Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tony Blair knew of secret policy on terror interrogations.

Today's Guardian is leading with the news that Tony Blair knew the US were torturing prisoners and that he ordered British soldiers not to participate, but to essentially turn a blind eye to what they were seeing.

The policy, devised in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, offered ­guidance to MI5 and MI6 officers ­questioning detainees in Afghanistan whom they knew were being mistreated by the US military. British intelligence officers were given written instructions that they could not "be seen to condone" torture and that they must not "engage in any activity yourself that involves inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners".

But they were also told they were not under any obligation to intervene to prevent detainees from being mistreated. "Given that they are not within our ­custody or control, the law does not require you to intervene to prevent this," the policy said.
It would not be possible for my opinion of Blair to fall any lower than where it currently resides. Nor is it any surprise to find that he was all for ignoring acts of illegality which were right in front of his face. And, as usual, he provides straw man arguments in his defence.
"It is completely untrue that Mr Blair has ever authorised the use of torture. He is opposed to it in all circumstances. Neither has he ever been complicit in the use of torture.

"For the record, also, Mr Blair believes that our security services do a superb job of protecting our country in difficult ­circumstances and that it is not surprising following the attacks of September 11 2001 that there was a heightened sense of the dangers the country faced from terrorism. None of this amounts to condoning the use of torture."

This is a classic Blair straw man defence and it was the way he always argued when he was Prime Minister. Inflate the charge against you so that you can deny it with full force.

No-one has ever suggested that Blair "authorised" or "condoned" the use of torture, and Blair knows this. The charge is that he was aware of it and that he turned a blind eye.

Blair refuses to answer the latter question and, instead, makes a loud defence against charges which no-one is making. That's how he has always operated.

Click title for full article.

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