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:
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.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.