Video: bad day for centrists as rendition apology burns last shreds of Blairite credibility

The government’s letter today to Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar, apologising for their ‘rendition’ – their forcible and illegal transport – to Gaddafi’s Libya after their abduction in Malaysia by the CIA, has highlighted the culpability and complicity of the UK government in the widespread and shameful US practice:


It’s likely, of course, that Theresa May would be slightly more reticent about apologising for a similar crime committed by her own government – Belhaj and Boudchar were ‘rendered’ by Tony Blair’s government and he was released just before the 2010 General Election.

Not only was Blair’s government responsible for the rendition, but various senior ministers denied that it had ever been involved in the practice:

It’s not a good day to be a centrist, as the final worn rags of Blairite credibility went up in smoke.

A bad day, too, for those who want to pretend that governments can be trusted and that the Establishment is truthful with its citizens, as Conservative commentator Peter Oborne pointed out on his Twitter feed:

oborne rend.png

The Tories, of course, are not innocent in their handling of the matter. David Cameron promised a full inquiry into the rendition when he first became Prime Minister – but the promise was abandoned two years later.

Ms Boudchar has said that their suffering at the hands of the CIA was even worse than their ordeal in Libya. The UK government collaborated in the rendition and a senior MI6 official wrote to Gaddafi’s intelligence chief to congratulate him on its successful completion – taking credit for the operation and saying it “was the least we could do for you and Libya.”

All of this was the background to the denials of Blair’s government.

It might be good for someone to ask centrist Chuka Umunna about it on tonight’s BBC Question Time if he attempts to undermine his party leader for taking a cautious, statesmanlike approach to the Tory government’s claims about the Salisbury poisoning and May’s eagerness to fire missiles at Syria after the Douma attack.

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  1. Craig Murray has said for years that Jack Straw was a liar involved in illegal rendition and that David Miliband was also somone who knew that Britain was involved in rendition and torture.

  2. Time and Truth go hand in hand.
    Tory Blair and his centrist Governance has finally come back and bitten them on the arse.
    Try and get out of this you right wing thinking liars!
    Where’s the “BIG BRUSH” when it’s needed?
    EXPEL those who are still members of our Labour Party, no investigation needed, we found out the “TRUTH”, TODAY, THURSDAY THE 10th of MAY 2018″!

  3. “It’s likely, of course, that Theresa May would be slightly more reticent about apologising for a similar crime committed by her own government ”

    True, but neoliberal/neocon regimes cover for and enable each other, one often lays the ground work and the next goes full on, shifting blame to the past political opponent for opening the door. A great system when you think about it and especially in foreign policy where so much is done in secret and what is known is tightly managed or just ignored by our so called free media..

    No court case, even a secret one is preferable to an apology for Blair neoliberal/neocon regime. I expect some huge sighs of relief are being exhaled in the hard line cross party neolib/neocon ranks. I think a hope will be this admission and apology will be also be a bit of a release valve for growing public disquiet and questioning of foreign policy.

    Funny how party leaders are having to apologize for the Blair tenure, speaks volumes to the true nature of the Blair era which Labour is moving away from at last.

    British PM’s and ministers cannot truly and openly be held accountable for their heinous crimes and serve sentences that might be handed down, it might start a trend and an exposed establishment political enabling system would be useless to the ‘ruling classes’ foreign agenda in a democratic system.

    1. Annie Machon, former MI5 officer,. talking to Galloway last night. She talks about the horrific and shameful Belhaj and his wife rendition (aka state kidnap), Gaddafi, LIFG etc. Must listen for those who haven’t heard it.

      Buried in the interview (and glossed over) there is a nugget I was unaware of re Sir Mark Allen, former head of MI6, who resigned from MI6 and then took a post in BP which was apparently in Libya when ‘we’ were on good terms with Gaddafi. An insight into one of the drivers in relations with foreign, often repressive and corrupt, governments and also for illegal regime change ops (when they don’t play ball), corporate/banking access to and plunder of foreign assets.
      It also leads me to questions about possible personal conflicts of interest for those in positions of power in political and state positions.
      We can think of the list of more recent PMs and ministers who have gone on to positions in private banking and corporate sector after leaving office. Revolving door appears to be endemic in British political and state sphere, this is a very unhealthy and dangerous situation for us all at home and around the world and in the neo liberal era has led to hugely increased suffering, poverty and massive and increasing wealth inequality in much of the neoliberal influenced world as the few benefit at the expense of the many. Public social, health, education programmes, job prospects and wage rises etc. rolled back to enable rampant private profiteering and ‘rent’ seeking. UK and EU are now feeling what the neoliberal, financialized form of Capitalism means for society and general wellbeing of the majority.

      The Allen segment is from approx. 4.50 – 5.33 in the video.

  4. It makes me wonder if I will live another 10 or 15 years to see someone stand before the House and apologise for the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of vulnerable individuals who have been killed by the coalition and this govt.

  5. And Straw and others are still claiming that the intelligence on Iraq ‘turned out to be wrong’. They are never challenged on this by their ‘interviewers’.

    “But in its final drafting stages (Alastair) Campbell nevertheless sought and secured no fewer than fourteen changes to the wording of the dossier, each one toughening its language” (Correspondence released to the Hutton Inquiry)

    It is interesting that someone who is not an intelligence analyst was allowed to alter an intelligence dossier.

    “The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour” by Andrew Rawnsley (Viking 2010) hardback edition p117

  6. Exposes Right Wing Blair the Barbarian and Right Wing Moron Straw whose defence seems to be ignorance or just being naive!
    Oh and the then Head of MI6 has questions to answer too.
    Brings shame on the UK, how do these creeps sleep at night?
    Yes need Blair and Bush need to be on trial in The Hague and Alistair Campbell has questions to answer too with his dodgy dossier but as Alistair would say ABC- Anyone But Campbell.
    But I also remember the first bombing of so-called IS by the UK in Syria, it was against petrol refineries and oil distilling stations (and were these staffed by workers (and probably trade unionists) at the time? Non- combatants – and if IS comes to town you probably have little say in the matter) and if this was the case then it was probably a Tory Government War Crime? We could have brought the Tories down but 66 Right Wing Labour MPs (social imperialists) voted for the bombing including the then Shadow Foreign Secretary – the Right Wing political imbecile Hilary Benn.
    Oh how we need 620 left wing democratic socialist candidates to be Labour MPs!

  7. Footnote – one wonders how our brothers and sisters in so called less developed countries or non – western countries feel when some of their tyrants are quite rightly brought to justice in The Hague but some Western Leaders it seems can do what they want without impunity.
    Need left wing, grassroots, bottom up, participatory, democratic socialist parties for diverse working people in every country!

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