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

Thursday 8 March 2007

Allegations of Tony Blair's complicity in American CIA 'renditions' programme

The British government has always strenuously denied any involvement in, and ignorance of, the American CIA's suspected terrorist 'rendition' programme under which it is alleged that suspected terrorists were transported around the world to be 'interrogated' (aka 'tortured') at various facilities in countries around the world whose governments were allegedly prepared to carry out interrogations using methods which the US (and the UK) declined to do use themselves. It has been alleged that 'rendition flights' have passed through British airspace frequently and that aircraft engaged in these alleged missions have landed at airports in the UK (for refuelling, etc) with Prestwick Airport in Scotland being mentioned frequently in this connection. There have also been allegations that some of these rendition flights may have had as their destinations facilities in Poland and Romania, both EU members (although in Romania's case only since the beginning of this year). I have written about this frequently here in the past, although not recently.

Now through this article on the Andrew Sullivan blog, I am alerted to a Raw Story lengthy investigation one of whose observations is that:

"According to a confidential British intelligence memo shown to RAW STORY, Prime Minister Tony Blair told Poland's then-Prime Minister Leszek Miller to keep the information secret, even from his own government."

Explosive stuff, if true!

A recent EU mission to try and investigate whether there was any truth in allegations that European airspace and facilities within EU member states had been used as part of the American CIA's rendition programme met with many refusals of cooperation at an official level in Poland, although the level of cooperation within Romania was apparently much more satisfactory - see here, here and here (the last two are .PDF files). See also here.

It may take some considerable time to get to the bottom of what has been done in our names by our (US, UK and other EU member states) governments, but I hope that justice will eventually catch up with those who allowed these practices to occur. In our case it seems to me that Prime Minister Tony Blair is solidly in the frame; his lasting legacy is I think going to be irredeemably linked to his alleged complicity in allowing UK airspace and facilities to be used to facilitate, and let me not mince words here, torture.

The US insists it does not carry out torture, nor does it enlist the services of other countries to carry out torture. Except that, frankly, the definition of torture which the current US administration has authorised does not comply with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the US, like the UK, is a signatory.

My views on torture have been expressed in this blog on a number of occasions, but this post is where I believe I talked about it most fully. All my posts which touch on this subject can be seen here.

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