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Old 02-09-2009, 04:54 PM   #1
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UK Suppressed Evidence of Guantanamo Detainee Torture to Protect MI6

I almost put this in financeguy's "War on Terror" thread because it's related to a news story I posted in there, but it seemed worthy of its own thread.

Reading this almost made me physically ill. What the fuck have we gotten ourselves into, what the fuck have we dragged our allies into along with us.

Quote:
UK government suppressed evidence on Binyam Mohamed torture because MI6 helped his interrogators

by Tim Shipman and Melissa Kite
Telegraph (UK), 07 Feb


Material in a CIA dossier on Mr Mohamed that was blacked out by High Court judges contained details of how British intelligence officers supplied information to his captors and contributed questions while he was brutally tortured, The Sunday Telegraph has learned. Intelligence sources have revealed that spy chiefs put pressure on Mr Miliband to do nothing that would leave serving MI6 officers open to prosecution, or to jeopardise relations with the CIA, which is passing them "top notch" information on British terrorist suspects from its own informers in Britain.

Mr Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian, was granted refugee status in Britain in 1994. He was picked up in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicion of involvement in terrorism, rendered to Morocco and Afghanistan, tortured and then sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2004. All terror charges against him were dropped last year.

Two High Court judges last week said they wanted to release the full contents of a CIA file on his treatment but they held back seven paragraphs of information after David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, argued that it could compromise intelligence sharing with the US. A British official, who is regularly briefed on intelligence operations, said: "The concern was that the document revealed that intelligence from the British agencies was used by the Americans and that there were British questions asked while Binyam Mohamed was being tortured. Miliband is being pushed hard by the intelligence agencies to protect the identity of those involved."

The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed's genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, "is very far down the list of things they did," the official said. Another source familiar with the case said: "British intelligence officers knew about the torture and didn't do anything about it. They supplied information to the Americans and the Moroccans. They supplied questions, they supplied photographs. There is evidence of all of that."

David Davis, the former shadow home secretary who first highlighted the case, said: "What has become clear is that the information being held back is not protecting the American government who have made a clean breast of their involvement in torture, but the British government, where at least two cabinet ministers have denied any complicity whatsoever. It is very clear who stands to be embarrassed by this and who is being protected by this secrecy. It is not the Americans, it is Labour ministers."

The full document on Mr Mohamed could still be released. President Barack Obama is under pressure from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee to release the unedited report. A source on the committee described the case as "shocking" and told The Sunday Telegraph: "If the President doesn't act we could hold a hearing or write to subpoena the documents. We need to know what's in those documents."

The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, is now considering whether British intelligence officers can be charged in the UK. Her office says the matter is still under review.

Clive Stafford-Smith, Mr Mohamed's lawyer, offered to supply the Attorney General with his files of evidence in December, but he has heard nothing back. He condemned the government's attitude to the documents as "an attempt to define as classified that which is merely political embarrassing". He expects Mr Mohamed, who is currently on hunger strike, finally to be sent home from Guantanamo this week.

Despite the criticism of the government's stance, intelligence sources have revealed that there was a second, legitimate, reason for doing as the US government asked in restricting the material published: MI5 is more dependent than ever on the CIA for help in monitoring the 2000 terrorist suspects in the UK. The CIA is now running a large network of its own informers in the British Pakistani community. Their information has helped thwart terrorist attacks in the UK and locate senior al-Qaeda operatives abroad. The US has stepped up intelligence gathering in the UK to such an extent over the last 18 months that one in four CIA operations designed to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks on the US homeland is now conducted against targets in the UK.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:02 PM   #2
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i fear this is the tip of the iceberg.

i wonder how willing the Obama administration and the Brown government will be to cover this up.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:29 PM   #3
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Looks like the Administration is pretty willing.


Quote:
Obama Administration Maintains Bush Position on 'Extraordinary Rendition' Lawsuit

by Jake Tapper and Ariane de Vogue
ABC News, February 09


The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. The case involves five men who claim to have been victims of extraordinary rendition--including current Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, another plaintiff in jail in Egypt, one in jail in Morocco, and two now free. They sued a San Jose Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured.

A year ago the case was thrown out on the basis of national security, but today the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the appeal, brought by the ACLU. A source inside of the Ninth U.S. District Court tells ABC News that a representative of the Justice Department stood up to say that its position hasn't changed, that new administration stands behind arguments that previous administration made, with no ambiguity at all. The DOJ lawyer said the entire subject matter remains a state secret. This is not going to please civil libertarians and human rights activists who had hoped the Obama administration would allow the lawsuit to proceed.


** UPDATE: ABC News' Jason Ryan reports that Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller said of the case, "It is the policy of this administration to invoke the state secrets privilege only when necessary and in the most appropriate cases, consistent with the United States Supreme Court's decision in Reynolds that the privilege not 'be lightly invoked.'" Miller said that Attorney General Eric Holder has started a review of all state secret privilege matters. "The Attorney General has directed that senior Justice Department officials review all assertions of the State Secrets privilege to ensure that the privilege is being invoked only in legally appropriate situations. It is vital that we protect information that, if released, could jeopardize national security. The Justice Department will ensure the privilege is not invoked to hide from the American people information about their government's actions that they have a right to know. This administration will be transparent and open, consistent with our national security obligations," Miller said.

Andrew Sullivan comments:
Quote:
The Obama administration will continue the cover-up of the alleged torture of the British resident. The argument is that revealing the extent of the man's torture and abuse would reveal state secrets. No shit. This is a depressing sign that the Obama administration will protect the Bush-Cheney torture regime from the light of day. And with each decision to cover for their predecessors, the Obamaites become retroactively complicit in them.
And Glenn Greenwald notes:
Quote:
...here is Obama, the very first chance he gets, invoking exactly this doctrine ['state secrets'] in its most expansive and abusive form to prevent torture victims even from having their day in court, on the ground that national security will be jeopardized if courts examine the Bush administration's rendition and torture programs--even though (a) the rendition and torture programs have been written about extensively in the public record; (b) numerous other countries have investigated exactly these allegations; and (c) other countries have provided judicial forums in which these same victims could obtain relief.

As Wizner [of the ACLU, who is representing the 5 plaintiffs in this case] said: "For one thing, the idea you alluded to, the facts of this story are absolutely well-known, have been the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post, are in books, and all of these stories are based on CIA and other government sources, that essentially said, well, in this case we got the wrong guy. So the position of the Bush administration, accepted by conservative judges in that case, really the only place in the world where Khalid El-Masri's case could not be discussed was in a federal courtroom...[Jeppesen] were essentially the CIA's torture travel agents. They were the one who arranged all the overflight rights for the CIA civilian planes to be able to fly from country to country. They handled the security and the logistics. They filed dummy flight plans to try to trick air traffic controllers into not being able to track where the actual flights were going. And we know they knew what they were doing because we have a witness in our case, someone who's given us a sworn declaration, who was an employee of Jeppesen DataPlan, and who was present when senior officials of the company were openly boasting about their role in the torture flights, and about how much money they made from them because the CIA spared no expense. We were able, with the help of an investigative journalist and other documentary evidence, to link Jeppesen to an number of very specific CIA rendition flights, involving these five torture victims who were flown to countries like Egypt, Morocco, to CIA sites in Afghanistan and eastern Europe...[Plaintiff Ahmed Agiza] was picked up off the streets of Stockholm and then he was taken to an airport where a CIA rendition team--this is a bunch of men dressed all in black, with their faces covered--sliced off all of his clothes, put a suppository into him, chained him to the floor of an airplane, flew him to Egypt, where he was exposed to absolutely brutal torture, including shock treatment, all kinds of beatings. He was then given a show trial in an Egyptian military court and sentenced to 15 years for involvement in a banned organization. His has been an extremely well-documented case; it's been in books by Seymour Hersh and others. The UN has investigated this; the Swedish government has investigated this case...So there's no real secret involved here. Nothing would be revealed by allowing Agiza to go forward in a case against the CIA, because Jeppesen's role is public, because Sweden's role is public, and because Egypt's role is public--he's in an Egyptian prison right now."

...The entire claim of 'state secrets' in this case is based on two sworn Declarations from CIA Director Michael Hayden--one public and one filed secretly with the court. In them, Hayden argues that courts cannot adjudicate this case because to do so would be to disclose and thus degrade key CIA programs of rendition and interrogation--the very policies which Obama, in his first week in office, ordered shall no longer exist. How, then, could continuation of this case possibly jeopardize national security when the rendition and interrogation practices which gave rise to these lawsuits are the very ones that the U.S. Government, under the new administration, claims to have banned?

What this is clearly about is shielding the U.S. Government and Bush officials from any accountability. Worse, by keeping Bush's secrecy architecture in place, it ensures that any future President--Obama or any other--can continue to operate behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy, with no transparency or accountability even for blatantly criminal acts.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:59 PM   #4
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That's greatly disappointing. What apparently happened there is just unbelievable. Such a brutal torturing, just as any form of torturing, cannot be tolerated by any government that calls itself enlightened, modern and democratic.
But sadly, it is, and I'm afraid there is not even an exception.
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:11 PM   #5
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Quite frankly, I'm not surprised. It seems that Milliband was stuck between a rock and hard place - but that doesn't make what happened in this case (and I'm sure many others) any less appalling.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
i fear this is the tip of the iceberg.
Yes.

The debate on waterboarding was kind of an invented debate. It was to give the neo-cons cover for the worse stuff. Even still, when neo-con writer Christopher Hitchens volunteered for waterboarding he admitted that it was torture. I guess some neo-cons are intellectually honest.

Hersch was pretty much the only journalist that publicised this, originally.

It goes back to '04, '05 and the videos from Abu Ghraib that were not made public. The issue got some media coverage at the time but not much. The US senators who came out and spoke to the press after viewing the things that went down in Abu Ghraib....they were stunned and said what they saw was much worse that what had been reported.

It may not go away this time, though Obama is understandably reluctant to stir it up.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:20 PM   #7
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True, anyone who follows Hersh's work (many of his articles are archived here) probably has a pretty good inkling what else might be locked up in the "iceberg," and as the plaintiffs' lawyer in the present case pointed out, much of what his particular clients have to say is in fact already out there anyway. But it is incensing to think all this might continue to be covered up by Washington, especially when that's achieved by invoking the same doctrine that allowed these abuses to be committed in secret in the first place, and when the outlines of what's being covered up are already internationally known and everyone's been watching to see just how differently the new Administration will handle the matter.

Oh well, off to write some letters of protest.
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