Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Government admits torture and kidnapping—almost

Issue No. 2604

Jack Straw denied torture claims but now the Tories have admitted failings

Jack Straw denied torture claims but now the Tories have admitted "failings"


The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) was an anti-Gaddafi Islamist militant group.

In 1996, with the backing of MI6, it tried to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi.

But after years of considering Libya a pariah state, the West lifted the sanctions against it in 2004.

British security services cracked down on Libyan dissidents as part of the deal.In 2007 BP signed an exploration deal with Libya’s National Oil Corporation—with Tony Blair looking on.

They assisted in the rendition of two senior LIFG leaders, Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi, to Tripoli where they were tortured.

A letter “for Musa in Tripoli from Mark in London”, about Abdel Hakim Belhaj, was written by Sir Mark Allen, MI6’s then counter-terrorism chief. Allen went on to work for BP.

Remarkable

The letter was addressed to then Libyan foreign minister Musa Kusa. Allen wrote, “This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over recent years.”

Calling Belhaj “air cargo”, Allen thanked Kusa for the support shown to an MI6 agent.

Labour home secretary Jack Straw was clear it didn’t happen.

He said, “Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States, there simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition full stop.”

His successor David Miliband took a similar line.

The Tories tried to block information about the case, cancelling an inquiry and fighting it in the courts.

Last week Theresa May wrote to Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar, who was also kidnapped when pregnant, to apologise on behalf of the government for failings over the case.

Failing is a euphemism for kidnap and torture, but they have admitted to what they previously said didn’t happen.


Tories train on how to look like a ‘real person’

Tory MPs are being encouraged to show that they are “real people” on Instagram. A presentation given by Tory officials to MPs this year made clear that photo-sharing was central.

Party chairman Brandon Lewis took on the tricky task of making Tories look normal on social media

The first slide told MPs that through Instagram they could “speak directly to a younger audience”.

The slide concluded that Instagram was “a chance to show you are a real person who people can relate to or be inspired by. The goal is to do both”.

The rules “DO. Pose with people. Offer “unique content” which is “playful”. Show “work being planned”. “DON’T Post one picture of you or a person; Post a list of press releases; it must feel real”.

Apparently, a picture of a red box on some stairs, posted by Tory MP Sam Gyimah is a great example of “PLAYFUL CONTENT”.


The computer says you are nicked

Facial recognition software used by the cops has returned false positives in more than 98 percent of cases.

The biometrics regulator—we didn’t know there was one either—called it “not yet fit for use”.

The Metropolitan Police’s system has produced 104 alerts of which only two were positive matches.

The cops said it did not consider the inaccurate matches “false positives” because alerts were checked a second time.

Facial recognition technology scans people in a video feed and compares their images to pictures stored in a reference library or watch list.

It has been used at large events such as the Notting Hill Carnival.

The same system used by another force, South Wales Police, has returned more than 2,400 false positives in 15 deployments since June 2017.

Fewer than 10 percent were correct matches.


Supergrass gets out

Loyalist killer Gary Haggarty has been released.

He was flown out of Northern Ireland on a private jet and will go into witness protection under MI5 supervision.

The former UVF leader in North Belfast was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in January.

His murder victims include John Harbinson who was beaten to death with a hammer, Sean McParland, who was shot dead in front of children, workers Eamon Fox and Gary Convie, who were shot dead in their car, and Sean McDermott, who was also found shot in a car.

As well as doing a deal, when he committed the over 500 offences he was convicted of he was being paid by Special Branch.


Almost half of people spend their monthly salary within three weeks, a survey by a jobs website found.

In total, two thirds run out of cash before pay day and a third use an overdraft or credit card to survive. Some 56 percent of workers feel stressed due to money worries.

And 24 percent cancel activities with friends and family but do not admit the reason.


Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant could face a fine over contamination. A worker may have been exposed to three times the annual radiation limit when he was injured in February last year.

Sellafield got a £700,000 fine in 2013 for not treating radioactive waste properly.


The Things They Say

‘What I can’t accept is the activity. I use the expression sodomite’

Lord Tebbit explains his oppostion to the new Bishop of Bury St Edmonds

‘Madame May is weak and Boris Johnson has the same hair-do as Trump. That says everything’

Günther Oettinger, EU budget commissioner

‘Angry scenes as protestors detonate smoke bombs at march in London’

The Daily Star newspaper gets excited about the GMB union contigent having flares on the TUC demo. It helpfully illustrated the story with protesters kicking down a door in Colombia

‘There is a need to shine a light through the fog of lies, half-truths and obfuscation that pours out of their propaganda machine’

Andrew Parker, head of MI5, stands in a greenhouse and throws a rock at Russia


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