Thursday, 26 February 2009


This is reportedly a CIA 'extraordinary rendition' aircraft parked at Shannon Airport in Jul 2006.
Let us be quite clear about this typically American piece of 'New Speak'. 'Extraordinary rendition' is kidnapping anyone whom you think is a 'terrorist threat' and flying them to other countries like Morocco or Afghanistan where they can be subjected to torture as part of their 'interrogation' and thus avoid US personnel breaching the US Constitution (concerning torture and illegal detention) in the USA.
So now we know that not only did British Forces in Iraq hand over 2 suspects in 2004 to the US military, knowing full well what their fate would be ( they are still 'rotting' in prison almost 5 years later in Afghanistan) but that despite denials by the Foreign Secretary at the time (Jack Straw) this information was relayed to The Home Office and Foreign Office and was contained in written briefings presented to the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
Here is what Article 49 of The Geneva Convention states in its first paragraph:
"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are PROHIBITED (my capitals), regardless of their motive."
Not only did this Government lie in taking us to war in Iraq alongside the USA (clearly lied to by Bush) and thus illegally, but in addition Parliament has been lied to about our involvement in 'rendition'. We are guilty of assisting the Americans in a grave breach of The Geneva Convention.
Let me explain why this 'grave breach' must have been sanctioned at the highest levels of Government in The UK. Every Service Officer is required to study the Geneva Convention and is required to 'instruct' their troops about The Geneva Convention and certain articles are even required to be read out in full to servicemen, at least once a year. When units or servicemen and women are posted to a conflict zone, such instruction is repeated prior to movement and for obvious reasons.
Are we really to believe that a UK Commander handed over 2 suspects in Iraq to the US authorities without seeking guidance from the UK? Or is the reality that the UK Commander was 'instructed' by London to hand them over, after London received a request from the US authorities to do so? I suspect the latter was the case.
How many Labour Party members are as horrified as I am, that a Labour Government under Tony Blair, could be complicit in the illegal removal from Iraq to Afghanistan of two 'protected persons' (under The Geneva Convention) and their subsequent treatment. The sooner Obama and the US lay charges against Bush and we hold an enquiry into these matters, the better.


Anonymous said...

My brother was responsible for discharging great quantities of aviation fuel into the skies above Manston. (Victor Tankers diverting into Manston).

In 72 and 73 he did a ground tour as RAF Operations Controller for the Oman War working out of RAF Masirah.

This involved liaison with and support of SAS.

My brother had a ministerial reporting brief.

Just as I was offered and refused in the police at about the same time.

I had been taught before leaving Army to join police in 1970 that Constable Oath must take precedence over orders if there was a conflict. This constitutional awareness was provided to me by a Squadron Sergeant major from 22 SAS. I refused my direct reporting remit to Home Office which was meant to be without my Chief constable knowledge.

My brother is now a very successful man. In 1972 he did not refuse his ministerial reporting brief. His chain of military command above him were cut out of the loop.

That is an example Bertie of how your argument and expectations of the Officer Corps break down.

In 72 73 the youngest commander of an RN nuclear sub happened to be our former Head of House at Boarding School. My brother, a very junior officer, wanted a favour done (I think it was to give an SAS team a lift) and an RN nuclear sub diverted on its Commanders initiative and did my brother the favour he asked.

Bertie you seem to have lived a very sheltered life ....

Anonymous said...

This is what can happen to people when they back the wrong side. People enjoying British hospitality then turning against their host in some way is a pretty poor show. While torture is frightful, they can expect to be questioned pretty closely about their motives to make sure there aren't others involved. The German SS knew a thing or two about that for sure.

Hugin said...

I share some of your sense of disgust Bertie, but cannot think how I would express it to an English soldier who had just seen one of his fellows blown to bloody shreds by a bomb planted by an enemy combatant who wore no uniform. The niceties of the Geneva Convention mean little to a man in that situation.

Michael Child said...

Bertie back in 1969 before I became disillusioned, we had produced 3D colour TV in our labs, oddly enough a small percentage of the population saw it only in black and white, no one knew why. MI5 MI6 and yes the CIA turned up, they didn’t like civilians playing with lasers in an advanced sort of way. Jobs were offered at Porton Down etc I decamped on a radio astrology extra seminar at U of C some gave their skills to other nations, perhaps as well as yes any passing pervert could lie on the floor, and yes look up skirts etc it either works or not, any ideas I still have the files I think.

Bertie Biggles said...

Rick, (23.26),you have highlighted exactly the point I have suggested. Government can, and has, ignored the chain of command to pursue a particular course of action that is contrary to International Law (in this case, an important article of The Geneva Convention.) What depths can we descend to , once we compromise integrity?

Hugin, it is exactly in the circumstances that you describe that the 'niceties' of The Geneva Convention must apply and be adhered to by soldiers on the ground. It requires firm leadership to stop the understandable frustration that could lead to atrocity in such circumstances. History, sadly, provides us with too many cases where troops have vented their pain and anguish of seeing comrades killed on innocent non-combatants or POWs. To me it is quite simple, even though Rick suggests I have led a sheltered life, which is not the case, as it happens.

As a serving member of the Armed Forces of the Crown, you have no choice but to adhere to your 'Rules of Engagement' and the Law of Armed Conflict including The Geneva Convention; whether your 'enemy' does or not is irrelevant. Once you descend into the cess-pit and murky world of political connivance and expediency as practised by ex-President Bush and our own Government,then how can you possibly consider yourself any different from the villains of history? You cannot; you have joined them, have you not?

Hugin said...

I share your views about reprisals against innocent civilians and POWs Bertie. I do not however regard captured combatants who are not in uniform as falling into either category. What has the modern Geneva Convention to say about them?

An example of the question closer to home: how did you look upon the IRA when they were killing civilians and soldiers? Most folk that I know considered them to be criminals and not worthy of treatment as POWs if captured.

Bertie Biggles said...

Hugin, I spent too much of my youthful years in different roles, in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, combatting the terrorist activity of the IRA. Despite the callous indifference to innocent civilians shown by this organisation, any one arrested under the Special Powers Act was entitled to be treated as 'an arrested criminal' and not be subjected to any form of maltreatment. However, if bearing arms or threatening life, they could be and were shot. I have never condoned maltreatment of those arrested, no matter how heinious their crime or alleged crime. You cannot engage in up-holding the Law and preserving democracy by descending into the gutter.
The Argentine 'Disappeared' were an example of what happens when an Army and Police Force are allowed to take the Law into their own hands.

Hugin said...

Bertie, you and I have opinions on this matter that are closer than you may think. The difference is that I believe that it is sometimes necessary to get into the gutter to defeat an enemy, however revolting we find that need. I will not ask another man to risk death or injury on my behalf and expect him to preserve my finer feelings at the same time.

Those who disgust me most in the particular case of Iraq that you cite are the politicians who lied to Parliament about the reasons for going to war, and now refuse to make public documents relating to the matter.