TOUCHDOWN TO TORTURE; Menzies Campbell on Scandal of US Terror Flights
Byline: Menzies Campbell
SIR Menzies Campbell will tomorrow lead a cross-party group of MPs launching an investigation into America's torture flights.
Hundreds of CIA "ghost flights" carrying Islamist terror suspects have landed at British airports - including Glasgow, Prestwick and Edinburgh - en route to secret camps in eastern Europe where the prisoners are allegedly tortured.
Here, Sir Menzies, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, explains why Britain must ban these flights from our airports ON the eve of the Iraq war, in February 2003, President Bush denounced the "torture chambers of Iraq" claiming "if this is not evil then evil has no meaning".
America, he said, was committed to the "cause of human dignity, the rights of every person, and possibilities of every life".
But in April last year, the Americans were forced to explain the disgrace of Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, where Iraqis were shamefully and illegally humiliated. As the veteran Senator Teddy Kennedy remarked: "Saddam's torture chambers opened under new management."
A year later, Human Rights Watch, the independent watchdog, concluded that there was "overwhelming evidence" that U.S. mistreatment and torture of prisoners took place not merely at Abu Ghraib but throughout Afghanistan and Iraq, at Guantcnamo and at "secret locations" around the world.
Rumours have spread of the practice known by the sinister euphemism of "extraordinary rendition" - the forced transfer of individuals to countries, particularly in the Middle East or Asia, where they can be tortured into providing information. On November 2 this year, there was a political bombshell: the prestigious Washington Post reported that the CIA, America's primary intelligence agency, was operating an international network of secret prisons, known as "black sites".
Some of these, it was claimed, were even on our own doorstep - in Europe.
Significantly, American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, refused to deny their existence.
We now know that planes suspected of belonging to the CIA have passed through Britain more than 70 times, landing at Glasgow, Prestwick and Edinburgh. …