Daily Archives: February 19, 2006


Torture flights landed in UK, admit air controllers

From The Independent

CIA jets suspected of flying terrorist suspects to secret prisons for torture have landed at commercial British airports and received help from UK air traffic control, the authorities have admitted for the first time.

National Air Traffic Services (Nats) confirmed that three planes with CIA tail numbers have travelled through Britain “on a number of occasions”.

MPs last night seized on the letter as the first formal acknowledgement that British authorities were aware that CIA flights associated with “extraordinary rendition” have travelled through UK airspace.

They said it showed that ministers could no longer claim they had no knowledge of CIA flights that have been linked to the policy of sending terrorist suspects for interrogation in countries that carry out torture.

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Henry Porter: Blair’s new laws leave us at the mercy of future tyrants

From The Observer

Osama bin Laden’s achievement was not to mastermind the flying of jets into the Twin Towers, not to franchise his brand of terrorism to a lot of savage young men, not even to inspire the invasion of Iraq. No, it was to spook the West and to fill our minds with fear so that we let security oppress liberty and turn us away from the abuse and torture occurring in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

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Clare Short: I weep for our errors in Iraq

From The Independent

Not many years ago, I used to say that our troops were some of the best peacekeepers in the world. Having learned their lessons in Northern Ireland, their performance in Bosnia, East Timor, and Sierra Leone – and in leading the establishment of the peace-keeping force in Kabul – was exemplary.

The Department for International Development, of which I was Secretary of State, provided some funding, and the troops worked in ways that enabled them to get to know the local people. They helped with emergency repairs, set up football clubs, and got involved in other activities. The secret of the troops’ success was that they treated local people with respect. And so – despite all the deceit on the road to war in Iraq – it was easy to believe the claims that life was better in Basra than Baghdad partly because our troops knew how to behave.

We can no longer be under that illusion. The video footage that came to light last week showing the beatings of young men by British troops – and the decision of the people of Basra to refuse all contact with British forces – suggests that all is not as we were led to believe. We can no longer feel the same pride in the performance of our armed forces. And their loss of reputation makes them more vulnerable in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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