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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 July 2018

British state complicit in torture and rendition: put Blair and Straw in the dock!

Tony Blair, photo Chatham House (Creative Commons)

Tony Blair, photo Chatham House (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Chris Newby, Hackney Socialist Party

British spy agencies colluded with the US state in the torture and 'rendition' programme during the Iraq war. This revelation by parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee should come as no surprise to readers of the Socialist.

What is surprising is that the report has seen the light of day. A clue is perhaps that the committee chairman is Dominic Grieve - one of the Tory Remainer rebels opposing Theresa May on Brexit.

The report details that UK intelligence services participated in 'interviewing' between 2,000 and 3,000 US detainees after 2002 held in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay.

They also planned or agreed to a rendition operation - transporting detainees to locations without protections against torture - in 28 cases. MI6 and MI5 offered to help fund a rendition operation three times.

And in 198 cases British agencies received information from interrogations where they knew detainees had been mistreated. This includes the torture of UK resident Binyam Mohamed who was held and tortured in Morocco, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay - and eventually released without trial or charge.

Incredibly, Jack Straw, responsible for MI6 as the Blairite foreign secretary at the time, claims the release of this report is the first he knew about these events! Yet the report states Straw signed off at least once on the payments for the costs of the plane used for rendition.

Both the Blairites and Tories are up to their necks in responsibility for this scandal. Theresa May blocked the Intelligence and Security Committee from interviewing members of MI6. This represents yet another crisis for this unstable Tory government, and a shot across the bows for those Blairites constantly attacking Corbyn.


While this inquiry has thrown some light on the murky and brutal workings of the British state, we can be under no illusion that we will get a full picture of the state's involvement in the torture and rendition of people during the war.

The Labour Party call for an independent judicial inquiry will also not provide a full picture of what happened. The judiciary is not independent of capitalist interests. Just look at the mess of the judicial inquiries into child abuse scandals, Grenfell and undercover policing.

Ultimately we may never find out all of what happened - but the only process which could get us close is a genuinely independent, democratic workers' inquiry, based on the trade unions.

Blair and Straw should be in the dock for these crimes. The Tories and Blairites must go - along with the whole rotten capitalist system which demands war for profit, and the unaccountable, repressive state which defends it.

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