cross posted from The Dream Antilles
The New York Times reports that finally Britain, despite five years of denials, now admits that it was involved in illegal
renditions extraditions kidnappings. That’s not much of a surprise. Britain is fessing up to two of these. Nobody really thinks that is all there were.
Britain’s defense minister made an unusual public apology on Thursday, admitting Britain had taken part in the “rendition” of suspects detained in Iraq after denying it for years.
In a lengthy statement to parliament, Defense Secretary John Hutton confirmed that Britain handed over two suspects captured in Iraq in 2004 to U.S. custody and that they were subsequently transferred to Afghanistan, breaching U.S.-British agreements.
The Ministry of Defense has been repeatedly asked over the past five years about its involvement in rendition, the unlawful transfer of suspects to a third country, and consistently denied it played any role in the U.S.-administered program.
“I regret that it is now clear that inaccurate information on this particular issue has been given to the House by my department on a small number of occasions,” Hutton said. “I want to apologize to the House for these errors.”
“Inaccurate information” is diplomatic speak for lies. “These errors” is diplomatic speak for five years of continuous lies.
According to the Times, the two men were captured by British troops in Iraq in February 2004 and were flown to Afghanistan, where they remain in U.S. custody. And where, parenthetically, the Obama Administration says that they are not permitted to have access to the US Courts to contest the legality of their detention by filing habeas corpus.
Reprieve says about all of this:
“For years now the British government has been tossing us miserable scraps of information about its involvement in illegal renditions in Pakistan, Diego Garcia and now Afghanistan,” said Clara Gutteridge, an investigator with Reprieve, a charity that campaigns for the release of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
“Enough is enough. The British government must come clean and reveal exactly who it has captured, what has been done to them and where they are now,” she said. “I’m afraid this is only the tip of the renditions iceberg.”
Enough really is enough. The US too needs to come clean. And having a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in which those who have committed these illegal acts, tell their stories and eventually receive immunity is just unacceptable. It is not how the US should tell the story of its extensive human rights violations. There need to be a criminal investigations. And there need to be prosecutions. And there needs to be an end of secrecy about crimes.
Anything less, after all of the lying and all of the illegal acts, and all of the contorted, disingenuous legal mumbo jumbo, falls far, far short.