Thursday, 4 August 2011

Oops… I've just been radicalised

A lot of very smart, sophisticated people - perhaps people like you - roll their eyes when you raise the subject of Tony Blair's war crimes. There have indeed been far too many silly posters and internet comments along the lines of 'Bliar', and comments about his wife, and they are indeed very boring. They're mostly from Tories who didn't necessarily disagree with his master plan of bombing every Muslim country on earth, but resented a (technically) Labour PM doing it. 

But sometimes, we need to remember just how evil Blair and his New Labour (i.e. Not Labour) friends were. How about this?

A top-secret document revealing how MI6 and MI5 officers were allowed to extract information from prisoners being illegally tortured overseas has been seen by the Guardian.
The interrogation policy – details of which are believed to be too sensitive to be publicly released at the government inquiry into the UK's role in torture and rendition – instructed senior intelligence officers to weigh the importance of the information being sought against the amount of pain they expected a prisoner to suffer.

What? But the government - including one David Milliband, Foreign Secretary, kept saying things like this:
MI5 and MI6 do not "participate in, encourage or condone" either torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
Which obviously isn't true. 
…government ministers' use of a controversial power that permits them to "disapply" UK criminal and civil law in order to offer a degree of protection to British intelligence officers committing crimes overseas… It was operated by the British government for almost a decade.
So you can torture - in breach of domestic and international human rights laws - as long as you really want to. 

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that secret services commit torture all the time. Any citizen of a country trading with Saudi Arabia, to pick a random example, has abetted torture. But what's particularly awful about this is that the security services have been corrupted by this New Labour clique. There's no recognition that torture a) doesn't work: people will say anything, b) is immoral and c) makes it more likely that your own people will be tortured if they're captured. 

Instead, the briefing is worried about being caught:
…such a revelation could result in further radicalisation, leading to an increase in the threat from terrorism."The policy adds that such a disclosure "could result in damage to the reputation of the agencies", and that this could undermine their effectiveness.
Well, it's certainly radicalised me. Though admittedly, I was already rather radical in an armchair kind of way. But in all seriousness, how can any Western government persuade any other country that it's operating fairly, that human rights should be taken seriously, that international agreements mean anything? 

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