» Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Rendition flights

Given Dr. Rice’s assurances yesterday regarding rendition flights, was the Prime Minister happy to continue to allow them to use British airports, the PMOS said that Dr. Rice had given the assurances she had, the Foreign Secretary had responded, and the PMOS had nothing further to add.

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  1. Since the US has comprehensively redefined torture in order to "legitimise" virtually any degree of ill-treatment of detainees, Condoleeza Rice’s assurances are worthless, and Jack Straw’s sycophantically making haste to accept them is precisely what we have come to expect. What is abundantly clear is that the whole point of rendition flights is to remove terrorist suspects from jurisdictions within which their human rights are protected, and into ones where they can be tortured with even more impunity than the Bush administration enjoys at its legal black hole of Guantanamo Bay.
    Until governments of EU states insist on their personnel boarding all CIA flights which land in their territory, disembarking the passengers, and establishing that no-one is being transported under duress, they will face highly plausible continuing accusations of complicity in torture. There might be some countries where citizens are empowered to insist that such complicity ends forthwith, but the UK with its poisonous culture of royal prerogative powers, governmental impunity and secrecy is unlikely to be one of them. Blair and his clique were quite prepared to commit war crimes involving civilian deaths on a massive scale by illegally invading Iraq, so it would be na\xEFve in the extreme to expect them to baulk at turning a blind eye to torture.

    Comment by Michael McCarthy — 6 Dec 2005 on 7:20 pm | Link
  2. Almost as naive as trying to stop them, really, but not as naive as some bloke in another thread bleating about cruelty to Harold Pinter. I think, seriously though, that Blair and his subordinate Himmlers are just the current holders of the poisoned chalice and its counterproductive to keep on about them as though this was all solely their fault; they are just the instrument. The Daily Mail’s man at Downing Street Says, Mr Unsworth, loves playing with the procedurality of it all, like he was the reincarnation of Walter Bagehot – if only they behaved constitutionally we might avoid all this unpleasantness, and you’re doing the same kinda thing,. Everybody knows all these things that you say; saying them again to the poor sad bastards who view this stuff will make not a shred of difference. On the contrary, like Rory Bremner and Private Eye and Have I got News For You and Spitting Images and all the other fearless establishment satirists you just become a lightning conductor, through which any groundswell of public outrage is earthed. Engaging with them in the way you do does more harm than good, they will always win the argument a) because people are stupid and b) because they own the means of controlling opinion. What is needed instead is a consumer jihad, stop waching their television, stop reading their shitty Guardians and Independents, stop applauding clowns like Mark Steel and Billy Bragg and, for fucks sake take your anger outside, stop pissing it up a monitor.
    Stop, in short, Geldoffing.

    I think I read this in Viz Magazine

    Comment by Poor Howard — 8 Dec 2005 on 2:09 am | Link
  3. I wonder why people who suggest that we should not ‘engage in a dialogue’ then proceed to do just that? Or maybe it’s just not the kind of dialogue that they would prefer to have.

    How is Blair an ‘instrument’ and of whom or what? After all he was the man who led the effort – or was he being manipulated by forces unknown?


    And what actually would be ‘productive’ in these circumstances?

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 8 Dec 2005 on 8:55 am | Link

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