Monday, January 23, 2006

Visit the UK: No Questions Asked

Tony Blair's monthly press conference transcript is up. What words of wisdom can we find? This appears to be an exchange between one reporter and the PM (minus discussion about the Iraqi election results which may turn up in another post).
Question: Prime Minister, you said a moment ago you didn't know anything about the allegations made in Moscow this morning. I think probably for some of us, that is surprising. It was reported 4 or 5 hours ago, you are coming to a public press conference.

Prime Minister: No, I didn't see it until I saw it on teletext, I am not saying I haven't asked about it.
It is interesting to hear that the prime Minister gets these important news stories straight from, er, teletext. Here was me thinking that the Foreign Office would be desperate to inform the prime minister that the Russians were accusing the UK of spying on them. Let's not bother, they must have thought, the PM will probably see it on teletext. It's an efficient system, I'll grant you. Very little waste.
Question: They are keeping secrets from you. It is your choice, but I mention it only because on a number of occasions we have been in a similar situation here in London, which has caused controversy since your last press conference, was the matter of rendition, where you said in both the Commons and at press conferences that you didn't know much about it. People have since alleged well you must have done, and obviously you know more about it now. So I wondered if you could give us an up-date on this issue which has aroused so much heat but not much light?

Prime Minister
: Right, on rendition, I may be able to offer you neither heat nor light. All I have said about it is that I know America has this practice. We don't. I think Jack has disclosed any of the cases that have ever been put to us, but as far as I am aware the Americans do not operate this, except in circumstances where the law of the country concerned, and the consent of the government concerned are compatible with what they are doing. But I don't know any more about it than that.
You might want to note the "as far as I'm aware the Americans...". It's important for the next question.
Question: You have not made enquiries as to whether people have been illegally transported through this country from Place A to B?

Prime Minister: No.
There you have it; plausible deniability laid bare. He goes on to again refer to Jack's half-arsed "investigations" but the key truth is in that one word: No. Despite the mounting evidence of questionable CIA activities on British soil, the prime minister has not made enquiries as to whether the US government has illegally transported people through this country.

I wonder if you could just pretend that there's another rant about Blair's mendacity here. I feel a little queasy now and may have to go and lie down for a bit.

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