Archive for February 4th, 2009
US government threatens to withdraw intelligence co-operation with UK if torture evidence is publicised
In “Don’t Get Fooled Again” I look at the evidence of systematic torture within the “War on Terror”, and the arguments used to justify it. Since the book was published, yet more evidence has emerged of the extent of the abuses, the complicity of UK forces, and the efforts to cover this up.
Today it was revealed that the US government threatened to withdraw intelligence co-operation with MI5 if the UK High Court published evidence detailing the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, who was subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and tortured in a number of different locations before being taken to Guantanamo. The Times has more:
The United States government has threatened to withhold intelligence cooperation with the UK if evidence of the alleged torture of a ‘terrorist’ detainee at Guantanamo Bay is made public.
Details of how a British resident held in the detention camp was allegedly tortured and what UK intelligence knew about it must remain secret because of the US threats, the High Court ruled today.
Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said lawyers for the Foreign Secretary had told them that the threat by the United States still applied under President Barack Obama’s Administration.
The startling disclosure that the US has threatened to re-evaluate sharing intelligence with Britain came just a day after Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, lavished praise on the “special relationship” between the two countries.
In spite of noting that it is completely contrary to the rule of law not to release the evidence, the judges said it must remain secret otherwise “the public of the United Kingdom would be put at risk”
Update – Further comment from Clive Stafford Smith in today’s Guardian:
When history reviews the past eight years, the most lasting concern will not be ill-advised experiments such as Guantánamo Bay. Rather, it will be the creeping tendency of democratic governments to use “national security” as an excuse to keep the truth from those who have elected them. After all, if the US and the UK can conspire to suppress evidence of torture, what other dark secrets can they hide?