Senior judges attack US over torture evidence suppression


Over to you, President Obama:

"Two senior judges have launched a highly critical attack on the US authorities accusing them of threatening to withdraw cooperation over terrorism intelligence if details of torture evidence was released in public in the UK

In a joint judgment involving terror suspect Binyam Mohamed, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said:

""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 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.

"We had no reason ... to anticipate there would be made a threat of the gravity of the kind made by the United States Government that it would reconsider its intelligence sharing relationship, when all the considerations in relation to open justice pointed to us providing a limited but important summary of the reports.""

In another part of the ruling, the judges said they had been informed by lawyers for Foreign Secretary David Miliband that the threat to withdraw co-operation remained even under President Barack Obama's new administration."
Or Obama, give his 'whiter than white' public image on Guantanamo.

To coin a phrase.
Got to admit that I am with the Americans on this one.

My understanding having just listened to the news on the BBC is that divulging the information that was requested, which doesn't only cover the treatment of the prisoners but also other "sensitive" information, would compromise American intelligence assets.

By having an ally compromise those assets then surely you are then entitled to withdraw that type of cooperation in order to protect any other assets in the future.

Anyone that knows me will know that I have zero time for the current government in the UK and zero time for Bush's administration in the US (who was CiC at the time) but I do think that Obamas administration has made the right call in being a bit heavy handed in order to ensure the security of any future sources.

I think there is more to this than meets the eye. If it was just a case of evidence of torture, then so what? Big deal. There was a reason that Gitmo was in Cuba in the first place and that was so that the Spams didn't have to follow their own laws. If it was just about the treatment and torture then would the Spams give a fcuk? I doubt it, after all there is nothing that the UK or the prisoner could actually do. No American court would try it, no British Court could do anything about it and we all know that thanks to Americas refusal to agree with the ICC that no International Court could ever have any impact either.

I suspect that the information requested was just too "intelligence sensitive" to release and because of that I am with the Yanks this time.

Besides that, he is a fcuking terrorist that got caught trying to flee Pakistan on a false passport. Judiciary aside, it's a pity that they didn't slot him at Gitmo.


I agree with the americans, they are playing their cards close to their chest and rightly so.

The thing is the american people know that there are some things that go on behind the scenes within their government that are there to protect them but they accept it, to a degree. But Britain is such a nanny state that there can't be any secrects whatsoever regardless of the safety of the public. "You cant say that about him, u cant keep that from me" it's pathetic. The truth is that in this day and age it is crucial to rely on information sharing between allied countries especially the "special relationship" between the UK and USA. And also especially because we are approaching the 2012 olympics where we need all the help we can get to avoid any kind of terrorist incident.

If the information had been made public the British public would learn things they arn't prepared to hear. That our freedom does come at a price and although i agree that torture is very excessive i understand that there are some things we just don't need to know and shouldn't know... for our own safety.
Why,Oh Why are we prejudicing intelligence co-operation with US,over one Somalian,who has lived in UK for a short time,and spent a part of that time on drugs? Where is the rationale for this? This man should be sent back to Somalia,once released.The UK does not need him.
the_ulsterman said:
It will be interesting to see how Brown and co will try to explain this away . . .

Geoff Hoon made a pretty poor fist of it on Question time last night.

Ms Chakrabati had him on the ropes.
bigeye said:
Geoff Hoon made a pretty poor fist of it on Question time last night.

Ms Chakrabati had him on the ropes.

I thought it rather ironic that the audience and panel seemed to be more outraged about a black man being compared to a golliwog than a black man being tortured.

Looked like Chaki was going to completely loose it at one point.
bigeye said:
the_ulsterman said:
It will be interesting to see how Brown and co will try to explain this away . . .

Geoff Hoon made a pretty poor fist of it on Question time last night.

Ms Chakrabati had him on the ropes.

I can't help but see an image of Ms Chakrabati standing in the ruins of a devasted city centre, surrounded by innocent victims and triumphantly crying, "Yes, but at least we managed to expose all those underhand exchanges of intelligence and stop them!" She has no idea of the possible ramifications of her words.


War Hero
The more you read about these cases, the more I am convinced that people have absolutly no clue as to the world they live in, and drift cluelessly from one "cause" to another, enjoying the publicity and noteriety without ever having to consider the implications of their actions.

There is nothing, no matter how stupid, pointless or ill informed that you cant find a whole cottage industry ready to argue the opposite and generally grab airtime with irrelevance and completly flawed drivel.

In the end it would have just been easier to have not taken the prisoners in the first place, but of course the product has been invaluable in filling the gaps left by CLINTON's presidetnial directives and reduction in HUMINT of western security agencies over the period leading up to 9/11.
The questions over this individual that I would like answered are:

1. He is not a British Citizen, he was granted leave to remain here (ie reside) but was captured leaving Pakistan with a false passport. If he wished to reside here, what was he doing in Pakistan, and who paid for his flights and passport come to that. He is not a Pakistani National.
2. Why is the Government so interested in this dubious individual, and how many others have been given leave to remain here while going on holiday to Pakistan in similar circumstances. The individual in this case was caught, how many others have slipped the net.
3. This government made a huge play of signing off the European Human Rights Act when it came into power, that they have been involved in any way in torture is somewhat disturbing, and I remain unconvinced by the performance of Milliband in his statement to the commons yesterday.

There is clearly much more to this case to come out, I agree that we should protect the information that has been obtained by the US while flying him round, however for our "Whiter than White" government to have been engaged in the use of torture strikes me as total hypocrisy when compared to the EHRA crap that they keep throwing in our faces each and every day of the week.
This issue isn't about the content of the intelligence but how it was obtained. If torture was used, were British agents present and were the British Government aware that torture was being used?

So we have firstly the torture issue and secondly if the Governemnt were aware that it was being used their repeated public denials - or lies to you and me.

I personally believe torture to be wrong. I can understand in very isolated instances where quick answers are needed a little bit of encouragement may be required. However as a systematic policy (even if unofficial) it is counter-productive.
It has been long established that torture is a very inefficient way to gather information - the tortured ends up telling you what he thinks you want to hear. The only people that appear to benefit from torture are the torturers.

That said, a number of dubious 'British residents' have ended up back here after release from Guantanamo, usually as a result of the activities of rentacause and bleeding heart former student activist MPs. Very few had any claim to citizenship and were caught in the 'Stan/Pakistan in very suspicious circumstances.
Last time I checked, we weren't Nazi Germany (yet!) It is most un-British to torture people or to encourage this practice. It's also counter-productive. The most determined or fanatical people can resist interrogation and torture, others will say anything to stop the pain. This will implicate the innocent and add to the distorted picture of a massive conspiracy...perhaps this is what the neocons want.

Retired General Lord Guthrie was quite clear in a Times article recently - torture does not work, even if we are grubby enough to participate by receiving the product.


Milliband's tale reminds me of another suspiciously convenient assertion by HMG. In that case it was The Magic Kingdom that would stop its eager and oh so vital dealings with our spooks if a tiresome SFO investigation into a series of huge very dodgy arms deal proceeded.

This ploy's been nicely coined here.
Providing evidence of the threats would spoil it. If the government had to admit it was being bullied into covering up for appalling torture or spectacular financial corruption, this would alter certain political facts. But that is not all. The beauty of the BAE gambit is that it's so flexible; because the evidence of the risk is itself secret, it can be invoked whenever required. I said this at the time, and now they're doing it. If they had to demonstrate the threat, this would spoil its effectiveness.
The Yanks were disgusted by the BAE caper. I think this bit of arse covering theater won't make us any friends there either.
younghopeful said:
But Britain is such a nanny state that there can't be any secrects whatsoever regardless of the safety of the public. "You cant say that about him, u cant keep that from me" it's pathetic.

So arguing against the notion that we're too stupid to understand what the authorities do and therefore need to be kept in the dark for our own good is a symptom of a nanny state?

I'm not much fussed about the bloke concerned but I don't care to be lied to by our closest allies when we're shedding blood on their behalf. It argues a degree of contempt that I find distasteful.

Nor do I care too much for the double-standards involved in our benefiting from torture, when we're busily lecturing the rest of the world about standards of government. It undermines us in too many foreign eyes and the harsh reality of the 21st Century is that that's something we need to keep in mind if we're to make it to the 22nd.

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