CIA torture and Britain, update


This video from the United States Senate says about itself:

Feinstein: CIA torture techniques far more brutal than approved (FULL SPEECH)

9 December 2014

Senator Dianne Feinstein called the practices detailed in the declassified report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program a “stain on our values and on our history.”

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Cameron urged to honour 2010 torture inquiry pledge

Tuesday 23rd December 2014

Human rights groups yesterday urged David Cameron to honour his 2010 pledge to hold an independent, judge-led inquiry into allegations of British complicity in the US torture and rendition programme.

In a letter sent to Downing Street, the organisations argue that the publication of a damning report by the Senate select committee on intelligence earlier this month has highlighted not only the horrors of the CIA’s torture programme, but also “the UK’s failure as a country to put our own house in order.”

In December 2013 the government reneged on its pledge of an independent, judge-led inquiry and announced that the task would instead be passed to the Parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC).

The NGOs have previously said that they were “deeply disappointed” by this decision, as the ISC “has neither the powers nor the independence necessary to get to the truth.”

Executive director of legal action charity Reprieve Clare Algar said: “The Senate’s report on CIA torture has exposed the horrors of the programme. Yet we have still not had a clear answer on the involvement of the UK government in this shameful episode. That is why we need a fully independent inquiry, with the powers it needs to get to the truth.

“Sadly, the proposed ISC inquiry — as the Prime Minister once said himself — is not up to the job. Four years ago, the government promised an independent, judge-led inquiry; one year ago, it U-turned on that promise. We are urging the Prime Minister to think again, and honour his original promise.”

The letter is signed by the AIRE Centre, Amnesty International UK, Cage, Freedom from Torture, Justice, Liberty, Redress, Reprieve and Rights Watch UK.

Illegal fox hunting in Britain


This video from Yellowstone Park in the USA says about itself:

Smart red fox – Hunting under snow in an incredible way

A red fox pinpoints field mice buried deep beneath the snow, using his sensitive hearing and the magnetic field of the North Pole to plot his trajectory.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Kills disguised as accidents mock the law

Friday 28th November 2014

Fox hunting is illegal in Britain but weak application of the law and loopholes in the legislation allow many hunts to literally get away with murder, writes PETER FROST

Ten years ago last week the Labour government passed a law to stop the cruelty of fox hunting and indeed all hunting with dogs.

Ten years on and after nearly 527 people have been prosecuted under the act, including employees of Prime Minister David Cameron’s old hunt, the cruel and bloody slaughter still goes on.

Members of the local Oxfordshire hunt with which Cameron used to ride were convicted of hunting foxes illegally. The hunt numbers among its supporters Rebekah Brooks and Jeremy Clarkson.

Hunters Richard Sumner, 68, and Julian Barnfield, 49, of the Heythrop Hunt each pleaded guilty at Oxford magistrates’ court to four charges of unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs.

The same hunt also pleaded guilty to the same four charges of intentionally hunting a fox with dogs on land in the Cotswolds.

The excuse of accidentally killing a fox is widespread. Thousands of hunters are escaping prosecution by claiming that kills are accidental.

They have even written in an accidental hunt kill into the BBC Radio Four soap The Archers, normally good propaganda for the Tory hunting ’n’ shooting lobby.

There are just as many fox hunts — over 300 — in Britain as there were when the ban was put in place and foxes, hares and deer are still torn apart in the name of country sports.

Despite promises by Cameron, himself a hunter, before the last election that there would be a free vote for MPs to test continuing support for the act, there has been no parliamentary motion since it received royal assent on November 18 2004.

Cameron is getting worried as Ukip is moving in on the hunting community. Nigel Farage never fails to get his picture taken with the local hunt when the occasion arises. Add to that that many of Cameron’s otherwise loyal MPs are actually opposed to the bloody slaughter of the hunt.

Meanwhile 10 years on animal welfare campaigners are demanding that these wildlife killers should face prison sentences.

The League Against Cruel Sports has called for a strengthening of the law to close what it believes are loopholes in the legislation. The maximum penalty should rise from a £5,000 fine to six months in prison, it urges.

The league’s report points out that polling last year showed that 80 per cent of people in Britain want fox hunting to remain illegal and is now calling for an extension of the act to include a prohibition on the use of dogs below ground where the worst cruelty occurs in hunting.

Not only are wild foxes and badgers pursued underground with limited opportunity to escape but the practice is also cruel to the hunting dogs.

The existing act permits a maximum of two dogs to flush a fox or other quarry towards someone who will shoot it.

The league also calls for a new clause to prevent the killing of wild mammals during a drag or trail hunt.

As I have said, the hunts normally claim these are just unfortunate accidents although the number of kills is large. Many packs of hounds use drag hunts and following trails as a cover for illegal hunting of live foxes.

Maximum penalties need to increase dramatically. Only prison sentences and higher fines will convince these hunters to obey the law.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, told us: “The Hunting Act has proven to be an effective and popular piece of legislation, with a higher number of convictions than similar wildlife laws. Public support for the prohibition of hunting has always been high, but this has also increased substantially over the past 10n years.

“Yet, since its introduction, the act has been the target of considerable attack from the pro-hunt lobby, which has waged an ongoing and concerted campaign of disinformation to publicly discredit the legislation and promote their campaign for repeal.

“The problem is not with the law. It’s with those that flout it. It is time to now build on the successes of first 10 years and strengthen the Hunting Act to ensure the spirit of the act is fulfilled.”

Defra, the department responsible for animal welfare legislation, does not rule out a vote before the next election. A spokesperson said: “We will bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act, when parliamentary time allows.”

The hunt season is now getting into full swing. The biggest day for hunting is Boxing Day, less than a month away. There is no better time to stop the murder in our green and pleasant land and bring peace, harmony and a genuine ban on hunting.

Cameron ‘bagged a couple of pigeons’ with 12 bore shotgun, frustrated he couldn’t go deer stalking as PM: here.

British peace movement against Iraq war re-start


This video from Britain says about itself:

Media ‘doing best to agitate the public’ – Sami Ramadani on UK war prospects against Islamic State

6 September 2014

Sami Ramadani, senior lecturer in Sociology at London Metropolitan University, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about the West dealing with the Islamic State. He says that the rise of the Islamic State has given carte blanche to NATO to intervene again in Iraq and Syria. The British media are using the beheadings to agitate the British public in an attempt to stir up support for war. He feels the UK is drifting back to the US line after diverting from it with the vote against war with Syria last year, with the establishment worrying that it could affect British power and prestige on the world stage. And the West may have helped create IS – he says that in 2006 they turned a blind eye to the growth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to IS, deeming them less of a threat than other groups.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

CAMERON BANGS A FAMILIAR WAR DRUM

Friday 26th September 2014

Anti-war MPs and activists mobilise ahead of rushed Commons vote on Isis

BRITISH involvement in the bombing of Islamic State (Isis) militants in Iraq would be “dangerous and counter-productive,” Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn warned yesterday ahead of a crucial Commons vote.

Prime Minister David Cameron has recalled Parliament for today’s crunch decision over whether to commit British forces to the conflict — with warplanes reportedly already poised to launch airstrikes.

He told the United Nations this week that Britain was ready to play its part in confronting “an evil against which the whole world must unite.”

Mr Cameron claimed that Britain must not be so “frozen with fear” of repeating the mistakes of the disastrous 2003-9 Iraq war.

Mr Corbyn however rejected the PM’s aggressive stance. He said: “I think we should think this through very carefully.

“If we start dropping bombs and it doesn’t work, what then? If the Iraqi army can’t stop Isis, what then?

“Where does it end?”

He pointed out that previous interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya had not been successful in the long term and had “created an atmosphere where an awful lot of young people feel that the West is totally against them and they are prepared to take up arms against the West.”

“I suspect this intervention won’t make that a lesser proposition, it will make it a stronger proposition.”

Mr Corbyn’s caution was echoed by hundreds of anti-war campaigners who gathered outside Westminster last night in protest at the planned intervention.

In a statement presented to Downing Street, they said: “While we all reject the politics and methods of Isis, we have to recognise that it is in part a product of the last disastrous intervention, which helped foster sectarianism and regional division.

“It has also been funded and aided by some of the West’s allies, especially Saudi Arabia.”

Mr Cameron said he was “confident” of avoiding an embarrassing repeat of last year’s historic defeat over plans to bomb Syria.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband have both confirmed that they would be backing the PM’s call for military action.

CND general secretary Kate Hudson told the Star: “Once again we’re hearing the deafening drumbeats of war.

“Once again there is no legal basis for UK bombing in the Middle East. Once again the government is making it up as it goes along.”

She pointed out that, while the UN has adopted a binding resolution compelling states to prevent their nationals joining jihadists in Iraq and Syria, it has not authorised military attacks.

“The grim atrocities carried out by Islamic State have rightly shocked and repulsed the world. But heaping further atrocities onto Iraq through the murder of civilians, which will inevitably occur through airstrikes, cannot be our answer,” Ms Hudson said.

“What is needed now is urgent humanitarian assistance, political pressure and working with allies in the region to halt the spread of this murderous group: not an illegal bombing campaign which will kill civilians and inflame the situation.”

British airstrikes on Syria may be illegal


This video from Parliament in London, England says about itself:

Nick Clegg during the PMQ’s on 21st July [2010] whilst standing in for David Cameron … calls the Iraq War Illegal…. Well done Nick for saying what many of us think.

George W Bush and Tony Blair starting the Iraq war in 2003 was illegal; as most people in the world think, including the Deputy Prime Minister in the British David Cameron administration, Nick Clegg.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Andrew Grice, political editor

Monday 15 September 2014

David Cameron has been warned that UK air strikes against Isis in Syria could be illegal under international law.

Officials in the House of Commons Library have cast doubt on the Prime Minister’s view that Isis targets could be bombed in Syria as well as Iraq on the grounds that the Assad regime in Syria is “illegitimate.”

In a briefing paper for MPs, officials said: “Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request.

“The British Government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorise it.” …

Downing Street said the Prime Minister’s view had not changed since his previous comments. It denied that a decision on military action had been delayed until after Thursday’s referendum in Scotland to avoid alienating voters who opposed the 2003 Iraq war. …

The Commons Library report warns: “Given that the full-scale invasion and occupation for several years from 2003 onwards struggled to pacify Iraq, air strikes alone are not likely to succeed. Isis controls large amounts of territory, population and natural resources and is consequently far better funded than the Sunni resistance which so troubled US forces after the 2003 invasion.

“What is more, air strikes are likely to result in civilian casualties as Isis forces hide among the civilian population. This is conceivably their aim – to provoke the West into military action which hurts Muslim civilians, thus supporting their narrative of the West’s ‘war on Islam’.”

Pentagon: US ground troops may join Iraqis in combat against Isis: here.

Chelsea E Manning writes from Fort Leavenworth jail in the USA:

How to make Isis fall on its own sword

Degrade and destroy? The west should try to disrupt the canny militants into self-destruction, because bombs will only backfire

Cameron spying more on British citizens, on Saudi autocracy’s advice


This video from Britain is called NEWSNIGHT: Glenn Greenwald full interview on Snowden, NSA, GCHQ and spying.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

David Cameron gives spy agencies power to vet airline flight lists

All airline passengers’ civil liberties would be affected by this, not just the tiny minority of (wannabe) ISIS fighters

New access granted as Saudi king says Europe faces attack unless it acts fast

Nicholas Watt

Sunday 31 August 2014 21.07 BST

David Cameron will make it easier for intelligence agencies to access information about airline passengers and announce measures to intensify cooperation with Turkey and Germany as the government moves to stem the flow of British-born jihadis travelling to and from Syria and Iraq.

As the king of Saudi Arabia warned that terror groups would attack Europe in the next month unless they were confronted with “power and speed”, the prime minister will hold a final round of talks with Nick Clegg on Monday before outlining the package of measures to parliament.

The prime minister and his deputy have reached broad agreement on plans to make it easier to strip suspected jihadis of their passports in Britain and to improve the flow of data about airline passengers to the intelligence agencies.

But Clegg and Cameron will try to resolve differences on possible plans to impose a temporary ban on British-born jihadis returning to Britain and plans to tighten up terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims), the successor to control orders.

Signs of coalition tensions were highlighted when Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon and Sir Menzies Campbell, two former leaders of the Liberal Democrats, criticised Cameron’s response on Friday to the decision by Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (Jtac) to raise the terrorism threat level from substantial to severe. Cameron warned of “gaps in our armoury” as he spoke of a “generational struggle” that could see an Islamic State-led (Isis) caliphate stretch to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Ashdown accused Cameron in an Observer article of a “kneejerk” response while Campbell warned that plans to impose a temporary ban on UK-born jihadis returning to Britain could infringe international law.

Campbell told The World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4: “That might well constitute illegality. To render citizens stateless is regarded as illegal in international law. To render them stateless temporarily, which seems to me to be the purpose of what has been proposed, can also be described as illegal. At the very least it is the kind of question that would be tested here in our own courts and perhaps also in the European court of human rights.”

It is understood that Clegg and Cameron do not see their discussions as a coalition row because they both respect each other’s record in speaking up on civil rights.

They also agree Britain must make improvements as it seeks to deal with the estimated 500 British citizens who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Isis.

A further 250 are believed to have returned to Britain. Many have travelled through Germany and Turkey, which explains plans to improve cooperation with the two countries.

The Turkish government, NATO partners of Cameron, has helped ISIS in Syria, because of common hatred of the Damascus government and of Syrian Kurds.

While the German and British governments spy on each other.

But there are differences over plans to impose a temporary ban on returning jihadis. It is understood that the names of suspects could be added to a list, which would then be sent to friendly countries such as Germany and Syria

Is ‘Syria’ here a mistake for ‘Turkey’, indeed NATO ‘friends’ of Cameron?

Or has Cameron already made a ‘Orwellian 1984 like U-turn‘? After Cameron almost started war on the Assad regime recently, only stopped because of overwhelming popular opposition (a war in which ISIS would have been Cameron’s ally), has Damascus suddenly become an ally?

, who would be asked to prevent them entering the UK.

The discussions between Clegg and Cameron are focusing on the legal and practical aspects of the proposal.

Legal advice has suggested that it is possible to strip a UK citizen of their passport in Britain as a way of confining them to the UK. But the legal advice also suggests that if a UK citizen’s passport is cancelled after they have left the UK they are still entitled to return home.

The discussions between Clegg and Cameron are focusing instead on proposals that would allow the authorities in the likes of Germany and Syria to prevent British-born jihadis boarding aircraft. They would then be taken in for further questioning, but would be re-admitted to Britain.

There is agreement between Cameron and Clegg on the need to improve the flow of airline passenger data to the intelligence agencies.

One problem is that some airlines do not release their passenger manifest until 30 minutes before flights leave. There will also be moves to share more passenger data. But this will involve stepping up negotiations with the European parliament, where plans to share passanger data have been challenged by MEPs concerned about civil liberties.

The two leaders have also yet to reach agreement on reforming terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) after David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, called for a strengthening of “locational constraints” in his annual report in March. This could ban those subject to Tpims from some areas or to restore the power to relocate them to specific areas.

It is understood that their discussions are focusing on how any changes to Tpims would have to make clear that these would apply only in the most exceptional circumstances.

In his warning, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did not name any group but told foreign ambassadors on Friday that he was “certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America”, according to the Associated Press.

To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia. Ramped up rhetoric on security makes no sense so long as the west cosies up to dictatorships that support fundamentalism: here.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Vociferous Labour MP Dennis Skinner was far more damning.

Shining a light on the PM’s hypocrisy, Mr Skinner said his words “would be much more credible if he knew his own history,” referring to the fact that only a year ago Mr Cameron humiliatingly lost a Commons vote calling for British military intervention in Syria.

“Twelve months ago this PM stood at the dispatch box to try to get help to arm the guerillas against Assad,” boomed the veteran MP for Bolsover.

“Had it not been for the Labour Party he could have gone down that road.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said the PM’s announcement meant that Tpims are now identical to control orders.

She added: “Sabre-rattling and thinly-veiled threats to the courts, but little detail from the Prime Minister.

“Why demand that the police seize passports on a discriminatory, dangerous basis rather than arrest those intent on committing murder and terror overseas?

“Control orders and Tpims become identical via internal exile at home, while the threat of external exile remains with the dangerous and innocent alike dumped like toxic waste on the international community.”

RIGHTS groups yesterday slammed government plans for new laws to stop British nationals, who have been suspected of travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State, returning to the UK: here.

DAVID Cameron chose the G20 meeting in Australia to unveil the latest coalition plans to strip British passport holders of their citizenship if they are suspected of travelling abroad to fight for the Islamist ISIS group in Syria and Iraq: here.

The new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill published by the British government this week must sound alarm bells. Once again, under the guise of the “war against terror”, the state is assuming authoritarian powers, including the ability to render a British citizen effectively stateless: here.

Conservatives to announce plan to scrap Human Rights Act: here.