Friday, April 20, 2012

JackStrawrdinary Rendition

Jack Straw was, and is, the faithful servant of Tony Blair. When Tony gave Gaddafi the Blair-hug it was a new phase in British politics.

A missile had been fired into the back garden of 10 Downing Street and Blair had learnt something, although not a lot, about being on the receiving end of the attacks of which he had been so proud to inflict on others. The semtex had come from Libya via Ireland and it was getting too close to home. There was a change in foreign policy. Before his war on Iraq Blair had explained his position.

“Let me just deal with this oil thing because…the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd when you analyse it. The fact is that, if the oil that Iraq has were our concern, I mean we could probably cut a deal with Saddam tomorrow in relation to the oil. It’s not the oil that is the issue, it is the weapons…”

After the Iraq adventure much of the population had come to realise what a liar Blair was, though there were still people who had craniums too thick to penetrate. Blair was not thick. While he did not mind how many Iraqi children died abroad, semtex going off in the back garden was not cricket. So he quickly went to ‘cut a deal’ with Gaddafi. Part of that deal involved the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, rendering people wanted by Gaddafi to Libya to be tortured and imprisoned.

Over the years the position changed with Libya. The oil deals cut by Blair were not lucrative enough. So another war became inevitable to get oil at a more preferential rate, that is, free. This change in policy meant that NATO countries colluded to create a Libyan Spring which meant supporting rebels who had been former enemies of Muammur Gaddafi. One of these, who is now trying to prove that Jack Straw signed the illegal rendition papers for him and others is Abdel Hakim Belhadj.

Jack Straw, known by some in Lancashire as ‘Bungalow Jack’ because he’s ‘now’t up top’ denies having signed any such papers and is currently under investigation by the Metropolitan Police. Of course those of us who know how British justice in the 21st century works are under no delusions that justice will be seen to be done. 21st century justice is the kind administered by the Hutton Inquiry over the death of Dr David Kelly. Last year an inquiry was set up into torture and extraordinary rendition: the Gibson Inquiry. Former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, was due to give evidence. However, all allegations were going to be investigated in secret and the chances of the general public getting to know more than the basics were slim. In the end the Gibson Inquiry was cancelled. That is how British justice works today. The same with ‘Bungalow Jack’. There will be an out-of-court settlement. Abdel Hakim Belhadj will be bought off by blood-money, Jack Straw will walk free, and that will be the end of it. But it ought to be the start of it.

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