John le Carré, the novelist and former spy for the UK during the Cold War years has written several books about that era and lately updated them with several more contemporary thrillers. His book The Constant Gardener, written in 2000, warned the reader that both individuals and even their governments should be careful when crossing swords with multinational companies who use governmental bureaucracies like they were a subsidiary of their company.
John le Carré asked back in 2003, prior to the regime change of Saddam Hussein, how did Tony Blair and Bush reconcile a “global assault on al-Qaeda with a territorial assault on Iraq“? This terrible war has taken its toll not only on the combatants but the tens of thousands of innocent civilians who have been murdered in bombings, artillery and other fire by both sides in the carnage. It has further taken any last vestiges of any high moral ground that the United States and the UK may have claimed prior to their invasion and subsequent “regime change” of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Let’s take a further look at the moral outrages committed in the name of freedom at home in the USA and the UK. Absolute Friends, which he wrote in 2003, deals with the spy services and their rendition programs which kidnap “suspected” terrorists and take them away to some country where torture is more common and civil rights are never heard of.
A more recent book, A Most Wanted Man, written in 2008, goes even further. As one review tells us “The novel provides an extended, if oblique, critique of the American policy of extraordinary rendition,” started under Bill Clinton and continued under both Presidents “Dubya” Bush, and now Obama the Bomber.
Extraordinary rendition is the apprehension and extrajudicial transfer or kidnapping of a person from one country to another. Terrorism “suspects” (several of whom have been found innocent later) are taken to countries known to employ torture for the purpose of interrogation which is, of course and rightfully so, illegal in the United States. “A transfer of anyone to anywhere for the purpose of torture would be a violation of US law.”
The US government would have you believe that new rules have been put in place that will prevent torture of abducted individuals. The U.S. Attorney General states that a “Special Task Force on Interrogations and Transfer Policies” ensures all of you quiet and law-abiding citizens that the U.S. will be limited to seek “assurances from the receiving country” as such. Difficult to swallow?
The events and characters of le Carré’s “A Most Wanted Man” were inspired by the real-life story of Murat Kurnaz, “a Turkish citizen and legal resident of Germany who was detained and tortured in American military detention camps in Afghanistan and then at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, before eventually being released in 2006.”
US lawmakers eventually admitted, under relentless pressure by certain reporters, that declassified documents proved that Kurnaz was not a member of al-Qaeda and had no links to them! Even so, he was detained and ill-treated for four more years!
The United States long ago lowered itself to the gutter level of its enemies. Edward R. Murrow told us back in 1952, in his direct and courageous manner, that “We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”
Nor do we have the luxury of deserting efforts to defend freedom abroad.
In June of 2013, le Carré wrote in The Guardian an article titled The influence of spies has become too much. It’s time politicians said no. The main thrust of his article is “secret courts, surveillance and the excessive influence of the CIA and MI6 on democratic institutions.”
He asks, “What are secret courts? Why do we need them?…Never mind the credibility and integrity of parliament and centuries of British justice: our spies come first…for decades we (the UK) have handled security-sensitive cases by clearing the court whenever necessary, and allowing our secret servants to withhold their names and testify from behind screens, real or virtual.” Going on to answer his own question, he states the true reason is “to protect our state from embarrassment, the disproportionate influence of the US/UK intelligence community on our democratic institutions, and the urgent need of our respective political establishments to import a Bush-style secret state to Britain.”
Obama the Bomber, though he promised to be a kind and gentle president, has in fact continued the crimes of the “Dubya” administration, and admittedly become an advocate of, and personally pushing the button on, extrajudicial murder; even of US citizens.
le Carré claims the CIA and Obama are “short on the hard grind of intelligence gathering, which is where the Brits” used to have the edge. Commenting however on MI6 and the other Intelligence Services le Carré points out the reality that most of us forget about these clandestine and black op outfits; “it would surely be surprising if their organisations were not prone to the same cockups, cover-ups and bouts of near-insanity that afflict any other British corporate entity these days, from banking to the press to the National Health Service to the BBC.”
The US and the UK went into the Iraq war on the strength of lies about alleged “weapons of mass destruction” which never existed. The world public are continually lied to about the so-called “war on terror.”
le Carré says “Joe Public is being stung all right – just not by the terrorists on this occasion, but by the people he pays to preserve his hard-won freedoms.”
The cowboys long ago rode into town, they do not plan to leave, they are drunk in the saloon and pissing on and shooting up the (international) streets, and the sheriff is helping them.
Many of the citizens are afraid, they are very afraid…