Government tried to prevent disclosure of detention manual

The government’s attempts to delay the current proceedings that have yielded highly classified documents for public consumption have received a rebuttal out of court. The failed attempt to suppress the information out of court, a ‘spin-off’ hope from the appeal court’s dismissal of the same case in May, has dented the coalition’s plans to restore confidence in the British Intelligence service who have been implicated in the torture of British citizens in Guantanamo and Afghanistan. It also follows previous failed efforts by David Miliband in October 2009 to prevent the disclosure of a CIA report that claimed that MI5 were fully aware that Binyam Mohamed was subject to ‘inhumane treatment’ during  interrogation in Morocco and Afghanistan, supplying information and questions to the Moroccans and Americans. Miliband was under pressure to protect the identities of those involved.

The inquiry, led by Sir Peter Gibson, will press ahead with raiding through the chest of 500,000 documents considered relevant to the judicial inquiry announced by David Cameron last week.  Among the documents that the government asked to remain undisclosed was the ‘Detainees and Detention Operations’ manual. The official document from MI6, which provides step-by-step guidelines that impressively manage to surf the boundaries of both legality and morality, contains a particularly chilling line regarding the jurisdiction of a particular detention that reads:

Is it clear that detention, rather than killing, is the objective of the operation?

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Measured antipathy and treachery by British Intelligence

An official report of an interview with Omar Deghayes confirmed his testimony, given in this interview with Spectacle back in December 2008, that British Intelligence were complicit in his torture during interrogation at a US airbase in Afghanistan.

The reports formally recognises Deghayes complaints that he suffered internal bleeding, and showed considered revulsion at Deghayes’ health visibly deteriorating during repeated visits to interrogate him in US custody, “Throughout the interview Deghayes expectorated rather disgustingly into a tissue as if he were still tubercular. These moments usually coincided with those answers were he was most evasive.”

Another report implicates the British Intelligence in calculated abandonment of Deghayes, stating, “We are due to see him 2100 local time on 4th March and propose that we treat this as our last opportunity to get the full truth from him. If he sticks to his story and just gives us a few more details, we propose disengaging and allowing events here to take their course.” Disengagement at this point meant rendition to lawless Guantanamo.

Deghayes is one of the former British Muslim detainees abducted and sent to US custody against their will despite being entitled to consular protection, and is one of seven former prisoners bringing cases alleging complicity in their torture against the Home Office, the Foreign Office and British Intelligence.

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No-one’s really bothered, keep going

“Public opinion has on the whole shown little concern about the welfare of the British detainees, or the legal terms of their detention. But the issue is clearly of sensitivity to Muslim opinion in the UK and abroad.”

The source of this quote is a memo circulated to the junior Foreign Office ministers, the Foreign Office press office and the department’s senior legal advisor, Sir Michael Wood on 4 January 2002, and refers to a number of British citizens and residents who at the time were being detained by US forces. The objective nature and breezy tone of the memo betrays a shocking disregard for the suffering of prisoners who, as revealed in several of the other documents, were witnessed by British Intelligence to have been in a rapidly deteriorating state.

What is more alarming is that the message was a clear signal to indulge in the illegality, secret acts of abduction and flying prisoner from cell to cell, on the grounds that they were getting away with it.

First hand video testimony of this process from Omar Deghayes documents the horrifying results of these decisions.

The memo is among 900 classified documents disclosed during high court proceedings this week as part of the official inquiry into the Labour government’s rendition of UK citizens, and goes on to say that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should be, “seen as applying our normal standards of consular assistance as far as possible,” wholeheartedly asking its recipients not to be forthcoming about the fact that their government was knowingly allowing its people to be tortured.

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