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Victoria Brittain reviews Dispatches from the Dark Side

Sarah Shin28 October 2010

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Victoria Brittain reviews Dispatches from the Dark Side for the Institute of Race Relations website.

Reading her litany of horror, delivered in cool legal language, any government lawyer, or MP, or official in the Ministry of Justice, might feel the need to resign in order to keep their self-respect.

Even the belated British government apology for Bloody Sunday after the Saville inquiry, and then the initiative of David Cameron's government shortly thereafter, this summer, to open an inquiry into torture and the complicity of British intelligence officers, are shown by Peirce to show the usual British establishment mechanisms whereby the top men are always saved from facing their responsibility for the very serious wickedness that was done on their watch.

With what feels like relief, she cites the 'words of moral authority' of Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland who, in the al-Megrahi controversy questioned 'the cruelty of an appetite for lifetime imprisonment which represents nothing more than an insatiable desire for vengeance'.

This important book is Gareth Peirce's own words of moral authority.

Visit the Institute of Race Relations website to read the review in full.

Gareth Peirce will be speaking at the Frontline Club in London on Tuesday 2 November. She  was in conversation with Shami Chakrabarti at the Birmingham Book Festival earlier in October:


Visit the Birmingham Book Festival website to see more images. 

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