Jack Straw was interviewed on BBC radio this morning and claimed he had no records of requests for UK airports to be used for illegal transfers of prisoners to be tortured (extraordinary rendition). When pressed, he admitted that no checks had been made by British authorities on the planes so the the lack of recorded evidence of US requests is hardly compelling, to put it mildly!
The interview can be heard here following a section on the latest Iraq poll.
Meanwhile, Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights continues to lay down the line with further interviews over the weekend. Here, we give an extract from her speech given on Human Rights Day.
Particularly insidious are moves to water down or question the absolute ban on torture, as well as on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Governments in a number of countries are claiming that established rules do not apply anymore: that we live in a changed world and that there is a “new normal”. They argue that this justifies a lowering of the bar as to what constitutes permissible treatment of detainees. An illegal interrogation technique, however, remains illegal whatever new description a government might wish to give it.
Update (13/12): CIA flight assurances ‘worthless’
“Checking for instances of the US requesting permission is simply derisory.”
“It is crystal clear that the UK must investigate allegations that it has been complicit in torture,”
Mr Tyrie, all party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition.
Liberty press release “Few would be na’ve enough to expect a foreign power to ask specific permission to use Britain for the shameful and shadowy business of kidnap and torture. We need a proactive investigation rather than an FCO file-check”