Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday 3 April 2006

Britain used torture against suspected communists in post-war Germany

Attempts to cover up this abuse for six decades have finally been at least partially thwarted by the efforts of the Guardian using requests under the Freedom of Information Act. It is salutary to have the news that our own Labour government of that day was prepared to indulge in similar tactics to those used by the then recently defeated Nazi enemy.

As the Guardian points out, it is not clear when such practices finally ended. One hopes that it was well before the signing of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its entering into force as recently as 1987; it is startling to realise that this particular convention was ratified by the United Nations only as recently as 1984.

Many states, including the UK, USA and most other 'democratic' countries have noted declarations and reservations to their own ratifications of this convention. It is depressing to face up to the fact that the world remains a pretty scary place in some respects. Our own present Labour Government has passed, or is attempting to pass, numerous pieces of legislation of late which raise many qualms amongst people like me who worry about the long-term future of our democratic traditions - Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 , ID Cards Act 2006, The Legislative and Regulatoy Reform Bill, some aspects of the setting up of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) [which has just into effect after a one-year trial period].

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