Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'Cruel, illegal, immoral': Human Rights Watch condemns UK's role in torture.

Human Rights Watch have published a new report entitled "Cruel Britannia: British Complicity in the Torture and Ill-treatment of Terror Suspects" which says that the British government were complicit in the torture of suspects and quotes from the Pakistani torturers themselves stating that the government knew what they were doing and encouraged it.

Researchers at the New York-based NGO spoke to Pakistani intelligence agents directly involved in the torture who say their British counterparts knew they were mistreating British terrorism suspects. These agents said British officials were "breathing down their necks for information" while they were torturing a medical student from London, and that British intelligence officers were "grateful" they were "using all means possible" to extract information from a man from Luton being beaten, whipped, deprived of sleep and threatened with an electric drill.

"UK complicity is clear," the report says, adding that it had put the government in a "legally, morally and politically invidious position".

This report couldn't be any clearer in it's allegations. It is stating categorically that the British government under Tony Blair was complicit in torture.

The former shadow home secretary David Davis said the report was "astonishing", in that it "destroys the last remnants of any defence the government might have". He called on the government to hold an independent judicial inquiry.

HRW added to the growing number of calls for an inquiry into Britain's role in the torture. Among those issuing demands are parliament's joint committee on human rights, the Liberal Democrats, Amnesty International, and the former director of public prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald. Lord Carlile, the government's independent reviewer of counterterrorism legislation, Lord Guthrie, a former chief of defence staff, and Lord King of Bridgwater, a former Conservative defence and Northern Ireland secretary, have also called for an inquiry.

HRW pointed out today that the government may have little choice but to investigate British complicity, not only because a failure to do so is threatening to undermine its core values, but because it is a requirement of international law.

"The convention against torture requires states to reinforce the prohibition against torture through legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures," the report says.

The calls for an inquiry are now becoming overwhelming, especially as the torturers themselves are now saying that the British encouraged what they were doing.

It should be obvious to all that, in the years and months following 9-11, certain western countries gave upon the values which previously defined them.

The question now is what to do about that. This is the exact same issue which Obama, in the US, wants to look away from; insisting that we must look forwards and not backwards.

But that is simply not acceptable. We are either a nation of torturers or we are not. And, if we are not, then we prosecute the people who have indulged in such a practice, including the leaders who condoned such barbarity.

I really don't see any other way to restore equilibrium.

Click here for full article.

2 comments:

Cecilieaux said...

Britain is, after all, the nation that invented biological warfare (in 1700s New England), the African slave trade, the concentration camp (Boer War), Long Kesh (Ireland).

You expected different from these stalwarts of humanity?

Kel said...

I know C, but the fact that we are enabling the torture of British subjects will shock people over here.