Daily archives: March 1, 2006

Council of Europe publish report on alleged CIA detentions and rendition flights in Europe

From the Council of Europe

Strasbourg, 01.03.2006, ‘Europe appears to be a happy hunting ground for foreign security services’ said Terry Davis at a press conference on the occasion of the publication of his report under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights. ‘Hardly any country in Europe has any legal provisions to ensure an effective oversight over the activities of foreign agencies on their territory’ he continued.

The analysis of the replies received by the governments of the Council of Europe member states to his letter of 21 November 2005 also revealed that the existing procedures to monitor who and what is transiting through European airports and airspace do not provide adequate safeguards against abuse. Indeed, no Council of Europe member state appears to have established any kind of procedure in order to assess whether civil aircraft are used for purposes which would be incompatible with internationally recognised human rights standards.

The Secretary General also said that the existing rules on state immunity create considerable obstacles for effective law enforcement in relation to the activities of foreign agents. ‘Immunity cannot mean impunity’ he added. ‘Exceptions to state immunity already recognised in the case of torture should be extended to other serious violations of human rights, such as enforced disappearances.’

Terry Davis said that his inquiry will continue in the case of individual countries which provided incomplete or inadequate replies, and he announced that he will make specific proposals for new Council of Europe legal standards to deal with the deficiencies revealed by the report.

The full report and further information is available here

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Run of the Mill

It is a sign of our appalling times, and the arrogance of New Labour, that Blair clings on to his loyal muppet Jowell, while Sir Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary, earnestly enquires whether there is anything in the Code of Conduct for Ministers that specifically precludes multiple acts of money laundering. (link)

Well, Sir Gus, there is certainly this; the Code precludes acceptance of gifts. That is what Mills claims this money was. As this “Gift” (note the use of a capital ‘G’) went to pay off a mortgage which was 50% in Jowell’s name and which she had signed, she also accepted it. She should be out. But doubtless the Cabinet Office are working overtime on how to Hutton their way around this one.

In the meantime, the Blairite cheerleaders in the media bravely try to save her. In particular Britain’s worst journalist, the wholly odious Michael White (Political editor of the Guardian), argues against all the evidence that Jowell and Mills’ finances are separate. (link)

That man White is so far up Jack Straw’s rectum that for years he hasn’t had any daylight to report by. He also seems not to know that the ministerial code specifically covers gifts to family members.

Two more shockers…

1. Jowell had remortgaged her home to launder money not just once, but five times. (link)

Does she still claim this is “Normal”? On one occasion she had paid it off again in just 19 days.

2. Finally, yesterday I reported a fact that the mainstream media still does not dare to print; that Mills was under Serious Fraud Office investigation (and his office was raided as a result) at around the same time that New Labour came to power. I also reported that some of the SFO staff on the case were confused and concerned that no prosecution arose.

The mainstream press are too scared of this story to tackle it properly, but I’m sure you’ll excuse my own caution as I state this next bit very, very carefully:

I have seen no evidence to suggest to me that it was a particular handicap to Mr Mills at around that time that his sister-in-law, Barbara Mills, was the Director of Public Prosecutions and a former Head of the Serious Fraud Office.

I mean no more than appears on the face of that sentence.

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Uzbek court jails opposition activist for 10 years

With yet again no effective protest from the international community, another major leader of the Uzbek democratic opposition is packed off to torture camp. Nodira is a personal friend of mine and I am deeply sad.

She is not, doubtless, a personal friend of my replacement. I was sacked for trying to help democracy and stop this kind of thing. Where now is the British Embassy. Where was my successor, David Moran, when this sentence was passed?

Doubtless doing nothing but swanning from cocktail party to golf course with his mouth, eyes and ears closed, as a good diplomat should,

Craig Murray

From the Washington Post

TASHKENT (Reuters) – An Uzbek court sentenced an opposition activist to 10 years in prison on Wednesday on embezzlement and tax evasion charges in a case her supporters say was politically motivated.

Nodira Khidayatova, a leading member of the moderate opposition Sunshine Uzbekistan Coalition, was arrested in December after returning from a trip to Moscow where she held a news conference to criticize President Islam Karimov.

“The court rules that Khidayatova be imprisoned for 10 years,” Judge Zokirjon Isayev said. Companies controlled by her must also pay $230,000 in back taxes, he said.

Since a bloody government crackdown in the town of Andizhan last year in May, the authoritarian Central Asian state has held a series of trials resulting in the jailing of more than 180 people accused of involvement in the uprising. The authorities have also arrested members of the opposition, like Khidayatova, who criticized Karimov’s government.

“Her guilt was completely unproven,” Khidayatova’s lawyer Oleg Babenko told reporters. He said she would appeal against the verdict.

Sanjar Umarov, a 49-year-old cotton and oil businessman who chairs the Sunshine coalition, is also on trial on economic charges. Prosecutors called last week for him to be jailed for more than 13 years. Umarov set up the Sunshine Uzbekistan Coalition last year to campaign for reform of the country’s Soviet-style economy, which independent economists say has kept much of the population in poverty.

Following the violence in Andizhan, where troops opened fire on a large crowd of men, women and children after armed militants seized a government building, Umarov criticized the government and called on people to join his coalition. Khidayatova held a news conference in Moscow in November, calling on Russia to drop its support for Karimov and acknowledge widespread human rights abuses in Uzbekistan.

Karimov, who says he is fighting militant Islamists and is backed by Russian and China, has denied any ordinary members of the public were killed in Andizhan. His government says 187 people, mostly “bandits” and “terrorists” and some police, were killed, while independent witness estimates put the death toll at around 500.

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