Guantanamo torture inquiry may have implications for Northern Ireland

The imminent announcement of a judge led inquiry into allegations of torture involving MI5 complicity is being welcomed by civil liberties groups in Britain.

The inquiry is expected to offer compensation in cases, where necessary, and is likely to be held in private. A judge-led inquiry or commission may have the advantage of bringing together the 13 separate compensation cases currently going through the courts.

Those cases are leading to complex demands for the disclosure of documents that the intelligence services may not welcome, and are finding difficult to control. Some of the litigants have demanded an inquiry as part of their civil claims.

Interested groups in NI will note the inquiry’s composition and terms of reference. Unlike the Cory inquiries on collusion, it will be closed to the public, but will be treated like a class action for compensation cases. For those looking for early closure on the Troubles, this decision could complicate the post-Saville picture.  If an inquiry is to be held over alleged torture post 9/11, why not for the many victims in NI whose cases have not been solved or might deserve to be reopened?

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  • AlanMaskey

    Surely no British officials should be involved in this, except of course, as defendants in court as in Nurembourg. Sauce for the goose etc.

  • sam

    British politicians will make themselves the laughing stock of he world if they pay compensation to such people.

  • steadfast

    Haven’t heard from Midulsterunionist for a while. Perhaps away examining the conscience? I still believe you have one…. and that one day it will govern your heart and mind… I haven’t given up on you, wherever you are.

  • fin

    torture or ‘cruel and inhuman treatment’

    As I recall (without been arsed to use Google) didn’t Bush senior build his case that it wasn’t torture around the Ireland Vs HM Govt case in the early 70’s in which the Govt got away with hooding, attacking with dogs, beatings, use of stress positions for long periods, etc. their own populace in NI (and appear to be getting away with the unlawful killing of British citizens on British streets by British soldiers in Derry)

    And does impact on the approx 300 cases going through the courts against the Police for wrongful arrest and imprisonment, and will it impact on the farce of Danny Morrisons recent court appearances

  • RepublicanStones

    Having just finished Christopher Hitchens’ memoir Hitch 22 I noted he mentions his dismay at Labour then supporting such policies in the north.

    “In the rest of the country, Labour had become a status quo party….My last-ditch moment, though, was the official defense of torture in northern Ireland. Labour’s “responsible” minister in the province, a bullying dwarf named Roy mason, had both denied and excused (perhaps you notice how the denial is so often the preface to the justification) the use of atrocious methods. Everybody knows the creepy excuses that are always involved here: “terrorism” must be stopped, lives are at stake, the “ticking bomb” must be intercepted. That after so many years of unhappy engagement with Ireland we should imagine that torture should be given another try…and that I should know people in the government who would defend it. I had a friend-losing and tearful dinner with a brilliant young junior minister who would not repudiate methods that were bursting the eardrums and fracturing the limbs of Irish prisoners. In the election campaign of 1979 I wrote as much as i could about this for the New Statesman.

    An interesting read. Although he seems to be have been ‘friends’ with any serious writer or public intellectual you’d care to mention, at some point, and he has a habit of peppering his prose with a little too many literary quotations for my taste, that said I think his memoir can best be described as….‘The Longest Excuse in History.’

  • Big Maggie

    I haven’t read Hitchens latest book yet but I remember he allowed himself to be waterboarded once just to see if was torture. Surprise, surprise he discovered it was. He thought he was going to die. and this is a guy who supported the US invasion of Iraq.

  • RepublicanStones

    You can watch that here Big Maggie…

  • Big Maggie

    That’s a distressing video, Your Republicanness. How dare the Yanks say that it isn’t torture?

    Gruesome. I was almost nauseous watching it. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Whatever the cost it must be paid. I have little sympathy for Muslim extremists, or even republican extremists, but no government should allow prisoners in their care to be tortured.