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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vince Cable says a judge-led inquiry into British torture links may be necessary

Today' Telegraph reports on the comments of Liberal Democrats Cabinet Minister, Vince Cable that there should be a judge-led inquiry into Britain's alleged involvement in US torture if investigations by MPs and police fail to restore public confidence.

The calls come as Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chair of the Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee, strongly hinted former prime minister Tony Blair and former foreign secretary Jack Straw will be ordered to give evidence on what they knew.

The Tory grandee has requested America hand over redacted sections of a controversial Senate report into CIA's involvement in torture that make mention of British involvement.

Downing Street last week admitted that key passages of the report were censored at the request of British spies.
Appearing on BBC One's Andrew Marr show, Mr Cable was asked if there should be a public judge-led inquiry into whether Britain was complicit in torture.

"We certainly don't rule that out," said Mr Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary.

"At the moment we've got several inquiries taking place at the same time... Police are looking at direct involvement in I think the Libya case, the allegations there. There is Sir Malcolm's committee. I think they've got to run there course."

"If at the end of it, it doesn't appear that the truth is emerging, that people imagine there's some kind of cover-up, then of course a judge-led inquiry is the right way to proceed."

Vince is absolutely right to call for such an inquiry. We cannot associate ourselves with the sort of abuses perpetrated by American intelligence agencies under George W Bush.
It would be easier to take Vince seriously if his department wasn't involved in helping to flog arms, etc to countries that regularly torture suspects such as Bahrain.

It would also be easier to take him seriously if he insisted on the government publishing the Chilcott report without any further delays.
I am not sure he is in a position to 'insist' on the Chilcott report being published
Indeed. Which, without wishing to be rude, rather suggests he's not in a position to call for a judge-lead inquiry either.
Of course he is in a position to call for a judge led inquiry and as a senior cabinet member he will be listened to. He is not though ion a position to insist on one.
I think the underlying point, which I have tried rather unsuccessfully to make is that such calls, by Cable and Clegg, carry no credibility because they are both complicit in the record of this government over the last four and 1/2 years with regard to civil-liberties and human rights.

It seems as though the Liberal Democrats have been in a position to call for things, but not to insist upon them, as part of this coalition.
We have insisted on a large number of things and moderated the Tories in others. As for human rights and civil liberties no government is perfect on this but I believe that the current government is a massive improvement on Labour before us
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