Tuesday, May 26, 2009

UK Government Lies Exposed; Spy Visited Binyam Mohamed In Morocco.

Andy Worthington's work on Guantanamo Bay, and the abuses that have taken place there, is second to none. He has written a series of articles recently all of which deserve to be read.

The story he is telling here involves Binyam Mohamed, who you will remember was recently released from Guantanamo Bay and told horrendous stories of the torture he suffered whilst in US custody, including the slicing of his penis with a razor. The evidence which backs his assertion has become the subject of an astonishing battle of will here in the UK between the judges in the case and the British government, who have claimed that US/UK relations will be severely damaged if the evidence is ever made public.

This claim caused the judges to react forcefully:

In further stinging comments they said: "Moreover, in the light of the long history of the common law and democracy which we share with the United States, it was, in our view, very difficult to conceive that a democratically elected and accountable government could possibly have any rational objection to placing into the public domain such a summary of what its own officials reported as to how a detainee was treated by them and which made no disclosure of sensitive intelligence matters.

"Indeed we did not consider that a democracy governed by the rule of law would expect a court in another democracy to suppress a summary of the evidence contained in reports by its own officials ... relevant to allegations of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, politically embarrassing though it might be." The judges said yesterday: "It is plainly right that the details of the admissions in relation to the treatment of [Mohamed] as reported by officials of the United States government should be brought into the public domain."

Andy is now pointing out that a new letter sent to the court from the Americans, essentially making the same point, that the US might have to reconsider sharing evidence with the UK should evidence of torture be revealed, might actually have come from the desk of Hillary Clinton.
The identity of the author was one of many questions that bounced around the High Court on Friday, as Mohamed’s lawyers sought once more to challenge the British government’s refusal to release the documents in its possession, but the most interesting little tidbit of information to emerge from these discussions was when one of Mohamed’s barristers referred to the author of the letter as “he,” and a ripple of knowing laughter followed from those who had been informed of the identity of the author, prompting speculation, of course, that “she” was none other than Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State.
And there is also evidence that the UK government's claim, that they had no idea where Binyam Mohamed was from July 2002 to February 2003, is nothing other than a tissue of lies.

Far from not knowing where Binyam Mohamed was during this period, the British government actually sent "a mole" to Morocco to try and persuade Mohamed to co-operate in order for his torture to stop.

[I]n today’s Mail on Sunday, David Rose reports that Binyam Mohamed has now stated that a British spy — or a “mole,” as Rose calls him — was sent by the British authorities to Morocco in September 2002, in an attempt “to persuade him that giving intelligence to the British would end his ordeal.”

“It was one of my lowest points,” Mohamed told Rose. “The really bad stuff [the torture which included having his penis regularly cut by razorblades] had already been going on for weeks. I thought he was a friendly face who might get the British to help me — but it was just another way of putting on pressure.”

Mohamed’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, added that the Moroccans told Mohamed that the man, a British citizen of Moroccan descent, identified only as Informant A, “was working with the British Government and pressed Mr. Mohamed to do the same if he wanted to end his torture.”

How could they have sent this man to Morocco if they didn't know that's where Binyam Mohamed was?

Stafford Smith, Binyam Mohamed's lawyer, has called on the government to, “quit working with the US to hide evidence of criminal acts.”

“The suggestion that British officials simply lost track of Mohamed for more than two years and did not know that he had been rendered to Morocco for torture is implausible. They had their own agent in Morocco who had seen Mohamed there and that person was back in the UK while the razor blades were still being taken to Mohamed’s genitals.”

But Worthington asks an interesting question about why Mohamed ended up in Morocco in the first place.
The second question, however, is even more explosive, as it involves asking whether Mohamed’s rendition to Morocco, a country with which he had no connection, was the direct result of information provided by Informant A. Given his Moroccan background, I can only conclude that this seems very likely, and that it also shines an even more uncomfortable light on the British government’s persistent attempts to claim that it was never directly involved in Mohamed’s rendition and torture than the revelation that Informant A was sent to Morocco to persuade him to cooperate. I state this for two reasons: firstly, because it suggests that the British and American intelligence services were in extremely close contact in the three months following Mohamed’s capture, when he was held in Pakistan, and secondly, because it suggests, bluntly, that the CIA’s decision to render Mohamed to Morocco only came about because of British input.
The more that comes out about this the more it all absolutely stinks. We can get on our moral high horses and, rightly, condemn the Bush and Cheney propensity for torture, but it is becoming ever harder to pretend that the British government aren't just as guilty as their American counterparts.

Click the links to read Andy's articles.

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