Daily archives: April 4, 2006

Strategic Voters target New Labour wipe-out in 4th May London local elections

Click to find out more about Strategic Voting in the May 4th elections in London

Anti-New Labour tactical voting by former Labour voters, and supporters of all other parties, can deliver a local election result in London so disastrous for New Labour that a chain reaction will start that will go on to sweep Tony Blair out of 10 Downing Street.

This is the claim made by London Strategic Voter (www.strategicvoter.org.uk), the unique new London local elections website launched today by opponents of the Iraq war.

The website presents information showing just how vulnerable New Labour is right across London on 4 May. If opponents of the war unite and vote tactically for the strongest challenger to New Labour the party of government could be defeated in every London borough. It is the first time the internet has been used to encourage and co-ordinate large-scale tactical voting in a London election.

London Strategic Voter spokesman Richard Wilson said:

“Most progressive people have got the hang of tactical voting as a means of keeping the Conservatives out of power. Anti-New Labour tactical voting is trickier because voters are less sure which way to turn to maximise the effectiveness of their vote. London Strategic Voter gives ordinary London voters the information they need to use the May 4th local elections to send a powerful anti-war and anti-sleaze message to Westminster.’

Simply by typing in their postcode on the website, Londoners can find out which party stands the best chance of beating New Labour in their council ward. The interactive website will be a centre for vote-swapping between supporters of different parties in different boroughs, so that the power of tactical voting to create change can be exploited to the full.

‘May 4th is a referendum on whether the voters want Tony Blair to stay or to go now. We want him to go. Today, Iraq is a horrific and disgusting bloodbath, a disaster which Blair was instrumental in creating and for which he has no solution . For Londoners it’s a local issue. The 7/7 bombings happened because of Iraq ‘ and now we hear that the official report agrees with us on that.* How much more local an issue can there be than the danger we now face, as a result of Tony Blair’s policies, every time we get on a bus or tube train?

‘May 4th is shaping up to be the ‘perfect storm’ for New Labour – an utter electoral disaster, sweeping them out of councils in both inner and outer London. Only ordinary voters have the power to do this ‘ and London Strategic Voter shows them how.’

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Little has changed despite Abu Ghraib (or Condi’s visit)

By Chip Pitts in SacBee.com

“We are convinced that once people living in America understand the scope of abuses taking place, these unlawful actions will end and our government’s actions will again be brought within the rule of law.”

[This] month marks the second anniversary of the now-iconic images of torture emerging from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. While Amnesty International would like to report that the situation for detainees being held by agents of the U.S. government has improved, it cannot. Contrary to the Bush administration’s claim that the abuses in U.S.-run prison facilities in Iraq were the work of a few bad apples, Amnesty International has documented a systemic pattern of abuses by agents of the U.S. government that spans the globe.

The use of torture and other inhuman treatment is firmly outlawed in both U.S. and international law. There is arguably no other principle of law more established than the absolute prohibition on torture. Perhaps this partly explains why the Bush administration shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, set out to redefine policies and practices in ways that pushed the limits on the prohibition against torture and inhuman treatment. In a series of memos composed between August 2002 and April 2003, the Justice Department, the White House counsel’s office and counsel to the secretary of defense attempted to redefine what constitutes physical and mental torture.

Widespread allegations reveal that torture and other inhuman treatment of detainees is occurring through the use of extraordinary rendition, in Department of Defense custody and in secret CIA detention facilities called black sites. Extraordinary rendition or outsourcing torture is the process by which the United States outside court purview transfers a person to another country for the purposes of interrogation and detention, often by first kidnapping them.


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Ahead of a new report US admits Scottish airport used on rendition flight

From The Herald

The first official admission Scottish airports have been used for refuelling of US rendition flights has sparked calls for more openness and police involvement.

Chris Ballance, the Green MSP who has campaigned on the issue, seized on the revelation that the Americans transported a terror suspect through Prestwick airport in 1998.

Ahead of publication this week of an Amnesty International report that is expected to detail extensive US aircraft movements thought to be so-called “torture flights”, Mr Ballance said that the position of the government is at last shifting.

On Friday, the government admitted a suspect in a civilian aircraft bombing in 1982 was sent to the US via Prestwick in June 1998. The only previous admission has been a refuelling at Stansted airport, when the US was returning a suspect in the 1998 Nairobi bombings.

Since 2001 and the start of the war on terror, it is claimed American activity in “extraordinary rendition” ‘ transporting suspected terrorists to countries with reputations for use of torture ‘ has led to frequent use of Scottish airports.

However, it is also claimed by the government that it has received no applications to let British airports be used for these flights. Mr Ballance echoed the Scottish National Party, saying last week’s admission raises more questions than it provides answers. “The government has previously attempted to deny all knowledge of any rendition flights using Scottish airports,” he said. “Now ministers are changing their tune.”

He said he was glad if terrorists are brought to justice, as appears to be the case with Mohammed Rashed, who was found guilty in the US after being transported via Prestwick, but added: “Hundreds of other flights may have stopped in Scotland and it’s high time the public knew the full facts.”

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