Govt. confirms Ben Griffins’ story

February 29th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

The following is a statement made by Ben Griffin, an ex-SAS soldier that served Iraq.
His statement completely contradicts David Milibands statement on the denial of knowledge about extraordinary rendition.

The governments response? They effectively confirmed it by placing a gagging order on him.

Now, who do you believe? An ex-soldier that quit because of what he was asked to do, or the government that doesn’t want him to tell you what he was asked to do?

Via Justin.

Former SAS soldier blows apart Miliband denial of UK torture involvement.
Monday, 25 February 2008
Ben Griffin

This statement was prepared and read by Ben Griffin, ex-SAS soldier, at a press conference on Monday 25 February 2008.

Our government would have us believe that our involvement in the process known as Extraordinary Rendition is limited to two occasions on which planes carrying detainees landed to refuel on the British Indian Ocean Territory, Diego Garcia. David Miliband has stated that the British Government expects the Government of the United States to “seek permission to render detainees via UK territory and airspace, including Overseas Territories; that we will grant that permission only if we are satisfied that the rendition would accord with UK law and our international obligations; and how we understand our obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture.” (Taken from a statement given to the House of Commons by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Thursday 21 February 2008)

The use of British Territory and airspace pales into insignificance in light of the fact that it has been British soldiers detaining the victims of Extraordinary Rendition in the first place. Since the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001 UKSF has operated within a joint US/UK Task Force. This Task Force has been responsible for the detention of hundreds if not thousands of individuals in Afghanistan and Iraq. Individuals detained by British soldiers within this Task force have ended up in Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Bagram Theatre Internment Facility, Balad Special Forces Base, Camp Nama BIAP and Abu Ghraib Prison.

Whilst the government has stated its desire that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp be closed, it has remained silent over these other secretive prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. These secretive prisons are part of a global network in which individuals face torture and are held indefinately without charge. All of this is in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions, International Law and the UN Convention Against Torture.

Early involvement of UKSF in the process of Extraordinary Rendition centres around operations carried out in Afghanistan in late 2001. Of note is an incident at the Qalai Janghi fortress, near Mazar-i-Sharif. UKSF fought alongside their US counterparts to put down a bloody revolt by captured Taliban fighters. The surviving Taliban fighters were then rendered to Guantanamo Bay.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 this joint US/UK task force appeared. Its primary mission was to kill or capture high value targets. Individuals detained by this Task Force often included non-combatants caught up in the search for high value targets. The use of secret detention centres within Iraq has negated the need to use Guantanamo Bay whilst allowing similar practice to go unnoticed.

I have here an account taken from an interpreter interviewed by the organisation Human Rights Watch ( He was based at the detention and interrogation facility within Camp Nama at Baghdad International Airport during 2004. This facility was used to interrogate individuals captured by the joint US/UK Task Force. In it are the details of numerous breaches of the Geneva Convention and accounts of torture. These breaches were not the actions of rogue elements the abuse was systematic and sanctioned through the chain of command. This account is corroborated by an investigation carried out by NYT reporters into Camp Nama and the US/UK Task Force, which appeared in the New York Times on March 19 2006. Throughout my time in Iraq I was in no doubt that individuals detained by UKSF and handed over to our American colleagues would be tortured. During my time as member of the US/UK Task Force, three soldiers recounted to me an incident in which they had witnessed the brutal interrogation of two detainees. Partial drowning and an electric cattle prod were used during this interrogation and this amounted to torture. It was the widely held assumption that this would be the fate of any individuals handed over to our America colleagues. My commanding officer at the time expressed his concern to the whole squadron that we were becoming “the secret police of Baghdad”.

As UK soldiers within this Task Force a policy that we would detain individuals but not arrest them was continually enforced. Since it was commonly assumed by my colleagues that anyone we detained would subsequently be tortured this policy of detention and not arrest was regarded as a clumsy legal tool used to distance British soldiers from the whole process.

During the many operations conducted to apprehend high value targets numerous non-combatants were detained and interrogated in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of civilians in occupied territories. I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured.

The joint US/UK Task Force has broken International Law, contravened The Geneva Conventions and disregarded the UN Convention Against Torture. British soldiers are intimately involved in the actions of this Task Force. Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett David Miliband, Geoff Hoon, Des Browne, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown. In their respective positions over the last five years they must know that British soldiers have been operating within this joint US/UK task force. They must have been briefed on the actions of this unit.

As the occupiers of Iraq we have a duty to uphold the law, to abide by the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention Against Torture. We are also responsible for securing the borders of Iraq on all counts we have failed. The British Army once had a reputation for playing by the rules. That reputation has been tarnished over the last seven years. We have accepted illegality as the norm. I have no doubt that over the coming months and years increasing amounts of information concerning the actions of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will be become public.

Whilst the majority of British Forces have been withdrawn from Iraq, UKSF remain within the US/UK Task Force.

Torture, according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, is “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession.”

Ben Griffin
25 February 2008


February 28th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s quite an unsettling feeling. I’ve never really felt quite like it.
I’ve run over a rabbit before, but they’re small and don’t do any damage so they go under the wheels and you think ‘oh, dear’, and that’s it. You forget about it.

But this time it wasn’t a rabbit. It was a deer. I think it was a muntjac, and fortunately, for both of us I think, I hit it’s head at about 50(ish)mph.

But, because of the thump it makes and the size of it lay in the road I couldn’t just keep driving and think about something else. I had to face what I did and move it out the way, see it twitch and watch the small stream of blood from it’s mouth get larger as it trickled down the hill.

I’ve always been of the view that if I can eat it, then I can’t be squeamish, or not face up to the realities of where the meat actually comes from. It’s one thing to say it, but to look into the eyes of a deer I have killed while it twitched for a minute or two (hopefully already unconscious) is not something I wish to do too often.


February 26th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Uh oh. I think it’s soon gonna be time to kill an email address. I’m very careful about this one too.
Got an email from the Royal Bank of Scotland, today. I know it’s a scam cos i) I have nothing to do with those money grabbing bastards and ii) I’m not *that* much of a twat to fall for some fucker asking me for those details.

I suppose it’s still more convincing than getting emails saying I am due for a tax rebate from the IRS.

Transplants and Adoptions

February 26th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

This is the future. Everyones a winner, even those that don’t want us to play god with DNA and stuff. It’s looks the best way to reduce organ waiting lists so far.

Medical Adoption: The organs you need – the home they deserve

Everyone can benefit from a Medical Organ Adoption Solution.

Finding high-quality organs in a timely fashion can often be a problem. You can’t buy them for any price legally, and attempts to do so often end in the disasters only afforded by the underground, black market of illicit organs.

If you need a lifesaving organ transplant, you have to meet strict, often unfair criteria, and then wait for your turn to come up on the list, regardless of urgency. You might get the pound of flesh you need to continue your life, and you might not.

The Chance to Give Back as Much as You Get.
We are a domestic and international adoption agency where parents are free to adopt a child who is a perfect match (up to 18 yrs) for the transplant of one or more “non-essential” organs to be donated to one of the adopting parents or your own children. Your new son or daughter would give you their heart, if it was possible, but a lung, eye or three feet of intestine might be enough to prove that love.

Do you want to meet some of the kids? I bet you’re dying to.
How about Natia Budzianowski, 15, from Georgia

An orphan whose parents whereabouts have never been known, she spent six years working in the underage sex-trade, several more years in foster homes, and now needs a new home. She’s since discovered our Lord Jesus Christ, pledged a vow of chastity, and has been free of the sins of physical flesh for more than six-months, though suggests that this may be open to negotiation.

or there’s Masha, an 11 year old from Russia

Masha’s mother died in child birth, and her father was involved in an industrial accident almost six years ago. Without support, she’ll be nothing more than a mere statistic in the orphan system in the faltering nation state. She loves playing with dolls, and would like for a loving family to help her take a bath and show her how best to take her antibiotics, assuming she gives an organ so great as to need it.

If it’s a boy you need then John Lee a Chinese 16 year old

A strong, strapping, handsome boy, and one of the very few males available for adoption from China, John has charmed our representatives with his limited command of the English language, despite his severe learning disabilities and lack of thumbs. John enjoys tending to small, household animals, but would also like to learn about cooking, cleaning and being a faithful household servant.

or if you want a younger child there is Angela Garciapara, aged 6 from Mexico.

There is no record of what happened to her family, or to whom she may be related, but she is a dedicated Catholic, already baptized and well on her way to confirmation. Angela has thick, dark hair, and flawless kidneys.

It’s got to be better than the current system, don’t you think?

Iraqi Employees: More form Dan Hardie

February 26th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

The latest from Dan Hardie that needs us to act on, please:

Dan Hardie: Iraqi Employees: fine words, shabby deeds

Do you like reading fine words? Here is the Prime Minister on the subject of Iraqi ex-employees of the British Government, speaking in the House of Commons on October 9th, 2007: ‘I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work of our civilian and locally employed staff in Iraq, many of whom have worked in extremely difficult circumstances, exposing themselves and their families to danger. I am pleased therefore to announce today a new policy which more fully recognises the contribution made by our local Iraqi staff, who work for our armed forces and civilian missions in what we know are uniquely difficult circumstances.’

Fine words. What about deeds?

A small number of Iraqis – fewer than a dozen, according to people close to the operation who are in contact with me- were removed from Iraq in the early autumn of 2007. Since the Prime Minister’s admirable declaration of October, how many Iraqi ex-employees have been evacuated from Iraq? According to all the Iraqis that I am in contact with: none.

Here are the words of an Iraqi employee in Iraq, emailing me, today: ‘I am still in Iraq…I hear nothing from your Governmet yet!’

Here is what this man was told on February 3 by a conscientious British Civil Servant, out in Iraq to arrange the evacuation of Iraqi ex-employees and clearly shocked by the lack of progress: ”I’m sorry that everything is taking so long to complete. Please note that we are waiting to hear what happens next from London and I can assure you all that I will personally contact you as soon as I receive instructions from London to confirm the next arrangements.’

Here is why he is hiding: ‘They (the militia) keep asking my relatives and my family’s neighbors about me and they keep moving in my family’s street and keep their eyes on our home… they told them: anyone know anything about A__ he should tell us immediately and also they said: we will never give up until we catch A__ .’

And here is what the Right Honourable Bob Ainsworth, Minister of State for Defence, wrote to David Lidington, MP, about this same man on 16th January: ‘Mr Hardie expresses concern over the handling of a claim for assistance by a former employee of British Forces, Mr A_ … Mr A_ is eligible for the assistance scheme, and we have passed his details on to the Border and Immigration Agency who will take forward his request for resettlement in the UK via the Gateway programme. Assuming that there are no problems with Mr A__’s immigration checks he should be able to leave Iraq by the end of January…‘ I added the emphasis, and I can also say that I have it in writing from the MoD that there were no problems with Mr A__’s immigration checks.

The Border and Immigration Agency is the Home Office Agency handling the last phase of the operation to resettle Iraqi ex-employees. And it is the BIA, according to every source of information that I have, that is delaying the evacuation of the Iraqis.

It is also supposed to be the Home Office that is co-ordinating the provision of housing to those Iraqis who do get resettled in the UK. In the House of Lords last month there was a debate on Iraq at the request of Lord Fowler, whom I had briefed on Iraqi ex-employees. Lord Chidgey, later backed by the Earl of Sandwich, asked a very pertinent question of the Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch Brown, and he did not get a good answer: ‘…on the resettlement of Iraqis at risk under the Gateway Protection Programme, the Minister will be aware that its success is dependent on a sufficient number of local authorities participating. There is considerable concern that this is not the case at present. Will he advise what steps the Government are taking to ensure that local authorities will come forward?’

There are many operational and logistical difficulties in the way of an operation: I know that. But the Government has known about these people for at least six months, and has been publicly committed to helping them for over four months. That is enough time to plan for the difficulties- far more time than you usually get in a war.

The Home Office is dawdling while people are threatened with death.This is either incompetence in the face of a crisis, or it is a deliberate policy of putting bureaucratic obstacles in the face of fugitives. Neither is acceptable.

And beyond that, the policy itself is being used to keep out Iraqis who can prove that they worked for British forces, and who can prove that their lives are at risk as a result. One man, Hamed, worked for British forces on Shaibah Logistics Base for over two years, as the Government accepts. He was threatened by the militias, and gunmen went to his house, so he moved his family to Syria and slept on the base’s floor. He continued to work for the British. Hamed finally was given ‘notice to quit’ Shaibah when the base closed, and fled to Syria, where he cannot legally work and where he and his family are safe (so far) but hungry. The British Government knows who Hamed is. A British Army NCO who knew him has confirmed every detail of his story to me, saying that he knew that Hamed had reported the threats against him to the military authorities. The Government has written to Hamed to reject any claim for help, since he was ‘not directly employed’ by the military.

Another man, Waleed, was directly employed by the military, in 2005 and 2006. He worked as an interpreter for one Army unit for its six month tour, during which time he was fired upon and chased by militiamen as he made his way to the base; he started work for a second unit, after which he received a threat on his mobile phone detailing where he lived, what he did, and what would happen to him if he ‘collaborated’ any more. He was also hunted in Iraq, and has also fled to Syria. A British Government letter, which I have seen, informed him that he would not be assisted since he had not worked for the twelve-month period specified by the Government’s policy- which, alas, the militias do not seem to respect.

We got the Government to admit to its moral responsibilities. Now we have to get them to match their deeds to their words.

Please write a letter to your MP. His or her address is The House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA. If you don’t know who your constituency MP is, go here and type your postcode in. When you’ve sent a letter, follow it up with an email: his or her address will normally be – for example

Two or three days after you have written the letter, call the Parliamentary switchboard on 0207 219 3000 and ask for your MP’s office. Repeat your concerns to the secretary or research assistant you speak to (and be nice: most of these people work damn hard for little reward), check that your letter has been received, and politely request that the MP ask questions of Ministers and reply to you. In your email, your letter, and your phone calls, you must be courteous: insulting an MP or a research assistant will discredit this cause. Talking points for the letter are below:

  • The Prime Minister announced a review of British policy towards its Iraqi ex-employees, due to the threats of murder they faced, on August 8th 2007, and he announced a change in that policy on October 9th, 2007. The Foreign Secretary made a more detailed policy statement on October 30th, 2007.
  • Nearly four months later no Iraqis who have applied under the scheme have been evacuated from Iraq.
  • Not one Iraqi ex-employee living as an illegal immigrant in Syria or Jordan has been resettled under the scheme.
  • A debate in the House of Lords on 24 Jan 2008 contained several references to resettlement being blocked by the failure of the Home Office to provide housing in the UK. The Home Office has had between four and six months to plan for this eventuality: it is inexcusable that they have not done so.
  • Would the MP please put down written Questions to the Home Secretary asking why the Home Office is unable to live up to the Prime Minister’s publicy expressed commitment to rehouse Iraqi ex-employees whose lives are at risk for having worked for British forces?
  • Would the MP please write in private to the Home Secretary, and to the Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne MP, asking what provision their department has made to implement a policy decided in early October, and further asking them if they are aware that lives are at risk and that rapid action needs to be taken?
  • Would the MP also please write to the Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary asking how many Iraqis who are ex-Employees of their departments have been resettled, and asking why Iraqis who are at risk for having worked for British forces are being abandoned for having ‘worked for less than 12 months’?
  • Can the MP please forward these letters to the Prime Minister, who personally approved the change in policy.
  • And finally, can the MP please reply to you with details of any Government response.
  • If you want: you can give your MP my name and email address ( and tell them that I am in contact with a number of Iraqi ex-employees inside and outside Iraq, none of whom have received help from the Government, and that I would be happy to brief them with confidential details of these cases, either by telephone, email or in person at their Parliamentary offices. They should feel free to contact me.
  • When you get a reply to your letter, email me (again, at -it’s very important that I know which MPs are sympathetic and what the Government is telling them. And email me if you have anything else that needs saying. Thank you.

Little favours bring big rewards

February 23rd, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


Ooh! I’m so scared!

February 22nd, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


Olmert is expected to tell the Japanese that Iran is developing missiles capable of reaching every country in the world and is also working to enrich uranium.

If they are, they probably got the idea from looking at America, and thought it might stave off an attack.

[the] Jewish state retained the right to respond with whatever means necessary to protect its citizens.

And that is different to which other state?

How embarrassing

February 22nd, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

The Guardian:

British government officials expressed embarrassment and anger at Washington last night after they were forced to admit that US rendition flights carrying terror suspects for secret interrogation had twice landed on British soil.

In an apology to the Commons, David Miliband, the foreign secretary, told MPs that contrary to “earlier explicit assurances” two flights landed at Diego Garcia, the British Indian Ocean territory where the US has a large air base, in 2002. He said the flights had been mistakenly overlooked in previous US internal inquiries carried out at the UK’s behest.

There’s links to lots of posts over at Justins place.

Don’t let the bastard grind you down

February 21st, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

This is what happens when you stand up to bullies.

If we roll over, we all fucked.

Labels: , Freedom of Speech, Law/Legal

“If you want to get married in my church…”

February 20th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

From the Daily Mash:

Wedding Order
A RURAL vicar who littered an order of service with gratuitous swearing and foul-mouthed insults has said he would do it again.

The Right Reverend Denys Hatton was accused of ruining the wedding of Timothy and Emma Burton by adding unsolicited comments to the four page booklet, later described as ‘dirty-minded’ and ‘designed specifically to offend’.

Emma’s mother, Mrs Elizabeth Wilson, said: “We had all been looking forward to such a lovely day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and Emma was absolutely radiant.

“So it was somewhat disappointing when we arrived at the church – decorated so beautifully by Marjorie and Janice – to then read that we were about to witness the marriage of two ‘fucknuts’.”

Rev Hatton said: “When I first met Tim and Emma I thought, ‘what a pair of self-absorbed bastards’.

“She hasn’t been here since she was five and he obviously thinks I’m some sort of prick.”

Rev Hatton said he wanted to highlight the couple’s dreadful taste in music and draw attenion to their ‘unremitting ghastliness’.

But he also admitted using the footnotes to make unprovoked comments about the best man and matron of honour, as well as settling an old score with the parish organist.

Rev Hatton added: “If you want to get married in my church you can bloody well turn up on Sunday and fucking mean it.”

Labels: Odds and Sods

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