Me with some colleagues from around the world
Gender and International Human Rights MA
Coventry University 2010
If you’re prone to worrying about leaving your emails to pile up rather than deal with them promptly, then hold on, you’re in good company.
The Pakistani secret service, the ISI, hasn’t answered theirs for over a year.
But wait you say, that’s no big deal, most emails are junk anyway. They’re probably only spam and letters from relatives raving about the holidays you weren’t invited to go on with thousands of pictures of people you never want to see again.
And the ISI won’t reply so they can claim it is nothing to do with them…
And in the crazy world of counter-terrorism and international law, the US government lawyers regard this as tacit approval, because Pakistan does respond in kind. It does this by “de-conflicting” its airspace – in normal speech – Pakistan prevents its aircraft from flying in the areas concerned.
In an April speech, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said the administration has concluded there is nothing in international law barring the U.S. from using lethal force against a threat to the U.S., despite the absence of a declared war, provided the country involved consents or is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat.
So that’s okay then.
LAUNCH THEM DRONES…
NEW DOC FROM TOP DOCUMENTARY FILMS
At the Edge of the World chronicles the controversial Sea Shepherd Antarctic Campaign against a Japanese whaling fleet. The international volunteer crew, under-trained and under-equipped, develop a combination of bizarre and brilliant tactics with which to stop the whalers.
But first they must find the Japanese ships, a far more difficult challenge than ever imagined – long-time activist Paul Watson and first-time captain Alex Cornelissen employ an array of strategies in the hopes of finding an elusive adversary in the vast expanse of the Ross Sea.
With one ship (the Farley Mowat) too slow to chase down the whaling fleet, with their second ship (the Robert Hunter) unsuited for Antarctic ice conditions and with no country supporting their efforts to enforce international law, the situation becomes increasingly desperate. Against all odds, however, a real life pirate tale unfolds – a modern-day “David vs. Goliath” adventure.
BOYCOTT JAPANESE GOODS UNTIL THEY STOP KILLING WHALES!
Is there anything more insidious than NATIONAL SECURITY?
Everybody knows governments do terrible things in our name and then claim they are protecting the nation.
But in reality they only protect the interests of a few as these agencies are working for a small elite and see their populations as part of the problem. They spy on us and feed us bullshit while claiming they are protecting us from the very violent groups they employ for their games of conquest and control.
Now they are attempting to add another level of legal secrecy to cover-up their evil practices. Torture is illegal under all circumstances – there are no exceptions whatsoever.
This vile government and the shitty New Labour administration before them are complicit in crimes against humanity – they acted as the US’s stooge and assisted in rendition and torture against suspects and haven’t got the courage to admit it. So they try and change the law to hide this from public scrutiny.
It is important to remember that in Britain the elite are drawn from a very small group of people. They went to the same few schools, the same two universities and come from a small number of trusted families. It’s been this way for centuries and our rulers don’t want it to change as they are totally corrupted by power.
So-called democracy hasn’t changed this power structure because the elites control the law, military, media and state.
Below is a report from the UK Guardian explaining the Justice and Security Bill is currently in the Lords (unelected elites) under scrutiny from senior former judges and lawyers (also part of establishment). If passed it will allow the government to apply to the courts in civil cases for evidence either to be struck out altogether through a public interest immunity certificate or heard in secret if disclosure in open court would prejudice national security.
In actuality this means either revealing torture or that the states was complicit in other illegal activities.
But remember, judges are from the small elite – they probably played at Eton or Harrow with members of the government – and you can read that in several ways!
At present the government can only apply for a public interest immunity certificate to protect sensitive intelligence material from being disclosed or even considered by the judge.
Ministers are trying to introduce an additional avenue for sensitive material in civil cases to be heard through a closed material procedure, where the evidence could be examined in private by the judge, prosecution lawyers and a special advocate acting on behalf of the claimant. Strict limits would be imposed on what the special advocate could disclose to the claimant.
Concern about the government’s plan – contained in the Justice and Security Bill – was expressed by Prof Juan Méndez, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture. “If a country is in possession of information about human right abuses, but isn’t in a position to mention them, it hampers the ability to deal effectively with torture,” he said. Méndez, himself a victim of torture in his native Argentina in the 1970s, was speaking at the thinktank Chatham House on Monday night.
After attacking the US for what he called the “extensive use of state secrets” to suppress evidence of torture and other abuses, Méndez referred to the so-called control principle, which allows governments to determine how its intelligence can be used once shared with another state.
UK Ministers claim the secrecy is needed to protect its intelligence-sharing relationship with the US and other governments, while critics argue it is to conceal crimes committed by the British government, including involvement in the rendition and torture of British citizens suspected of being terrorists.
Torture is a brutal attempt to destroy a person’s sense of dignity and sense of human worth. It acts also as a weapon of war, spreading terror beyond its direct victims to communities and societies.
States must take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under their jurisdiction. There are no exceptional circumstances whatsoever — whether a state of war, or a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency or national security situation. States’ obligations also include the duty to provide effective and prompt redress, compensation and rehabilitation for all torture victims.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, 26 June 2012
And yet in the Guardian we read:
“Detainees who claimed they had been tortured were treated dismissively by officers at Dover immigration removal centre, prisons inspectors have said. Reports by officers at the Kent centre lacked photographs, body maps and judgements on whether scarring matched alleged abuse, inspectors found.”
Compare this response to how government officials act on terrorism and organised crime, yet torture is illegal in any circumstances under international law. The UK Government’s attitudes are disgusting and illegal under law.
Click here to see this blog’s author discuss the issue in a debate at Coventry University.