Opinion

Why Britain shares America's torture shame

Commentary by Derek Bateman If America’s torture regime was shameful, as even their allies claim, how much of that shame is ...

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News - Scotland and International

Row deepens over Treasury civil servants' indyref role

By Thomas Connolly The row over the highly-charged role of the Treasury's specially created referendum unit - first revealed by Newsnet Scotland - has deepened following the revelation that the chairman of a House of Commons Select Committee may probe comments attributed to a leading team member. Mario Pisani was quoted by the leading trade journal Civil Service World as welcoming his ... Read More

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More in: In Brief

By Thomas Connolly

The row over the highly-charged role of the Treasury's specially created referendum unit - first revealed by Newsnet Scotland - has deepened following the revelation that the chairman of a House of Commons Select Committee may probe comments attributed to a leading team member.

Mario Pisani was quoted by the leading trade journal Civil Service World as welcoming his team's involvement in a political campaign, namely the independence referendum.

The deputy director of the Treasury, and a former speech writer to ex-Chancellor and Better Together campaign figurehead Alistair Darling MP, Pisani made several controversial remarks at a ceremony where he and the rest of the department's  "Scotland Analysis Programme Team" received the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Award in the annual Civil Service Awards.

By a Newsnet Scotland Reporter

Crunch European Union fishing talks ended in Brussels last night with a couple of key wins for the Scottish lobby which had pressed for measures to take some pressure off the industry.

Scottish Fishing Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP said the outcome would bring relief as the industry prepares to cope with the implications of ongoing measures to cut "discards", the controversial practice of returning the "wrong" catch dead into the sea.

By Derek Bateman

Be lucky is the most common piece of advice in politics. (Richard Nixon preferred: Never pass up a chance to go to the men’s room). And being lucky in your opponent is the best advice of all. Think of Tony Blair’s adversaries…John Major, William Hague, Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith. When the cast changes to Brown versus Cameron, the game changes too.

So with Salmond confronting McConnell, Gray and Lamont. How lucky is that? Well, from today Nicola’ Sturgeon’s luck turned. In Jim Murphy she has a full-size problem with the capacity to disconcert and derail, if not handled carefully.

Commentary by Derek Bateman

If America’s torture regime was shameful, as even their allies claim, how much of that shame is shared by the UK?

From the handwringing and teeth-sucking there is a cloud of hypocrisy rising from those who prefer not to interfere in the United States’ actions and, if necessary, will participate in it, but then pretend ignorance.

At every level the orchestrated state torture of individuals, illegal and unconstitutional, is massaged by the guilty into self-serving convenience. So the President can shake his head at the anti-American morality of it all while simultaneously offering pardon to the culpable and the CIA can say of its barbarism  the ‘programme had shortcomings’.

By Thomas Connolly

BBC Radio Scotland has revealed a significant programming reshuffle, supposedly in response to the independence referendum, during which its news and current affairs department faced severe criticism.

Radio Scotland head Jeff Zycinski has unveiled a three-hour daily morning show, to be presented by broadcasting stalwart Kaye Adams four days a week with the fifth day to be chaired by ex rugby player John Beattie.

To be launched in March, The new Adams show will supposedly have a strong "news and current affairs" angle, including phone-ins, debates and interviews. It is not known which BBC department will produce the programme.

Exclusive by Thomas Connolly

 

The civil service team behind the UK government's anti-Yes campaign in the Scottish referendum have been patted on the back for a splendid job by their peers.

 

The Treasury's "Scotland Analysis Programme Team" - little known during the referendum campaign - has been given the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Award in the annual Civil Service Awards.

 

According to a glowing review in the magazine, Civil Service World, the senior team "was tasked with producing analysis in the lead-up to the Scottish referendum of how both, Scotland and the rest of the UK, benefit from being part of one country".

By a Newsnet Scotland Reporter

A former top diplomat has told the inside story of how he was hounded out of the British Foreign Office after raising concerns of torture linked to the US led and UK supported "war on terror".

Craig Murray, the UK's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, reported to London that Uzbeki secret police were torturing Al Quaeda suspects in 2002 and 2003 at the chest of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with the knowledge of its British equivalent, MI6.

In an exclusive interview with Bateman Broadcasting's Derek Bateman, Mr Murray believes that his complaint was communicated directly to the then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, but ignored.

Analysis by Thomas Connolly

Whatever your opinion of Alex Salmond - and there are few people with no opinion - his every move continues to fascinate supporters and critics alike.

The former First Minister confirmed the worst-kept secret in Scottish politics earlier today when he told supporters at a SNP rally in Ellon that he intends to stand as the SNP candidate for the Westminster seat of Gordon in the UK General Election next May.

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