Monday, March 07, 2005

Torture

France Inter, in their press review on Friday, mentioned Ken Livingstone’s article in The Guardian. Strangely, BBC Radio 4 in theirs didn't,  preferring to concentrate on the war of Mrs Dixon's shoulder and Michael Jackson's trial.  

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Andrew Gilligan's career is not quite in tatters: he is making documentaries shown on Channel 4 like 'Torture: the Dirty Business' (first shown Tuesday, 1 March). This dealt with 'rendition', the removal of persons held by the US to Syria (of all places) and Egypt for torture.

The last part featured Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Tashkent. He argued that MI6 was making use of intelligence produced by torture and therefore encouraging it - 'selling our souls for dross.' He was told his view not shared in Whitehall, that his position was not tenable and he left his job at the end of 2004. The British government claim that they are keeping to the treaty against torture by not carrying out or 'instigating' it.

Much was made in the programme of the alleged fiction of the link with al Qaeda. Certainly there are islamic groups in Uzbekistan and there probably would be some sort of tie-up with al Q, but how close I don't know. The real point is that they are the only credible opposition to Karimov's brutal rule.

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The former head of the Metropolitan police in London claimed that there were 1 to 2 hundred al Qaeda operatives in Britain. Monday, on Today at around 7:15, somebody said that in France, say, with cases under an investigating judge, suspects could be held for up to 4 years. And all without derogating from European Human Rights.

Well, obviously the British system has always been different: we don't have investigating judges. The police do the investigating and people are kept in prison, if they are denied bail, pending trial ... but  4 years ??

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