Friday, June 29, 2018

UK Government Complicit In Use of Torture: Parliamentary Committee

On his blog, today, Craig Murray, who in 2004 was removed from his post as UK ambassador to Uzbekistan during a dispute with his political masters over Britain's receipt of information obtained by the most brutal torture in Uzbekistan, writes:

Even I was taken aback by the sheer scale of British active involvement in extraordinary rendition revealed by yesterday’s report of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. Dominic Grieve and the committee deserve congratulations for their honesty, integrity and above all persistence. It is plain from the report that 10 Downing Street did everything possible to handicap the work of the committee. Most crucially they were allowed only to interview extremely senior civil servants and not allowed to interview those actively engaged in the torture and rendition programme.

Theresa May specifically and deliberately ruled out the Committee from questioning any official who might be placed at risk of criminal proceedings – see para 11 of the report. The determination of the government to protect those who were complicit in torture tells us much more about their future intentions than any fake apology.

In fact it is impossible to read paras 9 to 14 without being astonished at the sheer audacity of Theresa May’s attempts to obstruct the inquiry. They were allowed to interview only 4 out of 23 requested witnesses, and those were not allowed “to talk about the specifics of the operations in which they were involved nor fill in any gaps in the timeline”....

No one can disagree with Craig Murrays view that torture is a vile business. Yet when bullets are flying and there is a chance the prisoner in your hands could tell you where to hit the enemy's ammo dump, or fuel supply lines, whatever, you're gonna slap that prisoner around for information, even if he ends up dead. I think that the historical record would prove that to be a universal truth: War is a cruel business and banning torture won't prevent it or take the cruelty out of it.

It is doubtful, however, that anyone can make a compelling justification for torture as a routine bureaucratic function. Hence the lies, prevarication, and obfuscation over Britain's role in organized torture. Moreover, the lies, prevarication and obfuscation are an altogether different matter from the brutality they are intended to conceal. As Murray has with bloody-minded stubbornness revealed, Straw, Blair, and others on both sides of the house lied extensively to Parliament about torture.

As Murray writes of Jack Straw, his own political boss at the time:

I strongly recommend you to read the whole Hansard transcript, from Q21 to Q51, in which Jack Straw carries out the most sustained bravura performance of lying to parliament in modern history. The ISC report makes plain he was repeatedly involved in direct authorisations of rendition operations, while denying to parliament the very existence of such operations.

And the cover-up continues under Theresa May. Such scoundrels should be immediately and permanently barred from Parliament and any further role in government.

RT: Prosecute Blair govt officials at ICC after torture report – ex-diplomat Craig Murray (which will never happen.).

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