first published in the Sunday times, November 14, 2004
by Stephen Grey
AN executive jet is being used by the American intelligence agencies to fly terrorist suspects to countries that routinely use torture in their prisons.
The movements of the Gulfstream 5 leased by agents from the United States defence department and the CIA are detailed in confidential logs obtained by The Sunday Times which cover more than 300 flights.
Countries with poor human rights records to which the Americans have delivered prisoners include Egypt, Syria and Uzbekistan, according to the files. The logs have prompted allegations from critics that the agency is using such regimes to carry out “torture by proxy” — a charge denied by the American government. (more…)
first published in the New Statesman, Saturday 1st January 2005
Observations on Iraq. By Stephen Grey
On a cold winter’s night in Iraq, a young shopkeeper stands outside in the
driving rain, his storefront illuminated by a sputtering petrol gen-erator.
It is a flickering pool of light in a city of darkness. Basra has been
getting barely four hours of electricity a day – one year after the British
army announced the restoration of round-the-clock power.
The young owner, Mohamed Hussein, shows us a poster, plastered with a
picture of a Shia saint, that announces the Iraqi elections on 30 January.
As we talk, a Kalashnikov bullet echoes across the street. The British
soldiers with me drop down for cover. Hussein does not flinch. “There is not
a single person in this city that will not vote in January,” he says. “We
have waited all our lives for this moment.”
Talking to Shias in southern Iraq, you get the impression that however many
suicide bombers or assassins stalk the streets, they will cast their vote.
Their leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has ordered them to vote: they
will obey. (more…)