Sunday, 22 November 2009
A PRIVATE plane linked to CIA torture flights landed at Prestwick Airport at least twice last month, the Sunday Mail revealed today.The Gulfstream - jet-tail number N478GS - touched down at the airport on October 6 and 30.It has been identified as one used in extraordinary rendition - the movement of terror suspects from Afghanistan by the US Central Intelligence Agency. The spooks ferry prisoners around the world to be illegally tortured at secret camps in countries where such brutal techniques are not outlawed.The Gulfstream was pictured by plane-spotters on the tarmac at the airport despite moves to outlaw rendition planes on British soil. Spotters also snapped the plane - identified by the European Parliament as previously being used in torture flights - at Prestwick on 19 February.It also touched down at Glasgow Airport on June 11 last year.
Last night Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said he had asked police and prosecutors to investigate whether rendition flights had illegally landed in Scotland.
He said: "I have made it clear that the Scottish Government opposes illegal flights of rendition."While civil aviation is reserved to the UK Government, attempts to commit torture is an offence under Scots Law and, consequently, Scotland's police forces could investigate allegations of such crimes occurring.
"It would then be a matter for the Procurator Fiscal to decide whether or not to begin proceedings."If the European Parliament or any other organisations have any new evidence then I would encourage them to make it available."
Details of the jet's activities come weeks after it was revealed it had landed in Birmingham.
It landed on 2 October and was met by two army air corps Dauphin 2 helicopters used by the SAS at Hereford.The MoD denied the flight had been involved in rendition and said the incident was a "routine military liaison". The 22-seat plane is registered to Centurion Air Services and was involved in an accident at Bucharest airport in Romania in 2004 after a flight from Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.
The seven armed Americans on board disappeared before police arrived. A report later stated: "There were seven passengers who disappeared quickly after the accident. One of them was carrying a gun."
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Succinct historical and political analysis of the whole debacle by Christopher Booker:
Britain and America are plunged into an orgy of tortured introspection over what we are doing in Afghanistan, a further very important factor needs to be fed into the discussion, because it helps to explain not only why we have got into such a tragic mess but also why our armed intervention in that unhappy country is doomed.
What we are hardly ever told about Afghanistan is that it has been for 300 years the scene of a bitter civil war, between two tribal groups of Pashtuns (formerly known as Pathans). On one side are the Durranis – most of the settled population, farmers, traders, the professional middle class. On the other are the Ghilzai, traditionally nomadic, fiercely fundamentalist in religion, whose tribal homelands stretch across into Pakistan as far as Kashmir.
Ever since Afghanistan emerged as an independent nation in 1709, when the Ghilzai kicked out the Persians, its history has been written in the ancient hatred between these two groups. During most of that time, the country has been ruled by Durrani, who in 1775 moved its capital from the Ghilzai stronghold of Kandahar up to Kabul in the north. Nothing has more fired Ghilzai enmity than the many occasions when the Durrani have attempted to impose their rule from Kabul with the aid of "foreigners", either Tajiks from the north or outsiders such as the British, who invaded Afghanistan three times between 1838 and 1919 in a bid to secure the North-west Frontier of their Indian empire against the rebellious Ghilzai.
When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, after years of Durrani rule, it was to support a revolutionary Ghilzai government. But this new foreign presence inspired general Afghan resistance which was why, by the late 1980s, the Americans were supporting the almost entirely Ghilzai-run Taleban and their ally Osama bin Laden. In 1996 the Taleban-Ghilzai got their revenge, imposing their theocratic rule over almost the whole country. In 2001, we invaded to topple the Taleban, again imposing Durrani rule, now under the Durrani President Karzai.
As so often before, the Ghilzai have seen their country hijacked by a Durrani regime, supported by a largely Tajik army and by hated outsiders from the West. One reason why we find it so hard to win "hearts and minds" in Helmand is that we are up against a sullenly resentful population, fired by a timeless hatred and able to call on unlimited support, in men and materiel, from their Ghilzai brothers across the border in Pakistan.
Only in towns such as Sanguin and Garmsir are there islands of Durrani, willing to support the Durrani government in distant Kabul. No sooner have our forces "secured" a village from the Taleban, than their fighters re-emerge from the surrounding countryside to reclaim it for the Ghilzai cause. Without recognising this, and that what the Ghilzai really want is an independent "Pashtunistan" stretching across the border, we shall never properly understand why, like so many foreigners who have become embroiled in Afghanistan before, we have stumbled into a war we can never hope to win.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
The atrocities by NATO In Afghanistan continue of course. And people wonder,or pretend to wonder,why western troops and mercenaries are attacked by Muslim fighters in numerous countries including it seems the US now. Here's another recent explanation.