The intelligence services lap up information of 'Al-queda' terror cells and membership -
If People are being Tortured - will they not seek to say anything their captives want?
What else does this untrusworthy evidence obtained under torture seek to justify?
should State secrecy justify repression of individual liberty for the benefit of the State?
UK: Court of Appeal gives green light to torture|
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals of 10 foreign nationals interned without charge or trial under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA).
In a two-to-one ruling, the second highest court in England and Wales clarified that "evidence" obtained by torture would not be deemed admissible when directly procured by UK agents or in whose procurement UK agents have connived.
"This caveat does nothing to prevent torture at the hands of agents of other states; in fact, it effectively encourages and fosters it. It is a fundamental duty of all courts to act as a bulwark against human rights violations. Today, the Court of Appeal has shamefully abdicated this most important duty," Amnesty International said.
The Court of Appeal dismissed all grounds on which the appellants had appealed against the October 2003 judgments of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), including SIAC's ruling that torture "evidence" is admissible.
"If there is sufficient evidence to warrant holding these individuals, they should be charged with a recognizably criminal offence, and tried in proceedings which fully meet international fair trial standards. Otherwise they should released", Amnesty International said. - Amnesty
shed no tears for Blunkett
Britain to end detention of terror suspects without trial [?]
January 26 2005 - Charles Clarke, Britain's home secretary, on Wednesday announced significant changes in the way the government handles terrorist suspects to bring current legislation in line with the European convention on human rights.
Britain has held 11 foreign suspects without trial, mostly in Belmarsh prison in London, since shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
To remedy charges that the current system is disproportionate and discriminates against foreigners, the government plans to introduce a new system of control orders to be applied to any suspected terrorist, irrespective of nationality.
The proposed changes are in response to a ruling by the law lords late last year that the current measures are unacceptable and unlawful under the European convention.
Announcing a new "twin track" approach, Mr Clarke said that in addition to control orders, the government would pursue a policy of "deportation with assurances".
This would allow the government to deport those regarded as a serious threat by seeking memo of understanding from their country of origin to ensure that they would not face torture or execution on their return.
- Fiona Symon FT
Committee of senior parliamentarians calls for Britain's "Guantanamo
Bay" to be scrapped as "a matter of urgency"
committee of senior parliamentarians - on the Privy Council Review
Committee - have produced a 120-page report on the Anti-Terrorism,
Crime and Security Act 2001 and called for end to the indefinite
internment of 14 people in the Belmarsh high security prison
in London - known as "Britain's Guantanamo Bay". Most
have been held since the autumn of 2001 and because there is
not sufficient evidence to bring them before a court they are
being held in jail - they do have the option to leave the country
which two have done. The committee says that these powers should
be replaced "as a matter of urgency"
Full-text of the Privy Counsellor Review Committee: Anti-Terrorism,
Crime and Security Act Review: Report (pdf)
The committee's report says that other countries have not
found it necessary to derogate from the European Convention on
Human Rights (ECHR) and "we have found no obvious reason
why the UK should be an exception" and goes on to conclude:
"We were surprised to learn that the authorities appear
to have given no thought to what change in circumstances might
lead them to conclude that an individual should be released or
dealt with differently... From the evidence we have received,
we are concerned that there has not been a sufficiently pro-active,
focused, case management approach to determining whether any
particular suspected international terrorist should continue
to be detained under Part Four [of the ATCS 2001].. nor did it
appear that alternative ways of dealing with them were under
The committee argues that these suspects should "be prosecuted
under normal criminal law whenever possible", if necessary
by making changes in the law to allow telecommunications interceptions
(eg: phone-tap recording) to be used in court.
The committee also records that only foreign nationals can
be detained indefinitely without trial in Belmarsh prison, whereas
"the threat from UK citizens is real.. we have been told
that, of the people of interest to the authorities because of
their suspected involvement in international terrorism, nearly
half are British citizens".
The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, responded immediately
to reject the recommendation. He said that:
"I am not convinced that the current threat leaves
us with any option but to continue to use these powers... These
were not powers I assumed lightly. I have never pretended that
they are ideal, but I firmly believe that they are currently
the best and most workable way to address the particular problems
I believe that I would be failing in my duty of public
protection if the Part 4 powers were removed from the armoury
of measures available to protect the United Kingdom from specific
1. Full-text of the Privy Counsellor Review Committee: Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act
Review: Report (pdf)
2. Guantanamo Bay:
The legal black hole: Twenty-Seventh F.A. Mann Lecture: 25 November
2003 By Johan Steyn [Lord Steyn is a judicial member of the House
of Lords - the UK's supreme court]: Lecture (html) Lecture (pdf version)
Currently the United States has so many military bases around the world that it is almost impossible to get an accurate count of the exact number. Author Chalmers Johnson states that the U.S. has 6,000 bases in 130 different countries. The history of the acquisition of many of these bases shows a clandestine, nefarious, and cruel attitude toward the people who originally occupied the locations where the bases now are. The official word used by the Pentagon to describe bases in other countries is "Footprint." What could be more arrogant than one country putting its footprint on another sovereign nation?
The history of the U.S. base on Diego Garcia is of special interest now. The base was built by Halliburton and commissioned on March 20, 1973. Exactly 30 years later, on March 20, 2003, the Shock and Awe bombing campaign was launched from Diego Garcia. This base has been a recent topic of discussion in the British House of Commons. The people who inhabited Diego Garcia, until the United States forced them to leave, are now seeking justice. Court documents reveal that a policy of ethnic cleansing by the U.S. government has continued for over 30 years. resist.com
The story of Diego Garcia is shocking, almost incredible. A British colony lying midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean, the island is one of 64 unique coral islands that form the Chagos Archipelago, a phenomenon of natural beauty, and once of peace. Newsreaders refer to it in passing: "American B-52 and Stealth bombers last night took off from the uninhabited British island of Diego Garcia to bomb Iraq (or Afghanistan)." It is the word "uninhabited" that turns the key on the horror of what was done there. In the 1970s, the Ministry of Defense in London produced this epic lie: "There is nothing in our files about a population and an evacuation." - Diego Garcia: Paradise Cleansed by John Pilger
In the late 1990s the Chagossians began a legal battle in the British courts to win the right to return. In November 2000 they won a stunning High Court victory which labelled their removal from the islands by the government 'an abject legal failure' - they thus won the right to return, though the government interpreted this as to the outlying islands in the Chagos group, not Diego Garcia itself. However, in June 2004, the government suddenly - literally out of the blue - announced it was enacting 'orders in council' to ban the Chagossians from ever returning. This is the British version of the 'fatwa', which allows any government to overturn independent legal decisions made against it (a nice illustration of the Blair government's commitment to legality, to go alongisde the Iraq case). The Chagossians are currently appealing against this ruling and seeking to uphold their right to return. A hearing was held in December and the High Court is expected to decide towards the end of February.
The government is fighting the Chagossians tooth and nail in court; its legal fees currently come to over £1.5 million spent on defeating this poor community, who have no money and rely on hand-outs to come to the UK, and the support of the Chagos Support Association, run on a shoestring budget. Whitehall is of course terrified of having the original inhabitants back on the islands anywhere near Diego Garcia, which of course would mightily upset Big Brother. The Americans made it absolutely clear at the time of the original discussions in the mid-1960s that they wanted the removal of the entire population and this remains their position.
The treatment of the Chagossians is appalling, but nothing other than normal, by British government standards. But the other interesting thing is how topical, in any news sense, the whole issue is: Diego Garcia is a US military base used to bomb Iraq and Afghanistan (and would possibly be used in an attack on Iran); there have been US media reports that DG is being secretly used to house 'terrorist suspects'; the High Court case is ongoing; there is a community of 200 Chagossians in the UK, who are British citizens; the US and UK have a declared aim of promoting democracy (a joke obviously, but their declared aim, meaning that journalists might be thought capable of finding what are called 'double standards') in the region; the 'right to return' is not an untopical issue in the context of the Middle East. Etc Etc. - Mark Curtis Medialens blog
UK shamed as exiles to return to lost islands
JOHN ASTON AND CATHY GORDON - scotsman.com
FAMILIES exiled from the Chagos Islands by the British government so that the United States could build a strategic military base on Diego Garcia celebrated "a historic moment" yesterday as they won a High Court victory for the right to return.
In a damning verdict, two judges condemned as "repugnant" the government's decision to "exile a whole population" from the Indian Ocean archipelago on the basis it was necessary for "peace, order and good government".
The judges ruled that the interests of the islanders from the British Indian Ocean Territory had been ignored.
Lord Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Cresswell, sitting in London, held that orders made under the Royal prerogative to prevent their return were irrational and unlawful.
Later, Olivier Bancoult, the leader of the Chagos Refugee Group, said the families, many of whom have spent their exile in poverty, now hoped to go home soon. He added: "This is a very big historic moment."
Richard Gifford, the solicitor for the islanders, said: "The British government has been defeated in its attempt to abolish the right of abode of the islanders after first deporting them in secret 30 years ago."
Because of the wide-ranging importance of the landmark decision, which includes a declaration that orders made under the Royal prerogative are not immune to judicial review, the judges gave Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, permission to appeal.
The ruling is the latest extraordinary twist in what critics have described as one of the most shameful episodes in modern British history - the enforced depopulation of the Chagos Archipelago 30 years ago to provide the US with a strategic navy and air base of unparalleled security.
Between 1965 and 1973, the local people, who mainly worked on coconut plantations, were forced to leave.
The islanders say that probably more than 1,000 people were forced to go to Mauritius and the Seychelles and received only inadequate compensation. More recently, many have moved to the UK in an attempt to start new lives.
The British authorities say the numbers removed were far fewer than claimed.
In November 2000, the High Court dealt a blow to the government when it overturned measures introduced in 1971 to keep the Chagossians in exile. The court held that the islanders had a right of return to the group of 65 islands in the Chagos Archipelago, although not to Diego Garcia itself.
Robin Cook, the then foreign secretary, said there would be no appeal.
The US military expressed fears that any attempt to resettle any of the islands would compromise the security of Diego Garcia - the island used to launch bombing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The islanders described their sense of shock and fresh betrayal when, in June 2004, the British government decided that they could not go back after all.
The government made an order under the Royal prerogative, declaring that no person had a "right of abode" in the British Indian Ocean Territory. That ruling was overturned yesterday.
BRITAIN'S ISLAND IN THE SUN BECOMES
BLAIR'S LATEST PROBLEM
IN TORTURE SCANDAL
Taken from an article by Gordon Thomas
The interrogation techniques used on Diego Garcia are contained in a secret CIA manual on coercive questioning. It contains sections headed "Threats and Fear", "Pain", "Narcosis" and "Heightened Suggestibility and Hypnosis".
The presence of the prisoners on Diego Garcia is so secret that a counter-terrorism official in Washington said President Bush "had informed the CIA he did not want to know where they were".
The American interrogators have unfettered access to prisoners kept on board prison ships in the island's deep-water harbours. They are brought ashore for questioning in a custom-built concrete cell-block near the island's air field. From there, US Air Force B52s took off to bomb Afghanistan and then Iraq.
Now private Lear jets regularly fly in with new prisoners. Highly placed intelligence sources in Pakistan and Washington have revealed that over thirty al Qaeda suspects have been kidnapped by CIA snatch squads and flown to Diego Garcia in the chartered Lears.
Among them are Osama bin Laden's senior lieutenants, Khalid Sheik Mohammed Ramzi Binasshibh and Abu Zubaida, kidnapped from Pakistan.
One intelligence source said: "These operations are sanctioned in Washington from the top. Rumsfeld knows. Sometimes the snatch flights are approved by the White House".
Alberto Gonzales, President Bush's in-house counsel, confirmed that "many key decisions about detainees and their status are made by the President".
Last week, Amnesty International wrote to William S Farish, the US ambassador to Britain, to seek a meeting over claims that "stress and duress tactics" are being used on Diego Garcia prisoners. And he wanted to know the role of "various foreign intelligence services known to torture detainees who are also involved in the interrogations".
Both MI6 and Mossad agents are known to have visited Diego Garcia to question "high value" suspected terrorists.
Both Amnesty and the International Red Cross have been refused permission to visit the island under a secret deal made between London and Washington.
Secret legal opinions from US Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers have concluded that the CIA was "safe from scrutiny" if it conducted its interrogations on places like Diego Garcia.
It is not known if those opinions were known to the UK government when the use of Diego Garcia as an interrogation centre was decided upon.
A key ruling states violations of American statutes that prohibit torture, degrading treatment or the Geneva Convention will not apply "if it can be argued that the detainees are formally in the custody of another country".
"As Diego Garcia is a British colony, it could mean that the prisoners there are entitled to British protection", said a counter-terrorism officer in Washington. He is one of those who has expressed concerns inside the CIA over what is happening.
"If the Administration has nothing to hide, it should immediately end incommunicado detention and grant access to independent human rights organisations", sad Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
Human rights organisations fear that there are similar physical abuses at Diego Garcia as were revealed in Baghdad's now notorious Abu Ghrain prison.
Since February 1964 - following a still secret Anglo-American conference in London - Diego Garcia has increasingly become what Washington calls "a staging base for the security of the West".
Hundreds of islanders, all British passport holders - who a Foreign Office official noted in 1955 "are lavish with their Union Jacks" - were thrown off Diego Garcia at short notice. But the coral limestone island is still one of the British Indian Ocean Territories.
There are now 6,000 US military personnel living on the island - along with their "high value" al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners.
They are part of more than 9,000 other detainees who are held in US military controlled prisons specially set up for the purpose.
It has been established that 300 detainees are held in railroad box-cars at Bagram, north of Kabul. Hundreds more are detained in prisons in Afghanistan. But the majority are held in Iraq's thirteen jails. - Gordon Thomas
Island paradise or torture chamber?
Torture and Detention on Diego Garcia
Syria used as US outsources torture
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved in December 2002 a number of severe measures, including the stripping of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and using dogs to frighten them. He later rescinded those tactics and signed off on a shorter list of ``exceptional techniques,'' including 20-hour interrogations, face slapping, stripping detainees to create ``a feeling of helplessness and dependence,'' and using dogs to increase anxiety.
The State Department report also harshly attacked the treatment of prisoners in such countries as Syria and Egypt, where the United States has shipped terrorism suspects under a practice known as ``rendition.'' The standard
read also 'The Torture Report' by Les Dove
Er...Isn't Syria on the axis of evil???
"We expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom," - Bush
On May 6, 2002 United States Under Secretary of State John Bolton gave a speech entitled "Beyond the Axis of Evil". In it he added three more nations to be grouped with the already mentioned "rogue states": Libya, Syria, and Cuba. The criteria for membership of this group was: "state sponsors of terrorism that are pursuing or who have the potential to pursue weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or have the capability to do so in violation of their treaty obligations". The speech was widely reported as an expansion of the original Axis of Evil.
Phony evidence gained from Global Torture justifies the war on terror
[there is] a post-9/11 acceptance of, even appetite for, torture - or, to use the Newspeak euphemism, 'enhanced interrogation techniques' - within the US and UK administrations. An acceptance this has led to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and to the situation where Britain will happily use information extracted from captives in Uzbekistan, whose intelligence agencies (according to Craig Murray, our former ambassador to that country) boil their prisoners alive.
Murray discusses our Uzbek allies in The Dirty Business, a documentary by Andrew Gilligan which concentrates mainly on America's 'Special Removal Unit,' a covert team specialising in kidnapping suspects then transporting them to countries where they will be tortured, Syria, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan among them.
The details of the techniques replicated in The Guantanamo Guidebook, meanwhile, came to light via declassified internal documents, official investigations, leaked memos, and from detainees themselves. Since being released without charge, these men have testified to undergoing everything from being chained and beaten, to being nearly drowned, to being threatened with dogs, to being raped.source
RFE/RL'S INTERVIEW WITH FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO UZBEKISTAN CRAIG MURRAY
Uzbekistan: Critic of Andijan Massacre Arrested
Former Gitmo detainee Moazzam Begg reveals torture
"I saw one body actually being carried away and the other one, I wasn't sure whether he had been killed but the photographs the American intelligence officers had brought confirmed this person had been killed."
Mr Begg called his detention at Guantanamo "tortuous" [sic] but made express allegations of torture only about his treatment at Bagram. In one particularly harsh interrogation, he said, he faced two FBI agents who ordered punishments which included being "hog-tied".
Mr Begg described this as "having your hands tied behind your back and then simultaneously having them tied to your legs and your ankles and shackled from behind; left on a floor with a bag over my head, and kicked and punched and left there for several hours, only to be interrogated again".
He said he was threatened with being sent to Egypt, "to be tortured, to face electric shocks, to have my fingers broken, to be sexually abused, and the like". Mr Begg admitted visiting training camps in Afghanistan in 1993 and 1998. He said the first was run by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. - Independent via Rense
Britain's Home Secretary caught in a lie...
Britain scolds UN over criticism on deportations
04 Oct 2005 17:19:19 GMT Source: Reuters - By Irwin Arieff
Britain's Home Secretary complained to the United Nations on Tuesday that it should support rather than criticize London's efforts to make it easier to deport foreign militants to countries suspected of using torture.
Britain, under pressure to take a tough line against hard-line Islamists after July bombings in London which killed 52 people, has asked Jordan, Egypt, Algeria and others to agree in advance not to torture anybody that London hoped to deport to their country.
But Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, urged Britain in August not to deport militants to any country suspected of using torture and dismissed such assurances they would not be mistreated once they arrived.
That prompted Home Secretary Charles Clarke to object "in the strongest possible terms" to a U.N. official expressing such views without first consulting with London. He planned to make this point in a Tuesday meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, he said. "The United Nations ought to be supporting government-to-government treaties in areas such as this," he told a small group of reporters. The European Court of Justice has made deportation difficult if there is a risk an individual will be tortured in the destination country, he said.
A court ruling barred arguments that the risk of torture could be outweighed by a risk the individual would commit a dangerous act such as "blow up a train," Clarke said. Britain is seeking to reverse that judgment in a new case brought before the court by the Netherlands, he said. It is also seeking to reassure the courts by negotiating bilateral memorandums of understanding in which countries would agree not to torture or otherwise abuse a deported individual, he said.
Britain had already reached such an agreement with Jordan, was close to completing accords with Egypt and Algeria, and was negotiating with several other unnamed governments, he said. Britain hoped to deport a number of individuals on national security grounds who were now in detention, awaiting a decision in the British courts, he said.
At the same time, London did not intend to copy the U.S. technique known as rendition in which U.S. agents have spirited terrorist suspects out of other Western nations to transport them to countries where they may have been tortured, he said.
"We don't go along with that kind of way of doing things," Clarke said. - alertnet.org
U.K.: Highest Court to Rule on Torture Evidence
(London, October 14, 2005)-A ruling by Britain's highest court on the use of torture evidence is likely to have profound implications for the worldwide ban on torture, Human Rights Watch said today. Britain's highest court will convene on Monday, October 17 to consider whether torture evidence obtained from third countries is permitted in domestic British law. The House of Lords Judicial Committee (commonly known as "the law lords") will hear an appeal against an August 2004 majority decision by the Court of Appeal that the U.K. government was entitled to rely on torture evidence in special terrorism cases, provided that the U.K. "neither procured nor connived at" the torture. The use of evidence obtained through torture or other ill-treatment is prohibited by international law.
"When it comes to torture, the rules of the game must not change." said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, "You can't accept torture evidence without condoning torture."
Human Rights Watch is part of a coalition of fourteen human rights and anti-torture organizations intervening in the House of Lords case.
Under the Convention against Torture, to which 140 countries including the U.K. are party, evidence obtained under torture is inadmissible in "any proceedings" before a court. The rule is also part of customary international law binding on all states. But a two-to-one majority in the Court of Appeal held that because the convention is not part of British law, the courts did not have to exclude such evidence.
The U.N. Committee against Torture criticized the British government's refusal to disavow the use of torture evidence at its November 2004 review of the U.K.'s compliance with the torture convention.
The British government's assertion that it is entitled to rely on evidence which third countries have obtained through torture is part of its growing efforts to erode the torture prohibition. The government is seeking to bypass the prohibition against returning people to torture by obtaining promises of humane treatment to allow it to deport terrorism suspects. Despite clear evidence that such promises do not provide an effective safeguard against ill-treatment, it has already concluded a memorandum of understanding with Jordan, and is negotiating similar agreements with Algeria, Libya, Egypt, and other countries with poor records on torture. The government is also seeking to redefine the scope of the ban on returns to torture, through political pressure on the British courts, and an intervention in a Dutch case in the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that courts should balance the risk of torture against national security concerns.
"The U.K. government's attack on the torture ban is deeply troubling," said Cartner. "It threatens more than half of a century of efforts-including by Britain itself-to eradicate torture worldwide."
The case, A and others, is being brought by ten foreign nationals previously certified under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 as suspected international terrorists and subject to indefinite detention without trial. The majority of the men are Algerian. In December 2004, the Law Lords ruled that indefinite detention was unlawful. The present appeal arises from a July 2002 decision by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission that it was entitled to consider evidence that may have been obtained under torture in determining the men's appeals against certification.
Two of the men have left the U.K. and two had their certificates revoked prior to December 2004. Six of the men were subject to control orders under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 following their release from indefinite detention in March 2005, but an unspecified number of the six were subsequently detained on immigration charges pending their deportation on national security grounds.
Members of the coalition intervening in the case are: The AIRE Centre, Amnesty International, the Association for the Prevention of Torture, British Irish Rights Watch, The Committee on the Administration of Justice, Doctors for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, The International Federation of Human Rights, INTERIGHTS, The Law Society of England and Wales, Liberty, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, REDRESS, and the World Organisation Against Torture. - alertnet.org
Independent human rights groups estimate that there are more than 600 politically motivated arrests a year in Uzbekistan, and 6,500 political prisoners, some tortured to death. According to a forensic report commissioned by the British embassy, in August two prisoners were even boiled to death.
The US condemned this repression for many years. But since September 11 rewrote America's strategic interests in central Asia, the government of President Islam Karimov has become Washington's new best friend in the region.
- see 'the memory hole'
Craig Murray Says:
I experienced at first hand the abandonment of all principle by this government as it decided to use, routinely, information obtained under torture to further the 'War on Terror'.
Like so many of the British people, I was aghast as we launched an illegal war, plainly against the wishes of the UN Security Council. We were so sure we would lose at the UN we didn’t even put it to the vote.
Like many in the FCO I knew in advance that the so-called dossier on weapons of mass destruction was full of lies. 152 of its alleged "facts" are now known to be complete fabrication.
Now they tell us the WMD were not the reason for war but rather it was to bring democracy to Iraq. Yet at the same time the West is giving financial and military support to the Karimov regime in Uzbekistan, one of the most brutal regimes in the World.
We appear to have sold out the principle of support for international law and the United Nations. We have replaced it with the notion of a new world order based on one superpower, led by George Bush, and that we will benefit from being his best friend. - craigmurray.org.uk
Britain helped train Uzbek killers
BRITISH soldiers helped to train the army of Uzbekistan, which last month slaughtered hundreds of pro-democracy protesters.
The government of the central Asian republic has admitted that its troops killed 173 civilian demonstrators on 12 and 13 May in the city of Andizhan - and the true toll is believed to have been much higher. Human rights groups have condemned the massacre. Last year, about 150 British Army veterans of the Iraq war travelled to Uzbekistan to train with the army responsible for the killings. According to one independent witness, the British soldiers "shared tactics" with the Uzbeks.
The revelations will raise fresh questions about the UK government's support for the autocratic regime of Islam Karimov, the Uzbek president.
Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who has been critical of UK policy towards Mr Karimov, was outraged that British troops had worked so closely with Uzbek forces.
"One of the most chilling things about the massacre was that it was not a spur-of-the-moment thing," he said yesterday. "The morning after, the soldiers searched the square, methodically killing the wounded with bullets to the head.
"The idea that British Army soldiers were training alongside people who do that is simply appalling."
Last autumn, 150 officers and men of the Royal Regiment of Wales travelled to Uzbekistan to take part in a major army training operation that apparently included combat operations. The Uzbeks codenamed the operation Timur Express, a reference to the 14th-century warlord known in the West as Tamburlaine. The exercise took place at the Farish training camp, 200 miles south-west of the capital, Tashkent. Pictures of the operation obtained by The Scotsman appear to show British and Uzbek troops firing a machine-gun and engaging in combat simulations. The Welsh soldiers are members of the Territorial Army and most of them had served at least one tour in Iraq,
"The soldiers were able to use their experience gained in Iraq and other operations to train the Uzbeks using British tactics," said one person who observed the Farish training operation. Previously, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence have admitted offering only support and training to selected Uzbek army officers, hoping to encourage democratic reform and Uzbekistan's participation in international peacekeeping missions. The government has been reluctant to admit providing operational support to the Uzbek army. The last time the MoD told parliament about military support, in February 2004, ministers said Britain had provided training and advice ... focused on assisting the Uzbekistan ministry of defence with its defence reform efforts".
The United States has also faced questions about its military support for Uzbekistan, seen as a key ally in the war on terrorism. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Uzbek army units involved in the Andizhan killings had benefited from US military training.
In a statement last night, the MoD said: "Our limited activities in Uzbekistan are designed to sow the seeds of democratic management and accountability of the military.
"The Uzbek defence minister is very forward-leaning in his desire to modernise and increase professionalism in the armed forces."
The MoD described the Welsh troops' presence in Uzbekistan as an "annual peacekeeping exercise". A spokesman was unable to say whether there would be another such exercise this year. - Scotsman via IMCUK
& Craig Murrays weblog
USA / UK MOD hastily covers up yearly promise to train KILLERS
MoD rules out Uzbek return
JAMES KIRKUP POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
BRITISH soldiers will not be sent back to Uzbekistan to train with the central Asian republic's military forces, the Ministry of Defence said last night. The Scotsman yesterday revealed that 150 British soldiers had taken part last year in Exercise Timur Express, exchanging tactics with Uzbek forces.
Last month, Uzbek government troops killed hundreds of unarmed pro-democracy protesters in the city of Andizhan, in a massacre that was condemned by human rights groups and western countries, including Britain.
The MoD said in a written statement to The Scotsman on Sunday that Exercise Timur Express had been an "annual training exercise", meant to encourage military reform in Uzbekistan.
Yesterday, however, an MoD spokesman said: "There will be no such exercise this year - there are no current plans to return."
The statement on Sunday about an "annual exercise" had been "a mistake", the spokesman said. - scotsman
USA evicted from Uzbekistan...political theatre?
U.S. Evicted From Air Base In Uzbekistan
The eviction notice came four days before a senior State Department official was to arrive in Tashkent for talks with the government of President Islam Karimov. The relationship has been increasingly tense since bloody protests in the province of Andijan in May, the worst unrest since Uzbekistan gained independence from the Soviet Union.
Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns was going to pressure Tashkent to allow an international investigation into the Andijan protests, which human rights groups and three U.S. senators who met with eyewitnesses said killed about 500 people. Burns was also going to warn the government, one of the most authoritarian in the Islamic world, to open up politically -- or risk the kind of upheavals witnessed recently in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, U.S. officials said.
Karimov has balked at an international probe. As U.S. pressure mounted, he cut off U.S. night flights and some cargo flights, forcing Washington to move search-and-rescue operations and some cargo flights to Bagram air base in Afghanistan and Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan. As relations soured, the Bush administration was preparing for a further cutoff, U.S. officials said.
The United States was given the notice just hours after 439 Uzbek political refugees were flown out of neighboring Kyrgyzstan -- over Uzbek objections -- by the United Nations. The refugees fled after the May unrest, which Uzbek officials charged was the work of terrorists. The Bush administration had been pressuring Kyrgyzstan not to force the refugees to return to Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan has been widely viewed as an important test for the Bush administration -- and whether the anti-terrorism efforts or promotion of democracy takes priority. "We all knew basically that if we really wanted to keep access to the base, the way to do it was to shut up about democracy and turn a blind eye to the refugees," said the senior official, on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive diplomacy. "We could have saved the base if we had wanted."
- washington post
Flashback: "UK Eyes Alpha"
"A top-secret report linking MI6 with a failed attempt to assassinate Colonel Gadaffi appeared on an American internet site yesterday, refuting Robin Cook's claim that British intelligence was not involved. The document, marked "UK Eyes Alpha", details contacts between MI6 and a group of Middle Eastern plotters who tried unsuccessfully to blow up Gadaffi's motorcade.
The report, coded CX95/ 53452, was passed to senior Foreign Office officials. It revealed when and where the assassination attempt was due and said that at least 250 British-made weapons were distributed among the plotters. The four-page CX document was published on the California-based Yahoo! website. The Sunday Times has complied with a request by Rear-Admiral Nick Wilkinson, secretary of the government's defence, press and broadcasting advisory committee, not to print the address of the website on which the CX report is published.
Nicholas Rufford, Revealed: Cook misled public over Libya plot , February 13, 2000 (article offline)
report CX95/ 53452
from document found here
Image mirrored here
Blair hails new Libyan relations
Tony Blair says Libya's Muammar Gaddafi is willing to join Britain in the fight against terrorism.
After shaking hands with Colonel Gaddafi at the start of the historic talks, the prime minister said there was real hope for a "new relationship".
People should not forget the past, they should move beyond it, Mr Blair said.
Thursday's Tripoli meeting follows Libya's renunciation of weapons of mass destruction in December. Mr Blair said such changes were "extraordinary".
Blair hails new Libyan relations
Into the Gulags
Britain signs deportation deal with Libya
18/10/2005 - A deal has been signed with Libya allowing the UK to deport foreign terror suspects without fear of them being mistreated.
The move follows a similar agreement with Jordan.
Under international convention, the British government can't send people back to a country where they might face inhuman or degrading treatment.
diplomatic assurances worth the paper they're written on?
U.K.: Torture a Risk in Libya Deportation Accord
(London, October 18, 2005) - The United Kingdom cannot deport individuals to Libya without violating the international prohibition against sending persons to countries where they face a serious risk of torture, Human Rights Watch said today. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the British and Libyan governments today allows Britain to deport individuals to Libya if the Libyan government gives diplomatic assurances the deportees will not be subjected to torture. In the case of diplomatic assurances given by Egypt, Syria and other countries with records of torturing detainees, Human Rights Watch has found that such promises do nothing to reduce the risk or to satisfy the obligation not to torture people in custody.
"Britain can't hide behind the fig leaf of Libyan diplomatic promises," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch. "Deporting suspects to Libya would put them at serious risk of torture."
The first deportees could be five Libyan nationals detained by British authorities on October 3 under immigration law because their presence in Britain allegedly threatens national security or is otherwise "not conducive to the public good." The five men, who were living in Britain, are reportedly involved in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an armed opposition group that has been fighting to overthrow the Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi since the mid-1990s. Reportedly, several of the five individuals had been recognized as refugees in the United Kingdom.
Despite improvements in recent years, torture remains a problem in Libya. Human Rights Watch has testimony from individuals in Libya who were beaten, hung from walls and inflicted with electric shock.
The United Kingdom and Libya are both parties to the Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The treaty prohibits torture, and the transfer, return or expulsion-or refoulement-of persons to countries where there are substantial grounds for believing that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture. Under international law, the prohibition against torture and refoulement is absolute and cannot be waived under any circumstances.
Human Rights Watch said the Memorandum of Understanding represents an effort to circumvent the Convention Against Torture's strict prohibition of refoulement and has no mechanism for accountability. Under the proposed memorandum, only verbal notice is required to set proceedings in motion.
Diplomatic assurances such as the MOU fail to protect against torture, Human Rights Watch said. Torture is practiced in secret and its perpetrators are generally adept at keeping such abuse from detection. Neither a sending nor a receiving country has an incentive to expose abuse. By doing so, the receiving country would acknowledge its use of torture or ill-treatment, and the sending country would admit that it has violated its obligation against refoulement.
In addition, as the name implies, diplomatic assurances are generally subject to the limits of diplomacy and by their very nature lack effective mechanisms to secure compliance. Diplomatic assurances also have no legal effect, leaving the person they aim to protect no recourse if they are breached.
The proposed agreement with Libya follows a similar agreement that Britain concluded with Jordan in August. Human Rights Watch said that Britain plans to conclude similar agreements with other countries across the region, including Egypt and Algeria-both countries with notorious records of torture.
"Britain's policy of shipping unwelcome foreigners to countries that practice torture is illegal and immoral, regardless of unenforceable promises that deportees will not be tortured," Whitson said.
In August, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, expressed alarm about British plans to rely on assurances to return people to Jordan and other countries with poor records on torture. He said that Britain's new policy "reflects a tendency in Europe to circumvent the international obligation not to deport anybody if there is a serious risk that he or she might be subjected to torture." - Source: Human Rights Watch via alertnet.org
is this the kind of justice we can all expect?
MI5 'acts on facts gained under torture'
By Duncan Gardham(Filed: 21/10/2005)
The head of MI5 has submitted evidence to the House of Lords indicating that her agents are prepared to act on intelligence obtained under torture in the fight against terrorism.
In a seven-page statement to the law lords, Eliza Manningham-Buller said experience showed that material received from foreign authorities as a result of what she called "detainee reporting" had "proved to be very valuable in disrupting terrorist activity".
Ms Manningham-Buller said that MI5 and the secret intelligence service MI6 did not, as a rule, inquire closely into the origin of information received from foreign security agencies, especially when an urgent response was needed. "Where circumstances permit", the agencies would seek to acquire "as much context as possible" about how the information was obtained, she wrote. But she added: "Where the reporting is threat-related, the desire for context will usually be subservient to the need to take action to establish the facts, in order to protect life." The Law Lords are considering an earlier Appeal Court ruling that evidence obtained by abuse of detainees overseas may be admissible in a British court, so long as UK agents do not participate in or solicit it.
Ms Manningham-Buller's comments, seen by Channel 4 News, are contained in a statement to law lords hearing an appeal by 10 terror suspects who argue that evidence from torture overseas should not be used in the Home Office's attempt to deport them.
A Home Office spokesman said it would not comment on the case. - telegraph
Channel 4 TV news seems to somehow been given, and published a facsimilie copy of some of the evidence (.pdf) which Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the Director General of MI5 the Security Service , which Channel 4 claim was evidence for the Law Lords "torture" appeal currently being heard.
However, given the date of the document, 20th September 2005, perhaps it was actually intended for submission to the British Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights call for evidence on Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights, at any rate, they should certainly review this statemment in their Inquiry.
This mentions the completely unsurprising statement of fact or history, that foreign countries', security and intelligence agencies are not accountable to British ones, and that cooperation and liason officers cannot afford to ask too many questions about whether they suspect that an informant in the custody of such a foreign security agency might have been tortured, especially if they want the "intelligence product" to keep flowing.
What is interesting are the abbreviated examples cited:
Djamel Beghal, detained in the United Arab Emirates, and who allegedly revealed details of a plot against the US Embassy in Paris.
Mohammed Meguerba who was questioned in Algeria and whose alleged information led to the failed "ricin plot" in Wood Green in London, and indirectly to the murder of PC Stephen Oake in Manchester by Kamel Bourgass, and to the dubious arrest, prosecution and attempts at deportation of other alleged "ricin plotters", despite their aquittal in court.
Mohamed Meguerba was the person whose alleged "questioning" by the Algerian authorities led, intially to a false tip off to the British authorities about a non-existent address in London , followed by a tip off to the flat above the chemists shop in Wood Green where the "non-existant ricin plot" failed to present itself as an immediate "clear and present danger" to the public, although there was obvious evidence of intent, despite insufficient technical knowledge or skill to carry out such a plot.
Does this show that people being tortured or merely brutally questioned, are likely to try to give answers which they think the ir interrogators want to hear ?
see MI5 "don't ask if it was torture" evidence and the non-existent ricin plot from spyblog
Ressam provided detailed information on terror suspects
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian convicted of planning a year 2000 terrorist attack on the U.S., has provided federal agents with detailed information on individuals "identified as significant players in al-Qaida and other terrorist networks," according to documents filed in court yesterday.
All told, the 37-year-old Ressam provided information on more than 100 people, according to documents his lawyers submitted in court in preparation for his sentencing later this month.
Ressam, who was arrested in Port Angeles on Dec. 14, 1999, with a car loaded with bomb-making material, was convicted in May 2001 of conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism and eight other related counts.
Facing up to 130 years in prison for a plan to set off a powerful suitcase bomb at the Los Angeles International Airport, Ressam agreed to cooperate in exchange for a 27-year prison sentence.
His attorneys have said in the past that information from Ressam has proved so valuable, particularly since the Sept. 11 attacks, that he deserves additional time off his sentence.
Federal public defender Thomas Hillier, reached yesterday, declined to discuss the defense strategy for the April 27 sentencing.
However, defense documents filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Seattle lay out in general terms the scope of Ressam's cooperation. Sealed attachments detail that cooperation. The attachments were sealed to allow prosecutors time to decide what portions they believe should remain out of public view.
Telephone messages left at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle were not immediately returned yesterday evening.
The defense documents name only one individual Ressam has talked about — Abu Doha, the man Ressam claims led the Algerian section of the Afghan terrorist training. Doha, who lives in London, was indicted by a New York grand jury a month after the Sept. 11 attacks in connection with the millennium plot.
Between Ressam's conviction in May 2001 and April 2003, the documents say, he spent more than 200 hours in interviews and an additional 65 providing depositions or trial testimony. He has been interviewed by agents from Canada, Spain, Great Britain, Germany and Italy, the defense said.
While not mentioned specifically in the documents, Ressam provided U.S. prosecutors with key information in the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker and the only man indicted in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Ressam has told investigators that Moussaoui was at a training camp in Afghanistan while he was there, sources have previously confirmed.
Over months of interrogations, the documents state, Ressam gave agents information on everything from the location of other terrorist cells to individuals planning terrorist attacks. He provided an inside look at terrorist recruitment, codes, explosives, ideology and security, the documents claim.
"In short," it concludes, "he provided everything he knew." - By Mike Carter
Seattle Times staff reporter
'Millennium bomber' gets 22 years
Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 July, 2005
Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian man convicted of plotting to blow up Los Angeles airport five years ago, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Ressam was arrested as he crossed the US-Canadian border with explosives on the eve of the new millennium. He was convicted in 2001 of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and smuggling explosives, but was not sentenced because he was helping the authorities. He stopped co-operating in 2003 after being placed in solitary confinement.
Ressam was arrested by US customs in December 1999 as he crossed by ferry from British Columbia on Canada's west coast into the US. Officers found bomb-making materials in the boot of his car. After his arrest, Mr Ressam reportedly helped the US authorities identify more than 100 people with alleged links to al-Qaeda. He also provided information about the network's training camps in Afghanistan.
Prosecutors had hoped he could help in the extradition of two suspected al-Qaeda members, one of whom is currently in Britain, the other in Canada, says the BBC's David Willis in Los Angeles. But he withdrew his co-operation after being placed in solitary confinement and the efforts to extradite the two men foundered, our correspondent says.
Ressam had been denied asylum by Canada, but had nevertheless managed to continue to live in Montreal for seven years. - bbc.co.uk
Prosecutors may ditch 9/11 case after sanctions
Associated Press in Alexandria Thursday March 16, 2006 The Guardian
Prosecutors seeking the death penalty for confessed terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui have told a federal judge that it would be a waste of time to continue the trial after key government witnesses were barred from testifying.
The government is considering an appeal against district judge Leonie Brinkema's decision on Tuesday to bar testimony from aviation officials, who were central to the justice department's case.
Judge Brinkema issued the sanctions because a government lawyer violated trial rules by coaching witnesses on their testimony and giving them access to trial transcripts. - guardian.co.uk
UK is accused over 'torture flights'
By Marie Woolf and Anthony Barnes Published: 20 November 2005
Ministers have been accused of turning a blind eye to "torture flights" refuelling at UK airports, despite warnings that they may breach international law. A powerful committee of MPs and peers will this week begin an inquiry into hundreds of flights through UK airports which may be carrying terror suspects to destinations where they could face torture.
The United Nations and human rights lawyers have warned that the Government's failure to intercept the flights, some of which have been run by the CIA, could breach Britain's obligations under the UN Convention against Torture.
Tomorrow MPs and peers will begin questioning the use of "extraordinary rendition", where a suspect is snatched and taken to clandestine interrogation camps or to a country where torture may occur. Yesterday the nine released British detainees from Guantanamo Bay were reunited for the first time and detailed the "acts of terror" inflicted on them by US authorities. The group spoke of the beatings, humiliation and isolation which became a way of life.
Among them was Moazzam Begg, who told international delegates: "We have been subjected to acts of terror. It's terrifying to have a gun with a loaded chamber pointed at your head; it's terrifying to think you will never see your family again; it's terrifying to feel a blade ripping your clothes off, all in the name of security. What does this tell us about the rule of law as far as the US is concerned? It tells us that it doesn't apply.''
Feroz Abassi said he was aware of one prisoner who had been beaten so badly he was put into a coma, and when he recovered from that was found to be permanently brain damaged, with a mental age of 12.
Leading human rights lawyers say that the Government's failure to take action makes them "complicit", and breaches the UN Convention against Torture, which Britain has signed. Around 200 flights involved in the special operations are believed to have flown in and out of UK airports since September 2001. They include flights by the CIA's fleet of planes.
The Department of Transport said it had "no evidence" that the flights may be carrying people to destinations where they could be tortured. "These are privately chartered aircraft and they don't need to tell us who is on board," said a spokesman.
Philippe Sands QC, a leading human rights barrister, said: "You can't turn a blind eye under the torture convention. There is a positive obligation to investigate credible information." - independent
approval to torture
Britain gives approval to torture, claims Amnesty
By Ben Russell and Colin Brown - Published: 26 November 2005
Tony Blair has been accused of undermining decades of British campaigning for international human rights by using the war on terror to give a "green light" to torture. Amnesty International is to launch an unprecedented global campaign tomorrow against the British Government after ministers admitted they would use information gained by torture to prevent attacks on the United Kingdom.
Mike Gapes, the Labour MP and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, hit out at the Government after Ian Pearson, the Foreign Office minister responsible for human rights, said evidence obtained under torture could not be ignored if it might prevent an attack. He said: "The fact the Government now seems prepared to use evidence obtained under torture sends a worrying signal and may mean that while we say we condemn the use of torture, other countries might feel they have a green light to use torture to get evidence on terrorism."
Amnesty is to turn the tactics it used against torture by dictatorships in the Seventies and Eighties on the Government as it puts the campaign against British anti-terror laws at the forefront of the organisation's global fight for human rights. It will call on its two million members worldwide to join a letter-writing campaign targeting Mr Blair and build international pressure to oppose plans to deport suspects to countries that use torture. Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty UK, said Britain's actions posed one of the greatest threats to human rights in the West. She condemned Britain for attempting to secure memorandums of understanding with other states to allow the deportation of terror suspects
The Government has signed memorandums with Jordan and Libya and is negotiating deals with Algeria and other countries to attempt to ensure that detainees are not mistreated if they are returned. But campaigners insist the deals are "not worth the paper they are written on" and undermine the global ban on torture. Meanwhile the House of Lords is also yet to rule on whether the UK can use evidence against terror suspects that may have been obtained under torture abroad.
Amnesty's campaign, to be launched with a rally outside Downing Street, has huge symbolic resonance for Labour. Ms Allen said: "We are incredibly angry about the way in which the UK Government is moving from being a defender of human rights to being a defender of torturers.
"We want to open people's eyes to what is being done in their name. Whilst we used to be sending diplomats around the world stopping torture we are flying them around the world to sign agreements with countries that use torture. "This is deeply shocking. What is happening in the UK is of such magnitude that is has created anger in Amnesty as a worldwide movement. The UK has been at the forefront of establishing international law and helping human rights. It is in danger of simply throwing that away and I don't think backbenchers and the public realise that."
Mr Pearson had suggested on Thursday during a meeting of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee that the Government might use evidence obtained under torture. He said: "When we get to the situation where there is evidence that might prevent a future atrocity and we have suspicions that evidence might be obtained from torture, well I think we have to use that evidence. I don't think you can completely ignore what might turn out to be vital evidence that will save the lives of UK citizens."
A day earlier, Mr Blair had told MPs: "We do not agree with the use of torture." Pressed over whether that was an absolute rule, Mr Blair added: "I mean absolute in this sense, that you say 'Look, it is simply the civil liberties of the suspect, or simply the liberties of freedom from terrorism'. You have to balance those two things." He went on: "Of course there are absolute rules that we have about torture, or about the death penalty for example ... I do not accept that the anti-terrorist measures that we have been introducing transgress that."
UK rules out evidence by torture
By Nikki Tait, Law Courts Correspondent - Published: December 8 2005
The House of Lords, Britain's top court, on Thursday ruled out the use of evidence obtained by torture in overseas jurisdictions in the English courts.
A special panel of seven law lords unanimously allowed an appeal brought by 10 foreign nationals - mainly north African - who have been detained without charge as suspected terrorists.
Three years ago, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission decided that it was entitled to consider evidence which might have been obtained under torture overseas in determining whether to allow the men's appeals against detention. The Court of Appeal, in a majority decision, also decided that such evidence could be used provided the UK "neither provided nor connived at" the torture.
But on Thursday, the Law Lords overruled those decisions, deciding that such evidence had no place in the judicial system, and order that SIAC reconsider the individual cases in the light of this decision. "Torture is not acceptable,. This a bedrock moral principle in this country," said Lord Nicholls. Various law lords pointed out that the last torture warrant in England itself was issued in 1640 - the year the Star Chamber was abolished.
The ruling was hailed by numerous human rights and civil liberties groups which had intervened in the case - including Amnesty International, the Association for the Prevention of Torture, Human Rights Watch, and the World Organisation Against Torture. "Our courts have done this country proud by telling our government and governments around the world that you're either with us or against us in the war against torture," said Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty. "This is a real.victory in the struggle against torture. The Law Lords have affirmed a core tenet of our values - that torture evidence is never acceptable," said Holly Cartner at Human Rights Watch.
The ruling was also welcomed by the Law Society, speaking for solicitors in England and Wales. "The use of torture is repugnant at all times and it makes no difference where, by whom or how it is carried out. We are pleased that the Law Lords have agreed with us and sent this clear signal to the international community," said Kevin Martin, president.
But, in a number of individual judgments, several law lords made clear that the ability of police and enforcement authorities to consider information from intelligence sources in countries where torture is still practiced when making operational decisions should be considered a different matter.
"The intuitive response..is that if use of such information might save lives it would be absurd to reject it....the government cannot be expected to close its eyes to this information at the price of endangering the lives of its own citizens," said Lord Nicholls. But he said: "It is one thing for tainted information to be used by the executive when making operational decisions or by the police when exercising their investigatory powers, including powers of arrest...It is an altogether different matter for the judicial arm of the state to admit such information as evidence when adjudicating definitively upon the guilty or innocence of a person charged with a criminal offence".
Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood also said that the overall decision should not be seen "as a significant setback" to the Home Secretary's efforts to combat terrorism. "Rather it confirms the right of the executive to act on whatever information it may receive from around the world, while at the same time preserving the integrity of the judicial process and vindicating the good name of British justice", he said.
The original arrest of the 10 men under the emergency anti-terrorism legislation passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, generally occurred December 2001. - FT.com
[The following via Lenins tomb blogspot]
Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, has been trying to expose the government's complicity with the Uzbek regime in obtaining information through the use of torture. Two documents in particular are being suppressed, because the FCO has instructed Mr Murray not to include them in his new book and to hand over all copies - fortunately, however, they have already made their way into the public domain by some means. And I, of course, have received no instructions from any official. Here they are:
Michael Wood is the legal adviser to the Foreign Office, (it was to him that Elizabeth Wilmshurt's resignation letter was addressed), and he is explaining that the government's position on obtaining information that it is not illegal under the UN to receive or use information obtained under torture. The only limitation is that it may not be used in court. It is addressed to Linda Duffield, who I assume is the same Linda Duffield who acts as UK ambassador to the Czech Republic, which has recently been implicated in the hosting of CIA prison sites. Its Interior Minister claims that the Republic turned down a US request to set up a detention centre on its territory.
And here is the text of the second document, a sequence of telegraphs from Craig Murray to the FCO. In particular, I quote the following:
I was summoned to the UK for a meeting on 8 March 2003. Michael Wood gave his legal opinion that it was not illegal to obtain and to use intelligence acquired by torture. He said the only legal limitation on its use was that it could not be used in legal proceedings, under Article 15 of the UN Convention on Torture.
On behalf of the intelligence services, Matthew Kydd said that they found some of the material very useful indeed with a direct bearing on the war on terror.
They are using information obtained under torture, then, because intelligence services consider it "very useful". Further, Murray responds to Michael Wood's legal position:
I have been considering Michael Wood's legal view, which he kindly gave in writing. I cannot understand why Michael concentrated only on Article 15 of the Convention. This certainly bans the use of material obtained under torture as evidence in proceedings, but it does not state that this is the sole exclusion of the use of such material.
The relevant article seems to me Article 4, which talks of complicity in torture. Knowingly to receive its results appears to be at least arguable as complicity. It does not appear that being in a different country to the actual torture would preclude complicity. I talked this over in a hypothetical sense with my old friend Prof Francois Hampson, I believe an acknowledged World authority on the Convention, who said that the complicity argument and the spirit of the Convention would be likely to be winning points.
He further responds to a decision taken to continue to use information obtained under torture:
I understand that the meeting decided to continue to obtain the Uzbek torture material. I understand that the principal argument deployed was that the intelligence material disguises the precise source, ie it does not ordinarily reveal the name of the individual who is tortured. Indeed this is true – the material is marked with a euphemism such as "From detainee debriefing." The argument runs that if the individual is not named, we cannot prove that he was tortured.
I will not attempt to hide my utter contempt for such casuistry, nor my shame that I work in and organisation where colleagues would resort to it to justify torture. I have dealt with hundreds of individual cases of political or religious prisoners in Uzbekistan, and I have met with very few where torture, as defined in the UN convention, was not employed. When my then DHM raised the question with the CIA head of station 15 months ago, he readily acknowledged torture was deployed in obtaining intelligence.
So, the Foreign Office does not want anyone to understand that it has taken decisions, in collaboration with MI6, to continue to use information obtained by the use of torture despite the fact that it is, as Craig Murray points out "highly coloured material which exaggerates the threat" or, more prosaically, "dross". At the very least, that serves as yet another introduction to the morally bankrupt universe of the British State.
see Letters sent by Former Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray
We are the 51st state of The USA - welcome to Airstrip one...
Since Sept. 11, 2001, several unnamed U.S. officials have been quoted by numerous media outlets discussing the U.S. practice of "rendition," in which suspected terrorists or Al Qaeda supporters captured abroad are sent for interrogation to countries where human rights are not universally respected. - Chicago Tribune
The Rendition program
The extraordinary-rendition program bears little relation to the system of due process afforded suspects in crimes in America. Terrorism suspects in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have often been abducted by hooded or masked American agents, then forced onto a Gulfstream V jet, like the one described by Arar. This jet, which has been registered to a series of dummy American corporations, such as Bayard Foreign Marketing, of Portland, Oregon, has clearance to land at U.S. military bases. Upon arriving in foreign countries, rendered suspects often vanish. Detainees are not provided with lawyers, and many families are not informed of their whereabouts.
The most common destinations for rendered suspects are Egypt, Morocco, Syria, and Jordan, all of which have been cited for human-rights violations by the State Department, and are known to torture suspects. OUTSOURCING TORTURE
By JANE MAYER
U.K. Minister Lied Over CIA Flights
By Hannah K. StrangeUPI U.K. Correspondent London (UPI) Dec 19, 2005
The British Foreign Office privately accepts that CIA rendition flights did pass through its territory, a diplomatic source told United Press International.
The well-placed source said the Foreign Office "totally accepts" that the United States used British airfields to transfer prisoners abroad for interrogation, and is "extremely worried" about the political consequences.
The revelation comes amid growing signs of divergence between London and Washington over the way in which the war on terror should be conducted.
When British Prime Minister Tony Blair learnt in April 2003 that the United States had bombed a Baghdad hotel in which several media organizations were housed, killing three journalists, he "literally jumped out of his chair," the source told UPI. The Foreign Office was "horrified," considering the attack to be "obscene," the source said.
London took the same attitude towards a U.S. suggestion that it would attack the Qatar headquarters of the Arabic language television al-Jazeera, the source said.
Foreign Office officials threatened to resign if the Americans went ahead with the attacks, revealed in a Downing Street memo leaked to the British media earlier this year.
Blair reportedly talked U.S. President George W. Bush out of the attacks, warning it could fuel a worldwide backlash. The Mirror newspaper quoted a source as saying: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."
The government has threatened newspaper editors with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act if they publish further details of the memo. Ministers appear desperate to dispel any signs of a rift between London and Washington over methods used in the "war on terror."
The revelation that the Foreign Office accepts that CIA rendition flights passed through Britain comes in direct contrast to official denials by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who last week "categorically" denied that any such flights had taken place.
He told the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday: "Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories, that officials are lying, that I'm lying ... that Secretary Rice (U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) is lying, there is simply no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition."
However, the source told UPI that although the Foreign Office had not known of the CIA rendition flights at the time, it was now aware that it should have known. Ministers were "extremely worried" about the issue, the source said. Both Downing Street and the Foreign Office were simply "hoping it is going to go away."
It is alleged some 210 flights operated by the CIA have passed through Britain since September 2001. Human rights groups say many of the flights were carrying prisoners to secret facilities abroad for interrogation using torture. The United States has acknowledged the practice of rendition but insists its personnel do not practice torture.
Last week the European Parliament approved a full investigation into allegations that the CIA used European territory for renditions and for the secret detention of terror suspects, after the EU's human rights watchdog reported that the claims were "credible."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's assurance during her recent European tour that U.S. interrogators were barred from practicing torture at home or overseas was greeted with skepticism by critics of the rendition policy. However, her references to prohibitions on such treatment under the United Nations Convention Against Torture were hailed as a shift in the position of the United States, which has in the past contended that such conventions do not apply to "illegal enemy combatants" detained as part of the war on terror.
Likewise, President Bush has significantly changed his tone on the Iraq conflict in the past week. Addressing Americans from the Oval Office Sunday, he acknowledged the difficult road ahead and that more U.S. lives would be sacrificed in the effort to bring peace and stability to the country.
In a speech widely hailed as far more humble in tone than his usual offerings, Bush admitted that much of the intelligence justifying the decision to go to war in Iraq had been "wrong," and that as president he was responsible for that decision. It had been "controversial" and "deeply" opposed by some Americans, he said.
The president acknowledged the war had brought "sorrow" to the American people, and led some to ask "if we are creating more problems than we're solving."
The war had been "more difficult than we expected," he continued, but added: "In all three aspects of our strategy -- security, democracy, and reconstruction -- we have learned from our experiences, and fixed what has not worked. We will continue to listen to honest criticism, and make every change that will help us complete the mission."
After some serious differences, Britain and the United States appear to be once again moving towards a common viewpoint on the best strategy to bring peace and stability to Iraq. The transatlantic allies apparently agree on the need to scale down the coalition presence in the country, and hand security responsibilities over to Iraqi forces as soon as possible. Bush's new, less belligerent style may indicate a renewed willingness to engage in the "hearts and minds" approach that London has long been pushing for.
In the United States, this change of direction has been reflected by a bounce in Bush's approval ratings -- a Gallup poll conducted Dec. 9-11 indicated that 42 percent of the public approved of the way the president was doing his job, still a minority but an improvement from the 37 percent registered in the same poll the previous month.
But this shift in opinion has not been mirrored across the Atlantic, largely due to the continuing controversy over the CIA flights allegations. The claims have dominated European headlines for weeks, while UPI's new revelations have prompted speculation that the government is more concerned about protecting its allies than upholding the nation's human rights obligations.
The prominent human rights group Liberty has said it will take the British government to court in 2006 if it continues to refuse to investigate the allegations, as is its obligation under international law.
Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti told UPI: "The comments from this well-placed source are of course completely worrying and highlight a contrasting approach between the government and the police, who have agreed to investigate further. Whatever the government hopes, Liberty is not going to go away, and neither will this issue."
Source: United Press International
Blair [the twat pictured above trying to look cool] on Holiday in Egypt as Police give him a show of 'power' - his previous jaunts include Berlusconi / Strozzis villas in Italy & Cliff Richards resort in Barbados
Dec 2005 - Tony plays away - "cheap holidays in other peoples misery"
TONY Blair is on holiday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The Blairs have been regular visitors to the Red Sea resort which has long been popular with winter sun-seekers and diving enthusiasts. In July, terrorist bombs in the town left more than 60 dead - including 11 Britons. The Egyptian authorities have begun to build a 12-mile-long security fence in Sharm, part of an attempt to restore its reputation as a world-class holiday destination. Once completed, the fence will have only four access points, each monitored by Egyptian police and security forces. The president, Hosni Mubarak, maintains a large villa in the town and its numerous hotels 'have attracted' a number of Middle East peace summits.
[have attracted??? try - have got their snouts in the corporate warcrimes for greed & power slavery schemes trough]
Meanwhile: At least 10 people are dead after Riot Police beat refugees, including women and children, dragged them out of the square and forced them onto buses. Police flooded the neighborhood with about 5,000 officers in full riot gear, armed with truncheons, cordoned off the area a little before midnight local time. After a night-long standoff outside the improvised refugee camp situated in an upscale Cairo neighborhood, the State Goons then stormed & indiscriminately attacked the migrants... Ambulances raced to tend to the wounded, at least one small child is among those killed.
January 03, 2006
On the death of the Official Secrets Act [from Craig Murray]
It has come as a surprise to some that I am not currently a guest of Her Majesty. It is plainly a disappointment to others, particularly the trolls who have been gleefully predicting on Lenin's Tomb that the agents of the state will come and get us.
We have published what were, undoubtedly, classified British government documents. Under the notorious Official Secrets Act that is an offence, and everyone connected with it is plainly guilty. There is no public interest defence.
But there are problems with the Official Secrets Act. Despite New Labour attempts to roll them back, British criminal trials still involve juries, and they are reluctant to convict in OSA trials, where they often sympathise with the motives of the defendant. Clive Ponting was acquitted after leaking that the Belgrano was heading home when we sank it. The jury acquitted him, against the clear direction of the judge. And that was in the context of the Falklands War, which the British public supported. What chance of a conviction in the context of the Iraq war, which the British public oppose?
Katharine Gunn released details of GCHQ's involvement with the NSA in bugging UN delegations in New York, and the government withdrew the charges against her rather than face a trial.
There is still time, but to date we haven't even been questioned about the torture telegrams. This is sensible - no British jury is going to convict someone for campaigning against government complicity in torture, in support of George Bush. The publicity surrounding a show trial is not something the government would relish.
Which is why it is confusing that the government have decided to prosecute Messrs Keogh and O'Connor for their alleged involvement in the leaking of the memo about George Bush's proposal to bomb al-Jazeera TV.
So why has that prosecution been brought? There are two vital factors.
Firstly, the UK government has little to fear from publicity. It reveals Bush as violent and unbalanced, but we knew that already. From a No 10 point of view, it shows Blair in a good light, talking Bush out of one of his madder schemes. It is evidence that Blair is not just Bush's bitch. This is a message No 10 are keen to get across, so publicity? No problem.
Secondly, the memo was not successfully leaked. If there was indeed an effort to leak it, it was made by people operating in the wrong century. The document wound up at the Daily Mirror, who were too cowardly to publish and tamely gave it back to the government. The days of heroic editors and publishers in the deadwood press are long gone. The mainstream media are completely intimidated by government - especially, let it be said, the BBC.
By contrast, the torture telegrams were featured on over 4,000 blogs worldwide within 72 hours.
Over the al-Jazeera memo the government looks to be doing the right thing in thwarting bush, and the government looks strong and commanding in suppressing the memo. By contrast, on the torture telegrams, the government has been caught using material from the World's most hideous torture chambers. Jack Straw and Tony Blair have been caught lying about the fact that they do this. And they have been shown to be completely impotent in their efforts to suppress the truth when faced with blogger revolt and modern technology.
They can still try to prosecute me if they want, but WE ARE THE PEOPLE!!
And we cannot be suppressed.
Defending himself against criticism of his decision to publish confidential torture memos on Uzbekistan, former ambassador tot he sountry Craig Murray notes in his blog
"This was released with other Enron court documents. To anyone covering the Enron story, it meant very little. Now, however.... everyone should be aware of this document."
It's a "Dear George" letter from "Ken" about Uzbekistan....
In April 1997, Governor George Bush met with the Uzbek ambassador to the USA. The agenda? The endorsement of Enron's lucrative deal to exploit natural gas in Uzbekistan. Four years later the Uzbek dictator was miraculously transformed into a crucial partner in George Bush's "war on terror".
Here's a scan of the personal fax on the subject, from Enron CEO Kenneth Lay to his good friend George.
It seems like Bush and the Uzbeks go back a long way. No wonder the US government seems so reluctant to act over Karimov's brutal massacres of his own people.
Flashback - Defence Intelligence & Security Chicksands [Bedfordshire] interrogation method used in Abu Ghriab scandal
"The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.
The techniques devised in the system, called R2I - resistance to interrogation - match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad. One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: "It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn't know what they were doing."
He said British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these techniques, which were taught at the joint services interrogation centre in Ashford, Kent, now transferred to the former US base at Chicksands. " - UK forces taught torture methods
didn't know what they were doing? oh really?
evidence of 'black ops' - R2I - resistance to interrogation - false imprisonment
CNN reports: Christian peacemaker Hostages were investigating Abuse claims
"The four men have been gathering evidence about people being treated poorly while "detained by occupation forces," Edward Loney said. "So it was important for my brother's team to be there to hear the testimonials of people who are being snatched up in the night and detained against their will," Edward Loney said. "He has really strong values about peace and loving people equally, and getting a message out about human rights, the importance of human rights for all individuals."
Are kidnappings & torture via 'rendition' &
kidnapping/torture/murder in Iraq/OIL related?
Think about it
A deadline had been set for killing Norman Kember, 74, of London; Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va.; and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, all members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who were kidnapped two weeks ago. The deadline passed on Saturday. Victims have been have dressed in Orange Jumpsuits for videos showing beheadings since mid 2004. - more
Radical cleric Abu Qatada, detained since 2002, urged the kidnappers to free the hostage "in line with the principle of mercy of our religion". Qatada, was described by a Spanish judge as al-Qaeda's ambassador in Europe, was briefly released under a control order earlier this year before being re-arrested facing deportation to Jordan. more
MOAZZAM BEGG, FORMER GUANTANAMO DETAINEE: I was beaten, tortured and threatened with being sent to, um, to Egypt for further torture where they use electric shocks and, and rape and so forth, if I didn't comply with what they said. He also recently appealed to Iraqi Kidnappers more...
MI6 and CIA sent student Binyam Mohammed to Morocco to be tortured'
Saturday 18th December, 2004 - the Washington Post reports The CIA is running a secret detention facility inside the Defense Department's Guantanamo Bay prison in eastern Cuba, . High fences covered with thick green mesh plastic and ringed with floodlights obscure the CIA facility, which sits inside the larger Camp Echo complex, erected to house the Defense Department's high-value detainees and those awaiting military trials on terrorism charges. The protections of the 1949 Geneva Convention do not apply to al-Qaida and its membersmore
CIA have been accused of kidnapping 'terror suspects' from the streets into white vans. Wrapped individually with belts, tied to the floor of cargo planes & placed in what were described as "dog-sized" cages, the covert operation known as 'extraordinary rendition' became fully operational after the disclosures of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, Baghdad and Camp Bucca, Umm Qasr, Iraq. The "crated" prisoners were either removed from the C-130s for interrogation at detention centers that were in various states of repair or were kept on board the aircraft and subjected to brutal interrogation by U.S. and/or contractor personnel more
Remember the classic spy movie The Ipcress File? The lead character - Harry Palmer -played by Michael Caine - was taken to what he thinks is a location in Eastern Europe, He is tortured, & programmed to kill on a hypnotic trigger via a phonecall - when he manages to escape - he realises he is still in London and the Eastern European Prison was an eleborate theatre.
Norman Kember friends with CND's Bruce Kent
anti-nuclear interests in WAR ABUSE...
Have CND sussed the game?
Peace group's trustee paraded by terrorists
By Beena Nadeem - A trustee of a Hendon-based Christian peace movement has been kidnapped in Iraq.
Norman Kember, a retired physics professor from Pinner, who is a trustee of Pax Christi, at St Joseph's in Watford Way, had been in the war-torn country for just two weeks when he, along with two Canadians and an American, was snatched in west Baghdad on Saturday by members of a group calling itself Swords of Truth Brigade. Accusing the 74-year-old grandfather of being a spy, a video has been released showing the four hostages sitting on the floor.
It said the group was involved in violence-reduction programmes in areas of conflict and added: "We are angry because what has happened to our team-mates is the result of the actions of the US and UK governments, due to the illegal attack on Iraq, and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people."
Mr Kember, in an interview given to Premier Christian Radio before he went to Iraq on a two-week delegation with the Christian Peacemakers' Team, said that he hoped to meet and encourage ordinary people, regardless of their religious denominations.
His friend, Bruce Kent, vice-president of both Pax Christi and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "The Government has asked us to play down the Christian side a lot, but he was with Christian peace-making teams. "He went out to lend support to those already there and to indicate to the sizeable Iraqi Christian population that we were not unanimous in supporting the war." Mr Kent, 76, went on to say that Mr Kember was supporting peace efforts by helping out at a feeding station and looking after homeless people, and that he did not have bodyguards out of principle'. "He's a small man of 5ft 6ins with a twinkle in his eye," Mr Kent said. "He was a medical professor with a completely indomitable holy justice against the Iraq war. He's always been a Baptist but his interests are non-sectarian. They have got the wrong person. He was committed to peace: he wasn't wealthy and he wasn't influential with the Government they've got the wrong person and should release him in the interests of peace."
A statement released by Pax Christi read: "Norman, a Baptist, has been consistent in his opposition to the war with Iraq, joining with Pax Christi and other peace groups at protests and public meetings.
"His deep conviction that war is wrong must have led him to make this visit to Iraq to be in solidarity with its people and to see the devastation of the war on the lives of ordinary people." - barnettimes
Refusal to question US over 'torture flights' may be illegal
Straw finally admits CIA planes landed in Britain
Calls grow for inquiry into use of UK in 'renditions'
Richard Norton-Taylor - Tuesday December 13, 2005 - The Guardian
The government may be breaking the law by refusing to question the US about "torture flights", senior MPs said yesterday, as it admitted for the first time that CIA aircraft had landed at British airports.
Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said yesterday "careful research by officials" had failed to identify any request from the Bush administration for the passage through Britain of aircraft taking terrorist suspects to secret interrogation centres - described in the US as "extraordinary rendition". He said two such requests were approved under the Clinton administration for flights taking suspects to the US for trial. Another case, also under president Clinton, was still being investigated but might have been refused, Mr Straw said. In answers to Commons questions from Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Mr Straw also said no records had been found of any later requests from Washington.
But ministers have said that no relevant records exist of such flights because the government does not need to keep them. The Ministry of Defence has said no records of passengers are needed if they do not leave the airfield. And yesterday Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, refused to say how many times a Boeing 737 and a Gulfstream identified by the Guardian as being used by the CIA - registered N313P and N379P - had landed in Britain. Such information could only be provided at "disproportionate cost", he said. The Department of Transport says it does not need a record of the two aircraft unless they were involved in "civil commercial" operations. It also says it needed no record if the aircraft landed to refuel.
Mr Straw and Mr Ingram yesterday refused to say what MI5 and MI6 knew about such flights, or about "rendering" suspects. It was the government's policy "never to comment on intelligence matters", they said. In an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday Mr Straw admitted CIA flights came to Britain. Asked if he was saying that aircraft - first identified by the Guardian - were not CIA planes, Mr Straw replied: "I am not telling you that."
Andrew Tyrie, Conservative MP for Chichester and chairman of a parliamentary committee set up to investigate the CIA flights, told the Guardian: "Turning a blind eye is not good enough. There is enough weight in the evidence which requires the UK to investigate and ask the US categorically what is going on.
"Until that is done and we have a clearer and frank answer the British government will remain exposed to the possibility they may be breaking the law."
Sir Menzies said it now seemed "self-evident that a system of inspections is required". He added: "The government's legal obligations - both domestic and international - make it imperative that we can be satisfied in all cases that no extraordinary rendition is taking place".
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "Few would be naive enough to expect a foreign power to ask specific permission to use Britain for the shameful and shadowy business of kidnap and torture. We need a proactive investigation rather than a [Foreign Office] file-check."
Charles Clarke, the home secretary, writes in today's Guardian that while the law lords last week precluded the use in court of evidence obtained by torture, they "held it perfectly lawful for such information to be relied on operationally, and also by the home secretary in making executive decisions". - guardian.co.uk
Scenario: CIA rendition flights are transporting & dropping 'suspects' [kidnapped peace activists, journalists & nosey types] to UK and many other countries, where they are used as a PSYOP [filmed being held, tortured & killed]... These captives have investigated abuse by coalition forces...the use of chemical weapons, indiscriminate force in warzones, & coalition/corporate entities strategically bombing the OIL infrastructure in IRAQ, which, again, massages the Energy markets in favour of the global industrial CARTEL
MI6 Agents Present During Torture
By Hannah K. StrangeUPI U.K. Correspondent London (UPI) Jan 05, 2006
Pressure is increasing on the British government over allegations that its intelligence agents participated in the kidnap and torture of 28 Pakistanis in Greece following the July 7 bombings. Three of the men told a press conference in Athens Tuesday of alleged beatings, threats and psychological torture they had suffered during their seven-day detention.
The detainees maintain that members of MI6, Britain's overseas intelligence service, were present at some of the interrogations, said to have been conducted by Greek counter-terrorism agents.
The men were allegedly seized in late night raids in Athens and the northern town of Joannina by Greek agents following leads related to the July 7 bombings in London, which killed 52 people. They claim they were beaten, blindfolded, kept in solitary confinement and told they would be killed if they told anyone of their ordeal, which lasted up to seven days.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw last week dismissed the allegations of British involvement as "complete nonsense."
In Athens Tuesday, three of the men spoke for the first time publicly about their ordeal, which began when they were seized late at night on July 16 and 17. Mohammad Munir, 35, said 10 Greek agents came into his house, and took him into a room where he was repeatedly punched.
"They handcuffed me, made me face the wall and started to beat me. They hit me over the body and I fell down, hit the table and cut my lip, and blood came."
His claims were supported by Azhar Mehmood, 35, one of six further housemates who were also seized in the raid.
"I saw Munir with blood dripping from his mouth and handcuffed," he said.
Munir said the agents pulled the shirt he was wearing over his head so that he could not see, and drove him away for further interrogations. During his detention he suffered two further beatings, Munir claimed, and after six days he was released with a terrifying threat.
"When they let us go they told us not to talk. They said that if we did they would slit our throats."
Munir said it was because of this threat that he had taken so long to come forward: "I was very frightened. I could not even talk to my father about this."
The Greek weekly Proto Thema has named a British intelligence officer, allegedly the Athens MI6 station chief, that it claims was present at some of the interrogations. The British government asked domestic newspaper editors not to publish the name; however this request was ignored by the Socialist Worker and the Morning Star, who named the agent earlier this week.
Azhar Mehmood said there was one person present during his two days of interrogations who was not Greek and who spoke English with a British accent. A second detainee also described the same man, while others described two male non-Greek speakers, one of them black.
It has been reported that British intelligence tracked a call from Britain to a mobile phone in Joannina and asked Greek authorities to investigate. Greek police or agents then detained Pakistani men and went through the numbers stored on their cell phones, which in turn led to more arrests.
Frangiskos Ragoussis, the lawyer for all seven men, said: "We knew from the start that the people coordinating the operation were non-Greeks. Since then we have acquired plenty of evidence that they were MI6. We know that a British agent was in the car when five of the Pakistanis were abducted. We also know that the car used was not the type Greek intelligence normally use."
The lawyer said MI6 officers broke the law by failing to report that the detainees were mistreated by Greek agents. British law requires officers to report any abuse they witness and forbids MI6's collusion in torture or abuse. He said: "It makes no difference if it was a Greek agent beating someone up while the MI6 guy stood there and watched in order not to get his hands covered in blood -- he was still present."
Ragoussis has filed a lawsuit against the British operative and 15 Greek agents named by Proto Thema and is pressing charges of abduction and torture. The case is also the subject of a judicial investigation.
In Britain, the opposition Liberal Democrats has said an inquiry is needed for public confidence. Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Sir Menzies-Campbell told BBC Radio last week: "I believe the appropriate course now would be for the intelligence and security committee of Parliament to investigate these matters."I think it is necessary for public confidence and also to get to the bottom of what are serious allegations for some further investigation to be carried out." Parliament had a responsibility in these matters, he added.
When questioned over the allegations earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Straw told parliamentarians: "They are complete nonsense and no United Kingdom officials have taken part in any alleged mistreatment in Greece of any suspects whatsoever and we were not involved in the arrest or detention of those particular suspects."
A foreign office official told United Press International Wednesday that this denial extended to claims of a British presence during the interrogations. "There was absolutely no M16 official present even, when these activities are alleged to have taken place," he said.
The allegations come at a time when the British government is under mounting pressure over its tactics in the fight against terrorism. The human rights group Liberty is to launch a legal action in January to force the government to investigate claims that the United States used British airfields while transferring terror suspects abroad for interrogation using torture. MI6 agents have also been accused of handing over a British resident to the CIA, who then took him to facilities in Morocco and Afghanistan where he claims he was tortured. - spacewar.com
Britain 'ordered torture of 9/11 suspect'
Staff and agencies - Tuesday January 24, 2006
A Moroccan wanted in Spain over his alleged links to the 9/11 attackers today told his extradition hearing he had been tortured on the "direct orders" of British intelligence. Farid Hilali said the alleged torture took place while he was being held by the intelligence services of the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. The hearing, at the high court in London, was adjourned to give the government the opportunity to deal with the accusation. Mr Hilali, 36, is identified by the Spanish investigative judge Baltasar Garzon as a co-conspirator in the 9/11 attacks.
Spanish prosecutors claimed he telephoned Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the alleged head of the Madrid al-Qaida cell, in August 2001 and talked of entering "the field of aviation" and "cutting the bird's throat" - an apparent reference to the American bald eagle.
In a new witness statement put before the court today, he said he believed the only reason Spain wanted him "is so I can be deported back to Morocco, where I will immediately be arrested and tortured".
He then claimed Britain had ordered him to be tortured. "I also wish to state on record that the torture I have suffered at the hands of the intelligence service in United Arab Emirates and Morocco has been on the direct orders of the British Intelligence Service in the UK," the statement said. "The British intelligence service have been directly responsible for the torture I have suffered, and are now directly complicit in ensuring I am removed from the UK by whatever means necessary and sent back to Morocco."
The hearing was halted after John Hardy, representing the Spanish central court in Madrid, which is seeking Mr Hilali's return, said there was "grave concern" over the allegations he was now making. Mr Hilali is contesting extradition to Spain on the basis there has been an abuse of process of the courts.
He is at present a category AA detainee currently at Whitemoor prison, in Cambridgeshire. - guardian.co.uk
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 09:01:08 +0000
Amnesty International UK
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2006
UK: GOVERNMENT S "WAR ON TERROR" POLICIES PUT PEOPLE AT RISK OF TORTURE
Amnesty International today (23 February) released a damning
report exposing the damaging effect of the UK's anti-terrorism policies
on human rights.
Irene Khan, Amnesty International's Secretary General emphasised the extent
of the organisation's concern: "There is now a dangerous imbalance between
draconian actions the UK is taking in the name of security and its obligation
to protect human rights. These measures tarnish the UK s image and its ability
to promote human rights abroad."
The new report presents a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the UK's
anti-terrorism measures on human rights, and follows meetings with senior
government ministers. The report also documents how the UK has tried to
circumvent its obligations in relation to human rights abuses committed by
UK armed forces in Iraq.
"The UK government has introduced sweeping and ill conceived measures that
seriously undermine the rule of law," said Ms Khan.
The report criticises the UK government for its "Kafkaesque" practice of
detaining foreign terrorist suspects for years on the basis of secret evidence.
After a ruling by the Law Lords deeming their detention discriminatory and
incompatible with the right to liberty, instead of releasing them, the government
enacted legislation allowing the issue of "control orders" to restrict their
liberty, movement and activities, whether they are UK nationals or not.
These people are effectively being persecuted, with devastating consequences
for the men and their families. By failing to prosecute these people and
instead placing them under "control orders" or seeking to deport them, the
UK government is increasing the power of the executive and by-passing the
"Most worrying of all has been the effort of the UK government to weaken
the absolute ban on torture," declared Ms Khan.
Amnesty International criticised the UK government for seeking "diplomatic
assurances" from governments known to have a record of torture in order to
be able to deport foreign terrorist suspects to those countries. Agreements
have already been signed with Jordan, Libya and Lebanon and are under negotiation
with Algeria and Egypt.
The organisation called on the UK government to desist from such agreements
(Memorandums of Understanding) with countries that have a known record of
torture, and said it should instead focus its efforts on eradicating torture
and ill-treatment by promoting systemic and legislative reform.
"In seeking special assurances, the UK is acknowledging that deportees are
at risk of torture, but ignoring that these guarantees are unenforceable
and not worth the paper they are written on. This is a shocking abrogation
of responsibility and a massive blow to the international prohibition against
torture and ill-treatment. The UK is setting an extremely dangerous precedent,"
said Ms Khan.
"Torture and ill-treatment is the ultimate corruption of humanity - the UK
must not do anything to weaken the absolute ban on torture under international
The report coincides with growing demands for the closure of the US detention
facility at Guantánamo Bay. Amnesty International reiterated its call
for the closure of Guantánamo Bay and asked the UK to make its position
"The UK should immediately take up the cases of at least eight UK residents
who are still held at Guantánamo Bay. Guantánamo is not
just an 'anomaly' as described by the Prime Minister, it is an aberration,
and the UK should use its influence with the US to enforce its
closure," said Ms Khan.
Amnesty International urged the UK government:
to either prosecute the terrorist suspects it is holding or release them
to desist from deporting people to countries where they may be at risk of
to stop negotiating "diplomatic assurances" and instead promote institutional
change in these countries, and
to demand the release of British residents held in Guantánamo Bay
and call for its closure.
The organisation warns that the global impact of the UK's counter-terrorism
measures and its actions abroad should not be underestimated.
"The UK is undermining its ability to speak out on grave human rights situations
that need its attention, such as Nepal and Sudan. Its moral authority is
weakened if it does not set its record straight on its domestic counter-terrorism
policies," said Ms Khan.
Steve Ballinger, +44 (0)20 7033 1548
Neil Durkin, +44 (0)20 7033 1547
Outside office hours, +44 (0)7721 398 984
Sent by: Amnesty International UK Press Office.
What happens when a 'Liberal Opposition leader' asks the PM questions on Rendition in Parliament...?|
Wednesday 14th Dec 2005 -
Following up his question from last week, Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy called for a probe into alleged UK collusion in the US policy of "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects, saying other European countries had carried out such an investigation.
Mr Blair said both the UK and US were "completely opposed" to the use of torture.
He said the Liberal Democrats were "quite extraordinary sometimes". He said the idea that the government should launch an investigation every time a US government plane landed in the country was "completely absurd". - Point-by-point: Question time
Hours later we have a crisis in the Lib-Dem leadership.
Days later we see Kennedy thrown to the lions: apparently he's a big drinker...SHOCK!!! an MP who likes a drink??? There is massive cross-Party collusion, in a media frenzy and distraction, as Craig Murray publishes letters that prove the UK Gov are liars
This is what happens when you risk exposing the worldwide masonic ABUSE & Torture RING...Rendition is just the tip of the iceberg...
Yet Another liberal MP -Simon Hughes - is outed as 'homosexual' ...Murdochs Sky News and its News of the World print equivalent go for the 'sexual deviant angle'...what's more suprising is that Liberal-Democrats are also twisting the knife...HOW LIBERAL? Both Hughes & Mark Oaten has been an outspoken critic of Blairs Education reforms, the ID cards plan, Guantanamo & the Rendition disgrace
well according to Rights activist Peter Tatchell... Hughes ran in 1983 on a 'straight ticket' - openly presenting his candicacy as a Pro-Hetero vote - Why would ex Labour Candidate & now 'green' Peter Tatchell get involved in smearing a Lib dem now... after 23 years? Apparently he doesn't hold a grudge - all those opportunities...How about lettin' slip on some of those high profile MPS eh...[Peter LILY...Michael PORTILLO...KIM HOWELLS, Mandelson BLAIR]
This comes after Mark Oaten resigned over rent boy claims
Yet more critics of Blair, bite the dust in a 'sex scandal' but this activity with another consenting adult is his own business & his own sexuality - SO WHAT? Hughes is a bachelor..! ...and a LIBERAL...
Other not so libeal 'libs' are Paddy Ashdown - Famous for his war efforts in Kosovo & Bosnia, and co-founder of the SLDP Lord David Owen - who recently admitted on BBCs hardtalk that in his capacity as an advisor to Russian Oil Giant YUKOS... he advised Mikel Khordokovsky in the strongest possible terms 'not to go into politics'
The man to stands to gain the most - Sir Menzies Campbell [left] has taken part in Many Ditchley Foundation meetings in the English countryside...
These policy wonks are as busy as the Bilderbergers ....Many ARE Bilderbergers & MASONS
- The Rt Hon Sir Menzies Campbell KCMG QC
MP Member of Parliament, Fife North East (1987-)
(Liberal, 1987-88, Liberal Democrat, 1988-);
Frontbench spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Defence (1994-).
A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
he is also a member of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and member of the UK delegation to the NATO parliamentary assembly
There are approximately 15 conferences arranged annually. One conference a year takes place in the United States and, in alternate years, in Canada. All others in the annual series are held at Ditchley Park, a place of exceptional historic significance and beauty.
Set in a wooded and pastoral countryside, Ditchley lies just outside Oxford, and a short distance from Heathrow Airport and Central London. The original owners, the Lee Family, had hosted English monarchs there since the days of Queen Elizabeth I.
The use of the present house as a conference center aptly reflects its history in transatlantic linkage. Built in the eighteenth century, this residence has served as the site of a number of distinguished international meetings, most notably during World War II when it became the weekend headquarters of Sir Winston Churchill.
Ditchley Foundation Members also include:
SIR JOHN MAJOR [Carlyle Group] -
LORD BUTLER OF BROCKWELL [Iraq Whitewash adviser to Cameron on public trust] -
SIR JEREMY GREENSTOCK [Iraq Invasion damage limitation] -
BARCLAYS BANK [Barclay Brothers now own Hollinger Group] -
PAUL BOATENG Former Labour MP for Brent South, British High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa - DAVID CAMERON, MP Conservative - ROBERT COOPER [Blair adviser on EU] - SHAMI CHAKRABARTI [Director of Liberty]
Did you vote for this Think Tank? The Ditchley Foundation:
Is this what democracy has become?
"In a consumer society, consumer politics were likely to develop. A vote could be seen as an instrument of purchase. Political parties were inclined to sell their wares with unrealistic promises. In this way the political process could too easily drive a system which led to disappointment, with the creation of expectations combining with difficulties in delivery (and a poor understanding of the best methods of delivery) to create perceptions of poor performance. The nature of government structures and the length of the supply chain to the individual consumer was too complex, it was argued, for government to be wise in offering a Tesco-type service. At the same time, government could no longer just give orders: they had to persuade."
- THE CHALLENGES OF GOVERNING IN A FREER AND MORE COMPLEX WORLD
chaired by The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC MP
It was announced the Gordon Brown is to have another kid...just to prove they are nice warm family friendly WARMONGERING HITLER-ESQUE PSYCHOPATHS
Meanwhile Fathers 4 Justice are no more after a SMEAR campaign straight out of the New Labour perception management textbooks accuses them of having 'an extremist faction' which planned to kidnap Blairs son leo -
all this in the timeframe of the Ruth Kelly Education [CHILD] Abuse scandal & the continuing 'Rendition' [POLITICAL KIDNAPPINGS] revelations
Abuse rendition links to rendition - Elite masons / Opus dei?
During the Jan 2006 education scandal, which saw ministers squirm over their personally signed approvals of known child abusers to work in schools - I have observed a minister, Kim Howells, who stepped forward - held his hands up in a 'bait & switch' tactic - to cover Ruth Kellys fundamentalist NAZI Opus Dei ass & STILL keeps his job in the foreign office...His boss, one Jack Straw, leaps in on his defense too...
from - bbc story: Mr Howells said he had been told Mr Reeve [the PE teacher cautioned by police for downloading child pornography from the internet] "did not represent an ongoing threat to children". Downing Street said the minister had followed correct procedures and would not be sacked. He was also backed by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who said he thought Mr Howells had "acted properly"
At Foreign Office Questions recently the minister responsible for Middle East affairs snapped. MPs from all sides were pressing for answers about "extraordinary rendition" and were unsatisfied with the stock reply from Kim Howells: "We have no knowledge of this and we have received no requests from the Bush government." ... "Challenged for the umpteenth time, Howells let his righteous indignation show. "The government are opposed to torture," he said. "They do not torture anyone, nor would we ever, ever put up with any other administration torturing individuals." - New Statesman report
This response was a complete and utter LIE- read: The memo
Blair faces new questions over US 'terror flights'
Tony Blair will face fresh questions over US handling of terror suspects after it emerged planes believed to transport them have crossed Britain hundreds of times. Human rights campaigners fear suspects are being tortured after being moved to a third country in a process known as extra-ordinary rendition.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said there were four US requests to render suspects through British territory in 1998 and two were granted. The Prime Minister has insisted to MPs there is no record of the Bush administration even asking for help in moving suspects.
But three planes thought to be used to transport them have been through UK airspace around 200 times in five years, it has been claimed.
Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "Frankly that flies in the face of the answer we received from the Government that only two or three cases of rendition ever took place." He added: "It begs many, many questions. We don't have the answers yet. "Does the Government know about these CIA flights?"
Neil Durkin, of Amnesty International, said: "What we want is an investigation into these flights.".
Labour chairman Mike Gapes said: "The bottom line is that we have not had the full story." - eveningtimes.co.uk
Memo stokes up terror flights row
18 January 2006 -
The US may have used UK airports to transport terror suspects more than the twice so far admitted, a leaked Foreign Office memo suggests. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says only two cases, in 1998, have been found where such transfers were approved. But the memo published in the New Statesman magazine shows uncertainty.
"The papers we have uncovered so far suggest that there could be more than the two cases referred to in the House by the foreign secretary" it says.
The memo, written in early December, is apparently designed to prepare Tony Blair for questions about the flights - part of a process known as "extraordinary rendition".
It says officials are urgently examining the files.
"We now cannot say that we have received no such requests for the use of UK territory or air space for 'extraordinary rendition'," it says. It adds: "We should try to avoid getting drawn on detail" and "try to move the debate on... underlining all the time the strong counter-terrorist rationale for close co-operation with the US".
Mr Straw has already said it is difficult to "prove a negative".
Channel 4 News says the memo also warns that the transfer of suspects to US territories outside the normal judicial process, and transfers to a third country, are "probably usually illegal in international law".
The Foreign Office and Downing Street both refused to comment on a leaked document. But a Foreign Office spokesman said Mr Straw had already made clear the UK had not and would not agree to help transfer people to places where there were "substantial grounds to believe they would face a real risk of torture".
Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said the memo explained the government's "obfuscation and inconsistency" on the issue.
"It is grossly irresponsible that on a matter of the alleged violation of international human rights, the government's deliberate strategy has been to 'avoid getting drawn on detail' and to spin the issue away, by 'moving the debate on'," he said. Mr Clegg said the document showed Mr Blair had "entirely accepted" US assurances that rendition complied with international law despite being advised that it was "rarely" legal.
The MP has written to Commons Speaker Michael Martin demanding an urgent statement from the government.
Greece urged to investigate MI6 torture link
Helena Smith in Athens and Richard Norton-Taylor - Wednesday December 28, 2005 - The Guardian
The Greek government faced mounting pressure last night to investigate claims that a senior MI6 officer masterminded the arrest and torture of Pakistani immigrants in Athens by local intelligence agents after the July 7 London bombings.
After a prominent weekly newspaper named the operatives allegedly involved at the weekend, the conservative government of prime minister Costas Karamanlis was confronting growing accusations of a cover-up. Yesterday, in a display of rare unanimity, Greece's political opposition called for the issue to be urgently debated in parliament.
"It seems that [Anglo-Greek] secret services were acting in a way that was not at all legal," Michalis Papayannakis, a former MEP and leading member of the Left Coalition, told the Guardian. "And, from what we know this is not the first time that this has happened. There should be an investigation."
The controversy deepened after the Greek investigative weekly, Proto Thema, revealed the identity of the M16 station chief in Athens who it said had plotted the operation on Greek soil.
According to the newspaper, intelligence agents from Greece's national information service, kidnapped the 27 Pakistani-born men from their homes in Athens and the northwestern town of Ioannina, and interrogated them "as if they were in some adventure film" to try to extract information about the July bombings.
The agents beat and psychologically tortured the men to "show off" in front of the British officer, the newspaper reported, before dumping the blindfolded men in central Athens at night. Claims of British involvement were vigorously denied by sources close to the British security and intelligence agencies yesterday. Sources would not deny that the arrest of the Pakistanis took place in connection with the July 7 bombings. But they were adamant in denying British involvement.
Jave Aslan, who heads the 30,000-strong community of Pakistani immigrants in Athens, said the men had been physically abused.
"There was a dark-skinned British [spy] who was apparently in charge. One man was threatened with a pistol that was shoved in his mouth, others were hit. There is no reason for any of these people to tell lies," he said.
Greece's public order minister, Giorgos Voulgarakis, has repeatedly denied the charges. Earlier this month, after the Pakistanis went public with the claims, he said: "Such a thing never happened, does not happen and won't happen. It's either a provocation or a farce." The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the Pakistani interior minister, have also denied the claims. - guardian.co.uk
D Notice on Diplomat Spy ID
British diplomat named as 'kidnap spy'
By Anton La Guardia and Paul Anast in Athens
A British diplomat has been named as the MI6 station chief in Athens who was allegedly part of a Greek-British team that abducted Pakistani immigrants in an attempt to extract information about the London bombings in July. Amid growing controversy, the magazine Proto Thema said at the weekend that those who took part in the alleged abductions included a man listed as a senior diplomat at the British embassy in Athens as well as several named Greek officials.
A Government "D" notice requests British newspapers not to name MI6 officers, even if they are identified abroad.
However, the name given by Proto Thema matches that of a man identified as a British intelligence officer on the internet and in allegations made by the renegade MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson. The public naming of intelligence agents usually means their recall to London.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We do not comment on intelligence matters. We are not confirming or denying this story." But Greece's National Information Service reacted angrily. It said the Greek intelligence service "never comments on such issues, even when they are non-existent. "However, it is our duty to point out that such claims are illegal because they endanger the national security of the country and of allied countries, but also endanger the physical safety of persons who are identified by name."
George Voulgarakis, the public order minister, said the revelations forced him to recall two agents in Kosovo.
Seven of the 28 Pakistanis have testified before an investigating magistrate that unidentified Greek and British men forced their way into their homes in four Athens suburbs after the bombings. They were allegedly blindfolded and driven to unknown destinations. They claimed to have been questioned about friends and relatives in Britain, and about the persons they had phoned.
"Two times a policeman hit me while I was on the floor," said Gul Nawaz, a 32-year-old Pakistani who says he has lived in Greece as an immigrant for three years. "I asked him for some water and he punched me hard in the face. Later he kicked me. They confiscated my mobile phone. They wanted to know everything about our friends, relatives and calls to London. "They asked us if we had any links to al-Qa'eda."
Mohammed Munir told Athens News he was held in a safe house for six days and "hit very hard on the head". The Pakistanis claimed they were questioned by two British officials - one white, one black - as well as about 15 Greek anti-terrorism agents. They said they were freed days later, dumped blindfolded in the city centre in the middle of the night. The matter has caused a furore. The Greek branch of Amnesty International has protested at an attempted cover-up.
Opposition parties have called on ministers to testify before parliament on Jan 11.
Last year, British spies across the Balkans had to be moved after they were unmasked in media stories planted by disgruntled local intelligence services.
These included the MI6 station chief in Serbia, who was forced to leave after a campaign against him involving the publication of his photograph and calling card on the cover of a Serbian magazine. - telegraph.co.uk
Translation of the newspaper report - Proto Thema Newspaper, Sunday 25 December 2005, page 10
"Guantanamo" nights took place during July, in Athens, according the details revealed by "Thema", proving that the kidnapping and interrogations of Pakistanis living in Greece, didn't just take place, but were a result of the total collaboration between the British secret services and the National Information Service of Greece (EYP). The ministers of Public Order, G. Voulgarakis and Foreign Issues, Petros Moliviatis, were fully informed about the entire situation, since the very beginning.
Close companions of the Prime Minister, and chairmen of his office, Yannis Aggelou and Kostas Staikouras were also fully concerned.
It is known that the office of the Prime Minister is the one giving orders to EYP in major issues. Thus, as they had to, they reported to the Prime Minister himself, Kostas Karamanlis, as it was a crucial operation, taking place along with a foreign country.
The operation had plenty in common with the relevant cinema scenes in adventure films, although there were some comedy parts in it. For example, the men of EYP were not supplied with the necessary hoods, so they had to make up a last-moment solution, urging the arrestees to cover their faces with their shirts, so that they wouldn't recognise the route, the location and the faces around them!
The centre of the operations was the 3rd Administration of EYP; in specific, the department C8 of the Anti-terrorism branch, responsible for "Islam terrorism". The ones responsible for the operation were the sub-commander of EYP, Serafim Tsitsimbis (a very active person, having knowledge of all the secrets of EYP) and the leader of the British group in Greece, Mr Langman.
Administrating the group of the secret services handling the arrests (or kidnapping) was Mr. Dikopoulos, aided by the "casa officer" of the British group. The 2nd level police officers Mr. Davalos, Mr. Tzoitis, as well as the civil employees Christos Kostas, Chronis Bakopoulos and Mr. Spirakis and Mr. Nanos.
28 Pakistanis were subject to the operation and were arrested mainly around Petralona, Inofyta and Yannena. The operation was organised due to a phone-call between on of them and a Pakistani in England, having been considered a suspect for the attacks in London.
Most of them were transferred to the "4351 Support Unit" of EYP in Aghia Paraskevi, next to Deree, close to the popular cafés of Aghiou Ioannou Str, whose attendees are definitely not able to pay attention to such moves at that time. Some other arrestees had a "special treatment", since they were moved to apartments hired by the secret services, so as to serve as a shelter. Some of them, coming from the countryside, were interrogated in EYP settlement in Parnitha, as it was thought to be easire this way. The Greek agents, were anyway more eager during the interrogation, maybe 'cause they had to show off in front of the British experts.
Physical violence too
The arrestees were threatened by guns (an arrestee felt a gun in his mouth) and had to face physical violence (it is being told they were walloped) and psychological pressure (they were told they would have their staying permission removed) in order to provide details. Some Pakistanis were detained for a few hours, and some of them for a few days, based on the conclusion and the impressions the "interrogators" got.
The people interrogated were asked a series of questions, based on a special questionnaire given to EYP by the British services.
The secret services kept a log of the interrogation and notification notes, which have been handed out to the Brits, the sub-commander in command, and into the consideration of the EYP commander.
It is being said, though, that the folder has been removed from the C8 department and transferred to some higher departments.
The name of Mr Langman pops up all over the shop. . He is listed in Richard Tomlinson's "list of spies" as Mr Nicholas John Andrew LANGMAN and discussed by him separately in some detail ...
(admittedly in connection to the highly dubious Diana ‘conspiracy'. To add a touch of credibility he also appears on the official HM DIPLOMATIC SERVICE OVERSEAS REFERENCE LIST [page 71] on the FCO website as "Counsellor: Mr Nicholas Langman" in the British Embassy Athens.
What excactly is this British MI6 agent doing in Athens? What is he in charge of?
Nicholas John Andrew LANGMAN - MI6
Rendition: the cover-up
Martin Bright Monday 23rd January 2006
Exclusive: A secret memo reveals the truth: the government knows rendition is illegal but it has no idea what it has been letting the CIA get away with on our soil. By Martin Bright
At Foreign Office Questions recently the minister responsible for Middle East affairs snapped. MPs from all sides were pressing for answers about "extraordinary rendition" and were unsatisfied with the stock reply from Kim Howells: "We have no knowledge of this and we have received no requests from the Bush government."
Challenged for the umpteenth time, Howells let his righteous indignation show. "The government are opposed to torture," he said. "They do not torture anyone, nor would we ever, ever put up with any other administration torturing individuals."
This blustering response was entirely disingenuous, the New Statesman can now demonstrate. It does not begin to describe the reality, which is set out in a secret, high- level memo - obtained by this magazine - that passed from the Foreign Office to Downing Street last month. For the truth is that the government is involved in a cover-up, not so much of what it knows about this shady business, but what it doesn't know. The one thing it is pretty sure about, however, is that if it has happened, and if Britain had a role, then the government has broken the law.
An honest answer from Howells might have looked like this: "The government has no idea whether renditions have taken place in the past few years and nor do we know whether any requests have been made for British co-operation. If they have they are almost certainly illegal, but we have decided to back the US government anyway because it has promised that it would not allow anyone to be tortured - though it doesn't mind a bit of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment."
Had he wished to be even more frank, the minister might have added: "We are terrified about this issue and what it might do to us, and so we are desperately trying to distract attention from it by talking endlessly about the global threat from terrorists."
The scandal of extraordinary rendition, the practice of taking terror suspects to be questioned in countries where interrogation methods may be used that would not be legal in the US, has been brewing for 18 months, since Stephen Grey revealed the scope of the operations in these pages. It reached boiling point late last year when a critical mass of evidence was achieved, involving flight details of CIA planes - often through European countries, including Britain - and testimony from ex-prisoners.
As Tony Blair prepared to face Commons questions about British involvement in early December, his officials asked the Foreign Office for a briefing document. The resulting memo, signed by Irfan Siddiq, a private secretary at the Foreign Office, and addressed to Grace Cassy, assistant private secretary at No 10 Downing Street, paints an astonishing picture.
Extraordinary rendition, it declares bluntly, "is almost certainly illegal", and if Britain co-operated with an illegal act of this kind, "such an act would also be illegal".
Remarkably, however, the Foreign Office doesn't know whether this has happened. As of early December it had not been able "to complete the substantial research required to establish what has happened since 1997". The Home Office, too, "are urgently examining their files", as are the Ministry of Defence and the security service.
Two possible cases had so far been identified, though it wasn't yet clear whether these were illegal, but "the papers we have unearthed so far suggest there could be more". While the paperchase goes on, therefore, a shocking admission is made: "We now cannot say that we have received no such requests for the use of UK territory or air space for 'Extraordinary Rendition'."
The document addresses the specific question: "How do we know whether those our armed forces have helped to capture in Iraq or Afghanistan have subsequently been sent to interrogation centres?" And the answer is: "We have no mechanism for establishing this, though we would not ourselves question such detainees while they were in such facilities."
Against this background of ignorance and a distinct possibility that the law has been broken, the memo offers advice to Blair on how to deal with the issue in public. "We should try to avoid getting drawn on detail," it says, and "try to move the debate on . . . underlining all the time the strong counter-terrorist rationale for close co-operation with the US".
And the memo places revealing stress on the need to follow the precise wording of statements by the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who admitted rendition was US policy but denied that the US practised or permitted torture. When she used the word "torture", the memo makes clear, she probably had in mind a particular definition of the term which did not include cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Here, then, is the explanation for the frustration shown by Kim Howells: MPs were refusing to allow him to play out the government's deliberate, considered strategy of deflecting public attention from this explosive issue. And in this light the Prime Minister's response in December to the then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy's questions is instructive. At best it is sophistry, at worst dissimulation.
"Let me draw a very clear distinction indeed," he said, "between the idea of suspects being taken from one country to another and any sense whatever that ourselves, the United States or anyone condones the use of torture. Torture cannot be justified in any set of circumstances at all.
"The practice of rendition as described by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been American policy for many years. We have not had such a situation here, but that has been American policy for many, many years. However, it must be applied in accordance with international conventions, and I accept entirely Secretary of State Rice's assurance that it has been."
Only the concentration on torture and on the assurances given by Rice allow Blair to sound categorical. Britain's legal position on what constitutes torture, the secret memo makes clear, is different from the American one. The shocking reality that Blair concealed was that his government had no idea whether British territory or airspace had been used for rendition, extraordinary or otherwise, at any time since 1998.
The leaked document contains details of two requests from 1998 which help paint a picture of what these flights are used for. In one, Mohammed al-Owhali, a Saudi suspect in the US embassy bombing in Kenya, was "rendered" to the US with the approval of the then home secretary, Jack Straw. His route was switched at the last minute from Prestwick in Scotland, where many of the secret flights have been logged, to Stansted.
In a second case, the request was refused because the US intended to transport a detainee to Egypt, a country that is known to practise torture. The Foreign Office official states: "From the information we have at the moment, we are not sure in either case whether the individual's transfer from the country in which he was detained was extra-legal."
Human-rights groups have long demanded that the government come clean about renditions, and the memo offers a new and unexpected explanation for the official coyness: ministers have little idea of what has been done by the American government on sovereign British territory in the name of the war on terror.
Several questions arise: was the US given the nod to do what it wanted, with Britain keeping no systematic record? Why did it take seven years for the government to ask itself questions about the legality of all this? Why is a diplomat providing advice for spinning the story and "moving it on"? One thing is clear: the government failed to ask our US allies the most basic questions about individuals passing through our territory. And now it turns out it may not even have the "mechanism" to find the truth.
With further revelations about CIA flights to Scotland emerging, it is unlikely that the government will be able to "move the debate on" just yet. A criminal investigation is being carried out by the chief of Greater Manchester Police, Michael Todd, and several parliamentary groups, including the foreign affairs committee, are looking into the issue. None of these is likely to pierce US government secrecy, but they may yet uncover the full scale of the government's complacency and ignorance. - newstatesman.com
The memo pdf
U.K.`s Straw rejects CIA flight evidence
By Hannah K. Strange Feb 22, 2006, 19:00 GMT
LONDON, England (UPI) -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw reiterated his denial Wednesday that any U.S. rendition flights had passed through British territory, despite being presented with evidence of hundreds of flights operated by the CIA by air traffic authorities. Speaking at a London press briefing, Straw insisted: 'We know of no occasion where there have been any flights involved in rendition through or over U.K. territory nor have we any reason to believe that such flights have taken place without our knowledge.'
Yet according to the National Air Traffic Service, the authorities have facilitated hundreds of flights through Britain by three planes registered to the U.S. intelligence agency in the past five years.
In a letter to the Liberal Democrats` Acting Leader Sir Menzies Campbell at the weekend, NATS said the three planes had landed at commercial airports and received help from U.K. traffic control 'on a number of occasions.' Parliamentarians seized on the letter, saying it meant ministers could no longer deny knowledge of the flights, which are suspected of transporting terror suspects to countries which practice torture for interrogation.
The United States acknowledges the practice, known as extraordinary rendition, but insists it is conducted entirely in accordance with human rights conventions which prohibit torture.
But critics of the policy say the U.S. definition of torture is far looser than that employed by European countries, and question the purpose of rendition if it is not to evade human rights restrictions.
The letter, written following orders from Transport Minister Karen Buck, says that of four aircraft identified from records as having been used by the CIA, 'three have received an ATC (air traffic control service) from NATS on a number of occasions in the past five years. We are not prepared to offer a number because we are not confident that such a number would be robust.'
Yet speaking to Channel Four News on Tuesday, NATS was able to give a figure, of around 200 flights. A spokesman for the Liberal Democrats said its sudden change of heart was a cause for concern, as was the fact that in its original response NATS had referred the Liberal Democrats to the Council of Europe report on 'Alleged Secret Detentions in European Member States,' despite the party having made no reference to rendition in its inquiry.
NATS also said that the flights may have used airspace controlled by the Ministry of Defense. Ministers have attracted criticism for refusing to answer parliamentary questions about how many CIA flights have used military airbases. They claim such information is not recorded centrally and that its retrieval would be expensive.
But the Lib Dem spokesman said this response was simply 'unsatisfactory.' Every flight that entered and left military airfields had its registration number recorded, along with its origin and destination, he told United Press International. Foreign Affairs Spokesman Nick Clegg had written again to the Ministry of Defense and would take the matter to the Parliamentary Ombudsman if it refused to act, he added.
Giving evidence to a parliamentary foreign affairs committee in December, Straw said Britain had received a total of three requests from the United States to use British territory for prisoner transfers, all under the Clinton administration.
But a government memo leaked to the New Statesman magazine cast doubt on that claim, suggesting ministers knew it to be untrue.
The memo warned 'The papers we have unearthed so far suggest there could be more such cases... We cannot say that we have received no such request for the use of U.K. territory.' The document, written Dec. 7 by Irfan Siddiq, an official in the foreign secretary`s private office, advised ministers to 'try to move the debate on' and 'avoid getting drawn down on detail.'
However, it also suggested that the government was aware that rendition was rarely legal. Foreign Office lawyers had advised that the practice 'is almost certainly illegal' and any British co-operation 'would also be illegal,' it said, before going on to question whether the U.S. definition of torture was consistent with that under international law.
The memo was written just five days before Straw`s testimony and 15 days before Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected calls for an investigation, telling a press conference: 'I have absolutely no evidence to suggest that anything illegal has been happening here at all.'
Later that month, a well-placed diplomatic source told United Press International that Downing Street and the Foreign Office knew that rendition flights had passed through Britain, were 'extremely worried' about the political consequences of the issue and were 'simply hoping it is going to go away.'
Investigations by the Guardian newspaper and human rights groups -- based on CIA flight logs -- have suggested that some 76 planes operated by the intelligence agency have flown in and out of Britain on over 200 occasions since Sept.11 2001, using both commercial and military airfields.
The Scottish National Party presented a dossier to the Scottish Executive in January detailing 15 planes linked to the CIA that have passed through Scottish airports on numerous occasions since 2001.
It also passed the report to the Council of Europe, the European Union`s human rights watchdog, which is currently investigating the allegations. In an interim report in January, investigating Swiss senator Dick Marty said EU governments were almost certainly aware of CIA rendition flights passing through European territory or airspace.
But Angus Robertson, the SNP`s foreign affairs spokesman, said the Scottish Executive had not even acknowledged the dossier.
The latest details from NATS underlined the widespread concerns across Europe about such flights and their possible involvement in illegal rendition, he told UPI.
'The U.K. government is turning a blind eye to the issue, as are the devolved authorities in Scotland,' he said. 'Despite being provided with a dossier of evidence by me there has not even been an acknowledgement by the administration. This stands in contrast to the Council of Europe, which thought the report important enough to include in its recent critical findings.
Robertson added: 'We are united in our commitment to combat terrorism and extremism, but it is essential to do so whilst upholding the highest human rights and legal standards. If this is in doubt we risk charges of hypocrisy.'
Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said British law had to be tightened to ensure there were 'no loopholes for the United States to exploit.'
She told UPI her organization was tabling an amendment to aviation legislation currently before Parliament, which would require the government to command police and customs to actively ensure no rendition flights were taking place. At present, aviation and customs officials do not board U.S. planes or ask questions about who is on board unless passengers are leaving the airfield.
Conservative parliamentarian Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the cross-party group on extraordinary rendition, told UPI that the British government must now be proactive in investigating the claims fully. They must also ask the U.S. administration about the allegations in detail, and put in place procedures to make sure such activities did not occur in future, he said. 'All along the British government has done its best to turn a blind eye to the likelihood that rendition flights may be being conducted through its territory,' Tyrie said ...If such flights were carrying prisoners to countries where they were at risk of torture, that activity was unlawful, he continued. Asked why there seemed to be a contradiction between the latest admission sanctioned by one government minister and the denials of another, Tyrie said there was a sense within the government that 'no one really wants to take responsibility.' Unlike the U.S. administration, which was 'brazen' in its insistence that the policy was justified in the fight against terrorism, the British government still wanted to be seen to obey Britain`s own, stricter, interpretation of human rights law, he said. The key question was, 'does this activity make Britain and the United States any safer?' he told UPI.
'In my view the answer is no. It puts us at risk of being vilified by the very communities whose support we most need.'
Blair faces new questions over US 'terror flights'
Tony Blair will face fresh questions over US handling of terror suspects after it emerged planes believed to transport them have crossed Britain hundreds of times.
Human rights campaigners fear suspects are being tortured after being moved to a third country in a process known as extra-ordinary rendition.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said there were four US requests to render suspects through British territory in 1998 and two were granted.
The Prime Minister has insisted to MPs there is no record of the Bush administration even asking for help in moving suspects.
But three planes thought to be used to transport them have been through UK airspace around 200 times in five years, it has been claimed.
Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "Frankly that flies in the face of the answer we received from the Government that only two or three cases of rendition ever took place." He added: "It begs many, many questions. We don't have the answers yet. "Does the Government know about these CIA flights?"
Neil Durkin, of Amnesty International, said: "What we want is an investigation into these flights.".
Labour chairman Mike Gapes said: "The bottom line is that we have not had the full story." - eveningtimes.co.uk
will the Lib dems be steered away from asking searching questions
about rendition / Guantanamo...Iraq...Torture...?
Sir Menzies wins Lib Dem contest
Sir Menzies Campbell has been elected leader of the Liberal Democrat Party. Sir Menzies, 64, who was Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman and acting leader, topped a ballot of party members after a five week campaign. He beat economic affairs spokesman Chris Huhne in the final run off. Party President Simon Hughes came third.
Sir Menzies, who got 57% of the vote, said he was ready to take risks to "modernise" the party and lead it "back to government".
He said his victory was a "victory for all Liberal Democrats". He said he wanted to "make a reality of three party politics" and he vowed to fight for fairness, freedom and environmental protection.
He wanted the Liberal Democrats to be the "party which pledges to take power from Westminster and Whitehall and give it back to the men and women in our own communities," he told activists. - BBC
Israel adviser switches to top FO job
· QC told Sharon to shun UN inquiry into Jenin battle
· Palestine support group will protest to Straw
Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor - Tuesday March 7, 2006 - The Guardian
The British Foreign Office has appointed a controversial Israeli government adviser to one of its most sensitive posts as head of the legal department.
Advice from Daniel Bethlehem QC in 2002 to the then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, led Israel to block a UN inquiry into the battle of Jenin. The Israeli refusal to cooperate was widely condemned at the time by various human rights organisations.
Mr Bethlehem, who was Israel's external legal adviser, also took the lead for the Israeli government at the International court of justice in The Hague in 2004 to defend the barrier being built along the West Bank. Israel lost the case.
The Foreign Office said: "Our view is Mr Bethlehem has had a distinguished career in international law, including acting on behalf of the UK government in a number of international proceedings. He has also acted for or against a number of other states. His experience in this area equips him strongly for this job."
The legal team 45-year-old Mr Bethlehem will head challenged the legitimacy of pre-emptive action in the run-up to the Iraq war, and the deputy head of the team, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned just before the invasion.
He will have to advise Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, on a host of issues ranging from Guantánamo Bay to the legality of any pre-emptive strike against Iran.
Betty Hunter, spokeswoman for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said yesterday the group would write to Mr Straw. "We are appalled that the Foreign Office is employing someone who has a very distinct bias."
The job was advertised last October. On his appointment, the Foreign Office published a lengthy CV listing 27 international disputes in which he has been involved but omitting Jenin.
Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, ordered an inquiry into Jenin after the Palestinians claimed there had been human rights abuses on a grand scale. The Israeli government insisted that the heavy casualties - on both sides - had been the result of the ferocity of the Palestinian defence of the town.
Mr Sharon initially agreed to cooperate with the UN inquiry. But days later the Israeli government changed its mind after advice from Mr Bethlehem.
Mr Bethlehem, a specialist in international law at Cambridge University, warned in a memo for the Israeli government that if the inquiry's findings "uphold the allegations against Israel - even on a poor reasoning - this will fundamentally alter the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian leadership and may make it impossible for Israel to resist calls for an international force, the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state and the prosecution of individuals said to have committed the alleged acts."
In the memo, a copy of which was leaked to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Mr Bethlehem said the seriousness of the inquiry should not be minimised and that "for all practical purposes, Israel is faced with a war crimes investigation".
The question mark over his involvement in Jenin was raised with the Guardian by a British lawyer, who requested anonymity. Another lawyer, Philippe Sands QC, who knows Mr Bethlehem well, said: "He is a first-class international lawyer and an individual of impeccable integrity. Some may say he has a conservative disposition but he is independent and very much his own man."
A pointer to Mr Bethlehem's view on attacking Iran can be found in his evidence last year to the Commons foreign affairs committee. Although an Israeli pre-emptive strike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981 was judged to be illegal, a good case could have been made for it both then and now, he said.
Israel launched a huge offensive into the West Bank in spring 2002 after a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings. The attack on Jenin began on April 3 and there were heavy casualties on both sides. The Palestinians claimed there had been widescale human rights abuses, denied by Israel. The UN launched an inquiry and Israel initially agreed to cooperate. After a few days, Israel made a surprise, and at the time mysterious, turnaround, saying it had decided to withdraw its cooperation. The inquiry team interviewed Palestinians but was denied access to Israelis. The inquiry, in its final report, concluded there had been no massacre by Israel. - guardian.co.uk
remember: Operation Kratos...which saw Jean Charles de Menezes shot dead was an operation whose tactics were discussed, advised, taught by Isreali security forces
MI5 enabled UK pair's 'rendition'
Telegrams sent by the British security service led to the "extraordinary rendition" of two UK residents now in Guantanamo Bay, BBC News has learned. Flight details sent to US authorities allowed Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil al-Banna to be arrested in Gambia. The UK government has always said it opposes "extraordinary rendition" - secret flights taking terror suspects for interrogation in other countries. The Foreign Office denies requesting the men's detention.
Mr al-Rawi and Mr al-Banna were arrested at Gatwick airport in November 2002, BBC2's Newsnight has learned. British intelligence then sent US authorities a telegram saying one of them had been carrying an object that could have been used as part of an improvised explosive device. The men were later released after MI5 found the device to be an innocent battery charger - but this time the US authorities were not informed. The following week the men continued their journey - a business trip to Gambia, west Africa.
British intelligence then sent the US authorities a second telegram reminding them of the previous telegram, giving the men's flight details and saying they were associates of radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada.
The telegram said: "This information is being communicated in confidence... should not be released without the agreement of the British government. It is for research and analysis purposes only and should not be used as the basis for overt or covert action."
But the men were arrested at the airport in the Gambian capital, Banjul, along with Mr al-Rawi's brother Wahab, a British citizen, who was there to meet them.
Their lawyer Brent Mickum told BBC News: "They were taken out in chains and hooded... to separate rooms, where there were seven or eight individuals all of whom were dressed completely in black and wearing black masks."
Wahab, who was later released, said that when he asked to see a representative of the British authorities in Gambia he was told: "Who do you think ordered your arrest?"
Mr Mickum added: "Their clothes were cut off... nappies were put on them. Then they were taken in chains to a jet."
The two men were flown to a CIA facility in Afghanistan known as the "Dark Prison", where the conditions were "hellish", Mr Mickum said.
"It was completely dark, they could not see anything, there was no light, they could not tell day from night. "There were speakers blaring music 24 hours a day that made sleep almost impossible. "They could hear screams on occasion from other prisoners."
In early 2003 the men were flown from Bagram airbase, north of Kabul, to Guantanamo Bay. The telegrams proving Britain's involvement in the Gambia arrest emerged during a High Court battle in which the men have demanded the government act on their behalf to secure their release from Guantanamo Bay.
However, it is not clear if the UK government knew what would happen to them after they were arrested.
The Foreign Office said in a statement: "We can confirm that the UK did not request the detention of the claimants in The Gambia and did not play any role in their transfer to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay."
Businessman Mr al-Rawi, who is in his late 30s, has always maintained that he had contact with Abu Qatada which was "expressly approved and encouraged by British intelligence".
He said intelligence staff had told him that what he was doing was fine, and they would help him if he ever ran into trouble.
Last week, the UK government said it would act for Mr al-Rawi alone, after it emerged in court that he had co-operated with MI5, helping pass messages to Abu Qatada. Mr al-Rawi, an Iraqi citizen with UK residency, was reportedly sent to England in 1985 after his father was arrested by Saddam Hussein's secret police.
Mr al-Banna is a Jordanian refugee who had been living in north-west London. Both men deny any involvement with Islamic terrorism. They are among at least eight UK residents still thought to be held at the US-run camp in Cuba.
On Tuesday, the all-party parliamentary group on "extraordinary renditions" will see and discuss copies of the Gambia telegrams, and hear from witnesses.
The group's chair, Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, said: "What worries me very deeply is that we might have handed over people to the Americans knowing that these people might then have been maltreated."
UK fights to safeguard immunity of officials accused of torturing Britons
· Confessions to bombings made after beatings
· Government lawyers back Saudi Arabia's appeal
Clare Dyer, legal editor - Monday April 17, 2006 - The Guardian
The government will argue in Britain's highest court next week that foreign officials who commit torture abroad should be immune from civil action in the English courts.
Christopher Greenwood QC, the international lawyer who advised the attorney-general that the Iraq war was lawful, will argue for the British government, which has intervened in support of Saudi Arabian officials accused of detaining and torturing four Britons in Saudi jails.
Saudi Arabia is appealing to the House of Lords against a court of appeal ruling that, while the state is immune from compensation claims for torture, individual officials who inflict it are not. Civil rights lawyers said the ruling in October 2004 was a historic victory, ending immunity for torturers abroad from claims in the English courts.
The cases of Sandy Mitchell, Les Walker and Bill Sampson arose from a series of terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia six years ago which the Saudis blamed at the time on an alcohol turf war among westerners. The men claim they were tortured into confessing responsibility on Saudi television. The fourth man, Ron Jones, an accountant, was seized after being injured in a bomb blast outside a bookshop. He was taken from his hospital bed and detained for 67 days, during which his captors attempted to get him to confess to planting the device that injured him. The torture of Mr Jones, which has been confirmed independently, involved being beaten on his hands and feet, suspended for long periods by his arms, deprived of sleep and given mind-altering drugs.
All the men were released after an al-Qaida attack in May 2003 by nine suicide bombers in Riyadh, which made it clear the allegations against them were false. Four other men who were detained with Mr Mitchell, Mr Walker and Mr Sampson could also make claims if the law lords uphold the right to sue for compensation.
The UK government's intervention, backing the Saudi claim for immunity, follows a House of Lords case last year in which lawyers for the government contended that evidence obtained from torture abroad should be admissible as evidence in UK courts - an argument rejected by the law lords. "The thing we're quite angry about is that the government has weighed in to support the argument that the individual torturers should not be responsible. They have actually intervened formally and put in an argument in support of the Saudi government's argument that the individual torturers should continue to have immunity," said Tamsin Allen of Bindman & Partners, the law firm representing three of the men.
"We've been trying to pressurise the government not to do that because we say the inevitable conclusion is that they are supporting the right of torturers to continue to torture with impunity. We've got a court of appeal judgment saying that torturers should bear individual responsibility and we should be able to sue them in these courts and provide redress for torture victims, and they're arguing no ...
"Their argument is that state immunity is so important it has to be protected. We say there's no challenge to state immunity and it's not being undermined. The Americans have specific laws to allow torture victims to sue wherever the torture happened. We don't, and the government is trying to argue against the court of appeal judgment that established those rights."
Ms Allen said some of the men were tortured until their hearts were damaged, one was raped, and all suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Constitutional Affairs said: "The UK government condemns torture in all its forms and works to eradicate it wherever it occurs. The intervention in this case is not about criminal responsibility for torture, nor about the UK government's attitude to torture. It concerns jurisdiction, and the way in which civil damages can be sought against a foreign state for acts allegedly committed in its own territory."
Diplomat: US, UK used torture information
ISN SECURITY WATCH (Monday, 24 April 2006: 6.00 CET) – Former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has told European Parliament that British and US intelligence services had used information related to the "war on terror" obtained from tortured suspects.
"Under the UK-US intelligence sharing agreement the US and UK have taken a policy decision that they will get testimonies obtained under torture in third countries. I say that with regret and with certainty," the Brussels-based Dtt-Net.com news agency quoted Murray as telling European lawmakers on Thursday.
The European Parliament is investigating allegations that the CIA used European airbases to transfer terror suspects to countries where they could be tortured. The Council of Europe has already concluded that the CIA flights took place with the tacit approval of EU governments.
Murray said he saw "evidence of scores of cases of torture in Uzbekistan", including people boiled to death, photos of serious injuries, mutilation of genitals, rape of individual in front of their relatives "until they would sign a confession".
He said the CIA and MI6 did not participate in the interrogations, but did share information obtained from them.
Murray served as ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004. He told European parliamentarians that he had shared his concerns with the British Foreign Office, but the conclusion was reached that "we should continue to receive intelligence material obtained from confessions under torture and that this would not contravene the UN Convention against Torture".
According to Dtt.net.com, Murray said Foreign Office legal advisor Michael Wood replied in a letter that the UN Convention against torture only forbids information obtained under torture "to be invoked as evidence in any proceedings". "In this way, the British formal position can be maintained when they say 'we do not condone, use or instigate torture'," Murray was quoted as saying.
Murray was forced to leave his post in 2004 after condemning Uzbek authorities for their poor human rights record. As ambassador to Uzbekistan, Murray had also been a vocal critic of the British and US for what he said amounted to ignoring corruption and brutality in the former Soviet republic.
Murray's protests led him to leave the civil service. The former ambassador said these events left a "lack of credibility of the intelligence material obtained, intended to paint the false picture that Uzbekistan opposition people were linked to al-Qaida and bin Laden".
Regarding reports of CIA secret detention centers in Eastern Europe, Murray said he had no evidence of their existence.
ISN Security Watch
Clarke: "an advancement of human rights,"
Britain defends anti-terror measures
By Hannah K. Strange UPI UK Correspondent Published April 26, 2006 - via wpherald.com
LONDON -- Britain's use of controversial memoranda of understanding to enable deportations of terror suspects to countries with poor human rights records is in fact "an advancement of human rights," Home Secretary Charles Clarke insisted Tuesday.
Giving testimony before the International Commission of Jurists' Eminent Jurists Panel in London, he argued that by securing guarantees from such countries that they would not torture or otherwise mistreat returned individuals, Britain was in fact promoting a greater respect for human rights worldwide.
Some 12 foreign nationals accused of involvement in terrorism are currently in custody in Britain pending deportation to their home countries, understood to be Middle Eastern and North African nations. Clarke said the government had already concluded "two or three" memoranda of understanding and was negotiating several more.
The memoranda are intended to avoid violation of the European Convention on Human Rights -- which prohibits deportations to countries where the returned individual is at risk of torture or ill-treatment -- by obtaining guarantees on deportees' treatment. However, several prominent human rights organizations -- including the United Nations Commission on Human Rights -- have expressed serious concern about such agreements, which they describe as little more than pieces of paper with no legal worth.
But during intensive questioning on the issue, Clarke insisted that such a memorandum was far more than "a gentleman's agreement." The treatment of returned individuals would be monitored by independent organizations -- such as, in Jordan, a panel of human rights lawyers -- and any breach reported to the British government, he said. Britain would then be obliged to redress the situation in some way, he suggested.
The home secretary maintained that the memoranda of understanding were behind Algeria's recent decision to sign up to an optional protocol of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The contention of critics that nations with a history of human rights abuses could not be trusted to change their behavior was a "neo-colonialist" argument, he claimed.
"I believe, counter to many human rights organizations, that for governments in these conditions to agree to signing a memorandum of understanding and then honor it -- and presumably they will, including the monitoring procedures -- is actually an advance for human rights," he told the panel.
"The argument that (human rights organizations) make, which I essentially categorize as neo-colonialist, is that those governments, for example North African governments, cannot be trusted to adhere to these agreements because they are so dyed-in-the-wool against human rights."
Human rights groups were essentially saying that there were "whole swathes of the world which do not fit our tastes in the U.K., and which you can't do anything with," he said. "I think this is wrong, that actually we have to work constructively to extend human rights in these countries."
He argued that in fact the process of negotiating such memoranda would advance human rights in such countries. "The memoranda of understanding should be celebrated as an advance for human rights rather than attacked as an attempt to avoid human rights (obligations.)"
But Justice Arthur Chaskalson, former chief justice of South Africa and the chair of the ICJ panel, queried whether countries known to have engaged in the "abhorrent practice" of torture could in fact be trusted to respect such agreements. He characterized the position of the British government as: "We are willing to hand people over to torturers on the understanding that they will not torture."
Even if the countries concerned did not torture the individuals subject to such agreements, this would not necessarily have any effect on the treatment of other prisoners in their custody, he suggested.
The panel also raised concerns about the British government's use of control orders to restrict the movements of terror suspects. Implemented in 2005 as a response to the Law Lords' ruling that detention without charge was unlawful, the control orders include a range of measures ranging from curfews to house arrest, and are imposed without charge or trial. While subject to judicial review, the individual concerned is not allowed to know or answer the evidence against them. Eleven people, including three British nationals, are currently subject to control orders, according to Home Office figures for March.
Chaskalson said he had experience of similar orders in South Africa which had had "a devastating impact" on the lives of those concerned. This was a "vast deprivation of liberty," he said, subject to only limited judicial control which "fell short of fair trial procedures," he contended.
But Clarke rejected that argument, suggesting that the panel did not have a sufficient grasp of the terror threat. "I don't think you understand,' he said. "Do we just somehow pretend it's not there?'
"A terrorist attack is pretty devastating on the victims of that terrorist attack," he said. "In these cases, we are talking about people on whom we have intelligence which leads us to believe they are a threat... We think the risk of a terrorist attack is sufficient justification to limit the freedom of the individuals concerned."
His testimony comes at a time when the government is mounting a staunch defense of its record on civil liberties. Clarke Monday attacked the press for presenting a "distorted" view of the government's anti-terror and law and order legislation, accusing media "poisoners" of seeking to characterize modern democratic governments such as Britain and the United States as dictatorial tyrannies.
But his criticism was rejected by civil liberties campaigners and opposition politicians. Conservative Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said Clarke "should realize that you don't defend our way of life by sacrificing our way of life."
"The evidence shows that in many cases, things have been enacted in the name of defending our security have actually done nothing to protect the people, and have even resulted in consequences entirely contrary to the government's own intentions," he said. "It is remarkable that he has chosen to blame the media -- especially as his whole strategy seems designed to achieve good headlines for the government rather than effective policies to protect the citizens of this country."
Blairs real agenda:
more torture = more fake terror evidence = more police state laws & surveillance...
soon this will be all those who do not wish to live in a global surveillance society
BBC News reports 2006/05/18 -
An immigration minister has said it could take 10 years to deport all the illegal immigrants living in the UK. Tony McNulty, speaking on BBC Two's Newsnight, said 310,000 to 570,000 was "roughly in the ball park" of how many illegal immigrants were in the country. He said it would take a decade to remove them, on the basis that only so many could be deported each year.
Earlier Tony Blair had come under fire after saying there were no official figure estimates of illegal immigrants.
Mr McNulty said:"Assuming that we can find them, and assuming that people aren't going away of their own accord, it would take some time." He said it would take "Ten years, if you are saying 25,000 per year." "Remember too the illegal population as it is is multi-layered and segmented it's not just.. those climbing over fences," he added.
Blairs torture Pact:
Mr Blair said at Prime Minister's Questions that there should be a "presumption of automatic deportation" in the "vast bulk" of such foreign national prisoner cases. He added: "Those people, in my view, should be deported irrespective of any claim that they have that the country to which they are going back may not be safe."
ID card agenda
"The number of unfounded claims and people coming into this country since 1997 . . . are down. Each of them now is fingerprinted and identity cards given out to them . . ." "It is necessary we control illegal immigration better. There are two things we need to do. Firstly, we need to introduce the electronic borders, which we have introduced now for some 26 routes . . . Secondly, we need identity cards both for foreign nationals and for British nationals" - Tony Blair, speaking in the Commons 17th May 2006
The Blair Junta needs to empty the prisons ... and he needs to generate false terror evidence based on torture... The foreign criminals furore is a psyop to make the general public [middle class majority] link asylum seekers to crime...and foreigners to terrorists...soon... everyone who doesn't have an ID card will be criminalised...this is just the start
Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Tony Blair is doing his job?
| || |
Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the government is doing its job?
| || |
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,078 British adults, conducted from Apr. 27 to May 2, 2006. No margin of error was provided.
MARIAH RUGOBYA DEPORTED. Home Office accused of miscarriage of justice
We are all Immigrants! 19.05.2006 - Indymedia UK
Despite the intervention of activists, last night, Mariah Rugobya was deported from Heathrow Airport abd taken back to Uganda, where she will be now at sever risk of losing her life and at the very least, being subject to some form of brutality. (There is a support-group meeting this evening at the Square Social Centre, 21 Russell Sq, London WC1, at 7pm, to discuss more news and further options about what we do next).
MARIAH RUGOBYA DEPORTED. HOME OFFICE ACCUSED OF MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE IN IGNORING MEDICAL REPORT
Despite the intervention of activists, last night, Mariah Rugobya was deported from Heathrow Airport. Immigration Minister Tony McNulty and the Home Office are being accused of breaking Asylum Policy Instructions and carrying out a miscarriage of justice in refusing to intervene to prevent Mariah's deportation, in ignoring the findings of the Medical Report which confirm evidence of her persecution. Mariah was tortured by both sides of a conflict that is continuing in Uganda, and campaigners point out that the case highlights how Courts in the UK are failing to protect victims of torture. The twenty year-old girl has the support of hundreds of people, Clare Short MP, the Archbishop of York, and Mr McNulty's own local priest in his constituency. Incredibly, Mariah's application for Judicial Review which has been lodged by Mariah’s representatives - the Migrants Resource Centre - on 28/April/06, was still pending while this action has been carried out.
Asylum Policy Instructions state that evidence provided by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (section 2.3) must be accepted, unless the persecution is not 'reasonably likely' to have occurred in the circumstances described. Refusal of her claim has rested upon inaccurate information over the conditions in Uganda.
Supporters lobbied passengers of the BA flight which Mariah was booked on, while others telephoned BA Customer Serivces to explain the situation that Mariah was in great risk, and that she had been considered a suicide risk and was too mentally unstable to be dispatched onto this flight that would be sending her back to her almost certain death.
The risk to Mariah in being returned to Uganda could well be severe. She will be very likely recognised by the authorities on her return, and so, she will very likely face further detention and persecution. In 2005, the UN Committee Against Torture stated that the practice of torture in Uganda was 'prevalent'. Human Rights Watch states that: “Human Rights Watch and FHRI have also found that the army, CMI, JAT and VCCU torture or ill-treat suspects frequently. Suspects are often detained by one of these agencies incommunicado in a safe house or barracks, and tortured or ill-treated to make a confession or to punish them for refusing to confess”.
Mariah survived torture and rape in Uganda and also witnessed her mother being shot by rebels. Mariah fled Uganda with her twin sister Judith, arriving in the UK in January 2003. Their asylum claim was originally lost mainly because of bad legal representation, as the proceedings of a report which was prepared by an expert doctor from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture was not submitted. Further legal steps were taken for Mariah to reopen her asylum claim. However, the Home Office have continued to wholly dismiss the persecution Mariah faced, even though evidence has recently come to light which confirms the circumstances of her persecution. A newspaper report from the Ugandan daily 'New Vision' reported an attack by the UPDF(government army) on an ADF rebel camp in the Ituri forest which took place on the 26/Oct /02, corroborating the date of the attack she confirmed in her asylum application which the Home Office have refused to accept. There are also reports that women have been detained and tried for treason for alleged links to the ADF by the Ugandan authorities at the time Mariah was persecuted.
This miscarriage of justice is being carried out at a time when the Home Office, plagued with criticism on numerous fronts, is being accused of undertaking a witchhunt against genuine asylum applicants to fend off criticism of the systematic failure of it's wider immigration policy and inability to stop the inflow of illegal migrants. The BBC Panorama broadcast on Monday evening highlighted the discontent of some staff in the Immigration service, who confirmed that women and children were being deported in increasing numbers just to fulfil Government targets on removing failed asylum applicants.
In September 2002 Mariah was abducted from her home in Uganda with her mother by ADF rebels.They were taken to the Ituri forest in the Congo (DRC). Her mother was shot in front of her. She was held captive at the ADF camp and was both raped and tortured. The ADF camp was attacked on 26/Oct /2002 by the UPDF (soldiers of the Ugandan Government ). She was then captured by the UPDF as an alleged ADF rebel sympathizer. She was taken to Katojo barracks where she was detained and interrogated. She was again raped and tortured. She escaped detention and having been reunited with her twin Judith, they fled together to the UK in January 2003. However, her sister - Judith - was deported back to Uganda last month.
A national support campaign has been lobbying for Mariah's right to stay in the UK since last year. Among those who have supported her cause have been Clare Short MP and the Archbishop of York.
There is a support-group meeting this evening at the Square Social Centre, 21 Russell Sq, WC1, at 7pm, to discuss more news and further options about what we do next.
Additional Information: Main contact for information about Mariah's case:
The Migrants Resource Centre - 0207 834 6650 or 0207 8342505