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On David Davis’ use of Parliamentary privilege

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He was implacably right to expose our complicity in torture

Maverick Conservative MP and former shadow Home Secretary David Davis used Parliamentary privilege on Tuesday night to reveal in some detail our government’s shameful involvement and complicity in the process of allowing third party states to torture those suspects who we believe to be involved in terrorism. Notwithstanding the fact that we are dealing with some pretty fanatical elements here who may stop at nothing to blow themselves and others up in a quite barbaric fashion, it would be harmful to our way of life if we as a nation we were to condone, accept, and allow the same barbaric methods to be used to elicit answers.

Those who have been tortured will readily admit that there are only two doors to open, one leads to your freedom and release from pain (to open  that door you must provide information, either credible or deceitful) the other leads to your death – most choose to live. The reliability of information elicited under torture is often less than imagined and as credible evidence it is often close to useless.

To condone or in some way to participate in such a process puts our security services in the same odious arena of those nations whom we seek to harangue and criticise over their poor record on human rights. Simply, there ought to be no place for it in our jurisdiction.

There is quite a debate going on over the issue at Iain Dale’s place where commenters are split between those who look as though they are happy to fight fire with fire in a revengeful mode, and those more concerned over the correct role of the state in ensuring some basic rights and freedoms and a sense of fair play. Two comments strike a chord with me first Unsworth says:

‘War on Terror’ – WTF is that? It’s merely a catch-all to allow nefarious, illegal activity by this (and the American) government. To declare ‘War’ you must first identify the ‘Enemy’ and also have scrutinisable evidence of this Enemy’s intents.

Davis was/is absolutely right to raise the matter in Parliament. There is a direct contradiction between the Government’s stated and actual positions.

If the Government actually believes it’s OK to torture by proxy it should say so quite clearly. If not, it should condemn such actions outright – and take action against the perpetrators and their enablers. What the Government cannot do is have it both ways.

Something for the South Shields MP and Foreign Secretary David Miliband to think about, perhaps before the next court judge drags some action out of him.

Secondly Wegand says:

David Davis was, of course, right to do this.

I hope that I am wrong but one fears that it will have only added to the bad odour in which he is held by DC; which would say much about both of them.

Davis is proving to be a man of principle who has little fear in raising these issues from the back benches, this gives us some hope for the future so long as there are MPs like him willing to take a stand and fight the brave fight against the power of the state. This leaves an unanswered question about his leader David Cameron and how he would approach the erosion of our civil liberties after more than a decade of Labour’s meddlings and the use of TWAT (The War Against Terror) as a cover for draconian measures which have immeasurably tilted the balance away from the individual and towards the state in a shift which has without doubt “changed the way of British life”, and the greatest change right now (unsurprisingly) is the way in which our Muslim communities view our policies and the way in which we view them.

Isn’t this partly what the terrorists wanted to achieve in the first place?

Further reading

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Written by curly

July 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

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