In an Independent interview today, Naom Chomsky said that Britain:
has failed in its duty to stop the US from committing “shameful acts” in the treatment of suspects detained during the war on terror, …… Professor Noam Chomsky calls on the Government to use its special relationship with Washington America to secure the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
Claiming that he has heard only “twitters of protest” in the UK , the emeritus professor of linguistics also asks British “thinkers” to be more conspicuous in their opposition to the erosion of civil rights since the 9.11 attacks on the US.
National pride should compel me to put up some sort of defence of the UK here, but I’m afraid he’s just right.
(Except that there’s basically less than no chance the UK could stop the US doing anything, but at least we could stop encouraging them.)
The Independent article quoted Andrew Tyrie, the MP who set up the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition (APPGER).
(That repulsive phrase is of course the Dilbertspeak neologism for the old-fashioned “kidnap and torture” phrase. In this case, I can’t blame them for using it. It’s in a good cause.)
“The UK Government’s reaction to the US programme of rendition: a policy of kidnapping people and taking them to places where they may be tortured, has been inadequate, to say the least. It is scarcely credible that now, despite all we know about rendition and the UK’s involvement in it, the British Government still refuses to condemn this illegal, immoral, and counterproductive policy.”
I looked for something about this group, about whom I’ve previously read nothing..
The Chairman of the APPG is Andrew Tyrie MP,[Conservative] the Vice-Chairmen are Chris Mullin MP [Labour] and Norman Lamb MP, [Liberal Democrat]and the Treasurer is Lord Hodgson.[Conservative peer] The Coordinator of the APPG is Stuart McCracken. [Lord Hodgson’s researcher]. I googled this information in square brackets so you don’t have to.] (from APPGER site About us page)
Here are their press release documents.
The very existence of this Parliamentary group lifts a tiny corner of the blanket of national shame under which I am cowering after the richly deserved rebuke from Chomsky.
However, David Milliband – am I developing an anti-crush on this man? – brings back the feeling of national shame by his apparently unironic recommendation of this group:
The questions asked by… the all-party parliamentary group are precisely the sort of parliamentary interrogation and questioning that is wholly appropriate. (quote from Milliband on the APPGER home page.)
Well, he might respect their questioning role but he’s buggered if he’s going to address teh issues they raise. Blimey, he and his department won’t even willingly submit to a court order (“National security”, yada, yada..) in the Mohammed Binyan case. Are the embarrassing questions of a few decent parliamentarians going to bother him?