The Binyam Mohamed case and the threat of dictatorship By Robert Stevens 22 Feb 2010 The mounting evidence of the routine use of torture and abuse is of great political significance not only in Britain, but in the United States and internationally. These cases reveal that the entire state machinery in the US and Britain is guilty of heinous crimes, including sadistic torture. Such acts are themselves the essential product of criminal policies--the illegal colonial-style wars of aggression pursued by the US and Britain against Afghanistan and Iraq... The political establishments in the US and Britain are mired in criminality and filth, and their counterparts in the other major capitalist countries are also implicated. Their crimes of aggressive war and torture are compounded by their illegal efforts to conceal their actions and protect the guilty. The Obama administration is fully implicated in the cover-up. Since assuming office, Obama has moved to bar the prosecution of Bush officials who authorised torture. This, itself, is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and other statutes of international law, which impose on governments an obligation to prosecute those guilty of torture.
How MI5 kept watchdog in the dark over detainees' claims of torture --Intelligence committee misled by MI5 evidence --Demands for reform after appeal court revelations 15 Feb 2010 It was in the middle of 2008 that Jonathan Evans, director general of MI5, delivered a bombshell confession to the previously compliant parliamentarians of the intelligence and security committee. He told them, in strict secrecy as usual, that assurances of MI5 innocence previously accepted without demur by the politicians had in fact been false. The committee, which was supposed to supervise MI5's policies, had already published a reassuring report on the basis of what it had been told. That report, based on testimony from Eliza Manningham-Buller, Evans's predecessor, informed the world that MI5 had been unaware of any ill-treatment dished out by its US allies to Binyam Mohamed. The opposite was true. As the appeal court has now finally revealed, detailed briefings had been supplied at the time by Washington on the CIA's "new strategy" for softening up Mohamed and others, for which it demanded British help.
American spy chiefs alarmed by Binyam Mohamed ruling --US intelligence sources are concerned that a British court's ruling on secret CIA interrogation records could affect the flow of information. 14 Feb 2010 Alarmed US spy chiefs are seeking urgent assurances from British counterparts that intelligence they share on terror threats will remain classified after a London court authorised the release of secret CIA interrogation records. British officials have been asked to explain the impact of the Court of Appeal ruling amid fears in the US that Britain can no longer be trusted with secrets crucial to the two countries' national security.
MPs demand reform of security oversight --Pressure mounts on ministers to overhaul the committee in charge of scrutinising the security services after MI5 officers were found to be complicit in the torture of Binyam Mohamed 14 Feb 2010 Ministers were tonight coming under mounting pressure to set up a judicial inquiry and overhaul the nature of the committee in charge of scrutinising the security services. The calls for reform came in response to evidence that MI5 officers were complicit in the inhumane treatment of British resident Binyam Mohamed and misled parliament. Senior Conservative politicians joined the former attorney general Lord Goldsmith in calling for an investigation into whether Britain's intelligence agencies or government were complicit in the torture of British terror suspects abroad.
Goldsmith calls for investigation into UK's role in torture --Former attorney general demands 'clarification' from ministers on activites of intelligence agencies 14 Feb 2010 The former attorney general Lord Goldsmith last night called for an investigation into whether Britain's intelligence agencies or government were complicit in the torture of British terror suspects abroad. His demand came days after the Court of Appeal's decision last week to release seven paragraphs summarising a US intelligence report which showed that MI5 was aware of the inhumane treatment, including sleep deprivation and shackling, meted out to the terror suspect Binyam Mohamed by his CIA interrogators in 2002.
Legal gloves come off in row over 'torture' --Claims that MI5 misled MPs is 'a calumny and a slur', says chairman of intelligence committee 13 Feb 2010 An influential committee of MPs overseeing the role of MI5 was warned last year it had been misled over Britain's alleged collusion in torture. A letter written by lawyers for Binyam Mohamed and sent to the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) detailed a number of "inaccuracies" in the MPs' report on the UK's alleged involvement in rendition. It made clear that evidence given to the High Court about what the secret services knew of Mr Mohamed's treatment by the CIA was in stark contrast with the committee's findings, which exonerated MI5 of collusion in torture.
MI5 chief defends security services amid torture 'cover-up' claims 12 Feb 2010 The director-general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, has issued a passionate defence of the Security Service against the “conspiracy theory” that it covered up its involvement in torture. Mr Evans said accusations made by Lord Neuberger, the country’s second most senior judge, that there was a “culture of suppression” at MI5 were "the precise opposite of the truth". As Mr Evans defended the security services against claims of torture, ministers also voiced their support in an open letter to newspapers. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Evans warns that the row over alleged human rights abuses would be used by “our enemies” as "propaganda to undermine our will and ability to confront them".
consider torture charges against officers from MI5 and MI6 --Senior
prosecution lawyers are being consulted by police over the possibility
of bringing criminal charges against two British intelligence officers
suspected of complicity in torture. 11 Feb 2010 An MI5 officer who
interviewed the former Guantanamo Bay
US disappointed at UK Appeal Court torture ruling 11 Feb 2010 The White House has expressed "deep disappointment" at a UK court ruling that information on the alleged torture of a UK resident had to be disclosed. A spokesman added the judgement would "complicate" intelligence sharing. Foreign Secretary David Miliband lost an Appeal Court bid on Wednesday to prevent the details being published.
Top judge: Binyam Mohamed case shows MI5 to be devious, dishonest and complicit in torture --Legal defeat plunges Security Service into crisis over torture evidence, and it is revealed that judge removed damning verdict after Foreign Office QC's plea 10 Feb 2010 MI5 faced an unprecedented and damaging crisis tonight after one of the country's most senior judges found that the Security Service had failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a "culture of suppression" that undermined government assurances about its conduct. The condemnation, by Lord Neuberger, the master of the rolls, was drafted shortly before the foreign secretary, David Miliband, lost his long legal battle to suppress a seven-paragraph court document showing that MI5 officers were involved in the ill-treatment of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed.
How 400 years of legal history were cast aside in the Binyam Mohamed case --Legal principle established in 1637 banned secret talks between lawyers and courts. It was broken by the government. By Afua Hirsch 10 Feb 2010 When the master of the rolls, Lord Neuberger, decided to retract paragraph 168 from his draft judgment in the case of Binyam Mohamed, he relied on almost 400 years of jurisprudence to assume that the parties in the case had agreed to its removal. The case of Ship Money, brought by Oliver Cromwell's cousin John Hampden in 1637, established the principle that there should be no secret communication between lawyers and the courts in legal proceedings.
UK Guantanamo ruling upheld --Mohamed was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and says he was tortured there and in Morocco before being flown to Guantanamo Bay. 11 Feb 2010 Britain's Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that the government must disclose secret intelligence about the treatment of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who says he was tortured in US custody. Judges rejected the government's claim that revealing the information would damage US-British intelligence cooperation. In October, the High Court ordered officials to make public a secret seven-paragraph summary of US intelligence files describing the treatment of British resident Binyam Mohamed. The Foreign Office appealed that ruling.
Appeal judge watered down Binyam Mohamed torture ruling --Government persuaded Lord Neuberger to delete damning references to MI5 'culture' of suppressing evidence 10 Feb 2010 The government launched a successful last-minute bid to persuade the court of appeal to erase the most damning details of MI5's complicity in torture from its decision in the Binyam Mohamed case - but has been unable to suppress a letter that details some of the contents of the original draft ruling. On Monday, Jonathan Sumption QC wrote to the court warning that the paragraph in question was "likely to receive more public attention than any other parts of the judgments". This, Sumption pointed out, was because the paragraph would state that MI5 did not operate in a culture that respected human rights or renounced "coercive interrogation techniques".
Binyam Mohamed torture evidence must be revealed, judges rule --Court of appeal ruling compels British government to disclose what MI5 knew of refugee's treatment in Guantánamo Bay 10 Feb 2010 Three of Britain's most senior judges have ordered the government to reveal evidence of MI5 complicity in the torture of British resident Binyam Mohamed - unanimously dismissing objections by David Miliband, the foreign secretary. In a ruling that will cause deep anxiety among the security and intelligence agencies, they rejected Miliband's claims, backed by the US government, that disclosure of a seven-paragraph summary of classified CIA information showing what British agents knew of Mohamed's torture would threaten intelligence sharing between London and Washington, and therefore endanger Britain's national security. One of the key paragraphs states that there "could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Binyam Mohamed by the United States authorities".
Binyam Mohamed: read the secret torture evidence --The government has published the seven paragraphs about the treatment of Binyam Mohamed after a ruling in the court of appeal 10 Feb 2010 (Published by guardian.co.uk)
Here are the seven paragraphs that were blanked out in earlier proceedings:
It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2002 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer.
v) It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed.
vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him. His fears of being removed from United States custody and "disappearing" were played upon.
vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews
viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the interviews were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.
ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS [security services] made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.
x) The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972. Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities.
Binyam Mohamed: text of letter which reveals court's criticism of 'deliberately misleading' security service --Here we publish a lawyer's letter detailing how the Master of the Rolls condemned MI5 for withholding intelligence from the foreign secretary and the courts over complicity in torture 10 Feb 2010 Letter from Jonathan Sumption Q.C. Re: R (Binyam Mohammed) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Co
UK details US torture of Ethiopian-born detainee --The information released shows that Britain was aware of allegations that Binyam Mohamed was being tortured while in US custody after his arrest in Pakistan in 2002. 10 Feb 2010 The British government has been ordered to publish previously secret information about the alleged torture of former British detainee Binyam Mohamed by US authorities. Britain had wanted to keep the information secret, saying that revealing it would have harmed its relationship with the United States. However, Britain's Court of Appeals ruled that the seven paragraphs about Mohamed must be released.
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