Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Sound of Silence

The European Parliament has approved a report condemning a number of European countries for their involvement in and/or silent acquiescence of extraordinary rendition.

It is only a matter of time before the PMOS utters those immortal words yet again. Move along now, nothing to see here...

And, disgracefully, they'll probably get away with it too.

There's a clue as to why Blair will probably get away with it here.

A further clue is to be found in the contribution to today's debate made by Conservative MEP Charles Tannock:
I was opposed from the very start to the Temporary Committee. It has proven to be an expensive exercise. We do not have any figures but I estimate the cost to be over EUR 1 million. It has duplicated Senator Marty's efforts in the Council of Europe and has produced nothing substantially new which was not already in the public domain. Regrettably the Left and Liberals cannot resist an opportunity to bash NATO and the United States which, in spite of making mistakes, remains a democracy which shares European common values and is our ally in the fight against global terrorism.

The Fava report is heavy on allegations and accusations, but light on conclusive proof. Inevitably some mistakes and excesses may have occurred but in my opinion there was no systematic US policy for extraordinary renditions to illegally torture abductees in third countries or any proof of the existence of CIA detention camps in Romania or Poland.
Take out the gratuitous leftie bashing (or maybe not) and you could easily imagine that the above was the work of a mindless Blairite drone.

That doesn't excuse Blair's behaviour in any way, of course. What it does highlight is the way that Blair's refusal to address the whole issue of extraordinary rendition has been greatly aided not just by the silence of a large part of the Labour Party but also by a similar silence on the part of the Conservatives (a few backbenchers aside). With Cameron now looking to appeal to voters with his rebranded "liberal compassionate conservatism", his silence on this issue is worth bearing in mind.

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