Sunday, 4 September 2011

Why the silence?

Documents found by Amnesty International in the offices of Gaddaffi's former foreign minister and head of Libyan intelligence. Moussa Koussa, have revealed that, under the last Labour government, MI6 provided Gaddaffi's regime with details of Libyan dissidents living in the UK.

Now this was a regime which was known for torturing and murdering anyone even suspected of opposing the regime. This was a regime which was perfectly happy to target the family members of people they couldn't get directly - such as people living beyond their reach in the UK.

On top of this, MI6 actually wrote a speech for Gaddaffi back in 2004 for when he was having talks with Tony Blair. And it's also been revealed that the CIA sent Libyan dissidents to Gaddaffi to be tortured, as well as sending Libyan security services "questions" they wanted asking. It's also been alleged by one of the Libyan rebel's military commanders that he was taken overseas to Thailand by the CIA and tortured by them at the Libyan regime's request. The latter was part of the programme of rendition that the UK supported and collaborated in by allowing rendition flights to use our airspace.

And what rendition really means is "kidnap people, take them overseas to countries where torture is legal and then torture them until we get a confession".

Obviously, a government which used torture and murder by its enemies (namely Saddam) as a pretext for invasion, is utterly hypocritical and disgusting for not only tolerating but outright colluding in the same activities by its allies.

Of course, no one should be shocked to discover that this was what the New Labour government got up to. After all, they were quite happy to support locking British citizens up for 90 days without being charged, told what they were accused of or having their relatives told where they were so it's hardly surprising that they were happy to aid in doing a lot worse in foreign countries.

But what's really despicable about this whole episode is the silence over it. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has said that he can't comment on events that occurred under a previous government - comments which might well have been intended to dodge blame for the fact that Britain took in the man behind the torture in Libya, Moussa Koussa, back in March before allowing him to move to the safety of Qatar.

Now, what William Hague should have said, if he had had any decency or courage, would have been to say "I cannot comment on events that took place under a previous government, however, we take allegations of these sort very seriously and will be setting up an immediate enquiry to investigate the truth of these allegations and will take serious action should these allegations be proved to be true."

But, you know, Hague is a tory so we can't really expect much from him. And it's hardly surprising that the Labour leadership have been keeping silent given that a) it was their party which sanctioned this whilst in government and b) that most of them were ministers in the government responsible for this.

So, the reaction from the political class is to be expected, even if their silence is shameful and disgusting. But what truly irritates me is the silence from the Left.

Yes, you know, the self-proclaimed Left. Not the Lib Dem left because the Left have declared that Lib Dems are all traitors and were never really Left in the first place. I'm talking about the mainly Labourite Left that proclaimed how disgusted they were with Blair and New Labour and how, as a result, you shouldn't really blame Labour for all these things because the government which did all these nasty things with the votes of the Left wasn't really a proper Labour government.

So, given their disgust with Blairism, and their general distaste for things such as the Iraq War, and their loudly proclaimed support of the rebel cause in Libya, why is is that I have not seen one, not one, major left wing blog talk about this? Liberal Conspiracy, Labour List, Left Foot Forwards, every single one prominent Labour leaning, Left blogs which were critical of Blair's foreign policy and supportive of the Libyan rebels, and yet none of them has even mentioned the revelation that our last government aided and abetted in the torture of the people whose struggle for freedom that they proclaim to support.

Labour List's main article is about Alistair Darling's biography, Liberal Conspiracy's is about abortion, Left Foot Forwards' about how the dissolution of the Scottish tories will help Salmond. But nothing about these extraordinary revelations despite them being exactly the kind of thing they would jump on if, and this might just be me being cynical, the people responsible had not been a Labour government.

Now, in fairness, they might be intending to post pieces about it, their silence so far might just be a case of waiting to get round to it. But why? Why is it that they have stayed silent so far when the Observer is talking about it and when this should, by rights, be a major national scandal? The only major online blog I have seen even reporting this news is LibDemVoice.

So, this is my question to the online Left: why the silence?


  1. Agreed.

    These are surely matters for The Hague (not William).

  2. They are trying to get a deniable story together together with a for of war to hide behind.

  3. fog not for



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