Posts Tagged ‘British government’

Judges order release of secret Binyam Mohamed torture evidence

February 10, 2010

Times Online, February 10, 2010

British Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, who is facing a US  military trial on terrorism charges

(PA)

Binyam Mohamed: held in Guantanamo

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband today lost his appeal court bid to prevent senior judges disclosing secret information relating to torture allegations in the case of Binyam Mohamed.

The former Guantanamo Bay detainee says that he was tortured in Pakistan while held by the CIA, with the knowledge of the British.

Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones want to disclose summaries of information held by the British security services. Mr Miliband, branded them “irresponsible” in an unprecedented attack on the judiciary, but today three of the country’s highest-ranking judges rejected both the minister’s accusations and his appeal.

The court rejected the Government’s claim that revealing the information would damage transatlantic intelligence co-operation.

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Galloway: A double betrayal

January 16, 2010
Morning Star Online,  January 15, 2010
George Galloway

I have been in a few dangerous places in my life. In the mid-1980s, I was bombed along with an ITN news crew by the Ethiopian air force.

With my face pressing into the dirt and no cover at all around me, I saw the shrapnel tear and kill small children, and watched others die on a wooden table in a grass hut after the bombers had gone.

I have been bombed by Israel in Beirut and held with an Israeli machine gun at my chest in Nablus during the first Iraq war.

I’ve never however been in a more dangerous situation than two weeks ago in the tiny Sinai port of Al-Arish to which the Egyptian dictatorship had insisted we bring the Viva Palestina convoy. Five hundred foreigners from 17 different nationalities with their 200 vehicles were crammed into a locked compound without water, food or toilet facilities.

They included no less than 10 Turkish MPs, one of whom was the chairman of Turkey’s foreign relations committee, there at the express wish of Turkey’s prime minister.

We captured on film from a third floor office the thugs of the Mukhabarat (intelligence) piling up stones and sharpening their sticks behind the backs of several ranks of riot police with helmets, batons and shields.

Then there was mayhem. We may have complaints about our own police, but I tell you when you see policemen hurling half-bricks into a crowd of women and men who’d only come to deliver medicine to desperate people under siege, you thank your lucky stars we don’t live in such a state. Fifty-five of our 500 were wounded and, but for the shocking effect on Arab public opinion – our own media didn’t give a damn – of the live footage (all on Youtube now), we might still be there now.

The morning after our siege was over and the dictatorship wanted us on our way. We refused to leave without our wounded comrades and the seven who had been taken prisoner. After another stand-off, our demands were met and we proceeded to a tumultuous welcome in Gaza, our numbers complete.

Then the word came to me from inside the Egyptian tyranny that I was to be arrested when we came out. Had that happened while I was surrounded by 500 pumped-up convoy members there would have been serious trouble, and I mean trouble.

So I sent them the message that I would come out in the dead of the night before and face the music alone but for my old friend Scots journalist Ron McKay.

We emerged into the hands of a grim phalanx of mainly plainclothed secret policemen, none of whom could speak English, who bundled us into an unmarked van.

An Egyptian gumshoe journalist from the Daily News tried to interview us but was battered away. We were then driven off at speed.

I knew we were not going to be killed as we were able to call the Press Association, which makes all the difference in these situations.

We also made the formal call to the British Foreign Office, but it wasn’t worth the money. During the five-hour car journey to Cairo – in which a British MP of 23 years standing and a senior British journalist were hurtling, surrounded by three other vehicles and at least 25 security men – the British diplomats did nothing but tell us to co-operate.

But co-operation was difficult as our captors could speak no English and were saying nothing.

Britain used to run much of the world but now our diplomatic service couldn’t run a menage.

The chinless wonders of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – whose shameful silence in the run-up to the Iraq war is seeping out at the Chilcot Inquiry – are just about the last people with whom one would go tiger shooting.

They are very good at lying for their country’s rulers abroad, but incapable of doing much else – such as helping travellers who are in trouble, especially if they’re largely British Muslims who’ve just broken the siege of Gaza and incurred the wrath of the tin-pot dictatorship in Cairo as a result.

News came to us from London that Nile News, a mouthpiece of the dictatorship, was reporting that the seven convoy prisoners who had been released at Al-Arish were to be re-arrested on emerging from Gaza. Thus the bloodbath we had sought to avoid now looked inevitable.

We demanded to turn around and return to the Gaza-Egypt border but were refused. Security-force goons pushed us physically into the airport building and gave close quarter attention to both of us, even in the toilet.

The British embassy, having provided zero support for the hundreds of British citizens with Viva Palestina caught up in the battle of Al-Arish, now failed to send even an inky-fingered clerk to the Gaza border when the convoy was coming out and there were legitimate fears that there would be further arrests and another bloody battle.

I would complain to their boss, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, but what’s the point?

He met the Egyptian foreign minister the day before my arrest and deportation and gave the Egyptians the green light to go ahead.

And anyway, he’s busy sheathing his banana after yet another failed assassination attempt on Gordon Brown

The security goons finally ushered us up to the entrance of the BA plane and the first English speaker of the night stepped forward to declare me persona non grata in Egypt. I had been banned from Egypt apparently because I was “a trouble-maker.”

I made my own declaration to him which was that he and his fellow torturers would one day face the wrath of the Egyptian people, who incidentally had queued up at the airport in full view of the goons to shake hands with us. Mr Mubarak, a tin-pot tyrant who gets 99.99 per cent of the vote in elections, ain’t seen nothing yet.

George Galloway is Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.

Britain ‘aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes’

January 7, 2010
The Morning Star, Jan 6,  2010
by Paddy McGuffin

The British government has been accused of complicity in Israeli attempts to tear up the rule of international law and smear opponents.

The allegations followed promises made by Attorney General Baroness Scotland in Jerusalem on Tuesday that an effort would be made try to find ways to prevent senior Israeli figures being threatened with arrest on British soil.

The peer’s comments came after it emerged that a number of Israeli military personnel had pulled out of an official visit to Britain fearing arrest on war crimes charges.

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British govt. grovelling at the feet of war criminals

December 21, 2009
John Haylett, Morning Star Online, Dec  18, 2009

The British government’s grovelling apology to Israel after an arrest warrant was issued against former foreign minister Tzipi Livni was compounded by its promise to change the law to allow war criminals to roam freely.

Livni was up to her neck in the mass slaughter perpetrated against Palestinians in Gaza and declares her pride in all her decisions taken with regard to Operation Cast Lead.

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UK: Set Judicial Inquiry on Complicity in Torture

November 25, 2009

British Government should Stop Stonewalling

Human Rights Watch, Nov 24, 2009

(London) – The UK government should immediately order an independent judicial inquiry into the role and complicity of British security services in the torture of terrorism suspects in Pakistan, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 46-page report, “Cruel Britannia: British Complicity in the Torture and Ill-treatment of Terror Suspects in Pakistan,” provides accounts from victims and their families in the cases of five UK citizens of Pakistani origin – Salahuddin Amin, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Rangzieb Ahmed, Rashid Rauf and a fifth individual who wishes to remain anonymous – tortured in Pakistan by Pakistani security agencies between 2004 and 2007. Human Rights Watch found that while there is no evidence of UK officials directly participating in torture, UK complicity is clear.

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Commission hears graphic accounts of torture from former detainees

November 2, 2009

By Maria J. Dass, The Sun Daily, Nov. 1, 2009

Former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg, aided by Sami
Al-Hajj(standing) demonstrates how he was shackled at the camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 30, 2009): The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission today heard harrowing testimonies about the atrocities committed against the Guantanamo Bay detainees, which included psychological torture and routine humiliation.

A total of seven detainees including Sudanese journalist Sami Al’Hajj, and British nationals Moazzam Begg and Rahul Ahmed testified today about the atrocities that took place in the camps including how they were shackled, stripped naked in front of female soldiers, thrown naked into makeshift cells made with barbed wires, injected with substances and subjected to mental torture to the point they hallucinated.

Begg was detained in January 2002 in Pakistan, said he was told that there was no specific reason for his arrest except for the fact that he “fit a profile”.

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United States to send ‘up to 45,000 more troops to Afghanistan’

October 16, 2009

The US is expected to announce a significant surge of up to 45,000 extra troops for Afghanistan after Gordon Brown said that 500 more British troops would be sent to the country.

By James Kirkup and Andrew Hough, Telegraph.co.uk, Oct 14, 2009

Barack Obama with his National Security Team: Barack Obama to 'send 45,000 more troops to Afghanistan', reports suggest

Barack Obama holds a briefing on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his National Security Team. It is understood he would announce a surge in troop numbers. Photo: GETTY
Robert Gibbs: Barack Obama to 'send 45,000 more troops to Afghanistan', reports suggest

But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed the claims. Photo: AP
Gordon Brown: Barack Obama to 'send 45,000 more troops to Afghanistan', reports suggest

Gordon Brown told the Commons that Britain is sending another 500 troops to Afghanistan. Photo: PA

President Barack Obama’s administration is understood to have told the British government that it could announce, as early as next week, the substantial increase to its 65,000 troops already serving there.

The decision from Mr Obama comes after he considered a request from General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, to send tens of thousands of extra American troops to the country.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said: “I don’t want to put words in the mouths of the Americans but I am fairly confident of the way it is going to come out.”

An announcement next week could coincide with a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Bratislava, Slovakia, due next Thursday and Friday.

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Bowing to America’s ‘naked political power’

August 3, 2009

Suppressing evidence of torture, as the US is asking Britain to do in the Binyam Mohamed case, is a criminal offence

Over the weekend, the government has identified another way to embarrass itself.

Karen Steyn is the barrister representing David Miliband, who has been arguing that we must suppress evidence of torture in the case of Binyam Mohamed. On Saturday, the high court judges sent the foreign secretary a transcript of their interrogation of Steyn for him to confirm in writing whether he really means what she says.

The issue at stake is whether the government really wants to suppress seven paragraphs that apparently include American admissions that they tortured Mohamed. First, Steyn confirmed that the material that she wanted suppressed had no intelligence value – it did not “conceivably identify anything that is of a national security interest”, it simply identified criminal acts of torture.

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British Foreign Secretary: Clinton threatened to cut-off intelligence-sharing if torture evidence is disclosed

August 1, 2009

Glenn Greenwald |  Salon.com, July 31, 2009

I’ve written several times before about the amazing quest of Binyam Mohamed — a British resident released from Guantanamo in February, 2009 after seven years in captivity — to compel public disclosure of information in the possession of the British Government proving he was tortured while in U.S. custody.  At the center of Mohamed’s efforts lie the claims of high British government officials that the Obama administration has repeatedly threatened to cut off intelligence-sharing programs with the U.K. if the British High Court discloses information which British intelligence officials learned from the CIA about how Mohamed was tortured.  New statements from the British Foreign Secretary yesterday — claiming that Hillary Clinton personally re-iterated those threats in a May meeting — highlight how extreme is this joint American/British effort to cover-up proof of Mohamed’s torture.

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CIA ‘put pressure on Britain to cover up its use of torture’

July 28, 2009

By David Rose | The Daily Mail/UK, July 25, 2009

Binyam Mohamed
‘Sensitive information’: The treatment of Binyam Mohamed is at the centre of a security row

The CIA has been secretly pressuring the British Government to help it cover up its use of torture, documents filed in the High Court have revealed.

The documents, to be discussed at a hearing this week, suggest that the UK authorities did everything they could to accede to the CIA’s wishes while at the same time trying to conceal the fact they were talking to the agency.

It is the latest twist in the saga of Binyam Mohamed, 30, the Ethiopian UK resident released from Guantanamo Bay in February after seven years in US captivity.

In an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday earlier this year, he told how he was captured in Pakistan, interrogated by the CIA, tortured, then sent to Morocco for further ‘medieval’ torture on a CIA ‘extraordinary rendition’ flight.

After 18 months there, he was tortured again in the CIA’s ‘dark prison’ in Afghanistan. He alleged that UK officials from MI5 were ‘complicit’ in his ordeal.

In a judgment in July last year, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones wrote a seven-paragraph summary of Mr Mohamed’s treatment, based on documents by US intelligence officials. The judges said this amounted to evidence he was tortured.

But the summary has been ‘redacted’ because Foreign Secretary David Miliband insists that if the court were to publish it, US intelligence agencies would cease to share information with Britain, so damaging UK security.

The court will make a final decision about publication after the hearing this week.

The only piece of evidence Mr Miliband’s lawyers have produced is a letter, redacted, unsigned and undated, with its letterhead concealed, which, they say, summarises the views of US President Barack Obama’s administration.

It states: ‘Public disclosure of the information contained in the seven paragraphs could likely result in serious damage to UK and US national security.

‘If it is determined that HMG [Her Majesty's Government] is unable to protect information we provide to it, even if that inability is caused by your judicial system, we will necessarily have to review with the greatest care the sensitivity of information we can provide in future.’

After an order from the judges, Government lawyers were forced to admit the letter had been sent to an unnamed officer in MI6, and had been written by someone at the CIA.

Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said it was ‘deeply disappointing that the British Government seems to have been prepared to do the CIA’s bidding’.


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