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The unpublished version I found through the German Indymedia site.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.


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
Tel: 0131 244 8365
Fax: 0131 244 8325


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read about the riots in Iraq because of the increase in the price of oil.

The IMF was behind it.

IMF Occupies Iraq, Riots Follow
By Matthew Rothschild
January 3, 2006

Bad enough that the U.S. military is occupying Iraq.
Now the IMF is occupying the country.

In December, the International Monetary Fund, in exchange for giving a loan of $685 million to the Iraqi government, insisted that the Iraqis lift subsidies on the price of oil and open the economy to more private investment.

As the IMF said in a press release of December 23, the Iraqi government must be committed to “controlling the wage and pensions bill, reducing subsidies on petroleum products, and expanding the participation of the private sector in the domestic market for petroleum products.”

The impact of the IMF extortion was swift and brutal.

“Since the Dec. 15 parliamentary election, fuel prices have increased five-fold, mostly because the outgoing government of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari has cut subsidies as part of a debt-forgiveness deal it signed with the International Monetary Fund,” the Los Angeles Times reported on December 28.

“The move has shocked Iraqis long accustomed to hefty subsidies of gasoline, kerosene, cooking gas, and other fuels.”

Iraqis are getting a nasty taste of the IMF’s medicine. “Over the summer, gas was selling for about five cents a gallon,” the LA Times noted. “Now it’s about 65 cents, and at the end of the price increases, gasoline will cost about the same in Iraq as it does in other countries in the Persian Gulf, about $1 per gallon. The prices of kerosene, diesel, and cooking gas have seen similar or steeper increases.” The price of public transportation has also gone up significantly.

Not surprisingly, these enormous price hikes have led to riots around the country, with police firing on 3,000 protesters in Nassiryeh, according to an account on Daily Kos.,
Iraq’s oil minister quit to protest the government’s capitulation to the IMF. According to Daily Kos, Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum asked, “Is this how we repay the Iraq citizens who risked their lives to participate in the elections, by raising fuel prices in this way?”

The indestructible Ahmad Chalabi, a longtime favorite of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, replaced al-Uloum.
The Bush Administration is four-square behind the IMF deal.

“This arrangement will underpin economic stability and help lay the foundation for an open and prosperous economy in Iraq,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow.

What it is actually underpinning is economic instability. “It’s crazy, socially and politically,” Robert Mabro, former chairman of the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, told the LA Times.

Even the Pentagon’s “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq” recognized the need for “balancing the need for economic reform—particularly of bloated fuel and food subsidies—with political realities.”

But “political realities” on the ground—such as inciting riots and increasing discontent—don’t appear to concern Bush.

For the Bush Administration, the endorsement of the IMF price increase represents a schizophrenia that’s almost clinical.

Bush is desperate to rescue his floundering Iraq policy, and yet backing the IMF plan is like throwing a drowning patient both ends of a lifeline.

The Iraqi people are sick and tired of the U.S. occupation already, to put it mildly.

Now that they are seeing their standard of living plummet, thanks to the IMF, they are going to be even more irate at the United States, which they know controls the IMF.

Caught between deciding whether to try to win hearts and minds or whether to cling to free market fantasies, Bush has once again chosen to live in fantasyland.

2:12 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for post Anon.

Tony Blairs brother Bill Blair is a consultant to the IMF and the World Bank.

Makes you wonder what the conversation at the Sunday dinner table is like in the Blair household.

9:08 am  

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