THE BOURGEOIS law courts damned the Brown government yesterday for its role as an accessory to the US and its torturers.
The government was told that ‘the torturer has become like the pirate and the slave trader before him . . . an enemy of all mankind.’
The British government was damned as an accomplice of the ‘enemy of all mankind’.
The case had emerged after the British government had claimed the right to silence over torture and torturers.
It had declared that ‘the UK is under no obligation under international law to assist foreign courts and tribunals in assuring that torture evidence is not admitted’ and that ‘it is HM Government’s position that . . . evidence held by the UK Government that US and Moroccan authorities engaged in torture or rendition cannot be obtained’ by his British lawyers.
Lord Justice Thomas and Justice Lloyd Jones handing down their judgement yesterday morning on the case of Guantánamo Bay prisoner, and British resident, Binyam Mohamed, gave Foreign Secretary Miliband one week in which to reconsider the government’s refusal to share evidence with Mr Mohamed that could help prove his innocence.
The court had had five days of hearings involving evidence of British complicity in Mr Mohamed’s torture.
The Reprieve charity which represents Mr Mohamed in Guantánamo Bay, has revealed a mass of evidence that he was rendered to Morocco where he was subjected to medieval tortures, whose fruits are to be placed before a Guantánamo Bay military commission as legitimate evidence.
It has emerged that the US would not even tell the UK where Mohamed was kept for the two years that he was missing.
Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s Director, who has represented Mr Mohamed since 2005, stated: ‘This is a momentous decision. The Bush Administration committed crimes against Binyam Mohamed . . .
‘Compelling the British government to release information that can prove Mr Mohamed’s innocence is one obvious step towards making up for the years of torture that he has suffered.’
However there is much more work to be done. One aspect of this, is that in the mid-1960s, the Wilson government took the decision to ethnically cleanse the Chagos Islands of its inhabitants so that the islands could be handed over to the US to be used as a nuclear base to bomb targets such as Somalia, the Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.
Great care was taken to keep the matter away from the UN because that body was opposed to having any such military bases in the Indian Ocean, as were the governments of Sri Lanka and many other countries in the region.
The US has paid no rent for the islands and the sovereignty remains with the UK, with a representative of the crown resident on the main island, Diego Garcia.
We now know that, despite the denials of the British government, the US has built a prison on Diego Garcia and has prison ships in the locality.
The US has been using the Chagos Islands as a place to bring alleged ‘terrorist suspects’, that is persons who have been kidnapped from all over the world, for rendition – interrogation under torture.
Men and youths have been tortured by the US under the jurisdiction and protection of the Crown, in whose name the ethnic cleansing of the original inhabitants of the islands was carried out.
The Brown government is protecting the US base and the practices that go on there, by appealing to the House of Lords against a decision by the law courts that the Chagos Islanders should be allowed to return to the outer islands of the group.
It is clear that yesterday’s legal judgement has lifted the veil a little off the US torturers and their UK accessories to torture.
This process must be driven forward. The trade unions must tell Brown to tell the truth about the US torturers, and that the Chagos Islanders must be allowed to return home, and the US base be closed.
Plus there must be a full public inquiry into the cleansing of the islands and how UK governments became accessories to torture.