Blairite Jack Straw, MI6’s Sir Mark Allen ‘too big to jail’ for Libyan torture


This video from the USA says about itself:

Files Reveal U.S. & Britain Had Extensive Ties With Libya on Rendition, Torture. 1 of 2

7 September 2011

Human Rights Watch has uncovered hundreds of letters in the Libyan foreign ministry proving the Gaddafi government directly aided the extraordinary rendition program carried out by the CIA and the MI6 in Britain after the 9/11 attacks. The documents expose how the CIA rendered suspects to Libyan authorities knowing they would be tortured. One of the most prominent suspects rendered to Libya was an Islamic militant named Abdelhakim Belhaj, who is now the military commander for the Libyan rebels. …

Democracy Now! speaks to Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, who helped find the documents in Tripoli; and Gareth Peirce, a well-known British human rights attorney who has represented numerous Guantánamo prisoners as well as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

This video is the sequel.

By Jean Shaoul in Britain:

Labour’s Jack Straw and MI6’s Sir Mark Allen shielded from prosecution over rendition to Libya

13 July 2016

The UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that Sir Mark Allen, the former head of MI6’s counterterrorism operations, and then Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will not face criminal charges for their role in the illegal rendition and torture of Libyan dissidents.

Its decision flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence of Britain’s involvement at the very highest level in the rendition and torture of two Libyan Islamist dissidents in 2004. Just days later, the Guardian reported that the government had, as of last September, spent at least £600,000 in an effort to prevent a civil case going ahead, forcing Straw and Allen to give evidence.

Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a Libyan Islamist opposed to former leader Muammar Gaddafi, and his wife, are suing the then Labour government, the foreign secretary and the head of Britain’s security service for complicity in their detention, rendition and torture in 2004 at the hands of the CIA on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, one of the agency’s global network of “dark sites.”

Detainees at these sites were subject to detention for years under the most inhumane conditions, torture, water boarding, sexual assault, sleep deprivation, forcing inmates to stand on broken limbs, and murder, for which no officials have stood trial.

While it was common knowledge that Diego Garcia was used as a US detention facility, the British government has always maintained that it never gave the US explicit permission to use the island for its rendition, detention and torture programme.

Balhaj claims that during his six years in a Libyan prison he was interrogated by US and British intelligence agents. His pregnant wife claims she was chained to a wall for five days, then taped to a stretcher for the 17-hour flight to Libya where she was detained in prison until just before the delivery of her son, who was born weighing just four pounds.

In 2012, the British government paid out £2.2 million to another Libyan dissident, Sami al-Saadi and his family, who stated under oath that the British intelligence authorities forcibly transferred them to Libya to be detained and tortured. This was to prevent the Libyans’ evidence being heard in court, and the foreign secretary and senior intelligence officials having to give evidence.

Belhaj has been determined to get the British government to admit to its crimes. He offered to call off the proceedings in exchange for just £3 in damages, an admission of liability for what was done to him and his wife, and an apology from the British government. The government rejected the offer and has since sought to get the courts to block the case.

Belhaj’s lawyers have cited documents found in abandoned government offices in Tripoli after the 2011 NATO-led invasion of Libya to topple the Gaddafi regime and install a puppet government. In the 2011 operation, NATO backed the same Al Qaeda-linked Islamist forces, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, of which Belhaj was a leader, and whose members NATO had earlier illegally rendered to Libya.

The documents include a letter from MI6’s senior officer, Sir Mark Allen, to Libya’s intelligence chief, Musa Kusa, showing that the CIA, with help from British intelligence, used Diego Garcia as a stopover for rendering Belhaj and his pregnant wife to be tortured in Libya.

Last November, the government went to the UK’s Supreme Court in an effort to block the case, arguing that British courts cannot hear Belhaj’s case since agents of foreign intelligence agencies, meaning the CIA, were also involved in the operation. The government has thus far spent at least £10 million trying to prevent the case from being heard. The court has yet to deliver its judgement on whether Belhaj’s suit can proceed.

Another case is being brought by 12 opponents of the Gaddafi regime—six Libyan men, the widow of a seventh, and five British citizens of Libyan and Somali origin—against both Britain’s spy agencies, MI5 and MI6, the Home Office and the Foreign Office.

Using evidence from the recovered documents, they are alleging false imprisonment, blackmail, misfeasance in public office and conspiracy to assault, and demanding damages. They claim that the British government worked closely with Libya and used information obtained under torture from Sami al-Saadi and Abdel Hakim Belhaj as evidence against them during partially secret proceedings in London.

Initially, both Straw, who as foreign secretary in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government was responsible for MI6, and Allen denied any British involvement in extraordinary rendition. Successive British governments have sought to cover up what was going on. When the Libyan documents revealing British complicity in detentions and torture came to light, Straw claimed he could not be expected to know everything the intelligence agencies were doing.

The intelligence services have flatly contradicted this, saying that it was “ministerially authorised government policy.” Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6 at the time, said, “It was a political decision, having very significantly disarmed Libya, for the government to cooperate with Libya on Islamist terrorism.”

In 2011, the NATO-led invasion of Libya to topple the Gaddafi regime, which the Blair government had previously brought in from the cold in 2004, was to use these same “Islamist terrorists” as its proxies.

According to the Guardian, Eliza Manningham-Buller, who headed the domestic intelligence service MI5, was furious about MI6’s involvement in extraordinary rendition and torture. She wrote to Blair complaining about it, saying its actions may have compromised the security and safety of MI5 officers and their informants, and even threw MI6 staff out of MI5’s headquarters. Human rights lawyers are now demanding that the government publish the letter.

Following the publication of the correspondence in 2011, the London Metropolitan Police carried out a four-year investigation, gathering 28,000 pages of evidence about Britain’s role in extraordinary renditions and torture, which it presented to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The CPS claimed that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone. However, it was forced to acknowledge that “the suspect,” described as a public official, meaning Sir Mark Allen, knew about the renditions of the Belhaj and Saadi families, thereby blowing apart the government’s attempts to keep its criminal role in renditions and torture under wraps.

Crucially, in an attempt to protect Straw, the CPS did not invoke section 7 of the 1994 Intelligence Services Act that protects MI6 officers from prosecution for illegal acts anywhere in the world as long as the secretary of state had authorised their actions in writing.

The lawyers for the Belhaj and Saadi families have said they intend to challenge the CPS’s decision not to bring charges. If their challenge fails, they could initiate judicial review of the decision-making process.

Straw’s criminality was also highlighted in the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. According to its report, he played a key role in “hardening up” a document setting out the threat supposedly posed by Iraq and its non-existent weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein.

This is not the first time such a claim was made. The 2004 Hutton inquiry revealed an email written by Straw’s then private secretary that described his role as foreign secretary in “hardening up” the dossier with a “killer paragraph.”

Trump abuses Istanbul atrocity for promoting torture


This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Using Istanbul Attack To Push Torture, Waterboarding

29 June 2016

Donald Trump wasted little time trying to capitalize on the Istanbul terrorist attack. He thinks more waterboarding and torture could have prevented the bombing. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola (ThinkTank), hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Donald Trump responded to the deadly bombings that ripped through Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Tuesday with renewed calls for torture.

“We can’t do waterboarding but they can do chopping off heads, drowning people in steel cages, they can do whatever they want to do,” Trump told attendees at a St. Clairsville, Ohio rally. “You know, you have to fight fire with fire.”

At least 36 people were killed and over 140 were wounded in multiple suicide bombings at one of the world’s busiest airports. Turkish officials have said Islamic State [ISIS] fighters were likely responsible for the attack.

“Folks, there’s something going on that’s really really bad,” Trump said at the rally. “All right? It’s bad. And we better get smart and we better get tough or we’re not going to have much much a country left, okay? It’s bad. Terrible.””

Read more here.

Trump Amps Up His Call For Torture: ‘We’re Going To Have To Do Things That Are Unthinkable’. Trump, long a champion of waterboarding, is tightening his embrace of torture: here.

Coal Baron Promises Huge Layoffs, Then Tells Workers To Vote Trump: here.

Homophobic Brazilian politician pro-coup, pro-torture


This BBC video says about itself:

Brazil Truth Commission: Victims revisit torture cells

10 December 2014

Nearly 30 years after the end of Brazil’s military dictatorship, a national truth commission is issuing a report into human rights abuses carried out during that time.

… people were killed or disappeared during the dictatorship and there have been renewed calls for a controversial amnesty law to be repealed.

Some of the women who were tortured at the Department of Political and Social Order have been back to the cells they were held in.

From teleSUR in South America:

Brazil Pro-Coup Lawmaker Probed for Support of Torture and Misogyny

28 June 2016

According to the complaint, Bolsonaro is also a self-declared homophobe and racist, and openly against the rights of LGBT and indigenous communities.

Brazil’s Congress opened an ethics investigation on Tuesday into Jair Bolsonaro, an outspoken lawmaker whose views on torture, rape and homosexuality are sparking concern that the country’s political crisis may foster an authoritarian political revival.

The ethics committee of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, will try to determine if Bolsonaro, a former Brazilian Army paratrooper, broke parliamentary decorum when he prefaced his vote in April to impeach President Dilma Rousseff with a speech praising Army Colonel Carlos Ustra.

Courts have found Ustra, a notorious Army intelligence officer during the 1964-1985 military regime, responsible for torture. Rousseff, a former left-wing insurgent, was tortured by Ustra’s Army intelligence unit.

For his congressional opponents, Bolsonaro’s backing of Ustra represents support of torture.

During the vote, the only openly gay lawmaker in Brazil’s Congress Jean Wyllys (Party of Socialism and Liberty) spit in Bolsonaro’s face after saying, “In the name of the Indigenous people, of the Black people exterminated in the suburbs, of culture workers, of homeless people, of landless workers, I am voting ‘No to the coup, you crooks.'”

Bolsonaro, Brazil’s fourth-most popular politician according to recent polls and a member of the Social Christian Party, is an extreme example of a broader shift to the right in Brazilian politics in the wake of Rousseff’s impeachment. Small groups of protesters in recent anti-Rousseff street marches were seen carrying signs calling for a return of military rule.

Conservative legislators in Brazil said recently they will back interim President Temer through a growing corruption scandal in return for support for tougher restrictions on abortion and gay rights, looser gun control and more power for farmers

rather: landlords

in disputes with Indian tribes.

A congressional ethics examination and resulting recommendation can lead to sanctions that include removal from office.

Bolsonaro said Ustra was never formally convicted and congressmen have immunity to say whatever they like on the chamber’s floor. Only five lawmakers attended the opening ethics committee meeting.

While Brazil’s constitution protects free speech, laws still exist making speech considered racist or hateful toward identifiable groups illegal. In some cases people have been charged under laws making it a crime to defend the use of illegal drugs.

In the end of April, the Brazilian Union for Writers also filed a complaint against Bolsonaro at the International Criminal Court over crimes against humanity, following his praise of Ustra. They claimed parliamentary immunity could not apply in the case, because Bolsonaro’s words were not related with his position as a lawmaker.

According to the complaint, Bolsonaro is also a self-declared homophobe and racist, and openly against the rights of LGBT and indigenous communities.

Bolsonaro is also defending himself in the Supreme Court against accusations of inciting rape for comments he made in December 2014. He said lawmaker María del Rosario, former Human Rights Minister under Dilma Rousseff was “very ugly” and “did not deserve to be raped.”

The local congress of Bolsonaro’s home city also recently declared him as “persona non grata” after he allegedly insulted the work of the city’s lawmakers.

Briton in Ethiopian torture prison, British government fails


This video says about itself:

Atrocious Torture and Inhuman Treatment in Ethiopia…part 1

30 June 2013

It is a personal testimony of a person who was detained and tortured by the tyrannical regime in Ethiopia.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Foreign Office ‘fails to help Londoner jailed in Ethiopia

Thursday 23rd June 2016

ETHIOPIAN authorities have fooled Britain’s Foreign Office again and again in the case of opposition leader Andy Tsege, human rights charity Reprieve warned yesterday.

Newly released documents show that Ethiopian officials have done everything possible to frustrate attempts by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to rescue Londoner Andargachew “Andy” Tsege.

The father of three was taken forcibly to Ethiopia in the summer of 2014 and has been held on death row ever since.

Foreign Office documents from 2015 show Mr Hammond complaining about Ethiopia’s “repeated failure to deliver on our basic requests,” adding: “People were asking why we had a substantial bilateral relationship but were not able to resolve this.”

Other files show how the Ethiopian authorities refused to say where Mr Tsege was locked up, cancelled planned consular visits and ignored simple questions on the legal basis for his detention.

Reprieve, which has been campaigning for Mr Tsege’s release, said it feared for his mental and physical well-being as torture of political prisoners is not uncommon in Ethiopia.

The group’s death penalty team director Maya Foa said: “Throughout Andy’s two-year ordeal, Ethiopian officials have repeatedly run rings around the Foreign Office — making and breaking the most basic of assurances, and insisting, again and again, that Andy has no legal rights in Ethiopia.

“By relying on the latest empty promise of ‘legal access,’ Philip Hammond is only compounding the abuses Andy has suffered in illegal Ethiopian detention.

“Enough is enough — the Foreign Secretary must call for Andy’s release, so he can return to his family in the UK.”

Irish anti-torture flight protesters arrested


This video from Ireland says about itself:

Protest against the use of Shannon Airport by the CIA and US military 10-7-2011

Organised by the human rights activist group Shannonwatch, today’s protest at Shannon Airport was notable for the excessive numbers of Garda and Special Branch operatives oppressively policing and harrassing the peaceful attendees — a ratio of more than two to one counting the guards on the side road and buzzing police cars and the Special Branch unmarked car. Shortly before the start of the protest Gardai set up a checkpoint close to the roundabout where the protest is always held and in the space of thirty minutes the only vehicle pulled to the side of the road for inspection was John Lannon’s, coordinator of Shannonwatch.

Directly after the protest, Fred Johnston, a Shannonwatch activist from Galway was similarly pulled to the side of the road in his car where his valid vehicle insurance documentation and accompanying pet dog; Tristan, were spuriously taken exception to – as John Lannon remarked; “There has been a more determined effort to impede peaceful opposition to Shannon Airport’s role in U.S. military and CIA operations since the present government and Minister for Justice took office”. Shannonwatch object to the continued misuse of a civilian airport, under the blind eye of a complicit government, as a transit stop for CIA torture flights and US troops transiting to America’s imperial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Ireland: US military flights protesters arrested at Shannon airport

Thursday 26th May 2016

TWO Irish peace campaigners were arrested yesterday morning after protesting on the main runway at Shannon airport against US military flights from there.

Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy walked into the airside zone at dawn, carrying the Irish flag and a banner, before painting red crosses on the runway in remembrance of US-led wars in the Middle East.

They were not detected until they approached a US government-owned Learjet and a Boeing 757 parked by the disused runway 11, half a mile away.

As they walked past the two planes, soldiers in an Irish army vehicle spotted them and alerted nearby Garda officers in a patrol car, who in turn called the airport police to arrest the pair.

The BBC’s Newsnight programme, the New York Times and Amnesty International alleged in 2005 that Shannon airport had been used for dozens of “rendition” flights of prisoners to third countries.

Britain trains soldiers of over sixteen torture regimes


This video from India says about itself:

3 Kerala men trapped in Saudi Arabia, tortured by employer

23 December 2015

A horrifying video of three Indians being beaten brutally by their Saudi employer has evoked strong reactions in Kerala. The men, were who are from Haripad, a town in north Kerala, had forwarded the video to their family members, with an appeal for help.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Britain trains soldiers for many regimes on its own human rights abuse watchlist

Sixteen nations on the Foreign Office watchlist for use of torture and sexual violence benefit from military and security support

Jon Stone

Britain is providing military training and support to the majority of the countries named on its own human rights abusers watchlist, The Independent can reveal.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) designated 30 nations as “human rights priority” countries last year, warning of their conduct on a range of issues from internal repression to the use of sexual violence in armed conflict.

But information released by ministers shows that British armed forces trained “either security or armed forces personnel” in 16 of the listed countries since 2014.

According to the Ministry of Defence, British soldiers have trained the armed forces of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, China, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe – despite the human rights records of those countries.

The revelation comes days after the Government announced it would step up the level of military training it provided for the armed forces of Oman. Though Oman is not among those nations named on the FCO’s watchlist, human rights observers working for Amnesty International say they have identified widespread use of torture and detention in the country.

Methods in use in Oman include mock execution, beating, hooding, solitary confinement, subjection to extremes of temperature and to constant noise, abuse and humiliation,” the organisation said in its 2014 report. “These practices are allowed to flourish within a culture of arbitrary arrest and detention in secret institutions.”

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon stated that Oman “is our friend” and that the UK was “working more closely than ever with them across military, counter-terrorism and intelligence fields to tackle shared threats to stability.”

The UK could also build a permanent military training facility in the country, Mr Fallon added.

In March, The Independent reported that British commandos are training Bahraini soldiers in using sniper rifles – despite the alleged use of such specialist troops to target protesters during a pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

Soldiers from the Gulf monarchy were again hosted at the Infantry Battle School in Wales last week, according to Ministry of Defence publicity.

They visited alongside troops from Nigeria, whose top military generals Amnesty say should be on trial for war crimes. The human rights group produced a 133-page dossier alleging Nigerian forces caused the deaths of 8,000 people through murder, starvation, suffocation and torture during security operations against Islamist militants Boko Haram.

A senior military official told Amnesty that Nigerian solders respond to Boko Haram attacks by going “to the nearest place and kill[ing] all the youths” whether they were armed or not.

Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade, said Britain should not be “colluding” with countries it was well aware were led by authoritarian regimes. “The UK army has provided training to some of the most authoritarian states in the world,” he said.

“The fact that many of them are included on the government’s own ‘human rights priority’ list is a sign of how oppressive they are. The UK military should not be colluding with or legitimising human rights abusers.”

The Government has faced criticism from campaigners in recent months for continuing to rubber stamp arms sales to repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of committing war crimes during its military campaign in Yemen, something the country denies. The aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontiers states that Saudi war-planes have bombed multiple hospitals in which it operates in the area. Other reports include the bombing of schools and weddings.

The British government has however ignored calls for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia from both the European Parliament and the House of Commons International Development Committee.

Defence minister Philip Dunne confirmed last month that British liaison officers had trained Saudi Arabian troops in using weapons systems supplied by Britain and that they were present in the country’s operations centre.

 

CIA destroys torture evidence


This video from the USA says about itself:

CIA “Mistakenly” Destroys Detailed Evidence Of Torture

19 May 2016

The CIA inspector general’s office — the spy agency’s internal watchdog — has acknowledged it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved, Yahoo News has learned.

Read more here.