More lies about torture

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, January 25th, 2006
11:36 am and is filed
under It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!.

The Herald – Minister admits misleading peers over rendition: A Foreign Office minister last night expressed regret at misinforming parliament over meetings with the United Nations on extraordinary rendition. In a written reply to a question from to Liberal Democrat Lord Oakeshott, Lord Triesman explained why he told peers that Foreign Office officials had not held talks with the UN on the alleged use of British airports for secret CIA flights, before admitting that a meeting had taken place. It has been confirmed that Martin Scheinin, the UN Human Rights Commission’s special rapporteur, travelled to London for meetings with Home Office and Foreign Office officials in November last year. Lord Triesman said : “I very much regret this oversight. Extraordinary rendition was not raised at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office meeting. But I understand it was covered at the meeting in the Home Office in which an FCO official participated. The officials who prepared my answer to your original question apparently overlooked that fact.”

Oh, I get it. You didn’t lie. Due to the incompetence of an un-named underling, you misspoke

Guardian – Blair says UK has been ‘open’ on CIA flights: Tony Blair today said the government had been “extremely open” about its knowledge of the transfer of US terror suspects.

Oh, really? Since when does avoiding getting drawn on detail and moving the debate on qualify as openness?

Here comes the ‘old news’ defence folks. Prepare yourselves…

Epolitix – No10 dismisses ‘rendition’ report: Number 10 has dismissed an official report into CIA ‘rendition’ flights and detentions in Europe, saying it contains “no new facts”.

I don’t know about you, but I want some action taken on these ‘old facts’.

UPDATE – CuriousHamster – A Free Press:

So what’s wrong with the Guardian? To their credit, they are one of the few newspapers to even mention that Blair was asked about rendition yesterday. But “Blair insists nothing to hide on rendition”? It’s true that Blair did indeed do that. But he also made a startling admission (as mentioned yesterday)

Question: You have not made enquiries as to whether people have been illegally transported through this country from Place A to B?

Prime Minister: No.

The Guardian don’t seem to feel that this was worth pointing out to their readers.

Like the Indy I’m reminded of Blair’s rather suspicious lack of curiosity about missile range

Independent – Blair must answer on torture: One of the Prime Minister’s defining features is a selective lack of curiosity. It never occurred to him, apparently, to ask whether the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein could deploy within 45 minutes were long-range or battlefield missiles. It turned out that they did not exist at all, but while they were thought to exist they were definitely of the short-range variety. Now Tony Blair does not want to inquire too closely into the Bush administration’s use of torture in the “war on terror”. He accepts the assurances of Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, despite the instant deconstruction of her careful words. Perhaps that is pragmatic statecraft. If our principal ally is engaged in a spot of light torture in dark corners around the world, or arm’s-length torture contracted out to governments in Egypt or Uzbekistan, it might be argued that private pressure would be most effective. This newspaper would not agree, but we can see that Mr Blair could make and win that argument with himself.

Finally, kudos to the New Statesman for making the following article and document freely available (instead of stashing them behind the pay-wall)…

You will want to share these links.

New Statesman – Rendition: the cover-up: A secret memo reveals the truth: the government knows rendition is illegal but it has no idea what it has been letting the CIA get away with on our soil… At Foreign Office Questions recently the minister responsible for Middle East affairs snapped. MPs from all sides were pressing for answers about “extraordinary rendition” and were unsatisfied with the stock reply from Kim Howells: “We have no knowledge of this and we have received no requests from the Bush government.” Challenged for the umpteenth time, Howells let his righteous indignation show. “The government are opposed to torture,” he said. “They do not torture anyone, nor would we ever, ever put up with any other administration torturing individuals.” This blustering response was entirely disingenuous, the New Statesman can now demonstrate. It does not begin to describe the reality, which is set out in a secret, high- level memo – obtained by this magazine – that passed from the Foreign Office to Downing Street last month. For the truth is that the government is involved in a cover-up, not so much of what it knows about this shady business, but what it doesn’t know. The one thing it is pretty sure about, however, is that if it has happened, and if Britain had a role, then the government has broken the law.

Click here to download Irfan Siddiq’s memo from December 2005

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