Wednesday, 25 July 2007

'Special relationship' breakup imminent?

Britain's "special relationship" with the US looks like it's heading into another rough patch.

BBC News:

British concerns did not appear to "materially" affect US actions in its "war on terror", the UK's intelligence and security committee has said.

The committee, which reports to the prime minister, was probing possible UK involvement in rendition flights.

It said America's "lack of regard" for UK concerns had "serious implications" for future intelligence relations.

In response, the UK government said the countries' intelligence relationship was "close" and "must continue".

The committee said it had found no evidence that the UK was directly involved in rendition flights - the transportation of terror suspects to foreign prisons where they could face torture.

But Britain's security services had "inadvertently" helped in one case after the US ignored caveats placed on supplied information.

It looks like bad boy America is further corrupting its English-speaking ally across the Atlantic with its 'war on terror'. These 'extraordinary renditions' — in certain cases confirmed by the Bush administration — are legal black holes: the CIA places terror suspects in secret prisons. To do so it must transport them. It has been revealed that the UK is one of many European nations helping America in this controversial program, breaching international and national law even inadvertently so. As if the US's involvement wasn't enough in the many programs of the 'war on terror' that have tarnished its image; third parties are assisting in this mass disregard of human rights.

Under Tony Blair, the UK and US were quite close, especially in going to war in Iraq and engaging in a 'war' against terror. Steadily many Britons got fed up with the relationship their nation shared with America, leading some to call Blair Bush's 'poodle'. However with the arrival of Gordon Brown as the new prime minister relations have cooled, no matter how much Brown's administration denies it. There have been conflicting statements by high-ranking cabinet members about a change, or lack thereof, of the UK's foreign ties to the United States.

The Brown government's ultimate reaction to this new report might serve as an indicator of how much 'war on terror' cooperation with the US — or as some see it, exploitation by the US — Britain will tolerate. Will Gordon Brown and his foreign minister, David Miliband, move beyond the rhetoric and institute a fair but open relationship with America, or will they continue to insist things haven't changed. Things have changed and Brown must decide whether to try to continue the foreign policies of his predecessor or adapt to the new reality.

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