Do politicians tell the truth?

Have you ever lied?

You know, someone asks you something and you really don’t want them to know the truth.

Did you steal that apple?

What apple? Is the first reaction of a guilty man playing for time and trying to confuse his accuser.

The one that was on the table, did you steal it?

I didn’t see an apple on the table.

Sometimes you can get all involved in something that you would rather not have taken part in and, to cover your tracks, you try to distance yourself in a way where you won’t get found out but can’t really be accused of lying too.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. I am talking about politicians.

Let’s take the business of Rendition.

If you remember, Rendition, is the dodgy business where you arrest someone somewhere but don’t interrogate them at home in case you get found out to be breaking the law so you take the prisoner somewhere else a long way away, like Afghanistan for example, and then you can do what you want with them and no one will know.

If the politicians in power at the time could have their way then we would all be greener than the leaves bursting into life in my garden.

We would believe them when we were told that Rendition didn’t happen.

And not only did it not happen but if it had happened it was definitely true that no one was tortured.

Well, during the infamous Bush/Blair War on Terrorism,we were told all of these things and more and then the truth managed to creep out in drips and drabs until, lets hope, one day, the whole story will emerge from the fog of politics.

We all know this now, there were a lot of folk caught, mostly Eastern looking people, often found wandering around near terrorist camps, or so we are told. We will never know if any of them were guilty of anything like wanting to blow us all up here in the West because this business of Rendition and other over-zealous projects like the events in the Abu Grab prison and the internment camp at Guantanamo Bay. The politicians in charge of these ill-conceived ventures decided, in the interests of public safety, to tread all over the law.

So now, detainees, even if they are as guilty as hell, cannot be brought to real justice because they can plead that any evidence thrown at them was got from them under duress.

Sorry that little explanation was necessary for anyone out there who has just come back from a prolonged holiday on Mars.

Back to Rendition.

When it got out that it had actually been happening, another scandal followed on its heels here in Britain.

Was the British government involved in any of the cases where prisoners were handed over to the Americans for interrogation, incarceration and possible torture? Don’t ask about the torture because there are a whole lot of explanations and deviations connected to that too. Let’s just be clear – prisoners were rendited by Americans during the War on Terror and the American government knew about it.

But did Britain know about it?

Of course not.

The then foreign office minister, Kim Howells said quite categorically in 2005, “We are unaware of any individuals originally detained by UK authorities and subsequently rendited to the USA”

So the answer is no then?

The then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, added, conclusively if you can’t see the little ifs and buts: “Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States…..there simply is no truth in the claims that the United kingdom has been involved in rendition.”

So there you have it. The answer is no.

Sadly for the politicians and for us gullible digesters of their words,yesterday, we were told by the current Defence Secretary, John Hutton, that, in fact, two terror suspects were detained by British soldiers in Iraq and flown to American custody in Afghanistan. That, in case you are unsure, is known as Rendition.

Mr Hutton went on to say, trying to be tactful but failing to paper over the cracks, that Mr. Straw had received an internal briefing on the case in April 2006.

There was a “reason” why we shouldn’t suspect any of those conspiracy theories or lies that Jack Straw referred to in his earlier statement, the reason was that in that internal briefing, there were only “brief references” to the case in what were “lengthy papers” which did not “highlight the significance” of the case.

Oh fine, well that’s OK then.

No conspiracy theory there, of course, just good old incompetence: internal briefings which were only skimmed over by someone who apparently needed the points highlighted for him.

Why bother writing it at all?

How unfortunate that this case was hidden away in a mass of verbiage so that the man responsible for our foreign policy would not spot its significance.

To defend the civil servants who wrote this obviously unreadable document, they must have been emulating Mr. Straw’s protracted verbiage whenever he is asked a direct question.

How reassuring that Mr. Straw is the cabinet minister now in charge of the Law… lengthy briefings there then.

But did you steal that apple?

I didn’t realize it was an apple.


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