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.

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