Daily Archives: December 20, 2005


Foreign office staff threatened resignations in bid to stop US bombing of Al Jazeera. Jack Straw lies over CIA flights.

From Ringverse

The British Foreign Office privately accepts that CIA rendition flights did pass through its territory, a diplomatic source told United Press International.

The well-placed source said the Foreign Office “totally accepts” that the United States used British airfields to transfer prisoners abroad for interrogation, and is “extremely worried” about the political consequences.

The revelation comes amid growing signs of divergence between London and Washington over the way in which the war on terror should be conducted.

When British Prime Minister Tony Blair learnt in April 2003 that the United States had bombed a Baghdad hotel in which several media organizations were housed, killing three journalists, he “literally jumped out of his chair,” the source told UPI. The Foreign Office was “horrified,” considering the attack to be “obscene,” the source said.

London took the same attitude towards a U.S. suggestion that it would attack the Qatar headquarters of the Arabic language television al-Jazeera, the source said.

Foreign Office officials threatened to resign if the Americans went ahead with the attacks, revealed in a Downing Street memo leaked to the British media earlier this year.

Blair reportedly talked U.S. President George W. Bush out of the attacks, warning it could fuel a worldwide backlash. The Mirror newspaper quoted a source as saying: “There’s no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn’t want him to do it.”

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Extraordinary Rendition – the cover-up continues

Questions from Ming Campbell to Goverment Minister Adam Ingram in the House of Commons on 14th December

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions since September 2001 US-registered aircraft tail number (a) N313P and (b) N44982, formerly N8068V and N379P, has landed at United Kingdom military airfields with (i) Kabul and (ii) Baghdad as its (A) origin and (B) destination; [35460]

(2) on how many occasions since September 2001 US-registered aircraft tail number (a) N313P and (b) N44982, formerly N8068V and N379P, has landed at United Kingdom military airfields with an airport in (i) Jordan, (ii) Syria, (iii) Romania and (iv) Poland as its (A) origin and (B) destination; [35444]

(3) on how many occasions since September 2001 US-registered aircraft tail number (a) N313P and (b) N44982, formerly N8068V and N379P, has landed at United Kingdom military airfields with an airport in (i) Libya, (ii) Uzbekistan, (iii) Morocco and (iv) Egypt as its (A) origin and (B) destination. [35443]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is not recorded centrally and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

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British Police Begin Inquiry Into Alleged CIA Torture Flights

By Richard Norton-Taylor in The Guardian

A chief constable has begun inquiries into allegations that CIA “torture flights” have landed in Britain, the human rights group, Liberty, said yesterday. It said Michael Todd, chief constable of Greater Manchester police, had agreed to start investigations on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo). Mr Todd is the member of Acpo’s terrorism committee responsible for aviation.

After meeting with Mr Todd, the director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, said: “We are very pleased that the police are taking these concerns seriously. If suspects are being taken through the UK to face torture, there have been serious breaches of international and domestic law. We intend to help the police and call on individuals with any information to come forward.” Acpo described the meeting as “useful” and said further talks were planned in January.

A Greater Manchester police spokesman said it had been a “useful exploratory discussion”.

Liberty acted after the Guardian reported that CIA or CIA-chartered jets had flown into the UK approximately 210 times since 2001. It wrote to the chief constables of Bedfordshire, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, the Metropolitan police, the Ministry of Defence police, Suffolk, Sussex, Thames Valley and West Midlands last month asking them to seek assurances from the US that it is not using British airports to transport – or “render” – terrorist suspects to secret camps or countries known to have tortured prisoners.

Liberty said the police had asked for further evidence, and has asked anyone with information about CIA flights using British airspace or airports to contact the organisation, even anonymously.

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Condi’s iffy rendition of ‘Evita’

By Tom Blackburn in the Palm Beach Post

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did her impression of Evita Peron’s Rainbow Tour through Europe two weeks ago. Did the lady win through? As the song says, “The answer is yes… and no.”

She did shift the subject briefly from torture to “extraordinary rendition.” But her audience didn’t believe her about that, either. At the end, European foreign ministers made noises as if they believed her, but they have to live with the big galoot she represents, believe her or not.

(more…)

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