Our special relationship with the United States’ government: an insider’s view

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Former deputy prime minister John Prescott is the first politician at this level to speak out, though – as one correspondent has pointed out – his regime was aware, complicit and therefore responsible.

us torture The writer somehow finds the accompanying picture even more disturbing than bloody pictures seen by chance on the internet

In his article in the Mirror link forwarded by Mark Shapiro) a key sentence is: “What disturbs many is how special our special relationship with Bush’s America actually became”. Very true. He lists two instances:

  • Our GCHQ was actively working for America’s national security agencies in carrying out phone-tapping and information ­gathering on an industrial scale.
  • We gathered and collected ­information for the Americans, which was illegal under US law but possible under ours. We effectively became their private detective.

And indicts not only parliamentary committees . . .

‘Our toothless ­parliamentary intelligence security committee’, which is required to get the PM’s permission before any ­investigation, said the GCHQ-related claims were unfounded.

The Audit Commission refused to give GCHQ a clean audit, despite its ‘overspending by £100million per year’.

The Intelligence and Security Committee presented to the Cabinet a heavily redacted report in which ­references to Britain’s intelligence agencies were deleted from the US torture report at their request.

but also David Cameron:

Cameron halted an inquiry by Judge Sir Peter Gibson into torture claims after it discovered twenty-seven areas requiring further investigation, including interrogation techniques, “rendition flights”, the training of agents and ministerial oversight of the intelligence ­agencies. He then handed Sir Peter’s investigation to the safely ‘toothless’ Intelligence and Security Committee.

US Senate committee, which produced the report has the power to subpoena witnesses and make them give evidence under oath.

Our parliamentary committees need the powers to subpoena witnesses and make them give evidence under oath to hold our ­intelligence services to full account.

We must have a transparent system not one that turns a blind eye and deaf ear to claims of the ­abduction and torture of innocent people.

John Prescott ends: ‘This “special relationship” must be revealed’.

Next week: Japan’s pacifism gaining ground.

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