THE Westminster Government has given an unprecedented apology and compensation to Libyan dissident Abdul Hakim Belhaj. This was for its role in his kidnapping, rendition and subsequent torture by Colonel Gaddafi. This is part of a much larger sordid geopolitical tale that the authorities wish to suppress.

In 1969 the puppet King of Libya was overthrown in a coup lead by Colonel Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s first act was to nationalise the country’s oil fields, which under the old regime had belonged to BP.

The UK Government immediately froze Libyan Government assets, and former SAS officer George Campbell-Johnson has alleged that it also made several botched attempts to overthrow Gaddafi.

The British Government then made common cause with the Islamists who wanted to overthrow Gaddafi, thinking his version of Islam too lax and moderate. One of these groups was the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). This Al-Qaeda affiliate started out in the 1990s. It comprised former Libyan Islamists who had fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Their role in Libya was to infiltrate the society, overthrow Gaddafi and impose Sharia law.

The whistleblower David Shayler alleged MI6 had paid LIFG £1 million to blow up Gaddafi in 1996, and that in return for this Nazih Abdul-Hamed Nabih al-Ruqai was given asylum in Britain. He was subsequently indicted and arrested by the US for involvement in 1998 bombings in Africa. Al-Ruhaqi was based in Manchester, where a Libyan cell was based and went to fight in the 2011 war that overthrew Gaddafi. A member of that cell was Manchester bomber Salman Abedi.

Fast forward to 2004 and Gaddafi is brought in from the cold and meets Tony Blair. BP get access to Libyan oil fields and the quid-pro-quo for Gaddafi is that his enemies will be rendered.

Subsequently Jack Straw, Tony Blair and MI6 are complicit in CIA rendition of Abdul Hakim Belhaj and others. When pressed on CIA rendition flights using UK airports, Blair denied they had gone on.

Belhaj now is an important figure in Libya. The apology is being issued now in order to sign contracts for the oil fields.

Alan Hinnrichs

NO-ONE I know denies that racism exists in Scotland, nor do they “live in a bubble” nor do they “stick their fingers in their ears” regarding it. Since “headlines this week proclaimed that Scotland has a problem with racism, just like the rest of the UK”, Shona Craven seems to adopt the view that it must be true (It’s wishful thinking to suggest that Scotland is racism-free, May 11).

Everyone, including newspaper reporters, have a right to an opinion – but statistics, while not perfect, are a better guide to the reality of a problem than opinion. There are many statistics indicating that racism is not the same in Scotland as the rest of the UK. I will quote just one: “Police forces in England and Wales reported 80,400 hate crimes in the year 2016/2017”. In the same period hate crime in Scotland was reported as 3349 – a decrease of 10% from the preceding year.

Hate crime of any amount, anywhere, is to be deplored but this type of lightweight and unresearched reporting is, over the years, responsible for people in Scotland lacking the confidence to take Scotland’s governance into their own hands. No-one wants the situation to be bad in any country but what next Ms Craven, an article to “prove” that the Scottish Health Service is as poor as that in England?

Bill McLean

I WAS dismayed by the snobbery of Ally Currie’s letter (May 10), which distinguishes between migrants who “are productive in the UK, have good jobs, pay taxes”, and “illegal immigrants who have got here under, on or inside trucks who do none of the above”. The complaint is that the former are easier to deport than the desperate people who comprise the latter. Unfortunately, the same distinction – echoing the “striver/shirker” language applied to existing residents – is often implied by the Scottish Government’s arguments that we need more migrants to work here. Where does this leave elderly, disabled or otherwise economically unvalued would-be migrants?

To be sure, the Scottish Government does appeal to humanity in cases where families are broken up, and any rejection of Westminster’s hostility to all migration is welcome. But as progressive policy, it’s not good enough. There’s a difference between a welcoming country, like the independent Scotland we aim at, and an employment agency. No person is illegal. Open borders now!

Katherine Perlo

MAY I convey my admiration for Ally Currie’s optimism in saying, “before we are bound to direct rule by London for seven years”. If we let them away with that, what makes anyone think they’ll EVER give back our powers? We need out ASAP, and it’s surely beyond time that the Scottish Government got a bit more radical.

In another letter, while Edward Freeman correctly indicates that we don’t need to be allowed or permitted to do things (like hold a referendum?), I would point out to him we should also ignore the so-called Supreme Court. It didn’t exist in 1707, therefore why should it have jurisdiction over Scotland?

George Foulis

IT’S now a week on from the brilliant indy march in Glasgow. If you could not get there or you’ d like to re-live the event, look up @TrulyScottishtv on Twitter. The march was live-streamed on the day by TrulyScottish and the videos are still on their Twitter page. Watch and share.

Janet Baker
Yes Ross & Sutherland