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Posted on 24 April 2012 at 13:27 GMT

Libyan's legal action against British security forces

British politicians condemned Libyan leader Gaddafi and sent forces to aid the fight against him. However, the attitude of British capitalism seems to have been the same as towards any despot - work with them when it suits you and turn against them once the writing's on the wall (and then try to win influence with their replacement).

A former Libyan dissident, Abdel Hakim Belhadj is now taking legal action against British security forces and former Labour Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. Belhadj alleges that Britain provided intelligence which allowed the CIA to detain him and his pregnant wife in Thailand in 2004.

He says US and Thai agents tortured them before returning them to Gaddafi's Libya where they received further abuse.

This appears to be a case of 'extraordinary rendition', the transfer of prisoners to regimes with little concern for human rights via secret prisons.

American spies were said to use this method as a means of 'outsourcing' torture with the assistance of the British.

This case has shined a light into the murky corners of the British security establishment and the lengths they are willing to go to in defence of big business interests.

However, we are unlikely to get any clear answers. Shamefully the case could even be heard behind closed doors.

The blame game has already started with the British spy agency MI6 insisting they were acting according to "ministerially authorised government policy" and Jack Straw claiming "no foreign secretary can know all the details of what its intelligence agencies are doing at any one time".

However, Jack Straw is no innocent when it comes to dealing with dictators. When home secretary in 2000 he allowed General Pinochet, who was in London at the time, to return home to Chile after the ex-dictator - whose regime murdered thousands of left wingers in the 1970s - had been indicted by a Spanish judge for complicity in torture.

Tom Baldwin

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