Samaris create new Iceland saga
We exist in a most secretive “democracy,” one that would have us believe it is open, humane and with a respect for international law.
Yet in this book of essays on torture and the death of democracy Gareth Peirce shatters any misconceptions we may have that we live in a liberal country.
Even the most cynical will be shocked to discover how out of step Britain is with the moral and legal universe.
This country is condemned internationally yet our government is indifferent to the barrage of accusations from respected organisations.
Peirce reveals examples of shocking complicity in torture and warns of the likely consequences of such criminal actions.
She reminds us of Craig Murray, then British ambassador to Uzbekistan, asking the Foreign Office for legal justification for accepting information extracted from Islamic dissidents while they were being boiled alive.
Jack Straw responded that in the “war on terror” information from foreign intelligence services, extracted by whatever means, could be used.
What greater encouragement could there be for the use of torture?
Her analysis of the Lockerbie terrorist attack — a story of sides being switched, witnesses and evidence contaminated, discredited “experts” and blatant blame gaming — is essential reading.
Throughout the book the wretched Tony Blair slips and slithers in his support for the US, a country contemptuous in its disregard for international law.
Meanwhile a cowardly Britain fails to confront the US over a whole series of issues — notably that of Shaker Aamer now in his 10th year of imprisonment without trial in Guantanamo Bay.
Peirce draws comparisons between the situation of the Irish in the final third of the 20th century and the fate of Muslims, Britain’s new suspect community.
Yet Irish Catholics, throughout the 30 years of conflict, had support from the republic and the political weight of the Irish diaspora. The Muslim community has no such allies.
What the book demonstrates is that this country is very far along a destructive route that will destroy the moral and legal fabric that our government claims to be protecting.
Time, surely, to take stock.