Irish Time

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

British Torture Techniques Practiced in Ireland Outsourced

When the European Commission published a report finding the British Government guilty of “torture, inhuman and degrading treatment” in Ireland, back in the early "70s, Britain gave undertakings that this activity would stop.

Later however, an internal British inquiry, originally meant to whitewash the whole affair produced the Bennett Report causing disgust in the US, forcing the US Congress to embargo the sale of weapons to the British Police in occupied Ireland. As a result of being equated with other repressive regimes worldwide, the US President Jimmy Carter’s administration refused to do business with the British Government.
Undertakings were again given by the British, that they would stop their torture in Ireland.

However again, upon the election of Margaret Thatcher, the British Government’s criminalisation policy demanded Irish political prisoners to accept a newly-defined status as criminals, wear prison uniforms and accept prison work.

Republican prisoners in H-Block concentration camps and female Irish political prisoners in Armagh refused criminal status and resisted. The British Government’s criminalisation strategy now rested on their ability to break protesting republican prisoners and they went to extraordinary levels of brutality to degrade and criminalize the protesting prisoners. Daily systematic violence inflicted upon the protesting prisoners in the H-Block concentration camp and Armagh were never investigated, as a result 10 of the young prisoners died on hunger strike protesting their right to political status.

British ministers still continue to deny allegations of collusion in the torture and the outsourcing of their torture from Ireland to detainees in the ‘War on Terror’ after their own parliamentary committee on human rights admitted it could not establish the truth because information was being deliberately withheld by their own government.

In a joint article in the Sunday Telegraph, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Alan Johnson stated there was “no truth” in the suggestion that it was official policy to “collude in, solicit or directly participate in abuses of prisoners”.

The British Government has been “firmly opposed to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment”, said the Cabinet members. “It is about our values as a nation, and about what we do, not just what we say,” they said.

Yesterday however the Foreign Office was forced to admit that the former Guantánamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed was tortured while he was being held in Pakistan.The Foreign Secretary David Miliband lost an appeal court bid to prevent senior judges disclosing secret information relating to torture allegations in the case of Mr Mohamed and proving that the British minister Miliband lied.

In an blistering attack on the judiciary, Mr Miliband branded them "irresponsible" and had argued that to disclose the information would damage vital transatlantic security co-operation.But three of the country’s highest-ranking judges rejected the minister’s accusations and a few minutes later the seven paragraphs in question were published.

According to that document, Mr Mohamed was "intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation" and subject to repeated threats. "His fears of being removed from United States custody and 'disappearing' were played upon," the summary noted.

He was shackled during interviews, increasing the stress he suffered.

The report said that Mr Mohamed's treatment, "if it had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom" would clearly have breached undertakings given in 1972 by Edward Heath, then Prime Minister, that British forces would no longer use torture techniques to aid interrogations as its did in Ireland.

"Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities," the note said.

Mr Mohamed was arrested in 2002 and says he was tortured before being flown to Guantánamo Bay. He was released without charge last year.

Mr Miliband said in a statement: "The Government accepts the decision of the Court of Appeal that, in the light of disclosures in the US court, it should publish the seven paragraphs at issue in the case of Binyam Mohamed.

"At the heart of this case was the principle that if a country shares intelligence with another, that country must agree before its intelligence is released. This ’control principle’ is essential to the intelligence relationship between Britain and the US.

"The Government fought the case to preserve this principle, and today’s judgment upholds it. It agreed that the control principle is integral to intelligence sharing. The court has today ordered the publication of the seven paragraphs because in its view their substance had been put into the public domain by a decision of a US court in another case.

"Without that disclosure, it is clear that the Court of Appeal would have overturned the Divisional Court’s decision to publish the material.

"The Government has made sustained and successful efforts to ensure Mr Mohamed’s legal counsel had full access to the material in question. We remain determined to uphold our very strong commitment against mistreatment of any kind."

Yesteray’s ruling was made by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, and Sir Anthony May, President of the Queen’s Bench Division.

At a hearing last December, lawyers for Mr Mohamed argued that disclosure of the secret material was in the public interest.

They accused the British Government of trying to suppress "embarrassing and shaming" evidence of Britain’s involvement again in torture. Both UK and US Governments have now been exposed of "serious criminal liability for an international war crime".

Mr Mohamed, 31, an Ethiopian granted refugee status in Britain in 1994, was detained in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicion of involvement in terrorism and then "rendered" to Morocco and Afghanistan. He was sent to Guantánamo Bay in 2004.

Now back in the UK, he is fighting to prove that he was tortured and that the British authorities helped to facilitate it.

The Secret Torture Evidence

The British government has now been forced to publish the following seven paragraphs about the treatment of Binyam Mohamed.

v) It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed.

vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him. His fears of being removed from United States custody and "disappearing" were played upon.

vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews

viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the interviews were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.

ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS [security services] made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.

x) The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972. Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities.

The British government has once again, gone to extraordinary lengths to cover up kidnap and torture. A full independent public inquiry would be a basic requirement of any democracy, something Britain from its history in these matters, clearly is not.

In a US court a judge noted that Mohamed's "trauma lasted for two long years. During which time he was physically and psychologically tortured. His genitals were mutilated while he was forced to inculpate himself and others in various plots to imperil Americans."

The US court noted that Mohamed was told "that the British government knew of his situation and sanctioned his detention".

An MI5 officer known only as Witness B is being investigated by the Metropolitan police over his alleged role in questioning Mohamed incommunicado in a Pakistan jail.

The whole basis of Miliband's case had "fallen away" because of the US court case, said Neuberger, who added: "It is a case which is now logically incoherent and therefore irrational and is not based on any convincing evidence."

In his ruling , May said: "In principle a real risk of serious damage to national security, of whatever degree, should not automatically trump a public interest in open justice which may concern a degree of facilitation by UK officials of interrogation using unlawful techniques which may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

In a stinging reference to claims by Jonathan Sumption QC, Miliband's counsel, that high court judges in earlier rulings were "irresponsible" in saying that CIA intelligence relating to ill treatment and torture and Britain's knowledge of it should be disclosed, the lord chief justice said: "No advantage is achieved by bandying deprecatory epithets."

Mohamed was detained in 2002 in Pakistan, where he was questioned incommunicado by an MI5 officer. The US flew him to Morocco, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay, where he says he was tortured with the knowledge of British agencies.

Last year, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones ruled, "that the relationship of the United Kingdom government to the United States authorities in connection with Binyam Mohamed was far beyond that of a bystander or witness to the alleged wrongdoing".

Meanwhile human rights groups still today, accuse the British Government of continuing to torture Irish dissidents and prisoners, still enforcing internment without trial of political dissidents in Ireland, with an ongoing 28 day sequence of detention orders without trial on the word of a bigoted British police force. The best these prisoners can later hope for, is a trial without a jury years after arrest.Torture has proven itself to be a basic requirement, upon which the British Empire was built and maintained, whether outsourced or not.


aaron said...

I think most would agree that torture by faceless regimes is common place. I think that most turn a blind eye to such measures. I think the violence committed by the people being tortured goes a long way to convincing the masses that the regimes under which they live are just in doing what they have to do.

Torture is abhorrent. Undeniably. It's the apathy of those far removed from torture, and therefore complicit that is the problem. In a way, torture is condoned by our comfy lives. We are cocooned and cosy and kept - deliberately - far far away from the truth. It is irritating this truth that extremists desperately seek to unsettle. Which perpetuates torture.

IrishBlog said...

"I think the violence committed by the people being tortured goes a long way to convincing the masses that the regimes under which they live are just in doing what they have to do."

Presuming they have defended themselves against invasion and occupation !

aaron said...

Yes. It is usually the brutal subjugation of people - The annexing of land or other such motive that leads to mechanistic regimes to torture perceived opponents.

Today, the random violent acts of religious extremists are used to cloud the middle-class heartland of motive, and portray all opponents the same.

The united Ireland cause is the same as the crazed fatwah cause in the mid east.

In Ireland, I think peaceful methods are working. I see no point to picking at scabs now that monumental change is coming to North Eire. The best forms of protest to come from the island, in hindsight, are artistic ones. One's that express, in equal parts, the dismay and resilience affected by occupation. These then offer some intrinsic value to mankind.

IrishBlog said...

It is the liberal elite that feels tortured



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