How Britain is Dealing with the Bush Years


In the wake of Barack Obama’s election, the extent to which he has continued many Bush administration counterterrorism policies has surprised many, especially when looking not only at the continuation and expansion of tactics such as drone strikes, but also at the degree to which the administration has used tools such as the state secrets privilege to justify keeping many Bush administration practices out of the public eye.
An interesting foil to this is a lawsuit currently underway in the United Kingdom, where six former Guantanamo bay detainees have sued the government, and forced the release of a trove of documents, with the potential for hundreds of thousands more, dealing with government complicity in their rendition and abuse. The British press has been particularly aggressive in covering this process, and I just want to point quickly to an interesting passage from a recent Guardian article on the stance British courts and the new British government have taken when dealing with sensitive material related to terrorism:

The government has been responding to disclosure requests by maintaining that it has identified up to 500,000 documents that may be relevant, and says it has deployed 60 lawyers to scrutinise them, a process that it suggests could take until the end of the decade. It has failed to hand over many of the documents that the men’s lawyers have asked for, and on Friday failed to meet a deadline imposed by the high court for the disclosure of the secret interrogation policy that governed MI5 and MI6 officers between 2004 and earlier this year.
So far just 900 papers have been disclosed, and these have included batches of press cuttings and copies of government reports that were published several years ago. However, a number of highly revealing documents are among the released papers, as well as fragments of heavily censored emails, memos and policy documents.
Some are difficult to decipher, but together they paint a picture of a government that was determined not only to stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States as it embarked upon its programme of “extraordinary rendition” and torture of terrorism suspects in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, but to actively participate in that programme.
In May, after the appeal court dismissed attempts to suppress evidence of complicity in their mistreatment, the government indicated that it would attempt to settle out of court.
Today the government failed in an attempt to bring a temporary halt to the proceedings that have resulted in the disclosure of the documents. Its lawyers argued that the case should be delayed while attempts were made to mediate with the six men, in the hope that their claims could be withdrawn in advance of the judicial inquiry. Lawyers for the former Guant


20 comments on “How Britain is Dealing with the Bush Years

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So whats to debate??? Theres no “mystery” involved when pondering the lack of comment from Nadine and her slimey propagandizing ilk.
    Its simple really. Now that Netanyahu’s mask has been torn off by this video, it can’t be put back on. So what can the Israel firster scumbags, justifiers and rationalizers do???
    Ignore it. Thats what. Try not to encourage comment about it. Sweep it under the rug. Work actively to ensure a lack of comment or debate about it.
    Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but this piece of shit Netanyahu has nothing but scorn for the nation, it’s leaders, and it’s people that are subsidizing him to the tune of billions annually. And he has no interest in peace, or in a two state solution. And any public comments of his implying otherwise were LIES designed to hoodwink the Americans into continuing to send billions, arm him, and assist him in racist and oppressive policies that rival those of Nazi Germany.
    And Obama lies flat on his stomach in the Oval Office, begging Netanyahu, or BP, or the GOP, or ANYONE, to give it to him again.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Bibi Unmasked
    Caught on tape: what the Israelis really think of us
    by Justin Raimondo, July 19, 2010
    In 2001, Bibi Netanyahu paid a condolence call on a group of Israeli settlers in the village of Ofra, widows whose husbands had been killed in the Intifada: the videotaped conversation has just been leaked, and broadcast by Israel


  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Whats this???? Nobody pointing fingers of “anti-semitism” when it becomes clear, and irrefutable, what a lying racist sack of shit Netanyahu is?
    Nobody justifying sending these bigoted leeches great bucketfuls of American taxpayer’s money???


  4. Carroll says:

    Homeland security releases new funds to non-profits
    July 16, 2010
    WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Department of Homeland Security released $19
    million to secure non-profits, the vast majority Jewish.
    Of 271 institutions named in a list released this week by DHS, 254 are
    Jewish, including synagogues, schools, community centers and offices.
    The funds were released as part of a congressionally mandated program in
    place since 2005 that targets institutions that are vulnerable to attack.
    Security measures funded include “blast proof windows; reinforced doors,
    locks, gates, and fences; video surveillance; and other equipment and
    enhancements” as well as training, according to a release by the Jewish
    Federations of North America, the federations umbrella body that lobbies
    annually for the funding.
    “The Nonprofit Security Grant Program is a proven resource that helps
    supplement the work of local and federal law enforcement to help keep us
    safe,” William Daroff, JFNA’s Washington director, said in a statement.
    Other groups lobbying for the money include two Orthodox umbrella bodies,
    the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America.
    O.U. called the funds “an important tool to help prevent terrorist attacks
    and protect civilians in case of such attack” and Aguda said “threats and
    actual incidents of violence against Jewish targets in the United States and
    around the world point to the particular vulnerability of our community.”
    Sen. Barbara Mikuski (D-Md.), who has shepherded the funding through
    congressional appropriations, said she remained committed to sustaining the
    “I have fought for these funds in the past, and I will keep fighting to
    protect institutions that are vital to our communities and the physical,
    social, spiritual and educational well-being of all Americans,” she said.
    Click to login and write a letter to the editor or register for a new
    This article was made possible by the support of readers like you. Donate to JTA now.
    N.Y. State Could Funnel $31.1 Million To Yeshivas, While Making Other Cuts
    By Maia Efrem
    Published July 07, 2010, issue of July 16, 2010.
    Author Archive
    Community News
    New York Governor David Paterson is seeking to make New York the latest state to channel public funds to yeshiva students through legislation that even staunch defenders of religion-state separation acknowledge as constitutional.
    A provision inserted in New York State


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    More Dollars to Israel as Settlements Grow
    JNOUBIYEH | 3:25 PM
    The United States will give Israel the largest “security package” ever, according to its Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro on July 16. Shapiro said the security aid package would be “the most extensive in history”, elaborating that in 2010, the administration requested from Congress $2,775 billion in security assistance funding specifically for Israel. According to its own rationale, the US says this boost in money to Israel’s security would help to advance the peace process with the Palestinians.
    “[We] hope that the administration


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:
    MJ Rosenberg
    Candid Bibi: Says way to handle Palestinians is “beat them up, not once but repeatedly”
    What a shocker! In 2001, Israel’s slick prime minister told precisely how he intended to destroy any chances for a Palestinian state.
    One thing you have to say for this guy. He’s a man with a plan and he sticks to it. The only way to deal with the Palestinians is to “beat them up, not once but repeatedly, beat them up so it hurts so badly, until it’s unbearable”
    Plus, great commentary from Ha’aretz on this thoroughly dishonest operator.
    “I know what America is,” Netanyahu replied. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.” He then called former president Bill Clinton “radically pro-Palestinian,” and went on to belittle the Oslo peace accords as vulnerable to manipulation. Since the accords state that Israel would be allowed to hang on to pre-defined military zones in the West Bank, Netanyahu told his hosts that he could torpedo the accords by defining vast swaths of land as just that.
    “They asked me before the election if I’d honor [the Oslo accords],” Netanyahu said. “I said I would, but … I’m going to interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the ’67 borders. How did we do it? Nobody said what defined military zones were. Defined military zones are security zones; as far as I’m concerned, the entire Jordan Valley is a defined military zone. Go argue.”
    And why is this lying piece of shit so sure he can bend Obama over and ream him at will? Because of our Congress, who are bought and paid for, mere whores to AIPAC. Cowards, self serving maggots who cringe in fear of offending the agents of a foreign government that has proven time and time again that they will lie to America, steal from America, commit acts of espionage against America, sell weapons to enemies of America, bleed money from America, murder citizens of America, maim citizens of America, malign and viciously slander citizens of America, and commit false flag attacks designed to force America into war.
    And this is an ally???? Our so-called “Representatives” are prostituting themselves to these despicable murderers and racists, that have so little respect for our support and subsidation?
    Just who do these cowards in DC actually serve? I wanna see kneepads on Obama the next time he crawls before a public podium. Its about time he got honest with us.


  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Netanyahu admits on video he deceived US to destroy Oslo accord
    Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent
    Last Updated: July 18. 2010 1:02AM UAE / July 17. 2010 9:02PM GMT
    There is one video Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, must be praying never gets posted on YouTube with English subtitles. To date, the 10-minute segment has been broadcast only in Hebrew on Israel


  8. Don Bacon says:

    from BBC News:
    Question: “Prime Minister, speaking of European leaders who have expressed ignorance of the American practice of shipping prisoners back and forth through airports in Britain and Europe to countries that may practise torture, Colin Powell said this week: ‘Most of our European friends cannot be shocked that this kind of thing takes place. The fact is that we have over the years had in place procedures that would deal with people who are responsible for terrorist activities, and so the thing that is called rendition is not something that is new or unknown to my European friends.’ Now that you know, do you approve it or will you stop it?”
    Mr Blair: “Well it all depends on what you mean by rendition. If it is something that is unlawful I totally disapprove of it; if it is lawful, I don’t disapprove of it. And I think Jack Straw indicated in his parliamentary answers, in fact I think on radio as well, a case back I think in 1998 when a request had been made to us. Now I don’t know whether you would define that as rendition or not, all I know is that we should keep within the law at all times, and the notion that I, or the Americans, or anybody else approve or condone torture, or ill treatment, or degrading treatment, that is completely and totally out of order in any set of circumstances. //
    The last time I visited England, Blair was Prime Minister and I recall seeing bumper stickers: BLIAR — this is why.


  9. JohnH says:

    Like Nadine said, “Nobody compromises unless he has to”…unless your long term interests are ill served by intransigence.
    It’s obvious that the only thing that Israel understands is force, which is why Hezbollah and Iran are so threatening.
    And Nadine elaborated just as I expected–Bibi can’t compromise because once upon a time the Palestinians didn’t compromise. And so, Israel has the right to never compromise, ever, even if the country’s long term survival is jeopardized.


  10. Don Bacon says:

    Now it’s emerging (from the Guardian) that Tony Blair, or at least his office, was directly involved in the rendition of one or more British nationals to Guant


  11. nadine says:

    Gideon Levy was and is a left-wing lunkhead, so any video he really hates is liable to contain a good deal of sense. As it happens, Palestinian intransigence before and after 2001 (not to mention their gleeful embrace of Islamist terrorism, including the human sacrifice of their own kids) has proved Bibi far more right than wrong.
    Nobody compromises unless he has to. The Israelis came to idea that they had to compromise about territories; they couldn’t keep the territories without paying a terrible price; but the Palestinians never came around. They really think they can keep whining and bombing and living off international aid and eventually get everything for nothing, including all of Israel.
    That’s what they tell their people; that’s why a recent poll showed that 82% of Palestinians would rather not have a state than give up the FULL “right of return”, i.e. everybody, all 5 million “Palestinian refugees” get to return to Israel, not just Palestine. (jdledell, do you hear that? Wake up and smell the coffee.)
    So tell me, if the Palestinians are nationalists, why do they want their people to go to another country? Because they’d far rather destroy Israel than have Palestine. Which is precisely why they don’t have Palestine and won’t, not for a long long time. If ever. What Bibi said about the Palestinians needing to be defeated hard enough to know they are defeated, in order to make peace, was unfortunately, the plain and simple truth.
    The PA just flatly told George Mitchell NO, they won’t even come to the table to start talks.


  12. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, Turkey broke relations with Israel several years ago, when it broke off doing joint military exercises and Erdogan OPENLY declared his support of Hamas. Sending a flotilla of IHH Hamas-backers — whose desire for “martyrdom” and close AKP ties are both on record — to break the blockade was a hostile act, sidling up to being an act of war. Erdogan even considered sending Turkish Navy vessel, which would have been an open act of war. He decided he didn’t want to go quite that far.
    Israel merely stopped the blockade-runners, as it had announced it was going to, and which was perfectly legal. Its only mistake was being duped by old Turkish contacts into thinking that the ships contained peaceful “humanitarians” instead of violent jihadis who were going to try to beat the Israelis unconscious, shoot and stab them, and take them hostage.
    As for Turkey being in NATO, at some point NATO is going to have to wake up and take official notice that an ally of Iran cannot remain in NATO. What, do you think the US and Europe really want to share all their military secrets with Damascus and Tehran?


  13. JohnH says:

    The Israel Firsters no longer need to take my word for Netanyahu’s intransigence, opposition to serious negotiations, etc.
    Now Bibi’s recorded words have been released: in them Bibi “boasts of having derailed the Oslo accords with political trickery, and suggests that the only way to deal with the Palestinians is to ‘beat them up, not once but repeatedly, beat them up so it hurts so badly, until it


  14. Don Bacon says:

    That nadine, where does she get this stuff. Barry Rubin? No, debka, in this case. Even worse.
    Israel attacks a NATO member on the high seas causing Turkey to declare its hostility to Israel, and then Israel complains to NATO that Turkey is hostile and in violation of — a sales contract! Now that’s chutzpah. Or comedy.


  15. nadine says:

    Syria is killing its Kurds and Turkey is supplying them with advanced drones that it bought from Israel. This might be something you fine humanitarians would care about, if the US or Israel was involved. from debka:
    ” Syrian troops and Kurdish tribesman are locked in fierce battle since the Syrian army blasted four northeastern Kurdish towns and neighborhoods at the end of June, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report. Hundreds of Kurds are reported dead.
    The Syrian campaign is backed by Heron (Eitan) spy drones Israel sold Turkey, made accessible on the personal say-so of Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan. Turkey therefore becomes the first NATO member to make advanced Western military technology available for the use of a strong ally of radical Iran and an active sponsor of terrorists. Following intense exchanges between Jerusalem and Washington, the NATO command was urged to put Ankara on the carpet – with no response as yet.
    The drones are being used to track Kurds in flight across Syria’s borders, mainly into Lebanon, where Hizballah is helping Syria hunt the refugees down. The accessibility to Damascus of the unmanned aerial vehicles is in direct breach of the Israel-Turkish sales contracts which barred their use – and the use of other Israeli high-tech items sold to Turkey during years of close military collaboration – in the service of hostile states or entities.”


  16. Don Bacon says:

    There are honest people in Germany, also.
    “Germany’s defence minister has admitted the war in Afghanistan cannot be won by military means alone, and that Berlin played down the danger German troops faced in the early years of the mission. He was speaking at the launch of a new book, Rest in Peace, Soldiers, which says Berlin has realized that covering up the reality of the Afghan mission was doing more damage than coming clean. ‘Yes, many mistakes were made and the danger of the mission was played down from the start,’ said Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. ‘But this incorrect behaviour, which is perfectly open to criticism is, in my view, more down to the fact that all were overwhelmed.’ Frankness like that is likely to boost further the popularity of the 39-year-old baron after just over a year as a cabinet minister. Since moving into Berlin


  17. Don Bacon says:

    I know, but I’m disappointed in Marc Lynch. Really. Disappointed.


  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Holder, just like Gonzales, is faithful to the President, not to the law. It is a mockery of everything we were supposed to stand for.


  19. JohnH says:

    Thank goodness Britain still has a functioning court system! If this succeeds it will expose the rampant abuse of justice perpetrated under Bush and continued under Obama.
    Allowing one person to snatch someone (anyone), lock someone up and throw away the key or to have him simply tortured and/or assassinated is reminiscent of such humanitarian icons as Stalin, Mao, Hitler, etc.
    Letting this abomination continue can only mean that Al Qaeda won.
    America can do better. Bring back the rule of law.


  20. Don Bacon says:

    Marc Lynch (the first link) believes that President Obama is doing just fine with the war on terruh. Who knew?
    Lynch (from the executive summary of his report):
    “. . .Though there are significant differences between this strategy and that of the Bush administration in the first half decade after the 9/11 attacks, there is also substantial continuity with the policies and philosophies adopted by the Bush administration in its final two years. The Obama administration built on those efforts, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by a presidential transition and increasing efforts in a range of key areas: engagement, outreach and a rhetorical commitment to restoring the rule of law on the one hand, and on the other, escalated (though not publicly acknowledged) drone strikes and counterterrorism partnerships in the ungoverned spaces where al Qaeda and its affiliated movements thrived.
    “Despite some potentially serious internal contradictions, this strategy is appropriate and already shows signs of success. While the recent wave of plots against the American homeland demonstrates that al Qaeda and its affiliated movements retain the ability to carry out terrorist acts, these terrorist networks have also faced major setbacks in their bid to attract widespread support and become a mainstream mass movement. They are under growing pressure. The administration


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