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David Guyatt
02-10-2010, 12:55 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8507852.stm


Government loses torture appeal

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46134000/jpg/_46134387_binyam_226bbc.jpg

The foreign secretary has lost an Appeal Court bid to stop the disclosure of secret information relating to the alleged torture of a UK resident.

Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed says UK authorities knew he was tortured at the behest of US authorities during seven years of captivity.

David Miliband had said releasing the material would harm national security.

Judges ruled redacted paragraphs, which say his treatment was "cruel, inhuman and degrading", should be released.

The judgement was delivered by the three most senior Court of Appeal judges in England and Wales.

Commenting on the case, the prime minister's spokesman said the government stood firmly against torture and cruel and inhumane treatment.

The key details are contained in a seven-paragraph summary of what the CIA told their British intelligence officials about Mr Mohamed's treatment in 2002.

“ We remain determined to uphold our very strong commitment against mistreatment of any kind ”
Foreign Secretary statement
Following the ruling, Mr Miliband issued a statement in which he said "the government accepts the decision of the Court of Appeal".

The redacted paragraphs have now been published on the Foreign Office website.

BBC home affairs reporter Dominic Casciani said the seven-paragraph summary released by the court provides details of what London learnt about Mr Mohamed's treatment in 2002, following his detention in Pakistan.

At the time he was being held by Pakistani interrogators at the behest of the US, who suspected him of having received firearms and explosives training from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The summary says that Mr Mohamed was intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation during his initial period of captivity.

Along with the sleep deprivation, it says the interrogators subjected him to threats and inducements, including playing on his fears that he would be passed on to another country.

ANALYSIS
Dominic Casciani, BBC home affairs reporter This battle was about the control principle - that the UK does not have permission to reveal any intelligence that the US passes on in confidence.
But that position in relation to Binyam Mohamed's treatment was fatally undermined by two factors.

Firstly, the courts held that the secret seven paragraphs related to potentially criminal ill-treatment, rather than critical matters of national security.

The Lord Chief Justice makes plain in his judgement that he might have thought differently if the material had been genuinely secret.

Secondly, the Obama White House has been busy declassifying material and memos that covered what was done in America's name after 9/11.

Lawyers in this case now have a new question: What were the rules in 2002 for British intelligence officers who discovered a terrorism suspect was being ill-treated elsewhere?

The prime minister says the revised rules will be published soon but the old ones will remain secret.

London learnt that the stress brought on by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled during his interviews and that Mr Mohamed was eventually placed on suicide watch.

The judgement continued: "We regret to have to include that the reports provided to the Security Service 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.

"The treatment reported, if it had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom would clearly have been in breach of [a ban on torture].

"Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could be readily contented to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of BM by the United States authorities."

Last year, the High Court ruled that the seven paragraphs should be published, with the judges saying that they did not believe the US would stop co-operating with British intelligence officials if the material was made public.

Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that the risk to national security was "not a serious one" and there was "overwhelming" public interest in disclosing the material.

However, the summary was kept secret to allow the foreign secretary to appeal.

BINYAM MOHAMED
Detained in Pakistan in 2002, questioned there by MI5 officer
Transferred to Morocco, claims he was tortured in US custody and asked questions supplied by MI5
Later interned in Guantanamo Bay and eventually released in 2009
Mr Miliband had said that the court had no authority to disclose US secrets that had been handed over to the British under a long-standing principle within the intelligence community that information can be shared, but never disclosed without permission.

In his statement, Mr Miliband said this principle was "at the heart of this case", adding: "This 'control principle' is essential to the intelligence relationship between Britain and the US.

"The government fought the case to preserve this principle and today's judgement upholds it."

The statement concluded: "We remain determined to uphold our very strong commitment against mistreatment of any kind."

Mr Mohamed, a 31-year-old Ethiopian granted refugee status in Britain in 1994, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 over a visa irregularity and was handed over to US officials. He was secretly flown to Morocco in 2002.

There, he says he was tortured while interrogators asked him questions about his life in London.

He says these questions could only have come only from British intelligence officers.

Mr Mohamed was sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, run by the US in Cuba, in 2004.

He was held there until his release without charges in February 2009, when he returned to the UK.


Redacted paragraphs (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=21722320)


The following is quoted from the first judgment of the Divisional Court in the Binyam Mohamed case on 21 August 2008. We have alerted the Court to a typographic error.

"The following seven paragraphs have been redacted
[It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2001 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 inter views 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 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]"

Magda Hassan
02-10-2010, 01:28 PM
Good. I never found torture very appealing myself and have no idea why it is so popular with the UKUSA and others. The 'evidence' is useless in any case. And 'national security' is almost always just about cover one's arse. I suppose the MI5/6 people were just having a cuppa next door while he was being tortured and had no hand in it at all? Why does the UK persists with the 'special relationship' with the US? If the US no longer shares its intelligence with them it doesn't seem such a loss to me as I have yet to see that the US has ever used its intelligence in a meaningful way. They never foresaw any of the major events of the 20th century from Pearl Harbour, fall of the Berlin Wall, collapse of communism, 911, 7/7, fall of the Shah of Iran. I don't think the UK could do any worse on their own. I suppose, on the other hand, it could all just be theatre for the masses. Perish the thought.

David Guyatt
02-11-2010, 11:52 AM
The word disgraceful leaps to mind.

Obama can bugger off and take his fake-democracy style of government with him.

Fucking cheek... :alberteinstein:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8509787.stm


US disappointed at torture ruling

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46130000/jpg/_46130445_binyam.jpg

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.

Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed, 31, says UK authorities knew he was tortured at the behest of US authorities after his detention in Pakistan in 2002.

The ruling led to the publication of a summary of the torture of Mr Mohamed.

The information had been given to MI5 by the CIA - and suggested that British officials were aware of Mr Mohamed's ill-treatment.

Mr Miliband had repeatedly tried to stop its publication on the grounds that it could damage intelligence-sharing with America.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is believed to be "understanding" about the UK government's position after talking with Mr Miliband, the BBC has learned.

But Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for President Barack Obama, said: "We're deeply disappointed with the court's judgment because we shared this information in confidence and with certain expectations.

[Guyatt's translation of above para: "we're pissed off because didn't expect to get caught breaking international law. It's embarrassing."]

"As we warned, the court's judgment will complicate the confidentiality of our intelligence-sharing relationship with the UK, and it will have to factor into our decision-making going forward."

The Federal Government is closed because of blizzard conditions and it is thought it will take some time for the American government to work out the implications of the lengthy judgement.

Vital paragraphs

Denis Blair, the US Director of National Intelligence, said: "The decision by a United Kingdom court to release classified information provided by the United States is not helpful, and we deeply regret it.

"The United States and the United Kingdom have a long history of close co-operation that relies on mutual respect for the handling of classified information."

Judges ruled that paragraphs which say Mr Mohamed's treatment was "cruel, inhuman and degrading" should be released.

Mr Miliband said the ruling was "not evidence that the system is broken".

The judgement was delivered by the three most senior Court of Appeal judges in England and Wales.

The key details are contained in a seven-paragraph summary of what the CIA told British intelligence officials about Mr Mohamed's treatment in 2002. These paragraphs have now been published on the Foreign Office website.

The paragraphs concern a period in which Mr Mohamed was being held by Pakistani interrogators at the behest of the US, who suspected him of having received firearms and explosives training from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Suicide watch

They say Mr Mohamed was intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation, as well as threats and inducements, including playing on his fears that he would be passed on to another country.

London learnt that the stress brought on by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled during his interviews and that Mr Mohamed was eventually placed on suicide watch.

The Court of Appeal said recent events in the US courts were a key reason for releasing the UK summary of what had happened to Mr Mohamed.

Just before Christmas, a US Court ruled on a related case involving a different detainee, in which the judge provided pages of detailed information on how Mr Mohamed had been abused.

'Defend a principle'

The judge said his treatment was torture - and her reasoning was cleared for publication by the US security officials.

Following this week's ruling in London, Mr Miliband gave a statement to the House of Commons, saying he accepted the court's decision, but that the government's objection had never been about the seven paragraphs specifically.

"We have fought this case and brought the appeal to defend a principle we believe is fundamental to our national security - that intelligence shared with us will be protected by us," the foreign secretary said.

Mr Mohamed, an Ethiopian granted refugee status in Britain in 1994, was initially arrested in Pakistan in 2002 over a visa irregularity and was handed over to US officials. He was secretly flown to Morocco in 2002.

There, he says, he was tortured while interrogators asked him about his life in London - questions, he says, that could have come only from British intelligence officers.

Mr Mohamed was sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, run by the US in Cuba, in 2004. He was held there until his release without charge in February 2009, when he returned to the UK.

Peter Presland
02-11-2010, 12:54 PM
..... They never foresaw any of the major events of the 20th century from Pearl Harbour, fall of the Berlin Wall, collapse of communism, 911, 7/7, fall of the Shah of Iran. I don't think the UK could do any worse on their own.
I trust I am correct to interpret all that as heavy irony. - because there is VERY good reason - ranging between LIHOP and MIHOP - to suggest that both the US and UK SIS's were deeply complicit in ALL of those events - or, in the case of the Shah, using every dirty trick in the book to delay what they had long concluded was inevitable since jointly arranging for the overthrow of the first democratically elected government ever in the Middle East and installing their puppet.

I came across a rather good analysis of the judgement and legal arguments that led to it at a blog I follow this morning - Obsolete it's called (http://www.septicisle.info/2010/02/seven-paragraphs.html) - left a comment and did a little blog of my own (http://sabretache.blogspot.com/) on it too FWIW

Magda Hassan
02-11-2010, 01:00 PM
:girl:Indeed Peter. Thanks for the link.

P.S. I managed to keep the fickle finger of fate in check and pushed the reply button this time. :pcguru:

Peter Lemkin
02-11-2010, 03:29 PM
Well cheers to those three judges in the UK! May they not have strange accidents or suicides! Yeah, the USA is upset that the truth got out...not that they committed crimes. We are now a Multinational War Machine wholly-owned Criminal Enterprise - and coming to get you too soon.....unless you shut up, consume, watch TV, and just die with complaining. :sheep: :afraid:

Jan Klimkowski
02-11-2010, 08:23 PM
For completeness, here is what it is accepted was done to Binyam Mohamed:



Paragraph 23:

The problem in this case is not that Mr Mohamed was tortured in the UK. He was, however, subjected to torture. In (US court case) Farhi Saeed Bin Mohamed v Barak Obama (Civil Action No 05-1347 (GK)), it is publicly recorded that "the Government does not challenge or deny the accuracy of Binyam Mohamed's story of brutal treatment (p58)…the account in Binyam Mohamed's diary bears several indicia of reliability (p61)." Note is taken of his "willingness to test the truth of his version of events in both the courts of law as well as the court of public opinion" (p62). Towards the end of its judgment two specific matters are recorded:

"(a)…[Mr Mohamed's] trauma lasted for 2 long years. During that time, he was physically and psychologically tortured. His genitals were mutilated. He was deprived of sleep and food. He was summarily transported from one foreign prison to another. Captors held him in stress positions for days at a time. He was forced to listen to piercingly loud music and the screams of other prisoners while locked in a pitch-black cell. All the while, he was forced to inculpate himself and others in various plots to imperil Americans. The Government does not dispute this evidence."(p64)

"(b) In this case, even though the identity of the individual interrogator changed (from nameless Pakistanis, to Moroccans, to Americans, and to special agent (the identity is redacted)), there is no question that throughout his ordeal Binyam Mohamed was being held at the behest of the United States (p68)…The court finds that [Mr Mohamed's] will was overborne by his lengthy prior torture, and therefore his confessions to special agent…do not represent reliable evidence to detain petitioner"


http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2010/65.html

David Guyatt
02-12-2010, 01:11 PM
When pols speak, look for the necessary caveat that makes their lies true.


The work of MI5 has also been defended by the foreign secretary, David Miliband, and the home secretary, Alan Johnson.
In a joint letter to the Guardian, they said: "The allegation that the security and intelligence agencies have licence to collude in torture is disgraceful, untrue and one we vigorously deny."

The outright deceit of Milliband and Johnson is staggering. Of course the security and intell types don't have "license" - it's all done on a nod and a wink basis.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8511827.stm


MI5 denies Binyam case 'cover-up'

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47287000/jpg/_47287766_008720746-1.jpg
Jonathan Evans: Unprecedented rebuttal

The head of MI5 has denied officers withheld information over what it knew about the the torture of a UK resident.

In an unprecedented move, Jonathan Evans defended the security service against claims that it has misled an MPs' committee over Binyam Mohamed.

The Court of Appeal had ruled Mr Mohamed could learn what MI5 knew about his 2002 mistreatment at the behest of the US after his detention abroad.

The home secretary has attacked the media's "baseless" accusations.

Ethiopian-born Mr Mohamed, 31, alleges that UK authorities knew he was tortured after his detention in Pakistan in 2002.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal ruled that the government must publish a seven-paragraph summary of exactly what British intelligence officials were told about his treatment.

The summary revealed that his treatment was "cruel, inhuman and degrading" and included deliberate sleep deprivation.

'Culture of suppression'

It also emerged on Wednesday that a paragraph contained in the Court of Appeal's draft judgement was removed following complaints from a senior government lawyer.

“ The director-general has confirmed to us that no document concerning Binyam Mohamed has been withheld from us ”

Intelligence and Security Committee

Jonathan Sumption QC told the judges it would be "exceptionally damaging" if published because it would give the impression "that the Security Service does not in fact operate a culture that respects human rights or abjures participation in coercive interrogation techniques".

He said the paragraph would be read as meaning that "officials of the Service deliberately misled the Intelligence and Security Committee" in a way that "reflects a culture of suppression in its dealings with the committee, the foreign secretary and indirectly the court".

The words to which Mr Sumption objected did not appear in the version of the judgement that was eventually published.

But Channel 4 News reported on Thursday night that the redacted section related to US documents concerning Mr Mohamed's treatment which MI5 failed to disclose to the committee.

However in a joint statement, chairman of the committee Kim Howells and senior Conservative Michael Mates said: "The director-general has confirmed to us this evening that no document concerning Binyam Mohamed and his treatment by the US authorities has been withheld from us."

'Highly unusual'

BINYAM MOHAMED TIMELINE
April 2002: Mistreated by US and Pakistani interrogators - arrested in Pakistan over visa irregularities and handed to US authorities as suspected terrorist
May 2002: Washington gives British security officials details of treatment - interviewed by M15 officers sent from London
July 2002: Flown to Morocco and tortured for 18 months - says his interrogators received questions from London
January 2004: Transferred to Afghanistan and questioned by US agents
September 2004: Taken to Guantanamo Bay - lawyers demand British documents to prove confession extracted during abuse
October 2008: All charges against him dropped
February 2009: Returns to UK and continues fight for release of secret information
February 2010: UK Court of Appeal rules government must publish summary of what Washington told London about treatment in Pakistan - paragraph relating to M15 shown to have been removed after lobbying from government lawyer
The MPs said allegations that MI5 officers were "careless in their observance of their obligations towards the human rights of detainees" were very grave.

"These are extremely serious allegations which, if true, would call into question the trust that exists between between the committee and the intelligence services," they said.

Mr Evans said MI5 was protecting the country from "enemies" who would use "all the tools and their disposal", including propaganda.

He wrote in an article in the Telegraph: "We will do all that we can to keep the country safe from terrorist attack. We will use all the powers available to us under the law.

"For their part, our enemies will also seek to use all tools at their disposal to attack us. That means not just bombs, bullets and aircraft but also propaganda.

"Their freedom to voice extremist views is part of the price we pay for living in a democracy, and it is a price worth paying."

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw says it is a highly unusual intervention by the head of the security service that reflects deep concern at MI5 about the way the Appeal Court ruling has been reported and interpreted.

'Vigorously denied'

The work of MI5 has also been defended by the foreign secretary, David Miliband, and the home secretary, Alan Johnson.

In a joint letter to the Guardian, they said: "The allegation that the security and intelligence agencies have licence to collude in torture is disgraceful, untrue and one we vigorously deny."

Mr Mohamed, an Ethiopian granted refugee status in Britain in 1994, was initially arrested in Pakistan in 2002 over a visa irregularity and was handed over to US officials. He was secretly flown to Morocco in 2002.

There, he says, he was tortured while interrogators asked him about his life in London - questions, he says, that could have come only from British intelligence officers.

Mr Mohamed was sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, run by the US in Cuba, in 2004, until being released without charge in February 2009.


This entire article looks to me to be a contrived damage limitation piece. It doesn't have anything to say that strikes me of being in any way significant - and is notable for that reason. The Judgement is clearly hurting the government and spooks very badly.

Jan Klimkowski
02-12-2010, 01:38 PM
Jonathan Sumption QC told the judges it would be "exceptionally damaging" if published because it would give the impression "that the Security Service does not in fact operate a culture that respects human rights or abjures participation in coercive interrogation techniques".

He said the paragraph would be read as meaning that "officials of the Service deliberately misled the Intelligence and Security Committee" in a way that "reflects a culture of suppression in its dealings with the committee, the foreign secretary and indirectly the court".

The words to which Mr Sumption objected did not appear in the version of the judgement that was eventually published.

(snip)

(MI5 head) Mr Evans said MI5 was protecting the country from "enemies" who would use "all the tools at their disposal", including propaganda.

He wrote in an article in the Telegraph: "We will do all that we can to keep the country safe from terrorist attack. We will use all the powers available to us under the law.

"For their part, our enemies will also seek to use all tools at their disposal to attack us. That means not just bombs, bullets and aircraft but also propaganda."

Is the head of MI5 accusing the judges of the Court of Appeal of being "enemies" and "terrorists" who will "seek to use all tools at their disposal to attack us. That means not just bombs, bullets and aircraft but also propaganda"?

"Heaven help us", shrieks Tony 'I'm a pretty straight sort of guy' Blair. "Is nothing sacred? MI5 are informing me that Al Qaeda are sitting on the ancient benches of the Court of Appeal, at the very heart of the British establishment, dressed in wigs and ermine.

"Where's Alastair? We need Campbell to produce a dossier exposing these evil fiends who threaten to destroy the very values of western civilization. It's a conspiracy I tell thee, a demonic conspiracy."

:evil:

David Guyatt
02-12-2010, 01:46 PM
I tried to post this fully but couldn't. it's just to sickening...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8511905.stm

Peter Lemkin
02-12-2010, 04:21 PM
For completeness, here is what it is accepted was done to Binyam Mohamed:



Paragraph 23:

The problem in this case is not that Mr Mohamed was tortured in the UK. He was, however, subjected to torture. In (US court case) Farhi Saeed Bin Mohamed v Barak Obama (Civil Action No 05-1347 (GK)), it is publicly recorded that "the Government does not challenge or deny the accuracy of Binyam Mohamed's story of brutal treatment (p58)…the account in Binyam Mohamed's diary bears several indicia of reliability (p61)." Note is taken of his "willingness to test the truth of his version of events in both the courts of law as well as the court of public opinion" (p62). Towards the end of its judgment two specific matters are recorded:

"(a)…[Mr Mohamed's] trauma lasted for 2 long years. During that time, he was physically and psychologically tortured. His genitals were mutilated. He was deprived of sleep and food. He was summarily transported from one foreign prison to another. Captors held him in stress positions for days at a time. He was forced to listen to piercingly loud music and the screams of other prisoners while locked in a pitch-black cell. All the while, he was forced to inculpate himself and others in various plots to imperil Americans. The Government does not dispute this evidence."(p64)

"(b) In this case, even though the identity of the individual interrogator changed (from nameless Pakistanis, to Moroccans, to Americans, and to special agent (the identity is redacted)), there is no question that throughout his ordeal Binyam Mohamed was being held at the behest of the United States (p68)…The court finds that [Mr Mohamed's] will was overborne by his lengthy prior torture, and therefore his confessions to special agent…do not represent reliable evidence to detain petitioner"


http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2010/65.html

Hey, Jan, We Americans are the good guys...no matter WHAT we do....remember that...or we'll waterboard YOU....TOO!

Peter Presland
02-12-2010, 06:45 PM
Another 'for completeness' post. Johnathan Evans - Current Head of MI5 penned this piece in today's Telegraph.
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/7217438/Jonathan-Evans-conspiracy-theories-aid-Britains-enemies.html)
Little commentary needed. The to be expected anodyne assurances of how seriously 'The Service takes its duty to protect the citizens of the UK' and how grave the threat - how our enemies will use every trick in the book and are always seeking ways to attack us by deed AND WORD note (guess that means us). - but we will will handicap ourselves with Marquis of Queensbury rules because we are civilised - etc etc.

Also note the now obligatory - in fact knee-jerk - reference to 'Consipracy theory' to close it.


It is rare that the intelligence services comment in public, but some of the recent reporting on the supposed activities and culture of MI5 has been so far from the truth that it couldn’t be left unchallenged, particularly against the backdrop of the current severe terrorist threat to this country.

As head of the security service, I know that the reason the Government appealed against the Divisional Court judgment in the Binyam Mohammed case was not to cover up supposed British collusion in mistreatment, but in order to protect the vital intelligence relationship with America and, by extension, with other countries. We cannot protect the UK without the help and co-operation of other countries. The US, in particular, has been generous in sharing intelligence with us on terrorist threats; that has saved British lives and must be protected.

The “seven paragraphs” now published are, in fact, less politically explosive than some commentators had imagined. The Government would not have objected to their publication in themselves, despite the unacceptable actions they describe. But the appeal was necessary because the paragraphs were received on intelligence channels and provided on the basis that they would not be disclosed.

The United States does not have to share intelligence with us. Nor do other countries. The US government has expressed its deep disappointment at the publication of the paragraphs and has said that the judgment will be factored into its decision-making in future. We must hope, for our safety and security, that this does not make it less ready to share intelligence with us.

There have also been a series of allegations that MI5 has been trying to “cover up” its activities. That is the opposite of the truth. People who choose to work in the service do so because they want to protect the UK and its liberties. We are an accountable public organisation and take our legal and oversight responsibilities seriously. The material our critics are drawing on to attack us is taken from our own records, not prised from us by some external process but willingly provided by us to the court, in the normal way. No cover-up there.

Likewise, we co-operate willingly with the Intelligence and Security Committee so that it can fulfil its oversight role, which we support and which benefits the service. Sometimes the ISC draws attention in its reports to aspects of our work that it believes fall short of what it, and through it the public, might expect. That is right and proper in a democratic system. One shortfall it highlighted in 2005 and again in 2007 was that the British intelligence community was slow to detect the emerging pattern of US mistreatment of detainees after September 11, a criticism that I accept.

But there wasn’t any similar change of practice by the British intelligence agencies. We did not practise mistreatment or torture then and do not do so now, nor do we collude in torture or encourage others to torture on our behalf.

Meanwhile, some commentators have given the impression that there is a lack of accountability for the actions of the intelligence agencies when interviewing detainees after September 11. This again flies in the face of the facts. A string of civil cases has been brought against the Government and the agencies by former detainees who claim that their rights have been infringed.

The issues involved are serious and complex: it is right that they should be considered by the courts and we, with others on the Government side, are co-operating fully in the process. Inevitably this will take time, but all involved will get the chance to put their case.

Nor are only civil claims being pursued: an allegation has been made that one of my officers might have committed a criminal offence. That allegation (and it is no more than an allegation) is being investigated by the police. As the Government has said repeatedly, if serious allegations are made, they will be investigated appropriately. And these are not just fine words. It is happening. Both the Government and the Opposition in the House of Commons on Wednesday underlined how important it is that Britain lives up to its legal and moral responsibilities in countering terrorism. If we fail to do so, we are giving a propaganda weapon to our opponents. I fully agree with that judgment.

As a service, and working closely with partners here and abroad, we will do all that we can to keep the country safe from terrorist attack. We will use all the powers available to us under the law.

For their part, our enemies will also seek to use all tools at their disposal to attack us. That means not just bombs, bullets and aircraft but also propaganda and campaigns to undermine our will and ability to confront them. Their freedom to voice extremist views is part of the price we pay for living in a democracy, and it is a price worth paying because in the long term, our democracy underpins our security.

But we would do well to maintain a fair and balanced view of events as they unfold and avoid falling into conspiracy theory and caricature.

Peter Lemkin
02-12-2010, 09:14 PM
If only Maggy herself could say in throaty voice, 'You poor dear faithful poodles, you!'! :party:


As head of the security service, I know that the reason the Government appealed against the Divisional Court judgment in the Binyam Mohammed case was not to cover up supposed British collusion in mistreatment, but in order to protect the vital intelligence relationship with America and, by extension, with other countries. We cannot protect the UK without the help and co-operation of other countries. The US, in particular, has been generous in sharing intelligence with us on terrorist threats; that has saved British lives and must be protected.

The “seven paragraphs” now published are, in fact, less politically explosive than some commentators had imagined. The Government would not have objected to their publication in themselves, despite the unacceptable actions they describe. But the appeal was necessary because the paragraphs were received on intelligence channels and provided on the basis that they would not be disclosed.

The United States does not have to share intelligence with us. Nor do other countries. The US government has expressed its deep disappointment at the publication of the paragraphs and has said that the judgment will be factored into its decision-making in future. We must hope, for our safety and security, that this does not make it less ready to share intelligence with us.

Magda Hassan
02-12-2010, 09:56 PM
I tried to post this fully but couldn't. it's just to sickening...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8511905.stm
All these mendatious pollies turning on the waterworks and feeling sorry for themselves. They must be worried. Cynical bastards.

Peter Lemkin
02-12-2010, 10:56 PM
I tried to post this fully but couldn't. it's just to sickening...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8511905.stm
All these mendatious pollies turning on the waterworks and feeling sorry for themselves. They must be worried. Cynical bastards.

Oh, my my.....:joyman: Quite the interview....:y:

David Guyatt
02-14-2010, 11:48 AM
The central drift of the below story strikes me as being obvious. It has long been known that the pols are scared stiff of the intelligence community and bend over backwards to avoid offending them lest their dirty little secrets be leaked (or fabricated and then leaked as the case demands).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/14/mi5-torture-parliament-binyam-mohamed?CMP=AFCYAH


MI5 watchdog slammed over torture probe
Parliamentary committee accused by senior Labour critic of closing ranks with secret service

Tracy McVeigh, Chief Reporter
The Observer, Sunday 14 February 2010

The senior Labour MP who led the revolt against Tony Blair's 90-day detention bill yesterday intensified the political storm over Britain's alleged complicity in torture by attacking the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) for failing in its remit as overseer of the security services. The ISC, David Winnick said, had become a "mouthpiece for MI5".

"The impression given is that this committee, which reports directly to the prime minister, is in danger of being open to the accusation that it has gone native," said Winnick.

His attacks came after Kim Howells, the ISC's chairman, defended MI5's director general, Jonathan Evans, in the row over allegations that British security officers colluded in torture. Howells denied that the ISC had been misled by the security service and said the committee had seen no evidence that MI5 had been involved in torture.

Any claim to the contrary, said Howells on Friday in a joint statement with the senior Tory on the ISC, Michael Mates, was "calumny and a slur and it should not be made".

Evans publicly contested the allegations against his officers in an article in Friday's Daily Telegraph. "We did not practise mistreatment or torture and do not do so now, nor do we collude in torture or encourage others to do so on our behalf," he stated.

Winnick, a long-standing member of the home affairs select committee, said the ISC needed to start holding sessions in public to reverse its current "unhappy" lack of accountability. He accused it of closing ranks with the intelligence services at the very time when scrutiny should be at its most intense.

The attack puts further pressure on the government after it lost a long and damaging court case to try to suppress a court document which showed that MI5 officers were complicit in the ill-treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a British former Guantánamo inmate.

The furore only increased when it was revealed that a draft judgment written by the master of the rolls, Lord Neuberger, had originally contained a strong attack on MI5 officers who had "deliberately misled parliament" and shared a "culture of suppression". The government's lawyer, Jonathan Sumption, successfully demanded the removal of the phrases.

The home secretary, Alan Johnson, then waded into the fray, accusing the media of publishing "ludicrous lies" about the intelligence services and the shadow home secretary, David Davis, of spreading "gross and offensive misrepresentation of the truth". Davis had alleged that there were other cases beyond Mohamed's where M15 or MI6 had been involved.

Last night, Mates told the Observer that he was appalled at the "careless use" of allegations flying around and defended the ISC, saying the only mistake MI5 had made in regard to torture was being a little slow to understand that the Americans had been authorised to use torture by "those two dreadful men" – Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

"MI5 and MI6 were slow in identifying that the Americans had sanctioned waterboarding and other torture that no civilised western society should have," said Mates. But he insisted that Neuberger's draft judgment was wrong.

"Nobody should be making allegations that are not supported by evidence," he said. He had seen in full the evidence of witness B (the MI5 officer who interrogated Mohamed in Pakistan in 2002 and whose report showed that he had been deprived of sleep) and there was no reference to anything more. Witness B is the subject of a Scotland Yard investigation, but sources have told the Observer it is unlikely to result in prosecution.

David Guyatt
02-14-2010, 11:54 AM
David Davis MP statement to Parliament on Uk intelligence community knowledge and complicity in the torture of Binyam Mohamed.

http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2009/07/09/how-david-davis-exposed-britains-secret-torture-scandal/


How David Davis Exposed Britain’s Secret Torture Scandal
9.7.09

http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/daviddavis.jpg

The following is the statement that David Davis MP made to the House of Commons on the evening of July 7, which exposed the extent of British complicity in the torture in Pakistan of British citizen Rangzieb Ahmed. For further information, see the article “BBritain’s Secret Torture Policy Exposed.”
(http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2009/07/09/britains-secret-torture-policy-exposed/)
Four years ago today, this country suffered a terrible atrocity at the hands of terrorists: 52 people were killed and many more horribly injured. I stood at the dispatch box that day and spoke of the need to face down this barbarism. In the subsequent weeks and months, I was proud of the calm and just way that the ordinary British citizen dealt with this assault and of the comparative absence of people trying to make scapegoats of the ordinary, decent Muslim community. I was proud of the courage, sense of honour, tolerance and justice of our citizens at home.

I am afraid that I cannot be so complimentary about the actions of our government abroad. In the last year, there have been at least 15 cases of British citizens or British residents claiming to be tortured by foreign intelligence agencies with the knowledge, complicity and, in some cases, presence of British intelligence officers. One case — that of Binyam Mohamed — has been referred to the police by the attorney general, which implies that there is at least a prima facie case to answer. The most salient others include Moazzam Begg, Tariq Mahmoud, Salahuddin Amin and Rashid Rauf, all in Pakistan, Jamil Rahman in Bangladesh, Alam Ghafoor in United Arab Emirates, and Azhar Khan and others in Egypt.

For each case, the government have denied complicity, but at the same time fiercely defended the secrecy of their actions, making it impossible to put the full facts in the public domain, despite the clear public interest in doing so. Although the combined circumstantial evidence of complicity in all these cases is overwhelming, it has not so far been possible — because of the government’s improper use of state secrecy to cover up the evidence — to establish absolutely clear sequences of cause and effect.

In the case I am about to describe, we can follow the entire chain of events from original suspicion, through active encouragement of the Pakistani authorities to arrest and through the subsequent collaboration between UK and Pakistani agencies. This is the case of Rangzieb Ahmed, a convicted terrorist, whose treatment I can describe in some detail.

As the House will realise, the account I am about to relay comes from several sources. I cannot properly give my sources, given the vindictive attitude of this government, particularly the Foreign Office, to whistleblowers. Indeed, in this case of Rangzieb Ahmed, the authorities were so paranoid that they threatened to arrest a journalist for reporting facts stated in open court. Nevertheless, although I am prevented from naming my sources, I can say that I am confident of these facts beyond reasonable doubt. I will not, of course, disclose any names, or anything that discloses intelligence agency techniques — other than torture — or other issues that threaten national security.

I should say that the individual whose case I am going to describe is not someone for whom I have any natural sympathy. He is a convicted — indeed, self-confessed — terrorist. So what I am talking about today is just as much about defending our own civilised standards as it is about deploring what was done to this man in the name of defending our country.

In 2005-06, Rangzieb Ahmed was a suspected terrorist who was kept under surveillance for about a year before leaving the country to go first to Dubai and on a subsequent trip to Pakistan. During that time, evidence was collected against him, on the basis of which he was later convicted. Let me repeat that point, as it is very important to my subsequent argument — during that time, evidence was collected, on the basis of which he was subsequently convicted.

Despite the authorities having that evidence, he was — astonishingly — not arrested but instead allowed to leave the country. To understand how odd this decision was, we should remember that this was only a year after the tragedy of 7/7, after which agencies were criticised for allowing terrorist suspects to leave the country to go to Pakistan. Since they knew he was leaving, since they knew where he was going, and since they had more than enough evidence to arrest him, allowing him to leave was clearly deliberate. That the authorities knew his itinerary is demonstrated by the fact that he was kept under surveillance when he was in Dubai. He later went on to Pakistan, where the Pakistani authorities were warned of his arrival by the British government. The British intelligence agencies wrote to their opposite numbers in Pakistan — the members of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence — suggesting that they arrest him. I use the word “suggest” rather than “request” or “recommend” because of the peculiar language of the ISI’s communication. No doubt the minister can confirm that for himself by asking to see the record.

We also know that the intelligence officer who wrote to the Pakistanis did so in full knowledge of the normal methods used by the ISI against terrorist suspects that it holds. That is unsurprising, as it is common public knowledge in Pakistan. The officer would therefore be aware that “suggesting” arrest was equivalent to “suggesting” torture.

Rangzieb Ahmed was arrested by the ISI on 20 August 2006. Once he was taken into custody in Pakistan by the ISI, the Manchester police and MI5 together created a list of questions to be put to him. MI5 arranged for those questions to be given to the ISI.

Rangzieb Ahmed was viciously tortured by the ISI. He says, among other things, that he was beaten with wooden staves the size of cricket stumps and whipped with a 3ft length of tyre rubber nailed to a wooden handle, and that three fingernails were removed from his left hand. There is a dispute between Ahmed and British intelligence officers about exactly when his fingernails were removed, but an independent pathologist employed by the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it happened during the period when he was in Pakistani custody.

Rangzieb was asked questions, under torture, about the UK by ISI officers. He claims that he saw “UK/Pakistan Secret” on the question list used by the ISI. That was presumably the list put together by the Manchester police and MI5. After about 13 days, he was visited by an officer from MI5 and another from MI6. He claims to have told them, during questioning, that he had been tortured. They deny that, but it is significant that they did not return for further interviews. By that stage, MI5 policy was not to return after any interview in which the subject claimed that he had been tortured. The British agents did not return, but Rangzieb was subsequently questioned by Americans.

Is it also an extraordinary, if sinister, coincidence that the Manchester police accessed Rangzieb Ahmed’s medical records within days of the MI5/MI6 interview? Why would they do that if he was in perfect health?

Rangzieb Ahmed was kept in detention by the Pakistani authorities for a total of 13 months — first at the ISI centre, then at Rawalpindi and then at Adiyala jail — before being deported to the United Kingdom in September 2007. He was tried and convicted of terrorist offences in late 2008 — according to the prosecution, entirely on the basis of evidence obtained while he was under surveillance in the UK and Dubai in 2005-06. I cannot imagine a more obvious case of the outsourcing of torture, a more obvious case of “passive rendition.”

Let me recap. Rangzieb Ahmed should have been arrested by the UK in 2006, but he was not. The authorities knew that he intended to travel to Pakistan, so they should have prevented that; instead, they suggested that the ISI arrest him. They knew that he would be tortured, and they arranged to construct a list of questions and supply it to the ISI.

The authorities know full well that this story is an evidential showcase for the policy of complicity in torture, should that evidence ever come out. One way in which the in-camera veil of secrecy might be lifted would be a civil case by Mr. Ahmed against the government for their complicity in torture. Part of that process would involve challenging the in-camera rulings and revealing the details of agency involvement. Just such a case was being considered by Mr. Ahmed, and on 20 April this year he was visited in prison by his solicitor and a specialist legal adviser to discuss it.

Mr. Ahmed tells us that a week later he was visited by an officer from MI5 and a policeman. That is the story told today on the front pages of the Daily Mail and the Guardian. During the course of their visit they said that they would like him to help in the fight against terror with information about extremism. This is perfectly proper.

However, the sinister part of this visit was an alleged request to drop his allegations of torture: if he did that, they could get his sentence cut and possibly give him some money. If this request to drop the torture case is true, it is frankly monstrous. It would at the very least be a criminal misuse of the powers and funds under the government’s Contest strategy, and at worst a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

I would normally be disinclined to believe the word of a convicted terrorist. However, when he initially told his lawyer about it, he did not want to pursue the matter. Also, in common with many other criminals, after the scandal of the taping of the current minister of state, Department for Transport, the Right Honourable member for Tooting [Sadiq Khan], on a prison visit, he believes all these meetings are taped and he says this will back him up.

Given that belief, he is unlikely to have made an allegation that would be so easily proven wrong. I do not believe the conversation was taped, but it would have been videoed and this could be used to check his story. For reasons of policy and natural justice, it is imperative that the Crown Prosecution service investigates this allegation immediately, but that is not my principal concern today.

My questions to the minister are as follows: First, will he undertake to look at the in-camera court records and the records of the police and intelligence agencies so that he can confirm for his own satisfaction that my account of the handling of Rangzieb Ahmed pre-trial is correct? That process should take only a few days. Secondly, will he publish the current guidelines governing the agencies handling the suspected torture so that we can see whether the UK authorities broke those guidelines or whether it was the policy that was at fault? The Prime Minister has undertaken to publish the new guidelines, so if the minister cannot publish the current ones, can he explain why his approach is different to the Prime Minister’s?

Thirdly, I believe, but cannot be certain to an evidential level, that the judge in the court case intimated that disciplinary action should be considered within the intelligence agencies. Was this done? If not, why not?

Finally, can the minister now announce a proper judicial inquiry into the allegations of UK complicity in torture, since it is now clear that there is not just circumstantial evidence but hard evidence in government records for ministers to read, if they had but eyes to see?

Let me conclude by saying that our handling of the subject of torture has, in my view, been completely wrong. The Americans have made a clean breast of their complicity, while explicitly not prosecuting the junior officers who were acting under instruction at a time of enormous duress and perceived threat after 9/11. We have done the opposite. As things stand, we are awaiting a police investigation that will presumably end in the prosecution of the frontline officers involved. At the same time, the government are fighting tooth and nail to use state secrecy to cover up crimes and political embarrassments to protect those who are probably the real villains in the piece — those who approved these policies in the first place.

The battle against terrorism is not just a fight for life; it is a battle of ideas and ideals. It is a battle between good and evil, between civilisation and barbarism. In that fight, we should never allow our standards to drop to those of our enemies. We cannot defend our civilisation by giving up the values of that civilisation. I hope the minister will today help me in ensuring that we find out what has gone wrong so we can return to defending those values once again.

David Guyatt
02-14-2010, 01:27 PM
The same difference (thanks to Robin Ramsay's LOBSTER (http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/issue58.php) for linking to this Consortium News story)

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/102409b.html


How a Torture Protest Killed a Career

By Craig Murray
October 24, 2009
Editor’s Note: In this modern age – and especially since George W. Bush declared the “war on terror” eight years ago – the price for truth-telling has been high, especially for individuals whose consciences led them to protest the torture of alleged terrorists.

One of the most remarkable cases is that of Craig Murray, a 20-year veteran of the British Foreign Service whose career was destroyed after he was posted to Uzbekistan in August 2002 and began to complain about Western complicity in torture committed by the country’s totalitarian regime, which was valued for its brutal interrogation methods and its vast supplies of natural gas.

Murray soon faced misconduct charges that were leaked to London’s tabloid press before he was replaced as ambassador in October 2004, marking the end of what had been a promising career. Murray later spoke publicly about how the Bush administration and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government collaborated with Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov and his torturers. [See, for instance, Murray's statement to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Torture.]

But Murray kept quiet about his personal ordeal as the victim of the smear campaign that followed his impassioned protests to the Foreign Office about torture. Finally, on Oct. 22 at a small conference in Washington, Murray addressed the personal pain and his sense of betrayal over his treatment at the hands of former colleagues.

While Murray’s account is a personal one, it echoes the experiences of many honest government officials and even mainstream journalists who have revealed inconvenient truths about wrongdoing by powerful Establishment figures and paid a high price.

Below is a partial transcript of Murray’s remarks:

I was just having dinner in a restaurant that was only a block from the White House. It must have been a good dinner because it cost me $120. Actually it was a good dinner. …

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I’ve never, ever spoken in public about the pain of being a whistleblower. Partly because of the British stiff-upper lip thing and partly as well because if you wish to try eventually to get on and reestablish yourself then it doesn’t do to show weakness. …

I was sitting in this place on my own and feeling rather lonely. And there were a whole bunch of people in dark suits coming from government offices, in many cases in groups, and there they were with the men’s suits sleek and the ladies, the whole office, power-politics thing going on, having after-dinner champagne in the posh bar.

And I was remembering how many times I’d been the center of such groups and of how successful my life used to be. I was a British ambassador at the age of 42. The average age for such a post is 57.

I was successful in worldly terms. And I think I almost never sat alone at such a place. Normally if I had been alone in such a place, I would have ended up probably in the company of a beautiful young lady of some kind.

I tell you that partly because this whole question of personal morality is a complicated one. I would never, ever, no one would have ever pointed at me as someone likely to become or to be a person of conscience. And yet eventually I found myself on the outside and treated in a way that challenged my whole view of the world.

Mission to Tashkent

Let me start to tell you something about how that happened. I was a British ambassador in Uzbekistan and I was told before I went that Uzbekistan was an important ally in the war on terror, had given the United States a very important airbase which was a forward mounting post for Afghanistan, and was a bulwark against Islamic extremism in Central Asia.

When I got there I found it was a dreadful regime, absolutely totalitarian. And there’s a difference between dictatorship of which there are many and a totalitarian dictatorship which unless you’ve actually been in one is hard to comprehend.

There’s absolutely no free media whatsoever. News on every single channel, the news programs start with 12 items about what the president did today. And that’s it. That is the news. There are no other news channels and international news channels are blocked.

There are about 12,000 political prisoners. Any sign of religious enthusiasm for any religion will get you put into jail. The majority of people are predominantly Muslim. But if you are to carry out the rituals of the Muslim religion, particularly if you were to pray five times a day, you’d be in jail very quickly. Young men are put in jail for growing beards.

It’s not the only religion which is outlawed. The jails are actually quite full of Baptists. Being Baptist is illegal in Uzbekistan. I’m sure that Methodists and Quakers would be illegal, too, It’s just that they haven’t got any so they haven’t gotten around to making them illegal.

And it’s really not a joke. If you are put into prison in Uzbekistan the chances of coming out again alive are less than even. And most of the prisons are still the old Soviet gulags in the most literal sense. They are physically the same places. The biggest one being the Jaslyk gulag in the deserts of the Kizyl Kum.

I had only been there for a week or two when I went to a show trial of an al-Qaeda terrorist they had caught. It was a big event put on partly for the benefit of the American embassy to demonstrate the strength of the U.S.-Uzbek alliance against terrorism.

When I got there, to call the trial unconvincing would be an underestimate. There was one moment when this old man [who] had given evidence that his nephew was a member of al-Qaeda and had personally met Osama bin Laden. And like everybody else in that court he was absolutely terrified.

But suddenly as he was giving his evidence, he seemed from somewhere to find an inner strength. He was a very old man but he stood taller and said in a stronger voice, he said, “This is not true. This is not true. They tortured my children in front of me until I signed this. I had never heard of al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden.”

He was then hustled out of the court and we never did find out what had happened to him. He was almost certainly killed. But as it happens I was within touching distance of him when he said that and I can’t explain it. It’s not entirely rational. But you could just feel it was true. You could tell he was speaking the truth when he said that.

And that made me start to call into doubt the whole question of the narrative about al-Qaeda in Uzbekistan and the alliance in the war on terror.

Boiled to Death

Something which took that doubt over the top happened about a week later. The West -- because Uzbekistan was our great ally in the war on terror – had shown no interest in the human rights situation at all. In fact, the opposite, going out of its way to support the dictatorship.

So the fact that I seemed to be interested and seemed to be sympathetic came as something of a shock and people started to come to me.

One of the people who came to me was an old lady, a widow in her 60s whose son had been killed in Jaslyk prison and she brought me photos of the corpse of her son. It had been given back to her in a sealed casket and she’d been ordered not to open the casket but to bury it the next morning, which actually Muslims would do anyway. They always bury a body immediately.

But she disobeyed the instructions not to open the casket. She was a very old lady but very determined. She got the casket open and the body out onto the table and took detailed photos of the body before resealing the casket and burying it. These photos she now brought to me.

I sent them on to the chief pathologist at the University of Glasgow, who actually now by coincidence is the chief pathologist for the United Kingdom. There were a number of photos and he did a detailed report on the body. He said from the photographs the man’s fingernails had been pulled out while he was still alive. Then he had been boiled alive. That was the cause of death, immersion in boiling liquid.

Certainly it wasn’t the only occasion when we came across evidence of people being boiled alive. That was the most extreme form of torture, I suppose, but immersion in boiling liquid of a limb was quite common.

Mutilation of the genitals was common. Suffocation was common, usually by putting a gas mask on people and blocking the air vents until they suffocated. Rape was common, rape with objects, rape with bottles, anal rape, homosexual rape, heterosexual rape, and mutilation of children in front of their parents.

It began with that and became a kind of personal mission for me, I suppose, to do what I could to try to stop this. I spent a great deal of time with my staff gathering evidence on it.

Being a very capricious government, occasionally a victim [of the Uzbek regime] would be released and we’d be able to see them and get medical evidence. More often you’d get letters smuggled out of the gulags and detention centers, evidence from relatives who managed to visit prisoners.

We built up an overwhelming dossier of evidence, and I complained to London about the conduct of our ally in rather strong terms including the photos of the boy being boiled alive.

‘Over-Focused on Human Rights’

[I]I received a reply from the British Foreign Office. It said, this is a direct quote, “Dear Ambassador, we are concerned that you are perhaps over-focused on human rights to the detriment of commercial interests.”

I was taken aback. I found that extraordinary. But things had gotten much worse because while we were gathering the information about torture, we were also learning what people were forced to confess to under torture.

People aren’t tortured for no reason. They’re tortured in order to extract some information or to get them to admit to things, and normally the reason you torture people is to get them to admit to things that aren’t actually true. They were having to confess to membership in al-Qaeda, to being at training camps in Afghanistan, personally meeting Osama bin Laden.

At the same time, we were receiving CIA intelligence. MI-6 and the CIA share all their intelligence. So I was getting all the CIA intelligence on Uzbekistan and it was saying that detainees had confessed to membership in al-Qaeda and being in training camps in Afghanistan and to meeting Osama bin Laden.

One way and another I was piecing together the fact that the CIA material came from the Uzbek torture sessions.

I didn’t want to make a fool of myself so I sent my deputy, a lady called Karen Moran, to see the CIA head of station and say to him, “My ambassador is worried your intelligence might be coming from torture. Is there anything he’s missing?”

She reported back to me that the CIA head of station said, “Yes, it probably is coming from torture, but we don’t see that as a problem in the context of the war on terror.”

In addition to which I learned that CIA were actually flying people to Uzbekistan in order to be tortured. I should be quite clear that I knew for certain and reported back to London that people were being handed over by the CIA to the Uzbek intelligence services and were being subjected to the most horrible tortures.

I didn’t realize that they weren’t Uzbek. I presumed simply that these were Uzbek people who had been captured elsewhere and were being sent in.

I now know from things I’ve learned subsequently, including the facts that the Council of Europe parliamentary inquiry into extraordinary rendition found that 90 percent of all the flights that called at the secret prison in Poland run by the CIA as a torture center for extraordinary rendition, 90 percent of those flights next went straight on to Tashkent [the capital of Uzbekistan].

There was an overwhelming body of evidence that actually people from all over the world were being taken by the CIA to Uzbekistan specifically in order to be tortured. I didn’t know that. I thought it was only Uzbeks, but nonetheless, I was complaining internally as hard as I could.

Retaliation

The result of which was that even when I was only complaining internally, I was subjected to the most dreadful pattern of things which I still find it hard to believe happened.

I was suddenly accused of issuing visas in return for sex, stealing money from the post account, of being an alcoholic, of driving an embassy vehicle down a flight of stairs, which is extraordinary because I can’t drive. I’ve never driven in my life. I don’t have a driving license. My eyesight is terrible. …

But I was accused of all these unbelievable accusations, which were leaked to the tabloid media, and I spent a whole year of tabloid stories about sex-mad ambassador, blah-blah-blah. And I hadn’t even gone public. What I had done was write a couple of memos saying that this collusion with torture is illegal under a number of international conventions including the UN Convention Against Torture.

I couldn’t believe [what was happening], I’d been a very successful foreign service officer for over 20 years. The British Foreign Service is small. Actual diplomats, as opposed to [support] staff, are only about 2,000 people,
I worked there for over 20 years. I knew most of them by name. All the people involved in smearing me, trying to taint me on false charges, were people I thought were my friends. It’s really hard when people you think are your friends [lie about you].

I’m writing memos saying it’s illegal to torture people, children are being tortured in front of their parents. And they’re writing memos back saying it depends on the definition of complicity under Article Four of the UN Convention.

I’m thinking what’s happening to their moral sense, and I never, ever considered myself a good person, at all. Yet I couldn’t see where they were coming from and I still don’t; I still don’t understand it to this day.

And then these people – and I’m absolutely certain quite knowingly – tried to negate what they saw as these unpatriotic things. I was told I was viewed now as unpatriotic, by trying to land me with false allegations.

I went through a five-month fight and formal charges. I was found eventually not guilty on all charges, but my reputation was ruined forever because the tabloid media all carried the allegations against me in 25-point headlines and the fact I was acquitted in two sentences on page 19. It’s extraordinary.

Lessons Learned

The thing that came out of it most strongly for me is how in a bureaucratic structure, if the government can convince people that there is a serious threat to the nation, ordinary people who are not bad people will go along with things that they know are bad, like torture, like trying to stain an innocent man.

And it’s circular, because the extraordinary thing about it was that the whole point of the intelligence being obtained under torture was to actually exaggerate the terrorist threats and to exaggerate the strength of al-Qaeda.

That was the whole point of why people were being tortured, to confess that they were members of al-Qaeda when they weren’t members of al-Qaeda and to denounce long lists of names of people as members of al-Qaeda who weren’t members of al-Qaeda.

I always tell my favorite example which is they gave me a long list of names of people whom people were forced to denounce and I often saw names of people I knew.

One day, I got this list from the CIA of names of a couple dozen al-Qaeda members and I knew one really quite well, an old dissident professor, a very distinguished man who was actually a Jehovah’s Witness, and there aren’t many Jehovah’s Witnesses in al-Qaeda. I’d even bet that al-Qaeda don’t even try to recruit Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m quite sure that Jehovah’s Witnesses would try to recruit al-Qaeda.

So much of this intelligence was nonsense. It was untrue and it was designed to paint a false picture. The purpose of the false picture was to make people feel afraid. What was it really about. …

I want to mention this book, which is the greatest book that I’ve ever written. It’s called Murder in Samarkand and recounts in detail what I have just told you together with the documentary evidence behind it.

But the most interesting bit of the entire book comes before the page numbers start, which is a facsimile of a letter from Enron, from Kenneth Lay, chairman of Enron, to the honorable George W. Bush, governor of the state of Texas. It was written on April 3, 1997, sometime before Bush became president.

It reads, I’ll just read you two or three sentences, “Dear George, you will be meeting with Ambassador Sadyq Safaev, Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to the United States on April 8th. … Enron has established an office in Tashkent and we are negotiating a $2 billion joint venture with Neftegas of Uzbekistan … to develop Uzbekistan’s natural gas and transport it to markets in Europe … This project can bring significant economic opportunities to Texas.”

Not everyone in Texas, of course. George Bush and Ken Lay, in particular.
That’s actually what it was about. All this stuff about al-Qaeda that they were inventing, extreme Islamists in Central Asia that they were inventing.

I have hundreds and hundreds of Uzbek friends now. Every single one of them drinks vodka. It is not a good place for al-Qaeda. They were inventing the threat in order to cover up the fact that their real motive was Enron’s gas contract and that was the plain and honest truth of the matter.

Just as almost everything you see about Afghanistan is a cover for the fact that the actual motive is the pipeline they wish to build over Afghanistan to bring out Uzbek and Turkmen natural gas which together is valued at up to $10 trillion, which they want to bring over Afghanistan and down to the Arabian Sea to make it available for export.

And we are living in a world where people, a small number of people, with incredible political clout and huge amounts of money, are prepared to see millions die for their personal economic gain and where, even worse, most people in bureaucracies are prepared to go along with it for their own much smaller economic gain, all within this psychological mirage which is so much of the war on terror.

It’s hard to stand against it. I do think things are a little more sane now than they were a year or two ago. I do think there’s a greater understanding, but you’ll never hear what I just told you in the mainstream media. It’s impossible to get it there.

(my italics and bolding... says it all really).

I also highly recommend reading Robin's latest LOBSTER article (linked above see page 87) entitled "The meaning of subservience to America" which further elaborates the foregoing story. It additionally adds some quite explosive insights made by now retired Labour MP Tam Dalyell about the US-Iranian Faistian pact that he believes resulted in the bombing of the Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

David Guyatt
02-15-2010, 02:23 PM
The battle between the Anglo-American intelligence community, their tame hand-puppet politicians and the voices of reason continue:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/15/how-mi5-kept-watchdog-in-the-dark?CMP=AFCYAH (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/15/how-mu5-kept-watchdog-in-the-dark?CMP=AFCYAH)


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

David Leigh and Richard Norton-Taylor
guardian.co.uk, Monday 15 February 2010 09.06 GMT

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Politics/Pix/pictures/2008/06/10/evans.jpg
Jonathan Evans, the director-general of MI5. Photograph: PA

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. This new American "war on terror" involved the use of prolonged sleep deprivation, shackling and threats that Mohamed would be "disappeared", applied to the point where his mental stability corroded and he apparently became suicidal.

These interrogation tactics, of systematic ill-treatment which might amount to torture, had supposedly been banned by Britain since 1972, when it came to light that the British army was using them on IRA suspects.

But far from denouncing or even criticising US behaviour, MI5 officers co-operated with it. The secret files, when they eventually emerged, revealed that an MI5 officer had travelled to Karachi to help with the interrogation of Mohammed. Other MI5 desk officers and "more senior" figures also knew the contents of the CIA files, according to judgments of the British high court. That these facts had been kept from the ISC was a demonstration of the committee's impotence. Critics say the ISC is a useless government poodle, and the Binyam Mohamed affair appears to strengthen their case.

Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie said yesterday: "The ISC is not … able to get to the truth. The chairman is a prime ministerial appointee. This has allowed a revolving door between chairmanship of the ISC and the government front bench. That door should be closed."

The MI5 head finally felt obliged to confess to the ISC in 2008 and hand over the documents, because disclosure orders obtained by Mohamed's lawyers and enforced by the courts had led to the discovery of 42 incriminating files.

All had originally been kept from the ISC, which, despite its supposed special access within Whitehall's "ring of secrecy", is powerless to compel disclosure of documents, even if its under-resourced members had any idea of what to ask for.

Public protests from the ISC about such impotence have been ignored by No 10 in the past. In this case, the ISC was forced to admit in 2009 that the "new information [which] had come to light about the Binyam Mohamed case … had been overlooked during the committee's original rendition inquiry".

No public explanation has been offered of why the files were originally suppressed. Nor has the public been told how and by whom they were eventually unearthed within the bowels of Thames House. These may be matters for any future judicial inquiry into a cover-up.

The anonymous MI5 officer who went to Karachi and subsequently gave evidence to the high court that nothing was known of US malpractice has been targeted as a potential criminal suspect. It has been announced that a police inquiry is being held into his behaviour. This has been used as a justification by ministers, MI5 and ISC itself to remain silent. But the investigation has produced no tangible results, more than 18 months later.

The ISC claimed in March 2009 to have conducted its own "detailed investigation" into the scandal, having been confronted with it, and to have sent a private letter to the prime minister as a result.

It managed to do this without interviewing any witness who alleged direct knowledge of British complicity in torture – neither campaigners such as Human Rights Watch, nor media investigators, nor any of the alleged victims themselves.

The ISC only saw witnesses in secret once again, from MI5, MI6 and the Foreign Office, and has failed to publish any of its purported findings.

Had it not been for the judges defying repeated heavy pressure from the executive and going public, British voters would have learnt little from the ISC's activities. The ISC has so far only provided them with false information in its 2007 report, followed by a lack of information in subsequent reports.

This is nothing new, critics say. Its heavily censored reports have long been derided as establishment whitewash.

Not appointed by parliament, gagged by the Official Secrets Act, and even forced to meet outside Westminster, the ISC's members are more emasculated even than conventional select committees. The chairmanship is usually awarded as a sop to a former government minister, currently Kim Howells. Downing St has enforced a 'convention' under which only its chair is allowed to give interviews.

The committee has had only had a tiny secretariat of half a dozen clerks, and no investigative capacity of its own.

In March last year Gordon Brown promised reform. He said: "We will … enshrine an enhanced scrutiny and public role for the ISC. This will lead to more parliamentary debate on security matters, public hearings … and … greater transparency over appointments to the committee."

But nothing was done. Brown also promised to publish fresh guidance to bar MI5 from colluding in torture. Last autumn, the ISC protested that no guidance had materialised. A draft was then sent to the committee, but nothing has yet been published. Similarly, the ISC's latest annual report is still sitting in Downing St, awaiting censorship.

Another parliamentary committee has been tougher. Last august, the joint committee on human rights concluded the UK government was "determined to avoid parliamentary scrutiny" and said an independent inquiry was the only way to restore public confidence.

How the ISC was misled

There was a secret session of the ISC on 23 November 2006 at the Cabinet Office. The then head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, pictured, testified about MI5's role in the US interrogation of Binyam Mohammed that took place under her predecessor, Stephen Lander.

A heavily censored ISC report published in July 2007 showed Manningham-Buller and her team had claimed to lack knowledge that Mohamed was being ill-treated. The ISC – chaired by former Northern Ireland secretary Paul Murphy – was told: "A member of the security service did interview [Mohamed] once for a period of approximately three hours while he was detained in Karachi in 2002." The interrogator, later known as Witness B, was "an experienced officer" who conducted the interview "in line with the services' guidance to staff on contact with detainees".

The ISC recorded: "The security service denies that the officer told [Mohamed] he would be tortured as he alleges … He did not observe any abuse and … no instances of abuse were mentioned by [Mohamed]."

Murphy's committee reported that MI5 had "lack of knowledge at the time of any possible consequences of US custody of detainees." That statement now appears to have been untrue.

The six key questions posed by Human Rights Watch to the government

1. What steps as a matter of policy does the UK government, including all intelligence and security agencies, take to ensure that torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are not used in any cases in which it has asked the Pakistani authorities for assistance or co-operation?

2. What does the UK government do when it learns that torture or ill-*treatment has occurred in a particular case?

3. What conditions has the UK government put on continuing co-operation and assistance with Pakistan in counter-terror and law *enforcement activities?

4. Has the UK government ever conditioned continuing co-operation or assistance with Pakistan on an end to torture and other ill-treatment?

5. Has the UK government ever withdrawn cooperation in a particular case or cases because of torture or ill-treatment?

6. What is the policy and legal advice in force to ensure that UK officials and agents do not participate or acquiesce in, or are complicit in torture or ill-treatment?[/quote]

Magda Hassan
02-16-2010, 12:32 AM
The men committee could have asked about MI5 and torture

A growing number of young British Muslims say they have been tortured overseas with the apparent complicity of MI5 or MI6 officers. Not all are still considered terrorism suspects – many were released without charge – but the intelligence and security committee has never sought to interview any of them, or their lawyers. They include the men below




Ian Cobain (http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/iancobain)
guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/), Monday 15 February 2010 09.14 GMT
Article history (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/15/mi5-committee-torture-men-asked#history-link-box)

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/About/General/2009/7/26/1248629473751/Alam-Ghafoor-009.jpg Alam Ghafoor. Photograph: Christopher Thomond

Alam Ghafoor, 39

Company director from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Held in Dubai shortly after the July 2005 bomb attacks on the London transport network, Ghafoor says he was beaten, deprived of sleep and forced to assume stressful positions for days on end. He was told he had been detained at the request of the British authorities and questioned only about the bombings. After being released and allowed to fly home, he used data protection laws to obtain copies of telegrams between the British embassy and the Foreign Office that showed consular officials were forced to ask people other than the Dubai authorities for permission to see him. The identities of these people were blacked out.
Tahir Shah, 42


http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/About/General/2010/2/15/1266249098310/Tahir-Shah---001.jpg Tahir Shah was detained in Pakistan shortly after the July 2005 bombings, while filming a documentary. Writer and broadcaster from London
Son of renowned Sufi writer Idries Shah. Detained in Pakistan shortly after the July 2005 bombings, while filming a *documentary. Hooded, threatened and interrogated in torture chamber. Released after 16 days and deported. Questioned on arrival at Heathrow by a man he believes to have been an MI5 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/mi5) officer. This man handed back the UK passport taken by Pakistani interrogators.
Rangzieb Ahmed, 34

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/About/General/2010/2/15/1266248368329/Rangzieb-Ahmed-001.jpg Rangzieb Ahmed was convicted of being a member of al-Qaida. Photograph: AFP/Getty Islamist terrorist from Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester police (GMP) allowed him to fly from Manchester to Islamabad in 2006, and tipped off *Pakistani authorities that he was on his way. MI6 told Pakistan's notorious Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) that Ahmed was a dangerous terrorist and suggested he be detained. MI5 and GMP drew up a list of questions for ISI to put to him. Three of Ahmed's fingernails were subsequently ripped out. Deported to Manchester and successfully *prosecuted, almost entirely on basis of evidence gathered in UK before he had been allowed to fly to Pakistan. The home secretary, Alan Johnson, pointed out last week that a judge ruled that the British had not "outsourced" Ahmed's torture. Johnson overlooked the fact that the judge highlighted a degree of British "complicity" in Ahmed's torture, and that the judge's full ruling is being kept in a safe installed at Manchester crown court – at the request of MI5.
Jamil Rahman, 32


Former civil servant from south Wales
Detained in Bangladesh by officers of that country's Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, for questioning about his twin brother, an associate of Rangzieb Ahmed. Says his interrogators were British, and that whenever they were not satisfied by his answers they would leave the room and he would be beaten, slapped and threatened. Says his wife was held in the next room and he would be threatened she would be raped. She corroborates this. Released without charge, but remains deeply traumatised, and is now suing the Home Office.
Tariq Mahmood, 36


Taxi driver from Birmingham
Mahmood was abducted by the ISI in Rawalpindi in October 2003, and held in the same secret prison at which Amin was later detained. His family say he was interrogated by both British and US officials after being tortured.
His family's solicitor in Birmingham wrote to Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, and to the British high commission in Islamabad, seeking information on his whereabouts. Mahmood was released without charge four months later. Mahmood's brother Asif says: "Everyone mistreated him in a bad way. It was the British, it was MI5, and it was the FBI." Mahmood remains in Pakistan, where friends and neighbours say he has been unable to recover his UK passport from the high commission.
Moazzam Begg (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/moazzam-begg), 41


http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/4/6/1239023437487/Moazzam-Begg-a-former-det-005.jpg Moazzam Begg, a former detainee of Guantánamo Bay. Photograph: Guardian From Birmingham
Detained in Pakistan in February 2002 and questioned by British and US *intelligence officers before being rendered to Afghanistan and then Guantánamo Bay. Questioned by the British again at Guantánamo. Begg is one of several British former inmates of the camp who are now suing MI5, MI6, the Foreign Office and the Home Office.
Salahuddin Amin, 34


http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/About/General/2010/2/15/1266246221708/Salahuddin-Amin-001.jpg Salahuddin Amin was given a life sentence for planning a series of bomb attacks. Photograph: EPA Convicted terrorist from Luton, Bedfordshire
Held for 10 months by Pakistan's ISI and questioned about a terrorist plot against the UK. Interrogated 11 times by MI5 officers during this period, according to evidence disclosed by the prosecution at his eventual Old Bailey trial. Says he was beaten, whipped, suspended from the ceiling, deprived of sleep and threatened with an electric drill. An Old Bailey judge ruled that his treatment was "physically oppressive" and unlawful, but fell short of torture. Human Rights Watch has been told by Pakistani interrogators that Amin's account was essentially accurate.
Binyam Mohamed (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/binyam-mohamed)

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Admin/BkFill/Default_image_group/2010/2/10/1265841498921/Binyam-Mohamed-006.jpg Claimed he was tortured after being detained in Pakistan in 2002. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP British resident living in west London
Detained in Pakistan in 2002 as he tried to leave on a false passport and questioned by CIA. MI5 told the intelligence and security committee (ISC) it had no reason to believe he was being tortured before sending an officer known as Witness B to interrogate him. High court later heard that before Witness B flew to Pakistan the CIA had passed 42 documents to MI5 detailing the mistreatment of Mohamed and the effect on his mind. The matter is now the subject of a police investigation. ISC chair Kim Howells, a former minister with responsibility for overseas counter-terrorism, insists MI5 has done nothing wrong – a statement that has triggered calls for reform of the ISC.
Azhar Khan, 27


From Slough, Berkshire
Detained on arrival at Cairo airport in July 2008, and held for a week, during which time, he says, he was hooded, starved, beaten, subjected to electric shocks, forced to stand for days at a time and forced to hear others being tortured. Says he was questioned only about friends and associates in Britain, some of them convicted terrorists. Says Egyptians asked him about discrepancies between a statement he had once given to Scotland Yard counter-terrorism detectives and subsequent comments he made during a visit to a friend in prison. Released without charge but still suffering physical and *psychological effects. Asked about his ordeal, the Foreign Office issued a series of evasive and misleading statements. Khan's case was highlighted by a United Nations human rights and torture special report *published two weeks ago.
MS, 28


Doctor from west London
Detained in Karachi after the July 2005 bombings. Held for two months in a building opposite the British deputy high commission's offices, where he says he was beaten, deprived of sleep, whipped, and forced to watch others being tortured. Questioned by two British intelligence officers at the end of his ordeal. His father says officials at the deputy high commission claimed for weeks that they had no idea where his son was. Human Rights Watch has been told by the Pakistani interrogators that intelligence officers at the commission were "breathing down our necks" for information. MS was released without charge, and now works at a hospital on the south coast of England. Remains deeply traumatised and is terrified of MI5.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/15/mi5-committee-torture-men-asked

David Guyatt
02-20-2010, 11:09 AM
Well, well, well, what's all this then? Amen.

The Bill investigating the Box? Unheard of in my lifetime. Does this suggest that the Brown government and the Mandarins are at war?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/19/police-claims-shaker-aamer-torture-mi5-complicit?CMP=AFCYAH


Police investigate claim MI5 was complicit in Shaker Aamer's torture

Metropolitan police investigate claims the last UK resident held in
Guantánamo Bay was tortured with MI5's knowledge

Richard Norton-Taylor and Vikram Dodd
guardian.co.uk, Friday 19 February 2010 16.24 GMT

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/2/19/1266594583316/Shaker-Aamer-001.jpg
Police are investigating claims that MI5 was complicit in the torture of Shaker Aamer who is the last British resident being held at Guantanamo Bay. Photograph: PA

The Metropolitan police is investigating allegations that MI5 was complicit in the torture of Shaker Aamer, the last remaining British resident in Guantánamo Bay, it was revealed today.

Investigating officers have applied to the high court for the release of classified government documents relating to the case. They are already investigating claims of MI5 complicity in the ill-treatment of British resident Binyam Mohamed while being held by the US.

Saudi-born Aamer has accused British security and intelligence officers of being aware of his torture in US custody at Bagram airport prison in Afghanistan. He is also a witness in Mohamed's case.

Aamer, 42, is married to a British national who lives with their four children in London. He has been held by the US for more than seven years without charge.

Meanwhile the human rights watchdog, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has called for an inquiry into claims that the security services were complicit in the torture of more than 20 terror suspects. The commission's chairman, Trevor Phillips, has written to Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to say the government "needs urgently to put in place a review process to assess the truth or otherwise of all these allegations".

Yesterday Richard Hermer, QC, Aamer's counsel, told the high court that Met officers visited his solicitors, Birnberg Peirce, on Wednesday. He told Mr Justice Sullivan: "It became apparent they are now investigating allegations raised by Mr Aamer into the alleged complicity of the UK security service in his mistreatment." He said the police had made an application to the court "for release of relevant documents". They are understood to relate to allegations that confessions Aamer made were obtained through torture.

The Guantánamo detainee review taskforce is expected to decide soon whether Aamer should be released.

After initially refusing to release the documents, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, recently agreed to hand them over to the US authorities following a high court ruling in Aamer's favour.

Sullivan said today: "These whole proceedings have been a gigantic waste of time and money." He awarded Aamer's lawyers costs against the government, ordering an interim payment of £25,000.

The court was told in earlier hearings that Aamer had been held in Guantánamo since February 2002. It is alleged that on one occasion his head was repeatedly "banged so hard against a wall that it bounced" while an MI5 officer was present. He says he was also threatened with death.

Aamer's solicitor, Gareth Peirce, said today : "It is of central importance and urgency that everything is done to have him returned to this country." She said the government had said it was making strenuous efforts to have him returned, but no diplomatic pressure had been exerted.

Aamer's US lawyer, Brent Mickum, said: "I have seen records of interviews with him by the UK security services …They were fully aware that he was complaining about his treatment and had been tortured."

Peter Presland
02-20-2010, 11:40 AM
Well, well, well, what's all this then? Amen.

The Bill investigating the Box? Unheard of in my lifetime. Does this suggest that the Brown government and the Mandarins are at war?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/19/police-claims-shaker-aamer-torture-mi5-complicit?CMP=AFCYAH
Division close to the top of our hidden powers structures that's for sure. Not so sure about it being between the Brown Government and Mandarins though.

My take on the current Met Commissioner (which may be wrong) is that he is a Lancashire Lad and a tad less susceptible to political direction from elected politicians - especially politicians nearing their 'sell-by' date - than his predecessor. Looks to me more like division among the Mandarins themselves - at any rate to the extent that the Met Commissioner can be properly numbered among them, which of course is questionable.

Anyway - division at the top over an issue like this is indeed a positive sign. I won't hold my breath over a real breakthrough but it will be fascinating to watch how things develop.

Of course it could just be a 'higher-powered-than-normally-required' damage limitation exercise, dictated by the gravity of the issue and current public disquiet about it. You know the sort of thing - thorough investigation by senior and independent policemen exonerates our wonderful SIS's, or at most hangs a couple of minions out to dry; public reassured; so that's OK then - and back to business as usual.

Peter Presland
02-25-2010, 08:13 AM
The oh so predictable course of the British Establishment in damage limitation mode. It is like a broken bloody record - every time. Protect and defend 'The System' at ANY cost (to the poor bloody infantry). Provide immunity to its senior officers/power brokers; allow plod to harass, arrest and maybe even prosecute the odd minion or two.

Very reminiscent of what happened to the Directors of Matrix Churchill, Astra Holding, Sheffield Forgemaster etc to protect the corruption at the heart of the Thatcher government over the Arms to Iraq scandal of the early nineties too - I've just finished that Gerald James Book 'In the Public Interest' and all kinds of bells are ringing.

The stench really is overpowering.


MI5 and MI6 not to be investigated over torture claims

MI5 and MI6 will not be investigated over allegations they were complicit in the torture of terror suspects abroad, the Attorney General has decided.

Baroness Scotland considered the cases following a report by the pressure group Human Rights Watch, published last November.

In a statement released yesterday the Attorney General’s department said the time taken to respond reflected “careful consideration of the report.”

It added: “The Attorney has not asked the police to investigate the allegations in the report” but said that individual allegations could still be brought directly to the attention of the police.

The statement said the Attorney General had received no files or other information on the cases in addition to the report, which was already in the public domain.

It added: “The Attorney notes that the English courts have rejected claims that alleged UK complicity in ill-treatment amounted to abuse of process in the criminal cases of two of these individuals covered by the report,” referring to convicted al-Qaeda prisoners Rangzieb Ahmed and Salahuddin Amin.

In others it said it was not possible to go into further detail for various reasons, including some that are the subject of ongoing legal proceedings.

The Attorney General also rejected calls for a judicial inquiry because such issues were being addressed in civil litigation going through the courts.

“Where the law affords an opportunity for individuals to seek redress for civil claims it is appropriate that they are given access to justice to allow these claims to be heard,” the statement added.

MI5 and MI6 are already the subject of two separate criminal inquiries in relation to Binyam Mohamed, the former Guantanamo detainee, and another unidentified case.

The five cases included a 24-year-old medical student, identified only as ZZ, who was allegedly tortured for two months in Karachi.

He claims he was questioned by two British intelligence officers.

Four other cases involved suspects formally accused or convicted of involvement in terrorism.

Zeeshan Siddiqui, from Hounslow, west London, was arrested in Pakistan in May 2005. His lawyers claim he was interviewed while in a traumatised state six times by British intelligence officers.

Convicted terrorist Amin, from north London, has said after being tortured he was questioned on almost a dozen occasions by two men called Matt and Richard, who allegedly said they were from MI5.

It was claimed agents were also allegedly involved in the case of Ahmed, from Lancashire, who was convicted of directing terrorism in Britain in 2008.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph earlier this month, Jonathan Evans, the director-general of MI5, admitted British intelligence agencies were "slow to detect" US mistreatment of detainees.

But he insisted: "We in the UK agencies did not practise mistreatment or torture then and do not do so now, nor do we collude in torture or encourage others to torture on our behalf."

Magda Hassan
02-25-2010, 08:23 AM
Disgusting news. :eviltongue: It is like a broken record isn't it? I keep hearing the name Baroness Scotland and it is never good. MI5 and 6 have probably got heaps on the pollies to keep them all toeing the line.

Peter Presland
02-25-2010, 09:06 AM
....I keep hearing the name Baroness Scotland and it is never good.
She is a first generation immigrant from the Dominican Republic - arrived here aged 3 according to Wikipedia.

In the claustrophobic world of the British Establishment it is often the case that, when someone who would normally be treated as very much an outsider (ie as far from the Harrow/Eaton - OxBridge mould as can be envisaged) makes it by whatever means to senior political rank, they are likely to be extreme in their protection and defence of that which provides them with their exalted position and place. They become VERY useful tools of 'The Establishment IOW - with attributes akin to 'the zeal of the convert' in religious terminology.

Baroness Scotland is something of an archetype of the genre.

David Guyatt
02-25-2010, 09:34 AM
I knew it was too good to be true.

SCotland was responsible for pushing the foul and blighted legislation of the UK-US extradition treaty through the House of Lords. Establishment flunky par excellence. Say no more.

But if anythig, this decision powerfully suggests that the intelligence community are guilty of the charges of complicity in torture.

David Guyatt
02-25-2010, 02:56 PM
Oh goody. Go Reprieve!

Watch:

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/02/201022317532529311.html

And this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8529357.stm


Fresh legal bid on torture advice
By Dominic Casciani
BBC News
The government is facing fresh legal action over secret guidance on torture given to intelligence officers interviewing detainees abroad.

Legal charity Reprieve, which represents several former Guantanamo Bay detainees, wants the advice for MI5 and MI6 officers to be published.

It says the guidelines condone complicity in torture.

Ministers say the guidance was lawful but has been superseded by new rules, which will soon be published.

'Compelling evidence'

Reprieve said it was in the process of issuing legal proceedings against the prime minister, home secretary, foreign secretary, defence secretary and attorney general.

The application for a judicial review alleges there is "compelling evidence" that "UK intelligence personnel have been engaged in activities amounting to complicity in torture and that the inevitable inference is that such activities have been in conformity with unlawful promulgated policies and guidance" since at least 2002.

Richard Stein, partner at Leigh Day & Co, which is issuing the proceedings on behalf of Reprieve, said the allegation was that the UK was "complicit" by working alongside authorities which did use torture.

Mr Stein said: "The case is to challenge the legality of the policy that currently exists in relation to the way that British agents should relate to other states and other states' agents when they are involved in interrogating, torturing, rendering people around the world, as we know happens."

He added: "The torturer is inside the room torturing the person and the British agents are outside passing bits of information and questions under the door. That, Reprieve considers, is unlawful."

Secret guidance

The government is already under pressure over what the intelligence and security services knew of the US treatment of some detainees.

Earlier this month, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed won a major legal victory when the Court of Appeal ordered the government to publish what intelligence officers knew about the Ethiopian-born man's mistreatment in Pakistan in 2002.

US interrogators deprived Mr Mohamed of sleep, shackled him and threatened that he would be "disappeared".

“ We did not practise mistreatment or torture then and do not do so now, nor do we collude in torture or encourage others to torture on our behalf ”
Jonathan Evans, MI5
He was later interviewed by an MI5 officer - but then secretly moved by the CIA to Morocco where the US courts say he was tortured.

He and six other men are already suing the government saying it was complicit in their alleged mistreatment.

Now the legal charity involved in the cases says it will try to force the government to publish the secret guidance given to officers over the last eight years.

Last year Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged to publish the new guidance to intelligence officers on detention and on interviews with detainees overseas to show that the security services opposed torture. But that new guidance has still not been published.

The guidance was originally issued in 2002 and then expanded two years later. Neither of these two documents has been published.

The fresh guidance is currently with the Intelligence and Security Committee, which answers to the prime minister.

Unprecedented article

Clive Stafford-Smith, of Reprieve, said that the government was not answering critical questions about the evidence of alleged complicity in torture overseas.

The campaign group said "diverse examples" would be used to support the legal action.

"Advice given to agents cannot sensibly be deemed 'classified', as disclosing legal advice hardly betrays a national secret," said Mr Stafford-Smith.

"Rather, depending on what the policy was, it exposes those who sanctioned the advice to immense embarrassment.

"Equally, it cannot take a year to come up with new advice - we could have written it for them in an afternoon."

Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, wrote an unprecedented article to a national newspaper following the Binyam Mohamed ruling.

The article said the Intelligence and Security Committee had already found that the security service had been slow to react to the US's mistreatment of detainees after 9/11.

He added: "We did not practise mistreatment or torture then and do not do so now, nor do we collude in torture or encourage others to torture on our behalf."

David Guyatt
02-26-2010, 10:34 AM
Bravo Court of Appeal!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8538410.stm


Court lifts ban on Binyam wording

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46134000/jpg/_46134387_binyam_226bbc.jpg

The Court of Appeal has decided to publish a paragraph criticising MI5 in a judgement involving former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed.

A senior judge had altered the text following protests from government lawyers who saw the draft version.

The appeal judges said the robust criticism contained in the original wording should be published "in the interests of open justice".

The foreign secretary has previously denied officials had acted unfairly.

According to an interview on BBC News a short while ago, this signals that the Court will not be bowed by immense pressure from the government, notably that bloody awful Bliar clone, David Milliband, and the spooks, who have, it seems, activated a media campaign over the last weeks and months to ensure a judgement in their favour.

MI5 (and MI6) were complicit in torture.

We now await formal publication of the critical paragraph.

David Guyatt
02-26-2010, 06:12 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/top-judge-speaks-out-against-mi5-over-binyam-mohamed-torture-row-1911628.html


February 26, 2010
Top judge speaks out against MI5 over Binyam Mohamed torture row
By John Aston and Cathy Gordon, PA
One of the country's leading judges today published strong criticism of the British Security Service over former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, despite Government objections.

Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, said denials by the Security Service of knowing of any ill treatment of US terror suspect detainees "does not seem to have been true" in Mr Mohamed's case.

The judge ruled the evidence showed that "some Security Services officials appear to have a dubious record relating to actual involvement, and frankness about any such involvement, with the mistreatment of Mr Mohamed when he was held at the behest of US officials".

The judge's remarks led to further calls for a full public inquiry into allegations that the UK has been complicit in torture.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "I am deeply disappointed that the court has decided to criticise the Security Service in this way."

Mr Mohamed says he was tortured in Pakistan in 2002 while held by the US, with the knowledge of MI5.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband asked the Court of Appeal to block a High Court decision to publish a seven-paragraph summary of what MI5 knew about his ill treatment.

The summary showed MI5 was aware Mr Mohamed was being continuously deprived of sleep, threatened with rendition and being subjected to "significant mental stress and suffering".

Earlier this month, Lord Neuberger and two other top appeal judges - Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, and Sir Anthony May, President of the Queen's Bench Division, rejected Mr Miliband's appeal against the High Court summary becoming public knowledge.

A dispute erupted between the Government and the court over a key paragraph in a draft version of Lord Neuberger's judgment.

Jonathan Sumption QC, representing the Foreign Secretary, said paragraph 168 went "well beyond" anything found by the High Court judges.

As a result the judge altered the paragraph - leading to accusations that he was "watering down" his ruling - and said he would further reconsider it.

Today he reverted to the original paragraph, with limited modifications, saying its findings were "fully supported" by the evidence.

He removed a reference to the Foreign Office "which was not really justified" and made it clear that his observations "relate to the facts of this case".

In the "final version" of paragraph 168 the judge said the Security Services had denied knowing of any ill-treatment of US detainees.

"Yet, in this case, that does not seem to have been true: as the evidence showed, some Security Services officials appear to have a dubious record relating to actual involvement - and frankness about any such involvement - with the mistreatment of Mr Mohamed when he was held at the behest of US officials," said the judge.

The good faith of the Foreign Secretary was not in question, but he had prepared public interest immunity certificates (PIIs) - used to keep information secret - "partly, possibly largely, on the basis of information and advice provided by Security Services personnel".

The judge concluded: "Regrettably, but inevitably, this must raise the question whether any statement in the certificates on an issue concerning the mistreatment of Mr Mohamed can be relied on, especially when the issue is whether contemporaneous communications to the Security Services about such mistreatment should be revealed publicly.

"Not only is there some reason for distrusting such a statement, given that it is based on Security Services' advice and information, because of previous, albeit general, assurances in 2005, but also the Security Services have an interest in the suppression of such information."

The Lord Chief Justice stressed there had been no "ministerial interference" in today's appeal.

He warned that "a damaging myth may develop to the effect that, in this case, a Minister of the Crown, or counsel acting for him, was somehow permitted to interfere with the judicial process.

"This did not happen, and it is critical to the integrity of the administration of justice that if any such misconception may be taking root it should be eradicated."

The judge said perhaps the most obvious indication that there was no such ministerial interference was the fact that five judges - two in the High Court and three in the Appeal Court - had all rejected the Foreign Secretary's claim for public interest immunity in respect of the seven paragraphs summarising the information from MI5.

Later the Home Secretary said: "The Government respects the right of the judges to reach their own judgment. But it is also right that, where we disagree with their conclusions, we say so.

"The UK's security and intelligence services do outstanding work to keep us safe against a real and continuing terrorist threat, and they do so under proper control and oversight - by ministers, the Intelligence and Security Committee, the commissioners and, where necessary, the courts".

Mr Johnson said allegations regarding one MI5 officer alleged to have known of Mr Mohamed's ill treatment, referred to as Witness B, had been referred by the Government to the Attorney General.

They were being investigated by the police and were part of a claim for civil damages before the High Court.

He said: "It is vital that these legal processes, which will provide the right level of independent scrutiny, are not undermined and that we allow them to come to their own conclusions.

"We totally reject any suggestion that the Security Services have a systemic problem in respecting human rights.

"We wholly reject too that they have any interest in suppressing or withholding information from ministers or the courts."

But Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "This has been a shameful business.

"Complicity in torture is bad enough without repeat and strenuous attempts to cover it up.

"Nonetheless despite the Government's efforts, the Court of Appeal has defended principles prohibiting torture and protecting open justice that are essential to the rule of law."

Cori Crider, legal director at Reprieve, praised the judges for showing "the utmost integrity and concern for the public interest", but said a full public inquiry was now necessary.

She said: "Now that (paragraph 168) has been largely restored, questions linger.

"Of course Witness B acted inappropriately - but who was directing Witness B in Pakistan? What policies allowed such complicity in torture?

"How many cases like Binyam's were there? We know of Shaker Aamer, Rangzieb Ahmed, and the list seems to grow by the day.

"Only a full public inquiry will answer the public's concerns about what has been done in our name."

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Edward Davey said: "The suggestion that there were others in the Security Services involved in unacceptable practices makes the need for a full judicial inquiry irrefutable."

Former shadow home secretary David Davis said the case for a judicial inquiry "is now unanswerable".

He said: "This case has been made by everybody from the Joint Committee on Human Rights through countless interested NGOs, to the Government's own Equality and Human Rights Commission, as well as all Opposition parties.

"It is now time to clear this matter up once and for all, both to re-establish Britain's moral reputation, and allow agencies to put this behind them in continuing their battle against terrorism."

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: "It is deeply regrettable that a cloud has been cast over the intelligence services who work with British Governments to keep our country safe and are a vital line of defence.

"The Government have so far failed to draw a line under allegations of British complicity in torture and to chart a clear course for the future.

"The matter has been dragged through the courts, relations with the United States have been strained, and public confidence has been eroded.

"The Prime Minister promised a year ago to publish the guidance given to Security Service officials and to refer allegations of complicity in torture to the Attorney General. There has been a year of silence since then.

"The guidance must be published as a matter of urgency. The Government must do everything possible to restore public confidence."

Mr Davey added: "The implication that David Miliband had the wool pulled over his eyes is deeply embarrassing for the Foreign Secretary.

"However, the suggestion that he acted in good faith means the real questions need to be answered by others in Government. Did former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sign off on the 'coercive techniques' referred to in the judgment?"

In response, a spokesman for Mr Straw - now Justice Secretary - said: "There has at no stage been any suggestion whatever of any impropriety by Mr Straw in respect of his responsibility for the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ during the period that he served as Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006.

"This absence of any suggestion follows the examination by the Intelligence and Security Committee and the courts of volumes of papers covering the period when Mr Straw was Foreign Secretary.

"Everybody understands the concerns about Mr Mohamed's treatment, but this call by the Liberal Democrats is wide of the mark and frankly gratuitous.

"As the Prime Minister has said, the Government condemns torture without reservation and is not, and never will be, complicit in its use."

David Guyatt
03-10-2010, 12:33 PM
The god awful arse-covering and twisting continues.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20100310/tuk-ex-mi5-head-us-concealed-torture-6323e80.html


Ex-MI5 head: US concealed torture
Wednesday, March 10 08:39 am

A former head of MI5 has claimed that US intelligence agencies had deliberately concealed their mistreatment of terror suspects. Skip related content

Baroness Manningham-Buller said she had only learnt that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been waterboarded after retiring from the Security Service in 2007.

Her intervention, to a selected gathering at the House of Lords, followed intense controversy over British agents' alleged collusion with US counterparts employing torture techniques.

It erupted last month after the disclosure of what was described as the "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of Binyam Mohamed, the British resident formerly held at Guantanamo Bay.

Ministers and current MI5 chief Jonathan Evans have insisted there was no collusion by UK security forces. But there are enduring questions about exactly when they learnt that the US apparently changed its rules on torture after the 9/11 attacks.

The security services are also under pressure over claims that they have a "culture of suppression" about such matters. But Lady Manningham-Buller said it had been the US that had been "very keen to conceal from us what was happening".

She added: "The Americans were very keen that people like us did not discover what they were doing."

In a lecture at an event organised by the Mile End Group, she said she had wondered, in 2002 and 2003, how the US had been able to supply the UK with intelligence from Mohammed. "I said to my staff, 'Why is he talking?' because our experience of Irish prisoners, Irish terrorists, was that they never said anything," she said.

"They said, well, the Americans say he is very proud of his achievements when questioned about it. It wasn't actually until after I retired that I read that, in fact, he had been waterboarded 160 times."

Lady Manningham-Buller said the Government had lodged "protests" with the Americans about its treatment of detainees, but refused to elaborate. She went on to say that the allegations of complicity in torture could disrupt MI5's work.

Magda Hassan
03-10-2010, 12:37 PM
Yeah, I saw that too. "It's all their fault!" Those naughty Yanks.

I like this too. Talk about blaming the messenger:

She went on to say that the allegations of complicity in torture could disrupt MI5's work.

David Guyatt
03-10-2010, 12:57 PM
I wondered if there was a bit of preemptive blame storming going on in light of Inspector Knacker of the Yard's apparently pending investigation. Things being the way they are, it is always the former, retired boss who is seated beneath the dangling sword.

David Guyatt
03-10-2010, 03:05 PM
As if:


http://johnrentoul.independentminds.livejournal.com/309489.html

Truth about torture

Posted by John Rentoul

Wednesday, 10 March 2010 at 10:18 am

http://pics.livejournal.com/j_rentoul/pic/000q3spw/s320x240

Perhaps all those who paid too little attention to the detail of the news reports designed to give the impression that British ministers were "complicit" in torture of terrorist suspects will read the reports of the lecture given by Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5 (right), to the Mile End Group last night.

The Americans were very keen that people like us did not discover what they were doing.

This is something that the British Government cannot easily say, for obvious reasons.

I said to my staff, ‘Why is he talking?’ because our experience of Irish prisoners, Irish terrorists, was that they never said anything.

They said, 'Well, the Americans say he is very proud of his achievements when questioned about it'.

It wasn’t actually until after I retired that I read that, in fact, he had been waterboarded 160 times.

Complain about Manningham-Buller's lack of curiosity if you must, but how much moral sophistication does one need to see the difference between that and ministerial collusion?

***

http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00085/john_rentoul_85942a.gifJohn Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.

(my bolding and italics)

Voluntary blindness becomes her and him:


http://www.sott.net/articles/show/201040-Details-emerge-of-British-army-s-torture-techniques-in-Northern-Ireland

[quote]Details emerge of British army's torture techniques in Northern Ireland


Irish Republican News
Fri, 08 Jan 2010 13:12 EST

http://www.sott.net/image/image/s1/31936/pod/waterboarding.jpg

Confirmation that the British Army tortured prisoners in Ireland during interrogations in the 1970s is emerging after one of the victims launched an appeal against his conflict-related conviction.

Liam Holden was sentenced to hang after being convicted in 1973 of the murder of a soldier, largely on the basis of an unsigned confession. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he spent 17 years behind bars.

The jury did not believe Holden's insistence that he made the confession only because he had been held down by members of the Parachute Regiment, whom he says placed a towel over his face before pouring water from a bucket over his nose and mouth. The torture technique, known as 'waterboarding', is akin to drowning.

But now the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has referred Holden's case to the court of appeal in Belfast after unearthing new evidence, and because of doubts about "the admissibility and reliability" of his confession.

The commission says it believes "there is a real possibility" his conviction will be quashed. After a preliminary hearing last month, Holden's appeal was adjourned.

Lawyers who have taken up his case have identified a second man who gave a similar account of being waterboarded after being arrested by the RUC. In a statement to a doctor in April 1978, this man said the RUC had put a towel over his face and poured water over his nose and mouth, and that "this was frightening and was repeated on a number of occasions". He was eventually released without charge. The CCRC also has a statement taken from a third man who says he was waterboarded by the British army in the early 70s.

All of the allegations come from a period after March 1972, when the then British prime minister, Ted Heath, claimed to have banned notorious torture methods which were later condemned by the European court of human rights as being inhuman and degrading.

Holden, a Roman Catholic, was 19 and a chef when he was seized during a raid by soldiers of the Parachute Regiment on his parents' home in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast in October 1972.

He said that after being arrested in his bed the soldiers had taken him to their base on Black Mountain, west of Belfast, where he was beaten, burned with a cigarette lighter, hooded and threatened with execution.

Holden also gave a detailed account of being waterboarded, although he did not use that term. In a court report published the following day, it was reported that the defendant told the jury that he had been pushed into a cubicle where he was held down by six men, that a towel was placed over his head, and that water was then poured slowly over his face from a bucket. "It nearly put me unconscious," Holden was quoted as saying. "It nearly drowned me and stopped me from breathing. This went on for a minute." A short while later he was subjected to the same treatment again, he said.

A sergeant from the Parachute Regiment and a British army captain told the court that Holden had confessed to the shooting during an "interview". The unnamed sergeant said Holden had wanted to confess to the murder because "he wanted to get it off his chest", while the officer said the teenager had told him that he had left the IRA a short while later because he felt such remorse.

The jury took less than 75 minutes to convict Holden of capital murder, and the judge, Sir Robert Lowry, told him: "The sentence of the court is that you will suffer death in the manner authorised by law." The then British secretary, William Whitelaw, commuted the sentence the following month, and the death penalty was abolished in the Six Counties shortly afterwards. Holden did not appeal, however, with relatives saying at the time that he believed his trial had been "rigged" and a "farce".

He was eventually released from prison in 1989.

Holden's solicitor, Patricia Coyle, said: "At trial Mr Holden gave compelling evidence that the alleged confession was obtained by the army using water torture. He spent 17 years in jail. He is looking forward to the court hearing his appeal."

The new evidence that the CCRC has submitted to the court of appeal is being kept secret. The CCRC is unwilling to discuss this material, other than to say that it has not yet been disclosed at the request of the public body from which it was obtained. Holden's lawyers are now asking for it to be disclosed.

Seven months before Holden was detained by British soldiers, the Heath government had publicly repudiated and banned five "interrogation techniques". RUC officers had learned the techniques - hooding, sleep deprivation, starvation and the use of stress positions and noise - from British military intelligence officers, but Heath assured the Commons that they "will not be used in future as an aid to interrogation".

Waterboarding was used on republican prisoners as a form of punishment, as well as a means of extracting confessions. The British army also experimented with other methods of torture, including electric shocks, and the use of drugs.

In recent years, British military officers have admitted the use of waterboarding as early as the late sixties.

Peter Lemkin
03-10-2010, 04:25 PM
Ironic, isn't it that the UK and the Americans like to think of themselves as the pinnacle of civilized behavior....what would Jung have to say...even Hitler?

Peter Presland
03-10-2010, 04:28 PM
Plus this from Craig Murray (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/03/eliar_manningha.html) - ex UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan:

Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, is engaged in an outrageous attempt to rewrite history, by claiming we were unaware that the CIA was getting intelligence from torture.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/exmi5-head-us-hid-torture-tactics-from-uk-1918945.html
The government knew the CIA was sending us intelligence from torture from at least November 2002, when I sent a diplomatic telegram to Jack Straw and others - including MI5 - informing them so. I repeated it in February 2003, and was called back to a meeting on March 7 2003 where I was told that, as a matter of policy in the War on Terror, we were using intelligence from torture. Sir Michael Wood said at the meeting that in his opinion this policy was not contrary to international law.
I have made available indisputable documentary evidence of this, and that the policy of using intelligence from torture was sanctioned by Jack Straw:
Download file (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/03/%3Ca%20href=)">Download file (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/duffieldminute.pdf)
Download file (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/03/%3Ca%20href=)">Download file (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/mcDonald.pdf)
Download file (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/03/%3Ca%20href=)">Download file (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/Wood.pdf)
The redactions were made by the government.
I am astounded that, having obtained the first two documents under the Freedom of Information Act last November, no mainstream media outlet will mention them and refer to them, despite acres of reporting on whether Ministers had an intelligence from torture policy.
Plainly these documents disprove entirely the Eliza Mannigham Buller claims that we did not know. But don't expect to see them referred to in the media.
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/03/eliar_manningha.html

David Guyatt
03-10-2010, 06:24 PM
Ironic, isn't it that the UK and the Americans like to think of themselves as the pinnacle of civilized behavior....what would Jung have to say...even Hitler?

Jung would say that Man is pitiful unaware of his psyche" (for which read shadow).

In fact he did say that.

One reason why I keep banging on about it.

By this statement he meant that we are all capable of the most prolific deceits, conceits and utterly inhuman and evil actions and that out way of dealing with the eye-popping hypocrisy of this is to irresponsibly project those attitudes and actions on to others. In other words they are to blame, not us. Until each one of us has confronted, absorbed and digested their own personal shadow this same action and reaction will continue on a collective level ad infinitum. Ergo, it is up to each one of us individually to engage in the shadow confrontation and withdraw our own projections. That is the only way we may impact the collective in any meaningful way.

Of course, few people ever wish to engage in this and prefer, instead, not to take it at all seriously. After all someone else will sort it out won't they - it's not really our responsibility is it.

David Guyatt
03-10-2010, 06:33 PM
Peter, thanks for posting that. I believe it is vitally important that the lies and deceits of Brit intel and government on this issue is shoved right back up their collective fundament. Towards that end I am posting the first letter made available by Craig Murray in its entirety as these things sometimes have a way of disappearing

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/duffieldminute.pdf

Peter Presland
03-12-2010, 08:00 AM
From cartoonist Steve Bell in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cartoon/2010/mar/12/what-when-mi5-knew-torture#start-of-comments)

What the former MI5 chief Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller and her colleagues knew

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/3/12/1268358266104/Steve-Bell-12.03.2010-001.jpg

Satire on a satire that says it all.

A play on Oscar Wilde's 'The importance of being Earnest' - itself one of his best demolitions of the puffed up arrogance of the Victorian English upper classes. The exclamation refers to the following dialogue:

Jack: I don't actually know who I am by birth. I was... well, I was found.
Lady Bracknell: Found?
Jack: Yes. The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an old gentlemen of a kindly disposition found me and gave me the name of Worthing because he happened to have a first class ticket to Worthing at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It's a seaside resort.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this charitable gentlemen with the first class ticket to the seaside resort find you?
Jack: In a handbag.
Lady Bracknell: [closes eyes briefly] A handbag?
Jack: Yes, Lady Bracknell, I was in a hand bag. A somewhat large... black... leather handbag with handles... to it.
[pause]
Lady Bracknell: An ordinary handbag.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this Mr. James... or, Thomas Cardew come across this ordinary handbag?
Jack: The cloak room at Victoria Station. It was given to him in mistake for his own...
Lady Bracknell: [Shocked] The cloak room at Victoria Station?
Jack: Yes. The Brighton line.
Lady Bracknell: The line is immaterial.
[begins tearing up notes]
Lady Bracknell: Mr. Worthing. I must confess that I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it have handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life which reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? With Manningham Buller in the Lady Bracknell role.

OK - a little esoteric English but the offensive 'Uncle Tom' servants in the background plus the Dick Cheyney water-pouring lookalike should commend it to those in the USA too. You can be sure that Manningham Buller will see it and that she and here ilk be suitably outraged - after all they are SUCH superior beings eh?

Magda Hassan
03-12-2010, 08:07 AM
Lovely! A farce! There is so much of that around at the moment. Nothing like Wilde to show up the pretentiousness. :handkiss:

David Guyatt
03-12-2010, 11:02 AM
And isn't that a Dubya lookalike standing just behind the Cheney figure?

Everyone knows, but it can only be openly expressed by satire.

Peter Presland
03-12-2010, 11:33 AM
And isn't that a Dubya lookalike standing just behind the Cheney figure?

Could be seen as Kissinger too. Funny that - Think-alikes yes (in so far as Dubya was capable of thought), but never had HK and Dubya down as lookalikes until now.

Jan Klimkowski
03-12-2010, 06:07 PM
So, the former MI5 spychief and preposterously named Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller claims that British intelligence had no idea that the Americans were torturing people.

This is of course a desperate and totally insincere defence designed to protect government ministers and spooks from ending up in international criminal courts.

However, if MSM takes this defence seriously, as MSM is obliged to (after all, MSM regards the utterances of spy agencies as being the last word on "national security" and "defence of the realm") , then surely it's yet more evidence that British intelligence is completely and utterly incompetent and unfit for purpose.

Will Paxman (leading BBC political interviewer) grill MI5 and MI6 on this incompetence? Of course not.

Peter Presland
03-12-2010, 07:31 PM
However, if MSM takes this defence seriously as MSM is obliged to (after all, MSM regards the utterances of spy agencies as being the last word on "national security" and "defence of the realm") ......
It really is absurd that we should take ANYTHING that a Spook (especially a Chief Spook - ex or current) says seriously when you consider the sine-qua-non of qualifications to become a Spook in the first place. The following quote from Joseph Persico's 'Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage' sums up those qualifications rather well I believe (hat tip to Cryptome (http://cryptome.org/)):

Espionage involves peeking at the other fellow's hand, marking the cards, cooking the books, poisoning the well, breaking the rules, hitting below the belt, cheating, lying, deceiving, defaming, snooping, eavesdropping, prying, stealing, bribing, suborning, burglarizing, forging, misleading, conducting dirty tricks, dirty pool, skulduggery, blackmail, seduction, everything not sporting, not kosher, not cricket. In short, espionage stands virtue on its head and elevates vice instead. It is their job to deceive and mislead so, from the habit of a 'successful' working lifetime, that is EXACTLY what Dame Eliar M-B is undoubtedly doing.

Never was Claud Cockburn's little aphorism more apposite than when applied to our SIS's:

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied

Peter Lemkin
03-12-2010, 07:32 PM
So, the former MI5 spychief and preposterously named Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller claims that British intelligence had no idea that the Americans were torturing people.

This is of course a desperate and totally insincere defence designed to protect government ministers and spooks from ending up in international criminal courts.

However, if MSM takes this defence seriously, as MSM is obliged to (after all, MSM regards the utterances of spy agencies as being the last word on "national security" and "defence of the realm") , then surely it's yet more evidence that British intelligence is completely and utterly incompetent and unfit for purpose.

Will Paxman (leading BBC political interviewer) grill MI5 and MI6 on this incompetence? Of course not.

Points well taken, but I'll bet the preposterously named Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller was using the Bush-Chaney-Rumy 'definition' (term-of-art) as to what was and was not torture....its always in the 'fine print'....and not over until the fat lady sings.....:lollypop: (to cover-up the screams of those waterboarded et al.)