February 22, 2008


Britain reveals CIA flights on territory: New information about unauthorized refueling stops sparks anger in Parliament and raises questions about trust. (Kim Murphy, 2/22/08, Los Angeles Times)

The British government acknowledged Thursday that it had been misled when it pledged to Parliament that British territory had never been used for controversial CIA flights transporting terrorism suspects, after the U.S. revealed that two such flights occurred in 2002.

The revelations sparked an outcry in Parliament, which had long voiced suspicions that the much-criticized and highly secretive rendition flights had refueled in British territories.

There's a British spy show called Spooks, or MI-5 when it's shown here on BBC America. They showed the first couple seasons on A&E, but it suffered from the all too common defect of claustrophobic plotting--if there was a terrorist incident in Grozny or Ulan Bator the brother, sister or former lover of one of the main characters would always turn out to be involved somehow and the super-efficient evil-doers could always find the good guys closest family members and take them hostage. It didn't just strain credulity but kicked it in the teeth.

So I'd not seen it in awhile but noticed that they'd changed the cast which now includes Hermione Norris, who'd done a nice turn as D.I. Carol Jordan on Wire in the Blood, so checked it out. In the intervening years they'd made it absurdly anti-American. The supposedly tough-as-nails head of the agency tends to mewl about how much he disapproves of our methods in the WoT and how mean we are to guys at Gitmo. Until, that is, the episode where a terrorist with an ebola-like virus is loosed upon Britain and folks start dying left and right. At which point he has his team kidnap the heads of the American, French and Russian intelligence services in Britain and injects them with the virus to make them tell what they know about the attack but aren't sharing.

Now, one might reasonably expect that being brought to this hypocritical extreme might produce just a smidge of re-examination on the part of the characters in the show, but, no. The next week they were right back to the self-righteous denunciations of the brutal Yanks. It made the show laughable, demonstrating, yet again, that all comedy is conservative.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 22, 2008 8:09 AM
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