THE Court of Appeal yesterday forced the British Labour government and its Foreign Secretary, Miliband to publish seven paragraphs concerning the torture of a British resident that the Foreign Secretary had sought to suppress for ‘national security’ reasons.
The publication came after the British government was sued to force it to disclose the correspondence it had with the US, relating to Binyam Mohamed’s detention, interrogation and torture.
These paragraphs showed that the government knew that Binyam had been tortured at the hands of the US authorities, had been shackled, had suffered sleep deprivation, during which his life was threatened, and his fears of ‘disappearing’ were played upon.
They show that these ‘interrogations’ were causing him ‘significant mental stress and suffering’.
British resident Binyam Mohamed spent seven years in US custody, most recently in Guantánamo Bay. He came home to the UK in February 2009, after all charges against him were dropped.
The British government was a party to all of the actions that had been taken against him.
Binyam was detained in Pakistan and tortured by his Pakistani guards. During this time, he was interrogated by the British and US intelligence services.
A few months later, Binyam was rendered to Morocco. In late September 2002, two months after Binyam arrived in Morocco, British intelligence received a report from the US authorities of an interview with Binyam. So, from that time, British intelligence knew that the US authorities were aware of Binyam’s location and that they were interrogating him, directly or indirectly.
During his time in Morocco, Binyam was subject to really medieval torture – among other horrors, a razor blade was regularly taken to his genitals.
After 18 months in Morocco, Binyam was taken to the Dark Prison in Afghanistan, where he was kept in total darkness and tortured for a further six months before being taken to Guantánamo Bay. He remained there for four years.
The British government is therefore a government that supports torture and is an accomplice of torturers.
It is also intensely loyal to the government that organises the torturers, the US government.
A feature of the current case is that the government launched a last minute counter-attack that persuaded the Master of the Rolls to erase the most damning details of MI5’s complicity in torture from its judgement after it had been written and circulated.
To achieve this the judgement had to be re-written.
On Monday, the government’s leading counsel, Jonathan Sumption QC wrote to the court warning that a paragraph of the judgement was ‘likely to receive more public attention than any other parts of the judgements’.
The paragraph stated that MI5 did not operate in a culture that respected human rights or renounced ‘coercive interrogation techniques’.
The Sumption letter shows, the judges originally ruled that MI5 officers had ‘deliberately misled’ the Intelligence and Security Committee, and that the ‘culture of suppression’ reflected its dealings with the committee, the foreign secretary and the court.
Further that MI5’s culture of suppression ‘penetrates the service to such a degree’ that it undermines any government assurance concerning MI5 itself.
The master of the rolls, Lord Neuberger, under intense government pressure rewrote his judgement.
This has left two judgements in circulation, his original and the modified judgement.
Facing multiple protests, the Master of the Rolls has now decided to reconsider his decision to rewrite, and his final judgement is due next week.
The one issue that stands out in this case is that the Labour government will stand with US imperialism right to the very end.
The only way to deal with the torturers is to get rid of the capitalist and imperialist system that has spawned them, through socialist revolutions that will also retire the judiciary and bring in a workers state.