31 July, 2009
I‘ve written several times before about the amazing quest of Binyam Mohamed — a British resident released from Guantanamo in February, 2009 after seven years in captivity — to compel public disclosure of information in the possession of the British Government proving he was tortured while in U.S. custody. At the center of Mohamed’s efforts lie the claims of high British government officials that the Obama administration has repeatedly threatened to cut off intelligence-sharing programs with the U.K. if the British High Court discloses information which British intelligence officials learned from the CIA about how Mohamed was tortured. New statements from the British Foreign Secretary yesterday — claiming that Hillary Clinton personally re-iterated those threats in a May meeting — highlight how extreme is this joint American/British effort to cover-up proof of Mohamed’s torture.
In August 2008, the British High Court ruled in Mohamed’s favor, concluding in a 75-page ruling (.pdf) that there was credible evidence in Britain’s possession that Mohamed was brutally tortured and was therefore entitled to disclosure of that evidence under long-standing principles of British common law, international law (as established by the Nuremberg Trials and the war crimes trials of Yugoslav leaders, among others), and Britain’s treaty obligations (under the Convention Against Torture). But as part of that ruling, the Court redacted from its public decision seven paragraphs which detailed the facts of Mohamed’s torture — facts which British intelligence agents learned from the CIA — based on the British Government’s representations that both the Bush and Obama administrations had threatened to cut off intelligence-sharing with Britain if those facts were disclosed, even as part of a court proceeding.