Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Torture Flights. And all the rest

One of the most disturbing articles that I have read recently is from the Army War Academy Quarterly. The article written by Ralph Peters in 1997 draws a future vision of the USA. Given that it was written 9 years ago and considering all that has been done by the US in the intervening years, I can't help but draw the conclusion that his vision for the US is being enacted. At the time of writing he was assinged to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, where he was responsible for 'future war'!

Read it on the Information Clearing House site and recoil in horror at the prospect that this mans students are now at the commanding heights within the US military and government departments such as the Dept. of Defense.

To my mind this future world is the natural outcome of the type of thinking which informed the Project for the New American Century.

It has though come to my attention that some supporters of the Project are now changing their minds.

Francis Fukuyama writes in the Guardian that the 'US needs to reframe it's policy not as a military campaign but as a political contest for hearts and minds.'
It's not that the man has ditched the neo conservative project in it's entirity, but the means by which it is achieved.
The US should according to him practise a benevolent hegemony rather than the aggressive type it has been practising. That would ensure American economic, political and cultural dominance.

What he fails to admit in his arguement is that there are many peoples who reject the way of life which results from the excercise of imperialist market economics. That's why the political situation in the South American continent is so threatening to the neo con agenda.

Are we just supposed to forgive and forget the crimes that have been committed in the names of Democracy, Freedom and Liberty?

Because we won't. We never believed that these were the reasons to begin with. It is about oil and the petro dollar. Many of us were not fooled and the truth is seeping out.

Watch this video from ICH. It is about an hour and half long but worth the watch. Calling on an impressive array of experts it discloses many of the lies and deceits which were devised as a justification for the Iraqi war.

Terry Davis, secretary general of the Council of Europe writes in the Guardian that yesterday the deadline passed for European contries to submit the information they have concerning the torture flights and secret detentions. He has asked the governments of the member states to explain which laws they have adopted to protect individuals form forced disappearances, secret dententions, and extraordinary rendtions to places where they can be exposed to cruel and inhuman and degrading treatment, but also how they have enforced these laws since January 1st 2000. He promises we will only have to wait days rather than weeks for the results.

In the meantime Jack Straw is really having the pressure applied regarding government knowledge of the torture flights. Peter Hain, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, all join with Germany's Angela Merkel call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay torture camp, one of the final destinations of the torture flights.

The Bush administration thinks otherwise. See here, and here.

Tony Bliar can only repeat that Guantanamo is an anomaly. With more and more leaks about US and UK abuses in Iraq and in the torture camps throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, it really does not seem to be anomalous at all, but an accepted and promoted practise. The Foreign Affairs Committee first report is highly critical read it here. The World at One, BBC News, interviewed the chairperson of this committee and played excerpts from Tony Bliar's weekly press meeting where he was questioned on Guantanamo and extraordinary renditions. You should be able to listen again. He sounds like he is getting quite annoyed with the constant questioning on these subjects. He like John Reid is asking for us all to be understanding of the measures used to win the war on terrorism. In other words, excuses are being offered and now local authorities in Iraq have withdrawn cooperation.

Recent disclosures by National air Traffic Services tell us that torture flight planes have travelled through British airspace about 200 times in the past 5 years. Read on the Independent, along with an article concerning a leaked Amnesty report which condems Britains Human Rights record. Amnesty concludes with the statement that detainees in Belmarsh are subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment
There have also been reports that bogus call signs have been used as a way of concealing the true nature of these disgusting flights.
Read more about the pressure on Jack Straw on the BBC site. Note there is a section on the right where you can have your say. Have a read at some of the comments. Contributions have come from all over the world. I am surprised though that the 'debate' has been closed and that you can no longer add a comment of your own. Surprising, in view of the fact that new reports are coming in and more are expected. Maybe the BBC will reopen the debate.

Another story concerning the use of the new anti terror laws here in Britain concerns the filmakers, actors and their real life counterparts, in the new movie The Road to Guantanamo. They were all detained at London Luton Airport on their return from the Berlin Film Festival . As Clive Stafford Smith of Reprieve, who has represented some of the Guantanamo detainees says, 'This may be a farce, but it is an ugly farce. The film won a Silver Bear Award and will be screened on Channel 4 on March 9th. Not to be missed. Read more about this story and others on Craig Murray's site. Check out Craig's posting on Uzbekistan while you are there.

While many of us wonder how it is that American citizens can allow their president to acquire an unprecednted level of political power, we seemnot have noticed that something similar is happening here in Britain. The Mother of Parliaments is being robbed of it's voice. OUR voice. The proposed Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill could do away with debate, parliamentary procedures and even jury trials. Read about it here on the BBC news site.

I found an excellent resource in another blog. This one I reckon is from Ireland. The blogger has a good list of articles you can access. It's called Extraordinary Renderings.

Check out Indymedia Ireland. You will find information about a candlelight march that is planned for today at 5-o-clock. They want the torture flights to be boarded by the police, for the planes to be searched for radioactive weapons and for an end to the harrassment of peace activists at Shannon airport.

International Womens Day is on March 8th. CodePink a womens anti war group based in the US are calling on women from all over the world to protest on March 8th at US embassies. Lots of links and articles here too.
There is a list of events here and it includes events in London and in Belfast.
Other sites to visit concerning events are, SACC, Stop the War Edinburgh, Amnesty UK Scotland, and Indymedia Scotland.

Another site in Scotland to visit, has been set up by a group which helps asylum seekers who are facing removal. They need support. Positive Action In Housing can be found here.


Good article in The New Yorker.Don't miss this.

I began this post with an article from the War Academy Quarterly and am finishing it with another article from the excellent ICH. It is another writers nightmare. Check your Conscience at the Door:We're Building an Empire.


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