MI5 deceived parliament – the judges decide


‘ONLY a full public inquiry will answer the public’s concerns about what has been done in our name,’ said the Reprieve organisation yesterday, following the final judgement of the Court of Appeal into whether MI5 knew that British citizens and residents were being tortured on the instructions of the US administration.

The final judgement found that MI5 had misled parliament, and that ministerial assurances based on MI5 submissions could not be believed.

The Foreign Secretary Miliband immediately rejected this judgement and sought to rubbish it.

This was after the government had got the initial ‘draft’ judgement changed and had launched a propaganda drive that human rights lawyers and their revelations were aiding the enemy, and were in fact treacherous and potentially treasonable, especially since they were souring relations between the UK and its very big brother, the US.

Yesterday, the judges found for the human rights lawyers, broadening the gulf that has developed between themselves and the government and its spooks, and suggesting that the newly formed Supreme Court could prove to be a thorn in the side of the government.

The judgement released and reinstated the previously removed clause 169, which was only modified inconsequentially.

The original suppressed clause put forward by Lord Neuberger stated: ‘The Security Service [MI5] were making it clear in March 2005, through a report from the Intelligence and Security Committee, that “they operated a culture that respected human rights and that coercive interrogation techniques were alien to the Services’ general ethics, methodology and training” indeed they “denied that [they] knew of any ill-treatment of detainees interviewed by them whilst detained by or on behalf of the [US] Government”.

‘Yet that does not seem to be true: as the evidence in this case showed, at least some Security Service officials appear to have a dubious record when it comes to human rights and coercive techniques, and indeed when it comes to frankness about the UK’s involvement with the mistreatment of Mr Mohammed by US officials.

‘I have in mind in particular witness B, but it appears likely that there were others.

‘The good faith of the Foreign Secretary is not in question, but he prepared the certificates [applications to withhold information in the name of national security] partly, possibly largely, on the basis of information and advice provided by Security Service personnel.

‘Regrettably, but inevitably, this must raise the question whether any statement in the certificates on an issue concerning such mistreatment can be relied on, especially when the issue is whether contemporaneous communications to the Security Service about such mistreatment should be revealed publicly.

‘Not only is there an obvious reason for distrusting any UK Government assurance, based on Security Service advice and information, because of previous “form”, but the Foreign Office and the Security Service have an interest in the suppression of such information.’

The conclusion is plain. MI5 deceived parliament, and any assurance by the Foreign Secretary based on security advice should be mistrusted!

On Friday 26 February, Lord Neuberger issued a final opinion on the matter. The only difference in the new clause is that Neuberger removes the ‘previous “form” ’ reference. The reference to the ‘suppression of information’ remains.

After the draft report came to light, the combined government-MI5 propaganda was that these human rights actions were giving comfort to the enemy, and that British lives were being endangered.

MI5 director general Evans, smearing human rights lawyers, wrote in the Daily Telegraph that, ‘For their part, our enemies will also seek to use all tools at their disposal to attack us. That means not just bombs, bullets and aircraft but also propaganda.’

Truly, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. In fact, the torturers and those who aid and abet them should be put on trial, while MI5 should be disbanded.