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Scotland Threatens To Overrule London On U.S. Weapons Flights To Israel

July 29/30, 2006 -- First, it was a series of CIA prisoner rendition flights that used Glasgow, Scotland's Prestwick Airport as a stopover point. Now, the United States has been caught using Prestwick to ship GBU-28 "bunker buster" bombs, laser-guided bombs, and other weapons to Israel for its military attacks on Lebanon and Gaza. The arms have been transported by two chartered A310 cargo planes from the United States via Prestwick to Tel Aviv. Bush "apologized" to his boy friend Tony Blair for not having the right "paperwork" prepared in advance for the hazardous arms flights through Scotland. Blair's spokesman in Washington told reporters, "President Bush did apologize for the fact that proper procedures were not followed . . . It was a gracious thing to do."
Blair overruled his own Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett by saying the arms flights would continue. Beckett had earlier condemned the flights and voice her opposition to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Blair's continuing support for Bush has earned him a severe backlash from members of his own Labor Party who had been vocal Blair supporters.

Members of the Scottish Parliament, particularly Scottish National Party members, are calling on the Scottish government to ban the U.S. flights from Scotland, a move that could result in a constitutional crisis between London and Edinburgh. Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish Nationalists, said, "called on the Labour-LibDem [Liberal Democratic] Scottish Executive to step back from its role as an accessory to the escalation of violence in the Middle East by using its own transport powers to prevent such flights and get behind the overwhelming calls from the rest of the world for an immediate ceasefire to the conflict."

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