Daily archives: June 15, 2006

Partners in crime: Europe’s role in US renditions

From Amnesty International

Europe’s governments have repeatedly denied their complicity in the US programme of “renditions” ‘ an unlawful practice in which numerous men have been illegally detained and secretly flown to third countries, where they have suffered additional crimes including torture and enforced disappearance.

As evidence of this programme has come to light, however, it has become clear that many European governments have adopted a ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ approach when it comes to rendition flights using their territory and that some states have been implicated in individual cases. These states include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Turkey and EU members Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK.

Without Europe’s help, some men would not now be held without charge or trial, in abusive conditions, in Egypt, Syria and Guant’namo. Without information from European intelligence agencies, some of the men may not have been abducted. Without access to Europe’s airport facilities and airspace, CIA planes would have found it harder to transport their human cargo. In short, Europe has been the USA’s partner in crime.

The impact on both the victims of renditions and their families has been devastating.

At the EU Summit 15-16 June in Brussels leaders of EU states must take a clear and public stance against renditions and at the EU-US Summit 21 June in Vienna they must ensure that the EU reiterate this stance with the USA.

To take action visit here

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British mercenaries cleared by US

The BBC have reported that it continues to be business as usual for Tim Spicer and Aegis.

The British mercenary firm has welcomed the outcome of a US army investigation clearing it of criminal offences. The US military launched an inquiry after a video showing an Aegis Defence Services contractor firing at civilian cars in Iraq was shown on the internet.

Ageis, which has a Pentagon contract in Iraq said to be worth ‘157m, said the man responsible for the film is now the subject of legal action.

Aegis also revealed that its own investigation, which was handed to the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, had found that the incident shown on the film was within the rules on the use of force by civilian personnel.

See Back in the Money and The Name Game for background and comment.

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You can’t teach old collaborators human rights

By Duncan McFarlane

Some of the same British military intelligence units and officers involved in collusion with terrorist death squads in the killing of civil rights lawyer Patrick Finucane and other innocent people in Northern Ireland were also involved in the killing of Jean Charles De Menezes. The same people are also involved in ‘counter-terrorism’ in Iraq.

‘Patrick Finucane was a prominent criminal defence and civil rights lawyer; his was one of the leading law firms in the 1980s in Northern Ireland acting in defence of those detained or charged under emergency legislation. He was instrumental in raising fair trial issues in the courts, arguing against practices which were in violation of international human rights standards. He was shot dead by two masked men on 12 February 1989 in front of his wife and his three children at their home in Belfast, Northern Ireland.’

Amnesty International ‘Patrick Finucane’s killing: Official collusion and cover-up'(1)

The murder of civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane in 1989 was the result of collusion between the Ulster Defence Association ‘ a loyalist terrorist organisation ‘ and a British military intelligence unit ‘ the Forces Research Unit or FRU which was headed by one Gordon Kerr from 1987 to 1991. The FRU included the intelligence ‘handler’ of UDA man Brian Nelson who was involved in the Finucane murder. The FRU were also involved in the murder by the UDA of at least 14 other people ‘ mostly innocent of any connection to the IRA. Some like Finucane acted as defence lawyers for people suspected by the FRU of being in the IRA ‘ and on that basis the FRU passed their lawyers’ names to the UDA death squads. Several people have also testified that they were employed as FRU double agents in the IRA during the 1980s and in the Real IRA cell which carried out the Omagh bombing which killed 29 people in 1998 (After 1991 the FRU was renamed the ‘Joint Services Group’). They claim the FRU allowed bombings to go ahead rather than risk blowing their agents’ cover ‘ bringing in to question what the FRU’s real motives were if they weren’t to prevent terrorist attacks.



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The Banality of Evil

The following is a transcript of an unscripted talk given for the BUSH CRIMES COMMISSION at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. Spoken language often relies on inflection and even gesture, and when written down can look ungrammatical and even George Bush-esque!



The Banality of Evil

MODERATOR: Our third witness this evening is Ambassador Craig Murray. Craig Murray was a career diplomat in the British Foreign Service. And as he will explain to you, his last position was the representative of Her Majesty’s government in Uzbekistan. And in that position some very disturbing documents began to cross his desk, which led him eventually to resign from the Foreign Service and to expose what was happening in that country and what the United States and the British governments’ attitude towards it was.

I give you Craig Murray.


MURRAY: Thank you. Thank you very much. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to be here in the United States. I agree wholeheartedly with various points that it’s very, very necessary to radicalize the current generation of students.

I’m not quite sure about the means that, you know, we need to radicalize the students. Let’s find an upperclass retired ambassador and send him on a speaking tour. It — it’s not automatically the way I’d do it. But, well, we’ll give it a go and see what happens.

I’ve never been to Boston before except for Boston in England. And I’ve never been in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before. I’m dead impressed by this facility. From here I can see two different clocks. One of them is only about 20 meters east of the other, and yet the technology can detect it’s 8:00 o’clock there and still 7:59 over there (laughter). I tell you, I’m bloody impressed. Quite remarkable.

I was the British ambassador in a place called Uzbekistan. This came at the rather premature end of my diplomatic career. I’d been a career diplomat for 21 years. I’d served in a number of positions, including some senior positions.

I was also an expert in Iraqi weapons procurement, having led the British effort on monitoring Iraqi attempts at weapons procurement during the early 1990s and during the first Gulf War.

I was posted to Uzbekistan, and I didn’t have that much idea where it was at the time I was posted there. In fact I was — I was a British deputy high commissioner in Africa in Ghana in Accra, and I received a phone call from the office. Said, “Craig, you’ve been promoted to ambassador.”

And I said, “Great.”

And they said, “In Uzbekistan.”

And I said, “Yes, uh –” (laughter), and I put down the phone, and I shouted to my secretary, “Christina, go buy an atlas,” to see where I was going.


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