Monday, August 10, 2009

MI6 'is not complicit' in torture

There are times when this borders on farce:

The head of MI6 has told the BBC there is no torture and "no complicity in torture" by the British secret service.

Sir John Scarlett said his officers were committed to human rights and liberal democracy, but also had to protect the UK against terrorism.
Well, that must surely be the end of the matter? After all, there was nothing John Scarlett got wrong in the build-up to the Iraq war was there?

And, even as he's issuing denials, he's notably giving himself wriggle room.
"Our officers are as committed to the values and the human rights values of liberal democracy as anybody else," he said. "They also have the responsibility of protecting the country against terrorism and these issues need to be debated and understood in that context," he added.
Why do they, "need to be debated and understood in that context?" We were either complicit in torture or we weren't. Surely one would only need to look at this "in context" if something had happened which required the excuse of extenuating circumstances?

It's a bit like a husband reassuring his wife that he hadn't been unfaithful to her at the Christmas party, then stating - in his defence - that he was very, very drunk.

The excuse of drunkenness is only relevant if the infidelity occurred.

Likewise, Scarlett is asking us to bear in mind extenuating circumstances, whilst insisting that nothing untoward occurred. That's just odd.

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