Daily archives: March 18, 2006

‘The time for accounting is now’

By Andrew Murray in The Guardian

Tony Blair’s announcement that he will henceforward account only to God for the Iraq war makes perfect sense. Every secular reason he has concocted for the catastrophe has turned out to be the reverse of the truth: there were no weapons of mass destruction, we are less safe from terrorism, the Iraqi people themselves do not want us in their country. No more of his excuses for this epic man-made disaster stand an earthly chance of being believed.

As the third anniversary of the calamity draws close, the final argument used by what little remains of the brave army of pro-war punditry that set out with the prime minister in 2003 has gone belly up. Far from preventing a civil war, the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq is provoking one. It is doing so through its divide-and-rule strategy, which has entrenched and inflamed the Sunni-Shia divide beyond anything in Iraq’s history, and through its refusal to afford Iraqis the unfettered exercise of national sovereignty, which is the only framework for overcoming such differences.

There is scarcely even a pretence that Iraq is permitted such sovereignty at present. Both Jack Straw and the US ambassador to Baghdad have recently been instructing the Iraqis as to what sort of government they must form – three months after the supposedly decisive national elections took place.


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‘Rendition flights’ landed in NI

From BBC Online

The transport secretary has revealed that aircraft allegedly operated by the CIA to take prisoners out of the USA landed at airports in Northern Ireland. The planes landed at Belfast International and City of Derry airports after January 2001.

Alistair Darling said the government had no information about the flights’ purposes as they were “non commercial”. Anti-Iraqi war campaigners said they were used to fly prisoners to states where torture was used.

A total of six US planes linked by campaigners to “extraordinary rendition” used UK airports 73 times since 2001, Mr Darling confirmed. Campaigners claim to have details of planes used by the CIA to transfer terror suspects to countries where they could be tortured.

Mr Darling confirmed the serial numbers of planes that had landed in the UK matched those on the campaigners’ list. But he said he had no evidence they were involved in rendition.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has denied the US uses torture, but insisted the practice of extraordinary rendition was not unlawful, adding: “Renditions take terrorists out of action, and save lives.”

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