Extraordinary Rendition and the Negligence of Political Policemen

by craig on June 10, 2007 7:57 am in Rendition

Our highly politicised police have issued a statement claiming there is “No evidence” of extraordinary rendition flights using the UK while transporting prisoners. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/09/nflight109.xml This parrots the exact phraseology used by Jack Straw http://www.channel4.com/more4/news/news-opinion-feature.jsp?id=80 and Tony Blair http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,1716238,00.html.

This careful coincidence of wording, together with the timing of the Association of Chief Polce Officers’ statement to coincide with the Council of Europe’s detailed and damning report on extraordinary rendition, shows just how NuLab has politicised the police.

The Council of Europe report is careful, detailed and stunning. http://assembly.coe.int:80/CommitteeDocs/2007/EMarty_20070608_NoEmbargo.pdf The author, Dick Marty, is a senior Swiss judge who has conducted important terrorism trials. He knows evidence when he sees it. I was a witness before his committee.

It is worth reporting his conclusions:

It is my sincere hope that my report this year will catalyse a renewed appreciation of the moral quagnire into which we have collectively sunk as a result of the US-led “War on Terror”. Almost six years in, we appear no closer to pulling ourselves out of this quagmire, partly because of the lack of factual clarity – perpetuated by secrecy, cover-up and dishonesty – about the exact practices in which the US and its allies have engaged, and partly because of a lack of urgency and political will on both sides of the Atlantic to unite around consensus solutions.

By clarifying some of the unspoked truths that have previously held us back in this exercise, I hope I have spurred right-minder Americans and Europeans alike into realising that our common values, in tandem with our common security, depend on our uniting to end the abusive practices inherent in US policies like the “High-Value Detainee” programme.

In the UK we are still stuck in

secrecy, cover-up and dishonesty

as witness the fact that the terse denial by ACPO got more, and more favourable, media coverage in the UK than the Swiss judge’s 368 paragraphs of carefully weighed evidence.

Of course, the reason the British police have “No evidence” is that they have steadfastly refused to look for any. When the CIA flights have landed for refuelling at British airports they were registered as normal civilian flights. On board sometimes were prisoners: held under no lawful authority, shackled, blindfold, beaten , drugged and tortured. Even when there were no prisoners, on board were shackles, weapons, drugs and other illegal equipment. The police had every lawful authority to search while these planes were on the ground in the UK (I used to be the number 2 in the FCO’s Aviation and Maritime Department).

Not only that, but on numerous occasions the police had the aircraft actually pointed out to them by protestors. Of the hundreds of documented occasions when the CIA torture flights came through the UK, not once – NOT ONCE – did a British police officer go on board to look. And now they say they have no evidence! It makes me sick.

I was a witness before the Council of Europe inquiry. I should have happily been a witness for the SOCPA enquiries, only of course they didn’t really make any.

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2 Comments

  1. I think a word of praise is due to Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty who I heard on Radio 4 being immensely lucid on the topic. Reports of her arguments have been cut but she was most convincing.

    Obviously I must write to my MP yet again. I don't think I'll get a helpful response. On one occasion his reply (by e-mail) suggested that prisoners on extraordinary rendition flights should instruct their lawyers to take the matter to court. I don't know what planet he lives on but it's evidently more civilised than this one.

  2. When I heard that tripe from ACPO on the news I immediately read it to mean that 'No Evidence' meant the police just hadn't bothered to look for any or were keeping their eyes studiously averted from it.

    I'm sure that many other news cynics out there must have come to the same conclusion. What concerns me is all those still naive enough to believe that the mainstream media is there to report factual news.

    Thirty years ago, while visiting my mother-in-law in the old Poland, I heard a joke about the state's media: "If you want to know the truth just believe the opposite of everything you read, hear and see on the state media."

    Since my involvement in the Peace Campaign in this country in the 'eighties I have found that adage to be equally true here, especially with the shameless BBC.

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