Kidnapped and “rendered” victims win permission to appeal in case against UK Government

Libyan torture victims win permission to appeal in case against UK Government
An anti-Gaddafi dissident and his wife have won permission to take their case against the UK Government – which played a central role in their 2004 kidnap and abuse – to the Court of Appeal.
Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar were kidnapped and “rendered” to Colonel Gaddafi’s prisons in a joint MI6-CIA-Libyan operation a decade ago.  Ms Boudchar, who was 5 months pregnant at the time, was chained to a wall and then taped to a stretcher during the ordeal, while Mr Belhaj suffered years of imprisonment and torture on his return to Libya.
Although the High Court last December found that the couple had a “potentially well-founded claim” that the UK had been “directly implicated” in their abuse, it ultimately ruled in favour of arguments advanced by Government lawyers that a large part of the case should not be heard for fear of damaging relations with the USA.
However, in the very same judgment High Court judge Mr Justice Simon expressed his “concern” that such a case might not be determined in a UK court, adding that “Parliamentary oversight and criminal investigations are not adequate substitutes for access to, and a decision by, the Court.”
Today’s result means that the case will now advance to the Court of Appeal.

Post-Intervention Libya: A Militia State

Post-Intervention Libya: A Militia State

The parallels of Libya with Iraq and Afghanistan are uncomfortably suggestive.

John Pilger: "Islamic terrorism" is the invented excuse for theft of Africa's riches

John Pilger -
30 January 2013

A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.

The invasion has almost nothing to do with "Islamism", and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a "menacing arc" of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus "red menace" of a worldwide communist conspiracy.

Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments.
Last year, Africom staged Operation African Endeavor, with the armed forces of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the US military. Africom's "soldier to soldier" doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.

It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black colonial elite whose "historic mission", warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of "a capitalism rampant though camouflaged".

A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the M23, which in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.

Amnesty criticises Nato over Libyan casualties - IRISH TIMES, 190312

Amnesty criticises Nato over Libyan casualties


NATO HAS failed to investigate the deaths of scores of civilians killed as result of airstrikes carried out by its forces in Libya last year, Amnesty International has said, echoing criticism contained in a UN report published earlier this month.

The human rights organisation says it has documented 55 cases of named civilians, including 16 children and 14 women, killed in airstrikes in Tripoli and the towns of Zlitan, Majer, Sirte and Brega.

Many of the deaths occurred as a result of airstrikes on private homes. Amnesty said it had found no evidence to indicate that the homes had been used for military purposes at the time they were attacked.

Nato had not conducted necessary investigations or even tried to establish contact with survivors and relatives of those killed, Amnesty said.

“More than four months since the end of the military campaign,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of Amnesty’s Ireland branch, “victims and relatives of those killed by Nato remain in the dark about what happened and who was responsible. Nato officials repeatedly stressed their commitment to protecting civilians.

“They cannot now brush aside the deaths of scores of civilians with some vague statement of regret without properly investigating these deadly incidents.”

Amnesty said Nato, in its most recent communication to the human rights organisation on March 13th, stated that it “deeply regrets any harm that may have been caused by those air strikes” but “has had no mandate to conduct any activities in Libya following OUP’s (Operation Unified Protector) termination on October 31st, 2011”, and that the “primary responsibility” for investigating rested with the Libyan authorities.

One year on: chaotic Libya reveals the perils of humanitarian intervention - Peter Beaumont The Observer, Sunday 1

One year on: chaotic Libya reveals the perils of humanitarian intervention

The mission to remove Gaddafi was a noble one. But it provides a further lesson in the pitfalls of such actions

Peter Beaumont
The Observer, Sunday 19 February 2012

In the immediate aftermath of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya last summer, Stewart Patrick, writing in Foreign Affairs, made a bold prediction. The fall of Tripoli, opined the former US State Department official, was "the first unambiguous military enforcement of the Responsibility to Protect norm, Gaddafi's utter defeat seemingly putting new wind in the sails of humanitarian intervention".

Even as Patrick wrote, his argument was apparently bolstered by a presidential study directive on mass atrocities that offered a menu of potential policy options in the face of large-scale human rights abuses. It was a document, he averred, which was a significant triumph for Samantha Power, the author of A Problem From Hell and the "intervention hawk" credited with persuading President Obama to back the anti-Gaddafi forces militarily.

That was then. Now, on the first anniversary of the uprising against the regime and with Libya in increasing turmoil, the certainties of last summer look less compelling. As recent reports by human rights groups and journalists have made clear, the country has descended into rival fiefdoms of competing militias, not least in Misrata, which, as the Guardian argued on Friday, has set itself up as a "city state" with its own prisons and justice system. Human rights abuses are rife. Corruption is endemic. The new post-Gaddafi state, far from coalescing into meaningful institutions, is becoming ever more fractured.

How secret renditions shed light on MI6's licence to kill and torture Little-known clause lets secretary of state authorise UK's

How secret renditions shed light on MI6's licence to kill and torture
Little-known clause lets secretary of state authorise UK's spies to commit crimes abroad
Ian Cobain, Tuesday 14 February 2012 18.00 GMT

In fiction, James Bond drew quite judiciously upon his licence to kill, bumping off just 38 adversaries in a dozen Ian Fleming novels. In each case, the individual received his or her just deserts.

In real life, MI6 insists its officers do not kill anyone. "Assassination," its former head Sir Richard Dearlove has said, "is no part of the policy of Her Majesty's government" and would be entirely contrary to the agency's ethos.

But there can be circumstances in which MI6 officers do have a licence to kill or commit any other crime, enshrined in a curious and little-known law that was intended to protect British spies from being prosecuted or sued in the UK after committing crimes abroad.

Section 7 of the 1994 Intelligence Services Act offers protection not only to spies involved in bugging or bribery, but also to any who become embroiled in far more serious matters, such as murder, kidnap or torture – as long as their actions have been authorised in writing by a secretary of state.

And as such, the section is certain to come under intense scrutiny in the months ahead, as detectives and human rights lawyers pore over the details of the secret rendition operations that MI6 ran in co-operation with Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2004.

Last month Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service announced that the operations, in which two leading Libyan dissidents were abducted and taken to Tripoli with their families, were to be the subject of a criminal investigation.

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