Secret courts, FFS – Now tell me the Tories aren’t Nazis!

11/09/2012

The government’s proposed justice and security bill, which they are trying to get through Parliament, will enable them to cover up any involvement in torture – past, present and future – as well as denying defendants any right to a fair trial.

As an example: British resident Binyam Mohamed, who was seized in Pakistan in 2002 and rendered to Guantamano Bay, went to court to get compensated for the cruel and brutal treatment he got from the CIA with the full knowledge and complicity of the UK intelligence services. The high court ruled that CIA information that revealed MI5 and MI6 knew of Mohamed’s ill-treatment should be disclosed. The ruling provoked a storm of protest, with some in the government claiming the US had threatened to withhold intelligence from the UK.

At the same time, to avoid further incriminating evidence being disclosed, the UK government paid undisclosed sums, believed to amount to millions of pounds, in an out-of-court settlement to British citizens and residents who had been incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay.

So now, the government’s proposals will prevent the disclosure of any information in the hands of the security and intelligence agencies from being disclosed in civil cases. The Tory ex-justice minister Kenneth Clarke said that it was necessary to keep evidence secret from the defence – otherwise “you would have terrorists in the public gallery, lining up making notes.”

And now Prof Juan Méndez, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture,is expressing “deep concern” about the government’s plans. He says they will allow intelligence services to be party to torture without any fear of disclosure of their role. Many people who have been tortured by “third party” countries allege that MI6 officers were giving the torturers lists of questions they wanted the torture victims to be asked.

The “war on terror” is enabling governments in supposedly free democratic countries to strip their citizens of any rights. Secret courts and torture should have no place in our institutions. The treatment meted out to Binyam Mohamed should have been stopped. But things have only got worse over the past decade. All the government needs to do a bit of hand-waving and mention the word “terrorism” and bang! There goes another fundamental human right. What is the matter with us? Why do we allow our evil governments to exist? Something needs to be done about it.

Some relevant links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/may/29/secret-justice-bill-not-perfect
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/09/secret-justice-bill
http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/sep/11/un-official-secret-courts-torture

Please have a look at them. This is important!

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UFO hacker McKinnon loses final appeal against extradition

28/08/2008

Oh dear… today, Gary McKinnon lost his appeal against extradition to the USA on hacking charges.

He appealed to the European Court of Human Rights,  saying he faced inhumane treatment if sent to America.  He claims that he might get a jail term of 70 years, and that he’ll be held in Guantanamo Bay type conditions.  The court gave him a temporary stay, but today turned him down without stating any reasons.

McKinnon broke into Pentagon computer systems and left messages saying “Your security is crap!”  So yeah, they’ll probably throw the key away.


Brit hacker McKinnon appeals to Europe against US extradition

25/08/2008

Gary McKinnon, aka “Solo”, is to be extradited to the USA to face charges that he broke into computer systems belonging to the US Department of Defence and NASA.  The US authorities have dubbed him “the world’s most dangerous hacker”, faces up to 70 years in prison and his solicitors say he could even be given “enemy combatant” status, the same as that applied to terrorist suspects held at Guantánamo Bay.

But he still has has a chance to escape extradition – when the House of Lords turned down his appeal they ruled that he could take it to the European Court of Human Rights.  So that’s what he’s doing.  And you can help him!

If you go to this link, you can join in Human Rights Defence’s petition to the European Court that the extradition order be overturned.  It’ll take you a couple of minutes to register your support… and it could make all the difference! The Court takes notice of petitions.  Help make this petition so huge that they can’t help but take notice!

Gary McKinnon needs you! Sign the petition today!

Gary McKinnon needs you! Sign the petition today!

Unfortunately, the House of Lords gave McKinnon only til the 28 August before he is extradited.  So we all need to make our voices heard now!  We can’t let him be dragged off to face whatever justice the USA doles out for “enemy combatants”.  We already know he could get 70 years in prison.  We also know the USA approve “robust interrogation” techniques including waterboarding!  If McKinnon were a US citizen wanted in the UK, no way would the American government extradite him under these circumstances.  So why should they get to torture him?

SIGN THE PETITION!  FREE GARY!


USA sponsors terrorism

15/03/2008

So various characters in America are calling for Venezuela to be labelled “state sponsors of terrorism”. The Guardian reports:

U.S. lawmakers including Rep. Connie Mack and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, both Florida Republicans, have called for the State Department to add Venezuela to its list of terror sponsors, which currently includes North Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba. They have expressed concerns about what they call Chavez’s close ties to Colombia’s leftist rebels.

[. . .]

Asked whether Washington was seriously considering designating Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism, Rice said the U.S. was ready to respond if necessary.

“There is after all a U.N. obligation that all states have undertaken to do everything that they can to prevent terrorists from actively using their territory, from being engaged in terrorist financing,” Rice told reporters after a meeting with Brazilian leaders Thursday.

Chavez has been characteristically upbeat about it all, telling the USA that they can “shove” their list. He hasn’t admitted to funding the FARC, but it’s clear he doesn’t consider the Colombian rebels to be terrorists. After all, one man’s freedom fighter etc. But strangely, Chavez hasn’t pointed out the obvious fact – that the USA, for all its prissy attitude, is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism there is.

Who remembers the Contras, funded and armed with drug money by the US Government? I do. But that was ages ago.

Afghanistan wasn’t that long ago though. Osama bin Laden and his merry men were funded, armed and trained by the Americans. Don’t give me any of that “But they were fighting evil Soviet invaders” crap. When Al-Quaeda and the Taliban resist US invaders in Afghanistan or Iraq, they’re called terrorists. So the same rules apply when they’re battling other invaders.

In fact, the USA’s entire foreign policy for the past 7 years has been terroristic. America imposes its will on other countries through force of arms – through the threat of violence or through actual violence. Just cos the bombers and snipers chew gum and eat burgers, doesn’t make them any less terrorist than anyone else who gets up to such evil tricks.

Maybe you’ll bleat: “But the US are up front, they’re not sneaky and underhand in their carnage-causing!” As far as I can see, someone who uses remote-controlled drone planes and missiles to kill folk is as sneaky as they come.

And don’t tell me the Americans only kill “enemy combatants”. They take out plenty of civilians too. And they kidnap – Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition – and torture.

The USA doesn’t just sponsor terrorism – the USA commits terrorism.

Oh, before I go – on Wednesday President Bush accused the Venezuelan government of destabilizing, provocative behavior, saying “it has squandered its oil wealth in an effort to promote its hostile, anti-American vision.” Thing is, Venezuela got this wealth from… you guessed it, the USA. America is funding Venezuela’s anti-American hostility. And, if Chavez really is giving money to the FARC, that means America is sponsoring terrorism in Colombia too!! LMFAO!!

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A mural of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in Caracas.

 

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Four British residents to be freed from Guantanamo Bay… two others will stay locked up

08/12/2007

Four British residents are to be freed from Guantanamo Bay, after being held without charge for 5 years.  They are Jamil el-Banna, a father of 5 from London;  Abdenour Samuer, who fled from persecution in Algeria and was given political asylum in the UK;  Omar Deghayes, a 37 year old man who was born in Libya and came to Britain as a child after his father was murdered;  and Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer, a Saudi national with a British wife.

Although the men are not British citizens, they have long, established links with the UK.  But until August this year, the government refused them representation.  Then foreign secretary David Miliband responded to growing criticism of the government’s position, and wrote to Condaleezza Rice requesting their release.

They will be returning to Britain, except Shaker Aamer who is going to Saudi Arabia.

Jamil el-Banna, a Jordanian, was on a business trip to Gambia.  MI5 had approached him, asking him to work for them; then, a few days later they told the CIA that Banna’s travelling companion was carrying bomb materials.  This was not true, but the CIA grabbed him and flew him to Guantanamo.

Omar Deghayes had studied law at Wolverhampton University and in Huddersfield.  His family says that he condemns terrorism.  He has been blinded in one eye by a US soldier during his imprisonment.

Another UK resident, Binyam Mohammed al-Habashi from Ethiopia, is to stay in Guantánamo. The Pentagon claims he is particularly dangerous and it is determined that he face one of the military commissions established to prosecute prisoners in the camp.   And another former UK resident, Ahmed Belbacha, has not even been mentioned in the reports.

Amnesty International urgently wants to find out why these 2 men are not being freed after 5 years of being held with no charge.  And David Miliband should do what he can to get them freed.  After all, if they were truly dangerous, wouldn’t they have been tried in court by now?


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