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A whitewash on torture

by IdiotSavant Tue Jul 6th, 2010 at 09:59:50 PM EST

From No Right Turn: New Zealand's liberal blog.

This morning David Cameron finally announced his long-promised (and long-awaited) judicial inquiry into the UK intelligence services' collusion in torture.  Unfortunately, it looks like its going to be a whitewash from the start.  Firstly, instead of being headed by an independent judge, it will be led by Peter Gibson, the Intelligence Services Commissioner.  This is an equivalent position to NZ's Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence, and it has the same problems of institutional capture and a lack of independence.  The UK government is effectively getting the spies to investigate themselves, through their pet judge.  And when its put like that, it is clear that the public can have no confidence in the outcome.

Secondly, Cameron tipped his hand in his announcement:

Mr Cameron told MPs that to ignore the claims would risk operatives' reputation "being tarnished.

Which suggests that the primary concern is not bringing torturers to justice and ensuring that it never happens again, but to protect the reputation (what reputation?) of the spies.  So, everything will be swept under the rug.

(Also note the focus on ending those embarrassing court cases, which threaten to drag the details out in a manner the government cannot control.  This is about PR and damage limitation, not justice).

But finally and most damningly, the inquiry will happen in secret.  Meaning we cannot see that it is fair.  And if we can't see it, we can't trust it - its that simple.

Crimes have been committed.  Their victims deserve justice, not a whitewash.  That justice is best achieved by a fair, independent and impartial court of law - not by another secretive, compromised "inquiry" with a mandate to bury the truth.

the British Establishment automatically organises to protect itself.

We took 38 years before we could admit that on Bloody sunday a bunch of paratroopers under no provocation whatsoever shot british civilians on british soil. The Establishment hailed this too little too late admission as a "triumph for justice".

We've had two inquiries into the Iraq war and both could be described as whitewashes. We know we will have to wait until Blair is dead before people start admitting that he was a monster who led Britain into an unnecessary war to our detriment and for the advantage of a foreign power. That too will be a "triumph of the establishment process"

Now, we're going to have an inquiry into whether or not britain sanctioned torture. It'd be laughable if it wasn't so transparently tragic

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 7th, 2010 at 03:50:34 AM EST
Remember, after thirty years of careful consideration, they concluded that Blair Peach had been unlawfully killed...

but they couldn't determine by whom.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jul 8th, 2010 at 05:12:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had the same reaction -
A whitewash on torture
- when reading the NYT-article on the subject this morning.

Britain Pledges Inquiry Into Torture

He said he hoped that the inquiry would start before 2011, and that he would have the panel's full report within 12 months of its first sitting. While the panel would hold "some of its hearings" in public, he said, much of its work would be conducted behind closed doors.

"Let's be frank," he said, "it is not possible to have a full public inquiry into something that is meant to be secret."

by ask on Wed Jul 7th, 2010 at 10:41:39 AM EST

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