Two current news stories on terrorism caught my eye in the last few days. One is reading that former US president George W Bush claimed that the use of torture on suspects prevented more terrorists attacks in the UK. The other is that the UK Government plans to appeal over being ordered to hand over the use of evidence from MI5 on the London bombings in 2005.
Mr Bush, in interviews publicising his upcoming memoir, Decision Points, argues that terror attacks in the UK were prevented by a controversial method of torture, known as waterboarding. For some reason, he still remains unrepentant in the actions, that he, and former British prime minister Tony Blair, have caused. It’s frustrating that these two men who turned the world into a darker place are still free to lecture the Muslim world, and the rest of us, on how to prevent terror when their very actions have lead to death and destruction in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Even if you disagree with the politics of those countries, that was no excuse to invade them and remove their leaders with puppet clients.
Unlike most people in other countries, we in the UK are often kept in the dark about what our government is doing in our name. Despite having freedom of information, our citizens are constantly frustrated by the fact that we have to go through a lot of bureaucratic hoops just to get at the facts. We need to know if politicians misled the people over 7/7. At the inquest into the bombings, most of the public criticism had been laid at the response by the emergency services, but the decisions and actions made by government ministers and the secret services are nearly often suppressed. It’s very disappointing that the coalition government is taking the same route as Labour did previously in trying to keep such damning evidence under wraps. What is desperately needed right now is for the information be released in the public domain.
Perhaps what the public need to do more than ever is to be more sceptical when we hear from politicians about imminent terrorist activities. We need to read between the li(n)es and question them more.