In this set of devastating essays, Gareth Peirce analyzes the corruption of legal principles and practices in both the US and the UK that has accompanied the ‘War on Terror’. Exploring the few cases of torture that have come to light, such as those of Guantánamo detainees Shafiq Rasul and Binyam Mohamed, Peirce argues that they are evidence of a deeply entrenched culture of impunity among those investigating presumed radicals among British Muslim nationals and residents, who constitute the new suspect community in the UK.
Peirce shows that the British government has colluded in a whole range of extrajudicial activities – rendition, internment without trial, torture – and has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal its actions. Its devices for maintaining secrecy are probably more deep-rooted than those of any other comparable democracy.
If the government continues along this path, Peirce argues, it will destroy the moral and legal fabric it claims to be protecting.
Paperback, 154 pages
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Are you drowning in deluded celebrations of a reactionary political system, a country facing economic collapse and a sporting spectacle sucking funds from our welfare system?
Are you disgusted by pleas for everyone to 'pull together in this time of austerity' when the only thing that isn't being cut is the Queen's flotilla?
After you've torched the street party and hung an effigy of 'our' monarch you may want to read these:
English human rights solicitor and Dispatches from the Dark Side author Gareth Peirce joined Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, where she discussed recently uncovered files detailing ties between U.S. and British intelligence and the Gaddafi regime's torture of dissidents.
In response to Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama's rejection of investigations into torture and extraordinary rendition, Peirce says,
It is absolutely critical that this not be put to rest, it's critical that if it's investigated, it be done publicly. Every organization in the world that has experience in how to eradicate torture insists upon two essential ingredients: first, that all the data that reveals torture is publicly known and understood; and secondly, that those on whose watch it happened, who were responsible, be brought to account. And neither of those preconditions is in existence in the construct that is present in Britain at the moment.
On the twentieth anniversary since the release of the Birmingham Six, Gareth Peirce, writing for the Guardian, details their wrongful convictions and the "simplest of stupidities" that secured their release.
On 14 March 1991 the Birmingham Six finally walked free. Today, 20 years on, it is vital to appreciate the horrifying detail of what happened to them, and how the truth was not acknowledged for 16 years. The annihilation of justice for others remains an ever-present spectre.
Assessing the widespread condemnation of the use of torture in extracting confessions following the case of the Birmingham Six, Peirce turns her gaze to the new Muslim suspect community, and asks "if we have, in fact, learned anything at all from our disgraceful past":