formal complaint to
the Irish Police (which was investigated) and the Scottish Police
(Strathclyde) from whom a detailed response is awaited. We have also
asked the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to
investigate these 'torture flights' with the State parties of the
Council of Europe through which they have transited.

The Celtic League are awaiting a response from Strathclyde Police. I am too.

Why so quiet?

Funnily enough, I wrote to Irene Oldfather last week asking her to support the bill,proposed by Colin Fox, to abolish prescription charges. She replied to that, and yet on the run up to the SSP debate, (you can read the official report here) in the Scottish Parliament, I contacted her several times and she did not respond!

Silence, it seems, is selective.

Here is a link for Liberty.

They have a link to the letter they sent to the Chief Constables in England and Wales.

I do have a question

Has anyone heard or read any comment from the Police Federation.

Here is the Scottish contact info.

    Scottish Police Federation
    5 Woodside Place,
    Glasgow,
    G3 7QF
    Scotland
    UK

    Tel:0141 332 5234
    Fax: 0141 331 2436

    email: jmcdonald@scottishpolicefederation.org.

    I think I see why the Police Federation are not being invited to comment on the torture flights.

    A quick visit the their site for England and Wales reveals that there is a bit of a problem for them regarding policing terrorism generally.

    Maybe the media will get round to talking to them.

    The Scottish Police Federation have had some concerns too.

    Article from the Scotsman about the Egyptian /CIA telegram and The Herald covers the Westminster questioning of Jack Straw. He is still singing the same tune.

    Reminds me a bit of Thatcher. She kept on saying, 'you don't understand'. When of course we did.

    She was caught out on the Belgrano. Jackie boy in Westminster is getting caught out too.

    It's hapening in the US as well over Abramoff. He's singing a different song.

    Come on Jack. Gie us another tune. We will give you the backing vocals.





Sunday, January 08, 2006

Torture Flights. Screaming and Silence

Regular visitors to Dens Den will have noticed that I have praised the Sunday Herald for their coverage of the torture flights. Sad to say, this week I am more than a little disappointed with the abscence of cover of what for me was the biggest story of the year so far. Ok, I know the year is only eight days old but nevertheless, it is surprising that there is no mention of the Craig Murray Tashkent telegrams.

It can be a bit perplexing visiting Craigs site, because sometimes the server is down.

I can't imagine why that should be

But you should not have too many problems accessing the telegrams. Bloggers worldwide have covered the story. Some, like myself, have posted links to sites, eg, Blairwatch, which have published them.. Others, perhaps more courageous than I, have published them directly.

To give you an idea of how widespread the story has travelled through cyberspace visit Technorati

This surely is a story itself. I would have thought the Sunday Herald would have at least mentioned this, even if it was only a one liner in Trevor Royle's article about Bush transforming himself into an honest man. Mission impossible as far as I am concerned. I don't believe the man has an honest bone in his body, or cell in his brain. I mean, look at the people he surrounds himself with.

Mainstream media does come in for a lot of criticism from journalists like John Pilger for not telling it like it is, for self censorship, for bias, for a lack of investigation. More people are turning to the internet for their news. I know that I do.
I've just had a quick read at the Scottish Socialist Party's newspaper The Voice. It's worth a visit. They cover Rose Gentle's forthcoming visit with Jack McConnell and a wee mention of John Pilger. There's also an article about the Iraqi war.

Here's a couple more links.

Wikipedia. Lots of sources here about Extraordinary renditions.

Chris Floyd. Pretty much everything concerning the Craig Murray story can be found here. Lots of good links to follow.

General Sir Michael Rose has called for Tony Bliar to be impeached.
That should just be the beginning of his troubles. Him, Straw, and a whole lot more should be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Read the report here.
Damned, murdering hypocrites that they are.
It shouldn't jst be for the crimes in Iraq either. Have you read some of the things that have happened in Uzbekistan.
They are every bit as guilty as George Bush and his cabal who have known for a long time about the human rights abuses in that country.
I found this document this morning from the US Dept.of Labour for example

But what do we do about the politicians who have been alerted to all this shocking news about torture?

In Scotland, Carol and myself made it our business to alert them to the truth. But they do nothing but sidestep.
That is, except for a few honourable MSP's. They all had a chance, several chances, to send a message loudly and clearly to Westminster that Scotland wants no truck with the nightmarish practices of the CIA and the security services in the US and the UK.
Did they all leave their morality behind them when they got elected? Or do they simply ignore those nagging consciences and sleep soundly at night.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Torture Flights. More evidence

Amnesty have today published details concerning the torture flights.

The American Civil Liberties Union are charging Secretary for Defense Donald Rumsfeld with legal responsibilty for the torture and abuse of detainees in US military custody in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I mentioned My Lai in a previous post. Well I have only just learned of the death of one of the men who stopped the slaughter of civilians. The BBC covers this story.

In case any bloggers or any other visitors to Dens Den have not learned about the Taskent Telegrams see Blairwatch.
Visit Craig Murray's site too. He has a link there to a web site covering the reaction of bloggers to the Tashkent Telegrams.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that Guantanamo should shut. Report from Reuters.

That sounds like good news.

BUT, according to Truthout the detainees are going to be transferred to a purpose built prison in Afghanistan. The site of Pol-E Charki has been chosen. There is a prison there already and it has been recently refurbished with European money.

Kate Adie's BBC programme 'From Our Own Correspondent' has an item on the tortures in Uzbekistan. You can listen again. It's the second item in the programme. You will need the BBC Radio Player.

There are to be more protests in Edinburgh. This time it will be the US Consulate that will be the focus for protestors Check out Indymedia Scotland for more detail.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Torture Flights. Permission to land

Thursday 5th January

Good site at CagePrisoners

Check out this article. It claims that the EU, agreed with the US to the use of European airports for the removal of people unwanted for whatever reason.

"Minutes of confidential talks held in Athens on January 22, 2003, prove that EU officials agreed to allow access to their airports for the United States, and also indicate that the EU was well aware that such an agreement made them complicit in possible war crimes. EU officials have confirmed to the media that a full account of the meeting was circulated to all member governments, but all references to the agreement were deleted before the record was made public."

The published version of the meeting can be found here.

The unpublished version I found through the German Indymedia site. You will need to follow the link provided by the poster.

Friday 6th January

The 14 protestors in the US 'Torture Taxi' campaign went on trial Read about about it on their excellent site, StopTorture Now.

The CIA are now conducting an investigation of their own, (HA) into the torture flights. I wonder if they will find a mistake ot two. What kind of investigation is this going to be. Open? Transparent?
The story is covered by the New Standard.

Information Clearing House has an article by John Pilger in it today, also check out the video audio link for Roger Waters Amused to Death.

Here's a wee message from the Gold Star Families for Peace.

We at Gold Star Families for Peace would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa.....however you say it lets pray for Peace on earth and good will towards all.

7:pm

Just got a reply from the First Minister.

Dear Ms Morton,

Thank you for your email of 1 December 2005 addressed to the First Minister regarding extraordinary rendition. I have been asked to reply and I apologise for the delay in doing so.

The Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation entitles foreign civil aircraft to make technical stops, for example for refuelling, without requiring the permission of the state in which they stop. Any airport operator licensed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority has a statutory duty to make its facilities available without prejudice to any flight that complies with its published terms and conditions of use.

However, the Convention does not provide private aircraft with immunity from the powers of the police to investigate crimes. If the police have a specific basis to believe that an offence is being committed against an individual on board an aircraft which endangers the safety of that individual, they may board the aircraft and investigate the circumstances in the same way as they may enter any premises in order to prevent an offence of violence continuing. These principles apply to private property in general, and nothing in the Chicago Convention overrides these powers.

There must be credible and reliable information to suggest that a crime has been committed before a police investigation can take place. Despite the increasing speculation and media reports, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) stated on 9 December 2005 that they had not received any credible and reliable information upon which a formal investigation could be founded. This is not to say that the police do not take the allegations seriously or are “unwilling” to investigate - ACPOS added that the position would be reviewed should further, more specific information come to light. I understand that since then the Association of Chief Police Officers in England and Wales have begun a review of information given to them by Liberty, and that ACPOS are liaising with them.

Scottish Ministers do not, and would never condone or tolerate torture, but any criminal allegation has to be handled fairly and within the rules and procedures of criminal justice. These procedures exist not only to maximise the chances of punishing the guilty, but also to protect the innocent from potential mistakes or abuse of the system. The procedures that exist in Scotland in relation to torture are entirely consistent with international best practice. The UN Convention Against Torture, for example, requires that torture is a crime in our domestic law; that prompt, fair and impartial investigations can take place when there are reasonable grounds to believe that torture has been committed; and that punishments include penalties that reflect the gravity of the offence. All of these conditions are in place in Scotland.

I understand entirely your concern about the allegations. The suggestion that people are being routinely tortured is extremely serious. However, the Executive does not have any information to suggest that the allegations are well-founded. Scottish Ministers are confident that the police have the necessary powers and professional abilities to conduct a thorough investigation should information come to light that gives them reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed in Scotland. Ministers will continue to urge anyone who claims to have such information to take it to the police.

I hope this is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Thomson
Human Rights and Law Reform Branch
Civil Law Division
The Scottish Executive Justice Department
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG
Tel: 0131 244 8365
Fax: 0131 244 8325
Email: ed.thomson@scotland.gsi.gov.uk


Monday, January 02, 2006

Torture Flights. Seeing through the Fog

Monday 2nd January

The Sunday Herald again had two good articles yesterday.

In the first, ‘Torture Flights: Secrecy v Public Interest,’ Ian Mackay writes about the Scottish Executives refusal to disclose legal advice and other, ‘unspecified information’, relating to the CIA torture flights and the use of Scottish airports in facilitating them.

The Herald requested this information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The reason the executive refused?

They reckon that it’s not in our interest to know!

It would be dangerous, they say.

Dangerous? Why?

Because of client confidentiality they argue.

But could we not argue, that it is we, the public, who are the client.

The members of the Executive are only in place because we, the voters, put them there and it is us, who pay their wages and cover their expenses. (including poppy wreaths)

Should they not be accountable? A definite lack of transparency here, I would say.

But it gets worse.

They also say that there is a possibility that in future that the provision of legal advice “may not be made on a proper, fully informed basis, nor communicated to clients in such a full, frank manner as is presently the case.”

Furthermore the Executive said it would stop making notes of legal advice if it was forced to comply with the Heralds request.

Clive Stafford Smith, who is director of Reprieve and the lawyer representing the British detainees in Guantanamo, is quoted as saying,

“It is very hard to understand how free discussion for ministers can be inhibited by the free disclosure of information.”

“This is an old chestnut which is rolled out every time a government wants to stop an embarrassing revelation. Old chestnuts should be roasted”.

“Refusing to disclose legal advice confirms my worst expectations. I wonder what they have to hide? Are they hiding evidence that they knew about these flights? That they encouraged these flights? What are they ashamed of?

The Herald is appealing the Executives refusal to disclose it’s legal advice. I think we should support them.

Write to the Scottish Executive and the Law officers. You will find their e-mail addresses on the Holyrood site. The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, QC doesn’t appear to have an e mail address but I am sure that Cathy Jamieson, our Justice Minister, or Jack McConnell, our First Minister, will be more than happy to pass on our correspondences.

The second article ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, Torture: British Involvement. is written by Torcuil Crichton.

He writes about Craig Murray’s continuing problems with the Foreign Office who don’t want certain documents published or referred to in his forthcoming book, and about the new story, which we learned about last week, concerning the Greek connection in the Extraordinary Renditions saga.

28 Pakistani born, migrant workers were unlawfully abducted by Greek officials, in league with British Intelligence agents.

Tuesday 3rd January

Noam Chomsky accuses Bertie Ahern of 'shining the shoes' of George Bush and the Irish Human Rights Commission have called for the Irish government to investigate the claims that Shannon airport is being used to facilitate the CIA torture flights.
Full story on the Ireland on Line website.

Craig Murray has an interesting wee story on his blog. Check it out.

Wednesday 4th January

Cindy Sheehan has a piece published on the ICH site. She refers to Bush and Bliar as Tweedledum and Tweedledee and reckons that they are beyond redemption because of their lying and war crime.
She raised the issue of the torture flights whilst visiting Ireland. Read her 'Friends don't let Friends commit War Crimes'.
To find out more about Cindy and the Gold Star Families for Peace visit their web site. Cindy met with Rose Gentle when she was on her European tour. Both mothers have repeatedly asked to meet with Bush and Bliar so far unsuccessfully.

There is an interesting page of links to the Greek and British kidnapping and torture story including the name of 'he who should not be named' as well as a chapter from Steven Dorril's book about MI6

A while ago I referred to the story of the woman who was walking on a cycle path only to be arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act well the US has gone one better. A three year old boy was detained, at not one but two US airports, on suspicion of him being a terrorist! Watch out if your name is Edward Allen. The story is reported in the Mirror.

The Mirror also reported that European arrest warrants have been issued against 22 alleged CIA operatives thought to be involved in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in Milan.
This means that all the European countries which are party to the union are obliged to arrest these agents if they are in their country. That includes the UK.

On a previous post I called your attention to a document entitled 'A Fistful of Contractors'. It deals with Private Military and Security Companies who are engaged in the Iraq and the Afghan wars.
Here is a little more information about one of these companies, Aegis and it's owner Tim Spicer.
Courtesy of CorpWatch. It's also covered by US Labor Against the War.
US Labour Against the War covers a lot of information about the companies like Halliburton which are raking in millions from this illegal war.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Torture Flights. 2006

Sunday 1st January 2006

I would like to wish everyone a very happy and peaceful New Year.