CIA Diego Garcia torture flights and the British government


This video is called Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Government challenged over ‘damaged’ Diego Garcia evidence

Friday 18th July 2014

GOVERNMENT claims that potential evidence of the extent of the CIA’s use of Diego Garcia as part of its rendition programme had been damaged were challenged yesterday.

Foreign Office ministers Mark Simmonds and Tobias Ellwood both told MPs this week that “extremely heavy weather in June 2014” had damaged flight records held in Diego Garcia, a British territory which the government has admitted was used by CIA aircraft carrying detainees as part of its programme of “extraordinary rendition.

However, records from a US commercial weather service obtained by legal action charity Reprieve show that the total rainfall for the month was well below average.

Legal charity Reprieve’s Cori Crider said: “Perhaps there is a microclimate over the hut on Diego Garcia where all the embarrassing files are kept? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office needs to hand the documents over to Parliament before some other invisible monsoon strikes.”

Stolen endangered iguanas are back in the Bahamas


This video is called Seacology: Protecting the Iguanas of San Salvador, Bahamas.

From Wildlife Extra:

Smuggled endangered iguanas fly back to the Bahamas

Twelve critically endangered San Salvador rock iguanas seized from smugglers at London’s Heathrow Airport have been returned home to the Bahamas.

The reptiles were discovered stuffed inside socks in the baggage of Romanian nationals Angla-Alina Bita, and Vitora-Oliva Bucsa by staff carrying out customs checks.

Following the seizure, officers from Border Force’s specialist CITES team worked with the Bahamas High Commission in London to arrange their return to their native islands.

They have been transported to a government research station on the island of San Salvador where they will be monitored by experts, with the eventual aim of retuning them to the wild.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said: “We are pleased that the criminals involved have been brought to justice and that these critically endangered animals have been returned home to live out their lives in their natural habitat. Wildlife belongs in the wild.”

French fascist politician jailed for calling black minister chimpanzee


National Front politicians Marine Le Pen and Anne-Sophie Leclere, French parliamentary election poster

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Former Front National candidate jailed for calling black minister a chimpanzee

John Lichfield

Wednesday 16 July 2014

In the severest sentence of its kind ever handed down in France, a former far-right local politician has been sentenced to nine months in prison for comparing a black cabinet minister to a chimpanzee.

Anne-Sophie Leclère, a senior Front National municipal candidate in northern France, posted adjacent images on Facebook of a female chimpanzee and the justice minister, Christiane Taubira. The first image was labelled “at 18 months old” and the second “now”.

Anne-Sophie Leclere and her racist comparison

Challenged about the images in a TV documentary last year, Ms Leclère, 33, said: “On the whole I would rather see (Ms Taubira) in the branches of a tree than see her in the government.” She was rapidly expelled from the FN as part of a drive by its leader, Marine Le Pen to clean up the party.

The Front National was nonetheless – to its fury – also found guilty late on Tuesday of inciting racial hatred by a court at Cayenne, in Guyane in the French West Indies. The FN was fined €30,000. Ms Leclère, from Rethel in the Ardennes on the Franco-Belgian border, was given a nine months’ jail sentence, fined Euros 50,000 and banned from politics for five years.

Both the FN and Ms Leclère have appealed.

FN leaders attacked the judgement as a “judicial ambush” “immoral” and “politically biased”. They complained about the fact that the case had been heard in Guyane – Ms Taubira’s birthplace and an overseas part of France which has an overwhelmingly black population.

“Clearly, in the court in Cayenne, the normal rules do not apply,” the FN said in a statement. “These incredible violations of our legal system must be vigorously denounced.”

The judgement was also criticised by some – not all – centre right politcians but welcomed by the centre-left government and by anti-racist pressure groups.

The government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll, said that he was not going to “judge the judgement” but the attack on Christiane Taubira was “perfectly revolting, unacceptable… and a racist act.”

The lobby group SOS-Racisme said that the court’s ruling should be a landmark in public attitudes to the FN, which topped the poll in the French part of the European elections in May. “This party, whose driving force is hatred of others, can no longer pretend to discover that its election candidates are racist or anti-semitic each time that a controversy like this arises,” the group said.

Ms Leclère was the head of an FN candidates’ list for municipal election in Rethel in Ardennes when she was interviewed for a TV documentary last October. She was [a]sked about her Facebook posting comparing Ms Taubira to a chimpanzee. She said it was a “joke” and “not racist” but she would rather see Ms Taubiura in a tree than in the cabinet.

The FN expelled her from the party, describing her as an “error of casting”. Several similar incidents involving FN municipal candidates followed.

Ms Taubira, 62, is a brilliant academic and lawyer turned politician who has risen from deep poverty in Guyana to one of the top two or three posts in French government. She is detested on the hard right of French politics for pushing through a law legalising same-sex marriage last year.

Soon after Ms Leclère’s attack on her on Facebook, Ms Taubira was greeted by anti-gay marriage protesters on a visit to Angers in central France. They included children carrying “bananas for the monkey.”

British government’s child abuse inquirer resigns


This video from Britain says about itself:

Former Home Secretary faces new questions over paedophiles in Westminster in the [19]80s

2 July 2014

One of the most senior ministers in Margaret Thatcher’s government has admitted that he was given a dossier, which contained allegations about a paedophile ring in Westminster in the 1980s.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Child abuse inquiry: Theresa May under fire over Lady Butler-Sloss

Home secretary accused of failing to do her homework after resignation of woman appointed to chair child-abuse inquiry

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

Monday 14 July 2014 14.43 BST

Theresa May has come under fire from MPs on both sides of the House of Commons after Lady Butler-Sloss announced that she would resign as chair of the child-abuse panel after admitting that she had failed to take into account a family conflict of interest.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, criticised May for placing Butler-Sloss in an unfair position after “the last-minute nature” of her decision to appoint the panel last week.

The Tory backbencher Zac Goldsmith echoed Cooper’s criticisms as he said the home secretary had taken too long to set up the panel and then appointed Butler-Sloss too quickly.

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee who raised concerns about Butler-Sloss’s appointment last week, said the inquiry was becoming “shambolic”.

The MPs spoke out after Butler-Sloss resigned after admitting that she had failed to take into account the fact that her brother, the late Sir Michael Havers, served as attorney general in the 1980s when reports of child abuse were allegedly not examined properly.

Butler-Sloss said she had been honoured to be invited to chair the inquiry. But she added: “It has become apparent over the last few days, however, that there is a widespread perception, particularly among victim and survivor groups, that I am not the right person to chair the inquiry. It has also become clear to me that I did not sufficiently consider whether my background and the fact my brother had been attorney general would cause difficulties.”

Hours before her announcement, the former solicitor general Vera Baird had called on Butler-Sloss to stand down because her brother was attorney general between 1979 and 1987 – the period due be examined by the panel.

Butler-Sloss informed May of her decision over the weekend. May, who appointed Butler-Sloss last week, had strongly defended her as the criticism mounted.

Butler-Sloss added in her statement: “This is a victim-orientated inquiry and those who wish to be heard must have confidence that the members of the panel will pay proper regard to their concerns and give appropriate advice to government.

“Nor should media attention be allowed to be diverted from the extremely important issues at stake, namely whether enough has been done to protect children from sexual abuse and hold to account those who commit these appalling crimes.

“Having listened to the concerns of victim and survivor groups and the criticisms of MPs and the media, I have come to the conclusion that I should not chair this inquiry and have so informed the home secretary.

Butler-Sloss’s decision to stand down is a blow to the government, which appeared to have rushed into appointing her. On Sunday last week Michael Gove said there would be no public inquiry. Within 24 hours the home secretary announced a wide-ranging inquiry that will examine how public institutions responded to allegations of child abuse.

There were suggestions that the Home Office overlooked Butler-Sloss’s family links. Government sources insisted last week that it was well known that Butler-Sloss was the sister of Havers.

Cooper criticised the home secretary for rushing the appointment of Butler-Sloss after stalling on holding an inquiry. The shadow home secretary said: “We have called for this inquiry for over 18 months. It is very unfortunate that the last-minute nature of the home secretary’s response means that proper consideration was not given to the perception of conflict of interest and Lady Butler-Sloss was placed in an unfair position by the Home Office.

Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park who organised a letter by 140 MPs calling for an inquiry, told The World at One on BBC Radio 4: “The Home Office spent too long thinking about whether or not the inquiry should happen. We were battering the Home Office to make this thing happen. They took a snap decision, it was the right decision, to do this inquiry – a Hillsborough-style all-encompassing enquiry. But then, having taken too long, they went too fast and I think the simply failed to do their homework [on appointing Butler-Sloss].”

Vaz, who raised concerns about the appointment with the Home Office permanent secretary, Mark Sedwill, last week, said: “I am not surprised by this decision; it is the right one. As I pointed out to Mr Sedwill the public would be concerned that a member of parliament, no matter how distinguished, had been appointed to head this important panel. The whole inquiry process is becoming shambolic: missing files, ministers refusing to read reports and now the chair resigning before the inquiry is has even commenced.”

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP who has been campaigning to highlight historical cases of child abuse, praised Butler-Sloss as an “outstanding judge” but said it was right for her to stand down. He called for her to be replaced with a figure from outside the judiciary.

Danczuk told The World at One: “It doesn’t have to be somebody from the judiciary. It can be somebody from the third sector. The bishop of Liverpool chaired the Hillsborough inquiry very effectively. I am sure it is not beyond the wit of man to find somebody more appropriate to do this job.”

Downing Street indicated that the government would take its time to appoint a new chair.

Alison Millar, a solicitor for victims of child abuse, welcomed Butler-Sloss’s announcement. Millar said: “Our clients are pleased and we are relieved that Lady Butler-Sloss has taken this decision to stand down. This was the only sensible decision to ensure that survivors and the public could feel confident that the inquiry was not going to be jeopardised by accusations of bias.”

SURVIVORS of alleged sexual abuse expressed “relief” yesterday after tainted Baroness Butler-Sloss resigned as chairwoman of the probe into claims of an Establishment paedophilia cover-up: here.

UK government sets up “overarching” inquiries into child sex abuse: here.

After the resignation of the judge leading the government’s paedophile inquiry, it is clear that the Establishment is rattled. STEVEN WALKER reports on the investigations that could bring high-level child abusers to justice: here.

‘Some cardinals abuse children’, Pope Francis I quoted


Demonstration against clerical sexual abuse, photo by Associated Press

From Al Jazeera:

Pope Francis: 1 in 50 clergy are pedophiles

In an interview, the pontiff also hinted that ban against marriage for priests may one day be lifted

July 13, 2014 9:21AM ET

One in 50 clerics are pedophiles, Pope Francis said in an interview published Sunday, in which he also hinted that the mandate of priestly celibacy may one day be lifted.

Francis condemned child sex abuse as a “leprosy” in the Church and cited his aides as saying that “the level of pedophilia in the Church is at two percent.” That figure includes priests “and even bishops and cardinals,” Italy’s La Repubblica daily quoted Francis as saying.

The figure represents around 8,000 priests out of a global number of about 414,000, according to the latest statistics from the Vatican.

I have doubts on how exact these statistics are.

Child abusers usually hide their acts, often successfully.

Often, when a priest abuses a child, only the perpetrator and the victim may know about it, as the child may be too scared to talk. Eg, after Dutch Bishop Jo Gijsen had abused a child, he threatened the child with eternal damnation in hellfire if it would talk to anyone about the abuse.

Sometimes, children’s parents may know, but not talk about it, being scared of a conflict with the church hierarchy.

Sometimes, the predatory priest’s bishop may know, but may cover up the abuse, warning neither police nor the pope, as he does not want bad public relations for the church. Etc.

Pope Francis also promised “solutions” to the issue of priestly celibacy, the Italian publication reported, raising the possibility that the Catholic Church may eventually lift a ban on married priests.

Asked by the paper whether priests might one day be permitted to marry, Francis noted that celibacy was instituted “900 years after Our Lord’s death” and that clerics can marry in some Eastern Churches under Vatican tutelage.

“There definitely is a problem but it is not a major one. This needs time but there are solutions and I will find them,” Francis said, without giving further details.

But Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the quotations in the newspaper on the existence of pedophile cardinals and the possible reform of priestly celibacy did not correspond to what the pope actually said.

The BBC writes about this:

The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says there is often a studied ambiguity in Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff statements.

He wants to show a more compassionate attitude towards Church teaching than his predecessors, but this can sometimes cause consternation among his media advisers, our correspondent adds.

Analysis: David Willey, BBC News, Rome

When is a papal interview not an interview? Sunday’s edition of La Repubblica devotes its first three pages to an account of a conversation between Pope Francis and editor Eugenio Scalfari, which took place last Thursday. Papal spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a sharp note that it was not an interview in the normal sense of the word, although he admitted it conveyed the “sense and the spirit” of the conversation.

Mr Scalfari does not use a digital recorder, and Father Lombardi said Pope Francis never checked the accuracy of the interview.

Until now, the Vatican has declined to quantify the extent of clerical sexual abuse scandals in the worldwide Church. Statistics are usually available only for countries in the developed world. In the developing world, information is usually only sketchy.

Did Pope Francis really say 2% of priests are paedophiles? Vatican disputes accuracy of Italian journalist’s conversation with pope but child abuse support group claims true rate is far higher: here.

CIA torture flights to Diego Garcia update


This video from the USA is called CIA Lied About Torture To Justify Using It (Senate Report).

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’

Police given crucial logs about Diego Garcia‘s role in rendition programme when it was allegedly used as a secret prison

Jamie Doward and Ian Cobain

Saturday 12 July 2014 21.36 BST

Crucial logs revealing flights to a British overseas territory when it was allegedly used as a secret US prison are in the possession of the police, the Observer has learned.

The revelation has raised concerns about why, despite repeated demands, details of the flights have not been shared with lawyers and MPs, who for years have been investigating the role played by Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian ocean, in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme.

A Whitehall official was photographed last week carrying documents marked “sensitive” confirming that the logs recording details of planes landing and taking off at the atoll have been handed to detectives. The documents, a series of printed emails and handwritten notes made by the official, reveal internal Foreign Office discussions about the line to take in response to questions about the British territory raised by lawyers and MPs.

The Foreign Office has repeatedly stressed there is no evidence Diego Garcia was used in the rendition programme, with the exception of two occasions in 2002 when two planes, each carrying a detainee, landed to refuel. But in April leaked classified CIA documents from a forthcoming US Senate intelligence committee report revealed that the US had held “high value” detainees on Diego Garcia, which has been leased by Britain to the US since 1966, with the “full co-operation” of the British government. The Metropolitan police are currently investigating allegations that an opponent of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was rendered via Diego Garcia.

Attempts to obtain the logs, which would allow lawyers to check them against planes known to have been used for rendition, have met with stonewalling from ministers. When Andrew Tyrie, the Tory MP who is chair of the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, demanded to see the logs in 2008, he was told “a thorough review had been conducted which had found no such information”.

The Commons intelligence and security committee has also complained in its annual reports that a lack of access to such documents compromised its ability to carry out an effective investigation into rendition, resulting in the publication of an inaccurate and misleading report. Last week, in an astonishing new twist, the Foreign Office revealed in a parliamentary answer to Tyrie that the flight logs existed, but maintained some had been lost “due to water damage”. Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said: “Daily occurrence logs, which record the flights landing and taking off, cover the period since 2003. Though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage.”

However, blowups of the photographed emails reveal that both “monthly log showing flight details” and “daily records [obscured] month of alleged rendition” exist and are in the possession of the police.

“All relevant treaties, UN mandates and an ever-increasing body of authoritative court rulings demand that investigations into suspected state involvement in the mechanisms of torture, including rendition, be speedy, transparent and far-reaching,” said Gareth Peirce, a lawyer for several Guantánamo detainees.

“If answers to Andrew Tyrie’s direct questions have contained no mention of highly relevant logs seemingly at all times in the possession of police, then the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] has marched this country into clear violation of its most fundamental legal obligations.”

“The FCO should immediately release all documents, including the water-damaged ones, so a proper assessment can be made of this material and what it means,” said Cori Crider of human rights group Reprieve. “Only this can begin to address the decade-long whitewash of Diego Garcia‘s position in the CIA secret prison system.”

An FCO spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on internal documents.”

British government’s child abuse inquirer accused of cover-up


This video from Britain is called Pretty Chilling: [child abuser] Jimmy Savile And His “Love” For Margaret Thatcher.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Home Office defends Butler-Sloss amid claims of abuse cover-up

Reports claim retired judge excluded victim’s account of alleged abuse by bishop in review because she ‘cared about the Church’

Shane Hickey and agencies

Saturday 12 July 2014 12.35 BST

The Home Office has again been forced to defend the appointment of Lady Butler-Sloss to run the inquiry into allegations of historical child abuse amid claims she refused to go public about a bishop implicated in a scandal.

The retired high court judge is reported to have told a victim of alleged abuse that she did not want to include some of his allegations in a review of how the Church of England dealt with two paedophile priests because she “cared about the Church” and “the press would love a bishop“.

The peer allegedly made the remarks to Phil Johnson, who was abused by priests when he was a choirboy, during a private meeting in the House of Lords in 2011, according to the Times.

The Home Office has again insisted it stands by the crossbench peer’s appointment “unreservedly”. Earlier this week it was forced to defend the appointment when critics pointed out that her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was attorney general from 1979 to 1987 when some of the controversy over the failure to prosecute child abuse cases could have arisen.

Butler-Sloss insisted in a statement that she had never put the reputation of an institution ahead of justice for victims.

“Throughout many years of public service I have always striven to be fair and compassionate, mindful of the very real suffering of those who have been victims of crime or other injustice. I have never put the reputation of any institution, including the Church of England, above the pursuit of justice for victims,” the statement said.

The Times reports that her comments came during a meeting with Johnson when she was in charge of an investigation into how the church handled allegations of abuse. He made allegations against Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and bishop of Gloucester, who was subsequently charged with two counts of indecent assault and one of misconduct in a public office. A trial is expected to take place in November.

She said she would “prefer not to refer to him”, according to the report, but would bring up the allegations in private correspondence to the archbishop of Canterbury. Johnson accepts she passed on his allegation.

The inquiry into paedophile allegations in Parliament has been designed to hide the truth, says STEVEN WALKER: here.

Questions over Labour peer’s letters to care home boy.’I miss you,’ Labour MP wrote to teenager who alleges he was abused in 1970s: here.