Day Six

The last few days of the fast are like having really bad flu: everything aches, head, joints and for some reason the small of my back – I hope it’s not the first sign of a kidney problem. I keep having vivid dreams, not about food as such, but about failure and letting Shaker and the others down. Last night I dreamed that a washer woman gave me a chocolate biscuit which I ate before remembering that I was on hunger strike (yeah, ok, weird dreams). I was mighty relieved when I woke up and found that it wasn’t real, but the sense of regret stayed with me half the morning.

I was asked yesterday how it could be that MI6 would try and keep a man in prison just because he was going to give evidence against them? Is that credible? Well, as a historian of the intelligence services through their 104 year span one thing has always been true: the upper levels of management have always been controlled by a few men drawn from particular cliques. This is especially true of MI6 and is one reason why there has never been a female Chief. The problem is that these few senior managers have so much power and are so removed from everyday reality that if they take a decision “for the good of the Service” it is highly unlikely to be challenged. So yes, I think it is highly credible that at some level the services are briefing against Shaker to save their own necks. Only last year we learned that they were handing over prisoners to the Gadaafi regime to be tortured. Who would have believed that was possible until the evidence was discovered? The only way to overturn that power is if we can convince the government to investigate. That is another reason why these strikes are so important. Sooner or later the government must wake up.

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