David Miliband refused to testify to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights about UK complicity in torture. That in itself is an example of how useless our parliament is and of the contempt in which the executive hold it. Thr JCHR was set up by the Commons and Lords specifically to monitor the UK’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. In the case of a most serious breach, government ministers can simply refuse to appear before the committee. What use is it?
Had Miliband testified at the JCHR, he would have been confronted with my evidence and that of others and expected to respond.
Instead, Miliband appeared before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, with its absolute New Labour majority.
I am in Accra and have not had any internet connection for two days. Today I have, but very very slow and I can’t watch Miliband’s appearance. If I buffer for three minutes I can get a twelve section tape. So I have been sampling his evidence. As far as I can tell nobody confronted him with my evidence. But from around 48 minutes he tells a direct lie, that we do use intelligence from torture but only where it concerns a direct threat to life.
As I testified to the JCHR, the torture material which I was seeing from Uzbekistan plainly did not fall into this category, yet I was told it was “Useful” to the intelligence services and we ahould continue to receive it. The meeting at which Iwas told this was minuted by the FCO.
Our parliament is pathetic in allowing Miliband to testify before a different body to that which heard the contrary evidence. But even so, even from the snatches I have been able to view, Miliband comes over as shifty and the government’s determination to continue receiving intelligence from torture glare through the carefully contrived answers.
Comment from those more able than I to see a fuller part of his evidence would be very welcome.