US President, George W Bush, last Saturday revealed the inseparable connection between imperialism and atrocities when he vetoed Congressional legislation that would have governed intelligence funding, because it aimed to stop intelligence services, such as the CIA, torturing ‘suspects’.
The bill was beyond the pale as far as Bush was concerned because it said that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must question suspected terrorists under the rules of the US Army Field Manual, which forbids the controlled-drowning tactic in which the suspect’s lungs are filled with water, and other methods of torture.
Bush threw caution to the winds when he declared that the bill would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror!
He added that torture was saving US lives, and without it al-Qaeda ‘would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland’. This was his hymn to torture that has echoed down the ages, most recently from the Gestapo to the interrogators at the Hola Camp in Kenya in the 1950s.
From this we can gather that all that was wrong with the tortures that were carried out at the Abu Ghraib prison was that the world got to find out about them!
Bush’s support for torture means that all of the assurances the British government says that it got from the US authorities, that British territories such as Diego Garcia were not being used for torture or the rendition of terrorist ‘suspects’, were absolutely worthless.
As well, the admission from ex-serving SAS officers such as Ben Griffin, that British special forces have arrested hundreds of ‘suspects’ in both Afghanistan, since September 2001, and Iraq since March 2003, and handed them over to US officials for rendition and interrogation, using torture methods such as waterboarding, means that the British military command and the British government knew that all the US assurances were rubbish.
They knew exactly what was happening and were participating in the operation, both in the Middle East and by continuing to make the joint defence facility in Diego Garcia available to the US.
Bush explained on Saturday that the US was determined to keep its ability to torture suspects. He said that, ‘The bill Congress sent me would not simply ban one particular interrogation method, as some have implied. . . Instead, it would eliminate all the alternative procedures we’ve developed to question the world’s most dangerous and violent terrorists. This would end an effective programme that Congress authorised just over a year ago.’
Currently, the British government is fighting to keep the giant US-UK military facility on the island of Diego Garcia – from which the entire population was driven out in the early 1970s – safe for US operations.
The Brown government and its ‘radical imperialist’ foreign minister Miliband are currently appealing to the House of Lords against a judgment of the Court of Appeal that the ethnically cleansed inhabitants of the Chagos Islands should be allowed to return to the outer islands.
Brown and Miliband are fighting to keep the US base going because they support the plan to use it to attack Iran in the period ahead, in the same way that it was used to attack Iraq and Somalia.
Bush’s torture admissions and Britain’s collaboration with his torture methods means that the struggle must be stepped up to return the Chagos Islanders to their homes, and to close the US base. That would constitute a real victory over the US and UK ruling class terrorists and their imperialist plans to redivide the world.
On Saturday March 15 the Chagos Islands Community Association is holding a public meeting (see page 1) to demand that the British government drop its appeal to the House of Lords, that the base must be closed, and that they be allowed to return to the islands.
All those workers and youth who opposed the war with Iraq, and who are opposed to a new war with Iran, must make sure that they are there to give full support to the islanders’ struggle to return to their homes and to shut down the US base.