The Curmudgeon


Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Guidelines, Old Tricks

Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear; hence the Government has decided that the public would be better off not knowing the intelligence and security committee's criticisms of its new guidelines for interrogating terror suspects. The ISC's review of the guidelines was described by a spokesbeing for the Ministry of Wogs Excluding Europe as "comprehensive and insightful", which translates as it is rather long and states the bleeding obvious; and said it had "raised a number of issues that need further consideration", which translates as it is a bloody nuisance. The committee has been criticised in the past for being too subservient to the spooks in MI5, the spies in MI6, the snoops at GCHQ and the intelligence failure at Downing Street; these uncharitable suspicions may possibly have been motivated by the fact that the committee's personnel were hand-picked by the Glorious Successor and continue to sit in the Cabinet Office, which oversees the secret agencies and allocates the committee's budget. The Ministry for Keeping a Straight Bat in the Great Game has stated that Britain must continue working with foreign agencies, even if they do not share UK standards on human rights and thus have some objection to detention without trial, partial drowning or genital reconfiguration in the name of counter-terrorism. The Ministry's annual report emphasised that only ministers can be expected to have the moral courage and spiritual fortitude necessary to decide whether to ignore the useless information derived from people under torture, and thus reduce the market for mistreatment as well as filtering out a good deal of noise from the intelligence agencies' signals; or whether, on the other hand, to pronounce the magic words "national security", and thus at a stroke simultaneously excuse and deny all possible derelictions. Nevertheless, the former minister Kim Howells, who chairs the ISC and appears to have developed something approximating a backbone now that he no longer has a career to lose, has registered disappointment (and, less believably, surprise) at the Government's attitude.


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