Tag Archives: torture

Trump’s awful, but we need to put our own house in order

We expect President Trump to turn our long-held values on their head. Whether it’s banning Muslims or building a wall against Mexican migrants, withdrawing from the world’s agreement on limiting climate change, cosying up to Russia’s President Putin and doubting if NATO is still valuable, Trump’s Presidency seems like a bad dream from which we, and America, will only awake when his term ends.

But that will be years hence, Meantime he will visiting Britain next week. Has America changed so much that this presidency is not an aberration but a consistency?

Britain has to stand strong against that fear with Europe, with the EU and with our NATO allies. Our rocky, deplorable government has to be made by the progressive forces to stand up for our national values and our continued security.

So, when we hear that the government is to give ‘careful consideration’ to calls for a renewed judge-led inquiry into our country’s involvement in human rights abuses after the Iraq invasion, Liberal Democrats must assert the necessity for that enquiry until it is granted.

The necessity arises from the two reports published by Parliament’s intelligence and security committee. They show a shameful slippage of our own intelligence services’ values when assisting American operations in Iraq after the 9/11 attacks. It is reported that the UK had planned, agreed or financed 31 rendition operations. In addition, on 15 occasions, British intelligence consented to or witnessed torture, and there  were 232 occasions when the intelligence agencies supplied questions to be put to detainees whom they knew or suspected were being mistreated.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 40 Comments

Tom Brake to fast in support of Shaker Aamer

From today, friends and family of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident left in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp, will be fasting in support of him. They will go without food for a minimum of 24 hours to highlight his plight.  From the Fast for Shaker website:

On 25th September 2015, the US told the UK that Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will be released and returned to his family in the UK after being held for nearly 14 years without charge or trial.

By US law, 30 days’ notice must be given to Congress before any prisoner can be freed from Guantánamo, and in the meantime Shaker has embarked on a hunger strike protesting constant and ongoing abuse and his fears that, in his weakened state, he won’t live to see his family again.

To show solidarity with Shaker, his lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, celebrities, MPs, Shaker’s family, campaigners and supportive members of the public are pledging to undertake a hunger strike of their own, starting on 15th October, for a minimum of 24 hours.

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake has pledged to fast next Monday:

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Opinion: How to interrogate a terrorist using diabetic biscuits

Is it more effective to force people to do things, or to charm them?

The surprising answer that’s tucked into the US Senate’s recent investigation into terrorist interrogation, is that, even with hardened Al-Qaeda terrorists, charm is usually more effective.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – CIA report shows we should fight even harder for liberal Britain

Writing in New Statesman, Tim Farron argues that liberalism is not a given, is under threat and we should fight for it:

We cannot continue to take liberalism for granted. We need to articulate our liberal values loudly and clearly to stop a creep into authoritarianism built on a currency of fear.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: Torture – taking back control of the debate

Following the publication of the Senate report into the CIA’s treatment of detainees during the ‘war on terror’, David Cameron said ‘Let us be clear. Torture is wrong, torture is always wrong’. This is undoubtedly a powerfully attractive view for anyone of a humanist disposition, concerned to condemn all violations of basic human rights.

But there is a nagging problem – the British public seem not to be so sure. A survey by Amnesty International in May this year showed that 30% of Britons believe that torture can sometimes be justified, and that 44% believe we should not rule out its use altogether – more than in Russia and China, countries where torture is endemic.

Posted in Op-eds | 40 Comments

Clegg: senior Labour ex-ministers should give evidence to UK torture inquiry

Nick Clegg Q&A 12Last week came the revelations from the US Senate Intelligence Committee about the extent of the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

It immediately promoted questions about what the then Labour Government knew about what was happening on the watch of its closest ally. Nick Clegg has called for senior ex-ministers to give evidence to Parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) on what they knew about torture conducted by UK or US intelligence agencies in Iraq or Afghanistan, as The Guardian reports:

The deputy prime minister said

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Alistair Carmichael: “Torture is an abhorrent violation of human rights and dignity”

Carmichael Glasgow AmnestyToday is the UN’s Day of Support for Victims of Torture. Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael has a long association with Amnesty International and he visited the Glasgow group last night to mark the occasion.

He spoke about the imprisonment of the Egyptian journalists, the death penalty, how Scotland has such a big impact on human rights as part of the UK and what the Coalition has done to advance the cause of human rights. The whole speech is available here on my blog, but …

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LibLink: Jeremy Browne MP on the Government’s actions to prevent torture

Liberal Democrat Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne  in the Guardian about the Coalition’s strategy to prevent torture throughout the World and about the independent enquiry which will investigate whether Britain was implicated in torture after 9/11:

We know that we face a long and difficult road ahead. But our vision is for people to be treated fairly and able to speak freely in every country. We should never be comfortable with a world where journalists, lawyers and activists endure ill treatment for criticising their governments. This is a core part of what this coalition stands for, and we will continue to

Posted in Europe / International, LibLink and News | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 17th Jul - 11:20pm
    Teresa it has been party policy since the autumn of 2016, and what could possibly be the point of trying to alter it this autumn?...
  • User AvatarJoe Otten 17th Jul - 11:11pm
    Update: https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/labour-mp-dame-margaret-hodge-jeremy-corbyn-1.467296
  • User AvatarFraser Coppin 17th Jul - 10:59pm
    @Katharine Pindar - Freedom of movement CAN be controlled while still in the single market, as I said in the article, Liechtenstein already do it....
  • User AvatarRoland 17th Jul - 10:56pm
    @Dav - Surely the issue is whether it is 51% of the electorate or 51% of those who voted. As far as I'm concerned at...
  • User Avatarfrankie 17th Jul - 10:56pm
    Just in case anyone asks why Jo Swinson didn't vote Jo Swinson ‏Verified account @joswinson 3h3 hours ago Just how low will your govt stoop...
  • User Avatartpfk 17th Jul - 10:41pm
    I hope that the Lords might decide there's enough doubt about the vote to send it back. We'll see. Proxy votes / maternity cover is...