Condems intend to destroy the NHS

Conservative election poster 2010

The National Health Service (NHS) is regarded fondly by many people in UK. Although not perfect, it is there when people are ill, when they need help and support when they are most vulnerable. The UK Conservative and Liberal-Democrat – ConDem – coalition government intends to abolish the NHS through privatisation while pretending to reform it and give users more control.

The UK has traditionally had a mixed economy – services provided by public and private bodies. The public institutions traditionally provided infrastructure such as health, council housing, transport and postal services.

The role of the public sector has been diminishing in recent decades under successive Conservative governments’ pursuing the evil ideology or dogma of privatisation. The previous openly Conservative government of Thatcher, etc privatised UK’s train service. Tony Blair was a Conservative – acually a Neo-Con or Crypto-Fascist – pretending to be a Labour party politican. He introduced swathes of privatisation into the NHS e.g. he continued the previous administration’s fetish of hugely expensive PFI hospitals, completed the privatisation of the train service and repeatedly tried to privatise the Post Office. The current ConDems government intends to privatise the Post Office and sell publically-owned forests.

Privatised train services in UK are now close to useless. The service is unreliable with extortionate and prohibative prices. Imagine the NHS running to the standards of the UK’s train service if you dare.

There is huge opposition to the ConDems intention to destroy the NHS from health service professionals. Quoted below is a recent article from the Guardian. Please note the links to different groups of health professionals at the end.

Is anyone in favour of Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms?

Cameron and Lansley are pressing on with their shakeup – undeterred by a broad coalition of opposition

It is the biggest shakeup in the history of the country’s best-loved institution, and a high-stakes political gamble even for a government intent on pushing through radical change. The health secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans to transform the NHS in England have united in opposition doctors, health thinktanks (and the right-of-centre thinktank Civitas), unions representing the 1.4m-strong NHS workforce, health academics, MPs on the health select committee, the NHS’s major employers, and patients’ representatives.

Even David Cameron’s brother-in-law, an NHS cardiologist, thinks the government has got it wrong, the prime minister admitted last week.

Cameron and Lansley are pressing on undeterred. The plans will see England’s 152 primary care trusts and 10 strategic health authorities abolished, and consortiums of GPs commissioning £80bn a year of healthcare. They will be able to opt for treatment from “any willing provider” – NHS, private healthcare or charity – fuelling suspicions that the result will be the privatisation of the NHS.

Hospitals will be forced to compete with each other, and other providers, for patients. Ministers say this is necessary to improve the quality of care and help the NHS become more efficient, so it can solve the riddle of tight budgets at a time of rising demand.

But do the proposals spell, to quote the chair of the Royal College of GPs, “the end of the NHS as we know it”? The Lancet medical journal says that, given the impending “catastrophic breakup”, the Tories’ pre-election claim to be the party of the NHS “seems particularly hollow”.

Here key figures set out their concerns:

GPs

Midwives

Nurses

Hospital doctors

Public health experts

NHS managers

[Ideas are free …]

Continue ReadingCondems intend to destroy the NHS

Let’s crucify Tony Blair. He’ll love it.

New year, new blog. This blog lived at http://blogs.cjb.net/dissident/ for slightly over five years. Before then I was an activist posting to various politics NNTP usenet newsgroups on issues such as opposition to the Iraq war, Bliar & Co, George ‘Dubya’ Bush, etc. I was very critical of Blair, New Labour, Dubya, the New Labour politician Ian Blair, the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, etc.

At the blog’s previous location I repeatedly attacked Bliar’s New Labour party. The blog was controversial and attracted links to malware in the comments forcing me to disallow commenting – there was no moderated commenting facility available at that free host. I have no doubt that those posting links to malware were professional and operating in an official capacity. In early December 2006 the blog was somehow mysteriously deleted. It gives me the opportunity to republish some of the better articles.

Here’s a post first published 2 January, 2006. More to follow.

Let’s crucify Tony Blair. He’ll love it.

2006 sees a renewed determination to get rid of the Neo-Con elected dictator, war criminal, deranged and deluded megalomaniacal pathological liar know as Tony Blair. Having lied and lied and lied to support his masters Dubya and Sharon, he has absolutely no credibility or legitimacy. He’s hated just as much as his mentor Thatcher and the War (Labour) Party realise that he is a huge liability.

I’ve often wondered whether we would have to go round on mass to physically drag him out of Downing St. It can be done of course, but there would need a few of us. dissident has come up with an another plan to get rid of the evil b’stard. We persuade Him to crucify Himself over Easter on Parliament Square. He’ll be up for it. He’s such a messianic nutter. He believes that he is the second coming of Christ. He believes that he will rise from the dead a few days later to lead us all (well actually quite a few of us will be excluded) into the Rapture.

Here’s some of Bliar’s messianic garbage from his speech accepting the Congressional Gold Medal for being such an ally in Dubya and Israel’s War on Truth.

mutley gets a medal

Looks like there are two versions of Bliar’s speech. From http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/tblaircongressionalgoldmedal.htm and not from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3076253.stm.

“Members of Congress, I feel a most urgent sense of mission about today’s world. September the 11th was not an isolated event, but a tragic prologue, Iraq another act, and many further struggles will be set upon this stage before it’s over.

There never has been a time when the power of America was so necessary or so misunderstood, or when, except in the most general sense, a study of history provides so little instruction for our present day.

And I know it’s hard on America, and in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I’ve never been to, but always wanted to go. I know out there there’s a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, ‘Why me? And why us? And why America?’

And the only answer is, ‘Because destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.’

And our job, my nation that watched you grow, that you fought alongside and now fights alongside you, that takes enormous pride in our alliance and great affection in our common bond, our job is to be there with you. You are not going to be alone. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. And if our spirit is right and our courage firm, the world will be with us.”

‘rsole.

Continue ReadingLet’s crucify Tony Blair. He’ll love it.

It is an honour to join the dissident bloggers

New year, new blog. This blog lived at http://blogs.cjb.net/dissident/ for slightly over five years. Before then I was an activist posting to various politics NNTP usenet newsgroups on issues such as opposition to the Iraq war, Bliar & Co, George ‘Dubya’ Bush, etc. I was very critical of Blair, New Labour, Dubya, the New Labour politician Ian Blair, the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, etc.

At the blog’s previous location I repeatedly attacked Bliar’s New Labour party. The blog was controversial and attracted links to malware in the comments forcing me to disallow commenting – there was no moderated commenting facility available at that free host. I have no doubt that those posting links to malware were professional and operating in an official capacity. In early December 2006 [2/2/2011 edit: December 2008] the blog was somehow mysteriously deleted. It gives me the opportunity to republish some of the better articles.

Here’s the very first post of this blog at it’s previous location – first published 1 January, 2006. More to follow.

The first post of a new blog and a new year is a heady burden and so I have chosen an easy option.

It is an honour to join the dissident bloggers

`Dissident bloggers’ is a term coined by Craig Murray in his request to disseminate documents that prove that the UK government is lying about supporting torture. New Labour really are evil shits. Honour and dignity are totally alien concepts to them, amoung others ;)

Back soon and have a good new year.

Damning documentary evidence unveiled. Dissident bloggers in coordinated exposé of UK government lies over torture.

Help us beat the British government’s gagging order by mirroring this information on your own site or blog!

Constituent: “This question is for Mr Straw; Have you ever read any
documents where the intelligence has been procured through torturous means?”

Jack Straw: “Not to the best of my knowledge… let me make this clear… the British government does not support torture in any circumstances. Full stop. We do not support the obtaining of intelligence by torture, or its use.” – Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, election hustings, Blackburn, April 2005

I was summoned to the UK for a meeting on 8 March 2003. Michael Wood gave his legal opinion that it was not illegal to obtain and to use intelligence acquired by torture… On behalf of the intelligence services, Matthew Kydd said that they found some of the material very useful indeed with a direct bearing on the war on terror. Linda Duffield said that she had been asked to assure me that my qualms of conscience were respected and understood. – Ambassador Craig Murray, memo to the Foreign Office, July 2004

With Tony Blair and Jack Straw cornered on extraordinary rendition, the UK government is particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers.

The British Foreign Office is now seeking to block publication of Craig Murray’s forthcoming book, which documents his time as Ambassador to Uzbekistan. The Foreign Office has demanded that Craig Murray remove all references to two especially damning British government documents, indicating that our government was knowingly receiving information extracted by the Uzbeks through torture, and return every copy that he has in his possession.

Craig Murray is refusing to do this. Instead, the documents are today being published simultaneously on blogs all around the world.

The first document contains the text of several telegrams that Craig Murray sent back to London from 2002 to 2004, warning that the information being passed on by the Uzbek security services was torture-tainted, and challenging MI6 claims that the information was nonetheless “useful”.

The second document is the text of a legal opinion from the Foreign Office’s Michael Wood, arguing that the use by intelligence services of information extracted through torture does not constitute a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture.

Craig Murray says:

In March 2003 I was summoned back to London from Tashkent specifically for a meeting at which I was told to stop protesting. I was told specifically that it was perfectly legal for us to obtain and to use intelligence from the Uzbek torture chambers.

After this meeting Sir Michael Wood, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s legal adviser, wrote to confirm this position. This minute from Michael Wood is perhaps the most important document that has become public about extraordinary rendition. It is irrefutable evidence of the government’s use of torture material, and that I was attempting to stop it. It is no wonder that the government is trying to suppress this.

First document: Confidential letters from Uzbekistan

Letter #1
Confidential
FM Tashkent
TO FCO, Cabinet Office, DFID, MODUK, OSCE Posts, Security Council Posts

16 September 02

SUBJECT: US/Uzbekistan: Promoting Terrorism
SUMMARY

US plays down human rights situation in Uzbekistan. A dangerous policy: increasing repression combined with poverty will promote Islamic terrorism. Support to Karimov regime a bankrupt and cynical policy.

DETAIL

The Economist of 7 September states: “Uzbekistan, in particular, has jailed many thousands of moderate Islamists, an excellent way of converting their families and friends to extremism.” The Economist also spoke of “the growing despotism of Mr Karimov” and judged that “the past year has seen a further deterioration of an already grim human rights record”. I agree.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 political and religious prisoners are currently detained, many after trials before kangaroo courts with no representation. Terrible torture is commonplace: the EU is currently considering a demarche over the terrible case of two Muslims tortured to death in jail apparently with boiling water. Two leading dissidents, Elena Urlaeva and Larissa Vdovna, were two weeks ago committed to a lunatic asylum, where they are being drugged, for demonstrating on human rights. Opposition political parties remain banned. There is no doubt that September 11 gave the pretext to crack down still harder on dissent under the guise of counter-terrorism.
Yet on 8 September the US State Department certified that Uzbekistan was improving in both human rights and democracy, thus fulfilling a constitutional requirement and allowing the continuing disbursement of $140 million of US aid to Uzbekistan this year. Human Rights Watch immediately published a commendably sober and balanced rebuttal of the State Department claim.

Again we are back in the area of the US accepting sham reform [a reference to my previous telegram on the economy]. In August media censorship was abolished, and theoretically there are independent media outlets, but in practice there is absolutely no criticism of President Karimov or the central government in any Uzbek media. State Department call this self-censorship: I am not sure that is a fair way to describe an unwillingness to experience the brutal methods of the security services.

Similarly, following US pressure when Karimov visited Washington, a human rights NGO has been permitted to register. This is an advance, but they have little impact given that no media are prepared to cover any of their activities or carry any of their statements.
The final improvement State quote is that in one case of murder of a prisoner the police involved have been prosecuted. That is an improvement, but again related to the Karimov visit and does not appear to presage a general change of policy. On the latest cases of torture deaths the Uzbeks have given the OSCE an incredible explanation, given the nature of the injuries, that the victims died in a fight between prisoners.

But allowing a single NGO, a token prosecution of police officers and a fake press freedom cannot possibly outweigh the huge scale of detentions, the torture and the secret executions. President Karimov has admitted to 100 executions a year but human rights groups believe there are more. Added to this, all opposition parties remain banned (the President got a 98% vote) and the Internet is strictly controlled. All Internet providers must go through a single government server and access is barred to many sites including all dissident and opposition sites and much international media (including, ironically, waronterrorism.com). This is in essence still a totalitarian state: there is far less freedom than still prevails, for example, in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. A Movement for Democratic Change or any judicial independence would be impossible here.

Karimov is a dictator who is committed to neither political nor economic reform. The purpose of his regime is not the development of his country but the diversion of economic rent to his oligarchic supporters through government controls. As a senior Uzbek academic told me privately, there is more repression here now than in Brezhnev’s time. The US are trying to prop up Karimov economically and to justify this support they need to claim that a process of economic and political reform is underway. That they do so claim is either cynicism or self-delusion.

This policy is doomed to failure. Karimov is driving this resource-rich country towards economic ruin like an Abacha. And the policy of increasing repression aimed indiscriminately at pious Muslims, combined with a deepening poverty, is the most certain way to ensure continuing support for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. They have certainly been decimated and disorganised in Afghanistan, and Karimov’s repression may keep the lid on for years ? but pressure is building and could ultimately explode.

I quite understand the interest of the US in strategic airbases and why they back Karimov, but I believe US policy is misconceived. In the short term it may help fight terrorism but in the medium term it will promote it, as the Economist points out. And it can never be right to lower our standards on human rights. There is a complex situation in Central Asia and it is wrong to look at it only through a prism picked up on September 12. Worst of all is what appears to be the philosophy underlying the current US view of Uzbekistan: that September 11 divided the World into two camps in the “War against Terrorism” and that Karimov is on “our” side.

If Karimov is on “our” side, then this war cannot be simply between the forces of good and evil. It must be about more complex things, like securing the long-term US military presence in Uzbekistan. I silently wept at the 11 September commemoration here. The right words on New York have all been said. But last week was also another anniversary ? the US-led overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile. The subsequent dictatorship killed, dare I say it, rather more people than died on September 11. Should we not remember then also, and learn from that too? I fear that we are heading down the same path of US-sponsored dictatorship here. It is ironic that the beneficiary is perhaps the most unreformed of the World’s old communist leaders.
We need to think much more deeply about Central Asia. It is easy to place Uzbekistan in the “too difficult” tray and let the US run with it, but I think they are running in the wrong direction. We should tell them of the dangers we see. Our policy is theoretically one of engagement, but in practice this has not meant much. Engagement makes sense, but it must mean grappling with the problems, not mute collaboration. We need to start actively to state a distinctive position on democracy and human rights, and press for a realistic view to be taken in the IMF. We should continue to resist pressures to start a bilateral DFID programme, unless channelled non-governmentally, and not restore ECGD cover despite the constant lobbying. We should not invite Karimov to the UK. We should step up our public diplomacy effort, stressing democratic values, including more resources from the British Council. We should increase support to human rights activists, and strive for contact with non-official Islamic groups.

Above all we need to care about the 22 million Uzbek people, suffering from poverty and lack of freedom. They are not just pawns in the new Great Game.

MURRAY

——————————————————————————–
Letter #2
Confidential
Fm Tashkent
To FCO

18 March 2003

SUBJECT: US FOREIGN POLICY
SUMMARY

1. As seen from Tashkent, US policy is not much focussed on democracy or freedom. It is about oil, gas and hegemony. In Uzbekistan the US pursues those ends through supporting a ruthless dictatorship. We must not close our eyes to uncomfortable truth.

DETAIL

2. Last year the US gave half a billion dollars in aid to Uzbekistan, about a quarter of it military aid. Bush and Powell repeatedly hail Karimov as a friend and ally. Yet this regime has at least seven thousand prisoners of conscience; it is a one party state without freedom of speech, without freedom of media, without freedom of movement, without freedom of assembly, without freedom of religion. It practices, systematically, the most hideous tortures on thousands. Most of the population live in conditions precisely analogous with medieval serfdom.

3. Uzbekistan’s geo-strategic position is crucial. It has half the population of the whole of Central Asia. It alone borders all the other states in a region which is important to future Western oil and gas supplies. It is the regional military power. That is why the US is here, and here to stay. Contractors at the US military bases are extending the design life of the buildings from ten to twenty five years.

4. Democracy and human rights are, despite their protestations to the contrary, in practice a long way down the US agenda here. Aid this year will be slightly less, but there is no intention to introduce any meaningful conditionality. Nobody can believe this level of aid ? more than US aid to all of West Africa ? is related to comparative developmental need as opposed to political support for Karimov. While the US makes token and low-level references to human rights to appease domestic opinion, they view Karimov’s vicious regime as a bastion against fundamentalism. He ? and they ? are in fact creating fundamentalism. When the US gives this much support to a regime that tortures people to death for having a beard or praying five times a day, is it any surprise that Muslims come to hate the West?

5. I was stunned to hear that the US had pressured the EU to withdraw a motion on Human Rights in Uzbekistan which the EU was tabling at the UN Commission for Human Rights in Geneva. I was most unhappy to find that we are helping the US in what I can only call this cover-up. I am saddened when the US constantly quote fake improvements in human rights in Uzbekistan, such as the abolition of censorship and Internet freedom, which quite simply have not happened (I see these are quoted in the draft EBRD strategy for Uzbekistan, again I understand at American urging).

6. From Tashkent it is difficult to agree that we and the US are activated by shared values. Here we have a brutal US sponsored dictatorship reminiscent of Central and South American policy under previous US Republican administrations. I watched George Bush talk today of Iraq and “dismantling the apparatus of terror? removing the torture chambers and the rape rooms”. Yet when it comes to the Karimov regime, systematic torture and rape appear to be treated as peccadilloes, not to affect the relationship and to be downplayed in international fora. Double standards? Yes.

7. I hope that once the present crisis is over we will make plain to the US, at senior level, our serious concern over their policy in Uzbekistan.
MURRAY

——————————————————————————–
Letter #3

CONFIDENTIAL
FM TASHKENT
TO IMMEDIATE FCO

TELNO 63
OF 220939 JULY 04

INFO IMMEDIATE DFID, ISLAMIC POSTS, MOD, OSCE POSTS UKDEL EBRD LONDON, UKMIS GENEVA, UKMIS MEW YORK

SUBJECT: RECEIPT OF INTELLIGENCE OBTAINED UNDER TORTURE

SUMMARY

1. We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.

2. I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material. This is morally, legally and practically wrong. It exposes as hypocritical our post Abu Ghraib pronouncements and fatally undermines our moral standing. It obviates my efforts to get the Uzbek government to stop torture they are fully aware our intelligence community laps up the results.

3. We should cease all co-operation with the Uzbek Security Services they are beyond the pale. We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.

DETAIL

4. In the period December 2002 to March 2003 I raised several times the issue of intelligence material from the Uzbek security services which was obtained under torture and passed to us via the CIA. I queried the legality, efficacy and morality of the practice.

5. I was summoned to the UK for a meeting on 8 March 2003. Michael Wood gave his legal opinion that it was not illegal to obtain and to use intelligence acquired by torture. He said the only legal limitation on its use was that it could not be used in legal proceedings, under Article 15 of the UN Convention on Torture.

6. On behalf of the intelligence services, Matthew Kydd said that they found some of the material very useful indeed with a direct bearing on the war on terror. Linda Duffield said that she had been asked to assure me that my qualms of conscience were respected and understood.

7. Sir Michael Jay’s circular of 26 May stated that there was a reporting obligation on us to report torture by allies (and I have been instructed to refer to Uzbekistan as such in the context of the war on terror). You, Sir, have made a number of striking, and I believe heartfelt, condemnations of torture in the last few weeks. I had in the light of this decided to return to this question and to highlight an apparent contradiction in our policy. I had intimated as much to the Head of Eastern Department.

8. I was therefore somewhat surprised to hear that without informing me of the meeting, or since informing me of the result of the meeting, a meeting was convened in the FCO at the level of Heads of Department and above, precisely to consider the question of the receipt of Uzbek intelligence material obtained under torture. As the office knew, I was in London at the time and perfectly able to attend the meeting. I still have only gleaned that it happened.

9. I understand that the meeting decided to continue to obtain the Uzbek torture material. I understand that the principal argument deployed was that the intelligence material disguises the precise source, ie it does not ordinarily reveal the name of the individual who is tortured. Indeed this is true ? the material is marked with a euphemism such as “From detainee debriefing.” The argument runs that if the individual is not named, we cannot prove that he was tortured.

10. I will not attempt to hide my utter contempt for such casuistry, nor my shame that I work in and organisation where colleagues would resort to it to justify torture. I have dealt with hundreds of individual cases of political or religious prisoners in Uzbekistan, and I have met with very few where torture, as defined in the UN convention, was not employed. When my then DHM raised the question with the CIA head of station 15 months ago, he readily acknowledged torture was deployed in obtaining intelligence. I do not think there is any doubt as to the fact

11. The torture record of the Uzbek security services could hardly be more widely known. Plainly there are, at the very least, reasonable grounds for believing the material is obtained under torture. There is helpful guidance at Article 3 of the UN Convention;
“The competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.” While this article forbids extradition or deportation to Uzbekistan, it is the right test for the present question also.

12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer:

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless ? we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful. It is designed to give the message the Uzbeks want the West to hear. It exaggerates the role, size, organisation and activity of the IMU and its links with Al Qaida. The aim is to convince the West that the Uzbeks are a vital cog against a common foe, that they should keep the assistance, especially military assistance, coming, and that they should mute the international criticism on human rights and economic reform.

14. I was taken aback when Matthew Kydd said this stuff was valuable. Sixteen months ago it was difficult to argue with SIS in the area of intelligence assessment. But post Butler we know, not only that they can get it wrong on even the most vital and high profile issues, but that they have a particular yen for highly coloured material which exaggerates the threat. That is precisely what the Uzbeks give them. Furthermore MI6 have no operative within a thousand miles of me and certainly no expertise that can come close to my own in making this assessment.

15. At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family’s links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services.

16. I have been considering Michael Wood’s legal view, which he kindly gave in writing. I cannot understand why Michael concentrated only on Article 15 of the Convention. This certainly bans the use of material obtained under torture as evidence in proceedings, but it does not state that this is the sole exclusion of the use of such material.

17. The relevant article seems to me Article 4, which talks of complicity in torture. Knowingly to receive its results appears to be at least arguable as complicity. It does not appear that being in a different country to the actual torture would preclude complicity. I talked this over in a hypothetical sense with my old friend Prof Francois Hampson, I believe an acknowledged World authority on the Convention, who said that the complicity argument and the spirit of the Convention would be likely to be winning points. I should be grateful to hear Michael’s views on this.

18. It seems to me that there are degrees of complicity and guilt, but being at one or two removes does not make us blameless. There are other factors. Plainly it was a breach of Article 3 of the Convention for the coalition to deport detainees back here from Baghram, but it has been done. That seems plainly complicit.

19. This is a difficult and dangerous part of the World. Dire and increasing poverty and harsh repression are undoubtedly turning young people here towards radical Islam. The Uzbek government are thus creating this threat, and perceived US support for Karimov strengthens anti-Western feeling. SIS ought to establish a presence here, but not as partners of the Uzbek Security Services, whose sheer brutality puts them beyond the pale.

MURRAY

Second Document – summary of legal opinion from Michael Wood arguing that it is legal to use information extracted under torture:

Copy of original fax

From: Michael Wood, Legal Advisor

Date: 13 March 2003

CC: PS/PUS; Matthew Kidd, WLD

Linda Duffield

UZBEKISTAN: INTELLIGENCE POSSIBLY OBTAINED UNDER TORTURE

1. Your record of our meeting with HMA Tashkent recorded that Craig had said that his understanding was that it was also an offence under the UN Convention on Torture to receive or possess information under torture. I said that I did not believe that this was the case, but undertook to re-read the Convention.

2. I have done so. There is nothing in the Convention to this effect. The nearest thing is article 15 which provides:

“Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.”

3. This does not create any offence. I would expect that under UK law any statement established to have been made as a result of torture would not be admissible as evidence.

[signed]

M C Wood
Legal Adviser

PDF versions of the letters are available for download from here

Continue ReadingIt is an honour to join the dissident bloggers

image of black honeybees

Exclusive: Bees facing a poisoned spring

New kind of pesticide, widely used in UK, may be helping to kill off the world’s honeybees

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

A new generation of pesticides is making honeybees far more susceptible to disease, even at tiny doses, and may be a clue to the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has devastated bees across the world, the US government’s leading bee researcher has found. Yet the discovery has remained unpublished for nearly two years since it was made by the US Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Laboratory.

The release of such a finding from the American government’s own bee lab would put a major question mark over the use of neonicotinoid insecticides – relatively new compounds which mimic the insect-killing properties of nicotine, and which are increasingly used on crops in the US, Britain and around the world.

Bayer, the German chemicals giant which developed the insecticides and makes most of them, insists that they are safe for bees if used properly, but they have already been widely linked to bee mortality. The US findings raise questions about the substance used in the bee lab’s experiment, imidacloprid, which was Bayer’s top-selling insecticide in 2009, earning the company £510m. The worry is that neonicotinoids, which are neurotoxins – that is, they attack the central nervous system – are also “systemic”, meaning they are taken up into every part of the plant which is treated with them, including the pollen and nectar. This means that bees and other pollinating insects can absorb them and carry them back to their hives or nests – even if they are not the insecticide’s target species.

Independent article continues

The Independent has a further good article on honeybees. Having discussed neonicotinoids with my Scientific Advisor we were wondering whether these neurotoxins – since they are systemic – remain in plant produce to affect humans. Logically, that would have to be the case…

 

27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.

dizzy

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Tony Bliar recalled to the Chilcot inquiry

Tony – the apostate to Israel – Bliar is to reappear before the Chilcot Inquiry later today to clarify some issues arising from his former testimony. In the past, on this blog I have satirised the Chilcot Inquiry as the inquiry pretending to investigate the Iraq war. I am pleased that at least the inquiry is pretending not to pretend to investigate the Iraq war.

In all things related to Tony “I’m a pretty straight kinda guy” Bliar we have more pretending. We have pretending that the conversations between Blair and Dubya Bush are something other than they actually were.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/details-from-blairs-iraq-calls-were-deleted-2189275.html

The questions facing Tony Blair at tomorrow’s Iraq inquiry hearing are piling up. It emerged last night that parts of Mr Blair’s conversations with the United States President George Bush in the build-up to war were expunged from Whitehall records.

Sir John Chilcot’s team also heard yesterday from a senior civil servant that Downing Street ignored Foreign Office warnings over publishing the infamously exaggerated dossiers on the threat from Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons arsenal.

Mr Blair’s private secretary at No 10 routinely deleted any mention of his correspondence with Mr Bush from the Government minutes, the inquiry has found out. The disclosure will fuel anger over the failure to release the memos between the two leaders in the run-up to war, which could fill in gaps for when Mr Blair took key decisions over the war. David Cameron, challenged over the refusal to publish the memos, said that he was powerless to order their release.

Mr Blair’s then private secretary, Matthew Rycroft, has recalled that Mr Bush often began telephones calls or video conferences in 2002 and 2003 by thanking the former prime minister for his letters.

Mr Rycroft said that he drew up two accounts of the conversations, omitting any reference to them in the Whitehall record because Mr Blair viewed them as “personal dialogue”. He told the inquiry: “I do recall doing it on a number of occasions. I would have thought possibly about five occasions and each time for a particular reason.

“I recall the choice I had was either only doing an expurgated version or doing two versions, and so on these occasions I decided it was better to do two versions.” Mr Rycroft said Mr Blair had always been clear that Britain would support US military action.
[independent article continues]

Furthermore, the head of the UK Civil Service has refused to publish correspondence between Tony Bliar and Dubya Bush.

I’ve quoted this article fully because it is impotant. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/iraq-inquiry-cannot-publish-blairbush-exchanges-2187588.html

The head of the civil service has refused to allow the official inquiry into the Iraq War to publish notes sent by Tony Blair to former US president George Bush.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell denied requests for exchanges between the former prime minister and Mr Bush about Iraq to be declassified and released.

Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot said: “The inquiry is disappointed that the Cabinet Secretary was not willing to accede to its request.

“This means that in a narrow but important area the inquiry may not always be able to publish as fully as it would wish the evidential basis for some of its comments and conclusions.”

Sir John wrote to Sir Gus last month asking him to authorise the declassification of extracts from notes sent by Mr Blair to Mr Bush and records of discussions between the two leaders.

He highlighted the fact that Mr Bush and Mr Blair – as well as the former prime minister’s chief of staff Jonathan Powell and communications chief Alastair Campbell – had revealed details of some of their talks in their recent memoirs, and said the inquiry’s protocol on releasing documents supported disclosure.

Sir John said in his letter: “The inquiry regards it essential in order to fulfil its terms of reference, to be able to chronicle the sequencing of discussions on Iraq between the UK prime minister and the president of the United States.

“It seems to us that it is both contrary to the terms of the protocol and, in light of the disclosures in recent memoirs, unnecessary to prevent the inquiry from being able to do this.”

He added: “In the inquiry’s view it is essential, if it is to produce a reliable account, that it is able to quote extracts from the records of what the prime minister said to president Bush in their discussions on Iraq.”

Sir Gus replied just before Christmas, writing: “My view is that the public interest is not best served by their release.

“I judge that their release would, or would be likely to, damage the UK’s international relations.”

He said the Cabinet Office attached “particular importance” to protecting the channel of communications between the British prime minister and the US president.

In a further letter to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir John said Mr Blair would face firm questioning about the content of his discussions with Mr Bush when he gives evidence to the inquiry for a second time on Friday.

He wrote: “Given Mr Blair’s decision to disclose some of the content in (his memoirs) A Journey, the committee is likely to be disappointed if he is less forthcoming in his evidence to us.

“This approach is also likely to increase the length of the hearing.”

Sir John added in a third letter to Sir Gus that the question of when and how Mr Blair made commitments to the US about Britain’s involvement in military action against Iraq was “central” to the inquiry’s considerations.

The inquiry chairman also revealed today that the committee recently took evidence in a closed session from David Pepper, the former head of the UK’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “All HMG (HM Government) documents have been made available to the inquiry.

“The issue is one of publication. Exchanges between the UK prime minister and the US president are particularly privileged channels of communication.

“The Cabinet Secretary is of the firm view that the public interest in publishing these letters is not outweighed by the harm to the UK’s international relations that would likely be caused by his authorising their disclosure.

“This is in line with the published protocol.

“The majority of the inquiry’s declassification requests have been met. But there are important public interest principles at stake. These are recognised in the protocol.”

David Cameron was not consulted over whether to authorise publication of the documents, according to the Prime Minister’s spokesman.

The Cabinet Secretary took the decision in line with a protocol set out at the beginning of the inquiry, he added.

“(Mr Cameron) had no role in that process,” the spokesman said. “There is a protocol. That protocol sets out that in particular circumstances the Cabinet Secretary will make these judgments.”

Long-standing procedures also prevented serving ministers from seeing documents relating to the work of previous administrations, he said.

Asked whether the Prime Minister was minded to change the protocol so that the documents could be published, the spokesman replied: “No.”

Comment by L.G.K. Bufu the Max (a former title of the author of this article circa 1998 – 2000). Gus O’Donnell appears to be a civil servant i.e. subservient to the authority of government. If he is a civil servant – which he obviousl is – he answers to government and does what the government says. Nick Clegg – what can we say? Useless bastard? Total asshole? Rich useless twat? He seems to have the powerful position but instead seems determined to abandon his proclaimed ‘principles’ and utterly destroy his party. Nick Clegg ‘appears’ as Tory as Cameron destroying further and higher education, the Post Office and the National Health Service. The elecorate will recognise that the Lib Dems are Tories destroying everything that they held important.

Back to Tony – when I say “emphatically not” I mean “yes” – Bliar. His first comuppance was the “I’m a fairly straight kinda guy” lie. He’s a lying, little useless shit. He doesn’t understand what truth is. He believes that the words coming from his lips create truth. Years ago Mandy said something along the lines of New Labour create reality. No, reality is going to punch you in the face.

 

27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

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