Irish Anti War Movement

Hearing over UK Government snooping threat to fair trial in Libyan torture case

Hearing today over Government snooping threat to fair trial in Libyan torture case
A secretive court will today hold a rare, open hearing in a case brought by Libyan victims of a UK-orchestrated rendition, who are concerned that Government snooping may have damaged their right to a fair trial.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which hears complaints against the security services, is set to hold an open hearing at 16.45 GMT today in a case brought by the Belhadj and al Saadi families.  The two families – including young children and a pregnant woman – were subject to kidnap and ‘rendition’ in a joint UK-US-Libyan operation which took place in 2004.
Both families had already brought claims against the UK Government over its part in their mistreatment but, following recent revelations concerning GCHQ’s mass-spying programme, also sought measures from the IPT to ensure that ongoing surveillance of their communications with their legal team does not jeopardise their right to a fair trial.
The right to private – or ‘privileged’ – communication with one’s lawyer is a long-standing British legal freedom.  Were the Government to have access to such communications, it would give them an unfair advantage in any legal claim.
Legal charity Reprieve and law firm Leigh Day last September lodged a complaint with the IPT on behalf of the families concerning the suspected violation of their legal rights.  In December, the Government informed the IPT that a “closed issue” had arisen in relation to the complaint but, due to the highly secretive nature of the IPT, it is not known what the issue is.  However, it heightened concerns that the Government had indeed been spying on legally privileged communications.

Guantanamo Bay USA torture camp marks 12 years today 11th January

Guantanamo Bay marks 12 years
Today, January 11th, marks 12 years since the first men were taken to the US prison at Guantanamo Bay. 155 men remain, 77 of whom have been cleared for release.
In 2009 President Obama pledged to close the prison yet he has so far failed to fulfill that promise. Of the 779 men known to have been held there to date, 624 have been released. More men have died in the prison than have been put on trial.
Shaker Aamer, a British resident who remains imprisoned without charge or trial, has been cleared for release under both the Bush and the Obama administrations. The UK government has said that it is British policy for him to be returned to his British wife and their four children in London. David Cameron has raised Mr Aamer’s case with President Obama, yet he remains imprisoned.

A government minister said last month in response to questions in Parliament, that: “The British Government continues to note reports regarding the hunger strike at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. We maintain an active dialogue with the US Government regarding humanitarian issues at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and remain committed to assisting the US in its aim to close the facility.”
Shaker made the following statement to his lawyer about Guantanamo’s 12th anniversary:
“It will soon be 12 years that I have been in Guantánamo. I arrived on the day my youngest child Faris was born (February 14th, 2014). Even then, I had already spent some two months in US captivity, undergoing terrible mistreatment. Those are twelve years that are lost to me forever.


A Generation of US and UK War Veterans Are Being Silenced by Joe Glenton

A Generation of US and UK War Veterans Are Being Silenced

by Joe Glenton, photos: Merle Jothe

Chris Vassey (right)

After the Remembrance Day parade, I repaired to a central London boozer with fellow veterans to stew my brain in ale. Pinned to chests all around us were glinting banks of medals.  A statistically improbable number of airborne maroon and commando green berets were on display. Groups of veterans bunched together, slurring war stories.

The soldierly clique is cultural. While trained to be aggressive we are also taught to be quiet, keeping dark deeds and informed opinions “in-house”. If spoken aloud our stories would make us appear mad and for some, leaving the heroic fantasy intact allows one to continue living at the centre of it. To break that tribal silence carries risks.

War fans say we have fought for freedom and democracy. Given this consensus one might think veterans are as entitled as anybody to contribute to the political discourse, as serving senior officers regularly do. Not so.

Torture inquiry 'finds UK intelligence officers knew of mistreatment'

Torture inquiry 'finds UK intelligence officers knew of mistreatment'

Gibson report, published next week, reportedly calls for further investigation of how far British ministers were responsible

Intelligence officers were aware detainees were being mistreated at US-run facilities in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay (pictured). Photograph: Virginie Montet/AFP/Getty

Book review. The uselessness and ineffectiveness of bombing in WW2. IT 091113.

The uselessness and ineffectiveness of bombing. And that's in WW2 -

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