Pat Finucane, Sami al-Saadi and Khaled el-Musri: will we once again just 'move on' from the murky conduct of MI6 and the CIA?
Torture, rendition, sodomy: with ‘protectors’ like these, who needs ex-friends?
Last week was a bad week for our Protectors. It kicked off with the shameful details of the De Silva report, which concluded that the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane had been murdered with British state collusion.
It’s something that all who knew Finucane had long suspected. Sir Desmond de Silva concluded that “a series of positive actions by employees of the state (ie MI6) actively furthered and facilitated his murder” and that there was afterwards “a relentless attempt to defeat the ends of justice”.
In other words, it was a set-up.
Our Protectors helped the Protestant UDA “loyalist” militia to knock off this troublesome lawyer just after a Tory Home Office minister – the very same Douglas Hogg who years later thought he could get the taxpayer to clean his moat – was used as a patsy in Parliament where he announced, three weeks before the Finucane murder, that a number of Northern Ireland solicitors were “unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA”. There is no suggestion that Mr Hogg was involved in the Finucane case.
At virtually the same moment as the De Silva report was published last week, our Government agreed to pay £2.2m to the family of Sami al-Saadi, who was “renditioned” to Libya with the help of our Protectors in 2004 and subsequently was tortured most savagely in Gaddafi’s dungeons. We have to thank Human Rights Watch for this information, by the way – no government inquiry was set up into this outrage – and HRW was only able to finger our Protectors because of correspondence between the CIA and Gaddafi’s goons in Tripoli.
Mr al-Saadi, “kidnapped” with the help of our own goons in Hong Kong not long after Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara had done his kissy thing with Gaddafi in the desert, emerged from his Libyan torture chamber last year “close to death”. Another of his fellow opponents of Gaddafi still plans – quite rightly – to sue our Protectors.
But then bingo. Again, on the very same day last week, the European Court of Human Rights stated that CIA agents tortured – and sodomised – Khaled el-Musri, a German of Lebanese origin who was supposedly “linked to terrorism”. Now I don’t know if our chaps get up to sodomy during their role as our security Protectors, but the European court was also much exercised by the fact that Macedonian state agents watched as poor old el-Musri endured his beating, shackling and sodomisation in 2003. It was “simply unnacceptable”, said James Goldston of the Open Society Justice Initiative, for the US government to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities. A long bellow of laughter here, I’m afraid.
The Strasbourg court added that Macedonia had been responsible for Mr el-Musri’s “torture and ill-treatment both in the country itself and after his transfer to the US authorities in the context of an extra-judicial ‘rendition’.” So what, I wonder, does all this mean? That the CIA lads (for they must be lads, mustn’t they?) sodomise prisoners – or that they get the Macedonians to carry out sexual assaults on their behalf?
What the hell? How many more of these guys – the Finucanes, the al-Saadis, the el-Musris – are supposed to win our sympathy just because they got murdered, tortured and/or sodomised by our Protectors. Next, we’ll have to recall how the Canadians paid C$10.5m (£6.5m) to poor old Mahar Arar, a Canadian of Syrian origin “renditioned” in 2002 by the US to Damascus, where he was tortured by Syrian goons – on America’s behalf – until the Syrians themselves announced that he was “totally innocent” of all al-Qa’ida connections.
This, of course, is a rather dodgy situation for America’s Protectors. After all, Bashar al-Assad of Syria is now supposed to be the devil incarnate, the latest Middle East Hitler, the man whom Obama and La Clinton would like to have liquidated. So why did the Protectors send Mr Arar to him?
Well, of course, a decade ago, Assad was our mate, wasn’t he? He was our chum, a man we could do business with, whose own Protectors were happy to help our Protectors, as worthy to be kissed by a Blair as Gaddafi was. But now he’s not our chum any more; the “rebels” – be they the Free Syrian Army or the Salafists – are our chums. Let us pray for the sake of all our Protectors that if – if – the Assad regime falls, Human Rights Watch won’t find yet more friendly letters from our Protectors in the files of the Syrian government.
Not that it will matter. The whole thing was best summarised by the revolting comment of the Labour Party on the Iraq war. “It is time to move on,” Blair’s men told us. It’s time to “move on”, as in “to put the past behind us”, “to keep things in perspective”, “to ignore”; “to forget”. Forget the half million Iraqi dead. Just as we should forget the Finucane family, the al-Saadis, the el-Musris, the Arars – thank God they’re Fenians and Muslims and not good old Anglicised Brits or Americans – and yes, let’s all move on. Somehow – forgive me if I’m wrong – that phrase “move on” summarises the very wickedness of the Blair regime and everything bad that it did to us. Our Protectors, of course, would not agree.