Bradford screenings – Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

As part of the Bradford International Film Festival, Cineworld at the Bradford Leisure Exchange will be hosting two screenings of the new Spectacle documentary, Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo on the 26th and 27th of March.

The March 26th viewing will also host a panel discussion of the project with filmmakers Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, along with former detainees Moazzam Begg and Omar Deghayes following the screening.

Outside the Law offers a powerful and personal insight into the claims that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst” and how those detained as “illegal enemy combatants” were given no chance to defend themselves and, even worse, given no rights whatsoever.

Information and tickets are available online as are DVD purchases

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Reprieve ask Sir Peter Gibson to stand down from inquiry

Clive Stafford-Smith has published a letter sent to Sir Peter Gibson – the man elected by David Cameron to lead the inquiry into whether the UK has been complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects – that calls for him to renounce his position. The letter was written on behalf of Reprieve, an organisation which represents prisoners held ‘beyond the rule of law’ or those facing the death penalty, and which represented Binyam Mohamed in the trial which cleared his name of any connections with any terrorist acts.

Clive Stafford-Smith of Reprieve

The content of the letter focuses on the bias that compromises Sir Gibson’s position; specifically that he has already conducted an internal review on the same subject and his role as Intelligence Services Commissioner. Stafford-Smith finishes by challenging Sir Gibson about the expansion of his duties in 2009 to Gordon Brown to ‘…protect the reputation of our security and intelligence services…’ and to ‘…ensure that our practices are in line with the United Kingdom and international law,’ arguing that he should be acting as a witness to the inquiry, not leading it.

Given that previous reports maintained that the integrity of British Intelligence remained intact and that those involved in the hearings were ‘trustworthy and dependable’, Stafford-Smith feels that he is unlikely to offer any public criticisms of, or claims for accountability from either MI5 or MI6.

The full letter has been printed in full for public consumption and Stafford-Smith also appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme to debate the matter with the former chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Kim Howells.

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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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To order Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Post-birthday blues for Miliband

Any cause for celebration for David Miliband as he reflected on another year of career expediency will have been cut short by fresh accusations about his level of knowledge of British citizens rendition and subsequent torture.

Despite his promise that the current version of the guidelines, for MI5 and MI6 on how to carry out interrogations. will be published when reviewed and made suitable for public consumption, he has refused to publish the old guidelines – which he claims were more ‘informal’ than the updated version published in 2004 – on the grounds that it would give ‘succour to our enemies’.

The withholding of the official guidelines to interrogation discipline and technique is an attempt to suppress implications not only of his own government but also of those that deem torture necessary in obtaining information, contradicting his insistence that Britain should not collude with other countries that have ‘different standards to our own’.

It also demonstrates a depressing resolve to follow US practices. As the classified documents that implicate the Labour government’s complicity in the torture of British nationals suspected of terrorism demonstrate, Blair – who overruled Foreign Office attempts to give consular assistance to the former detainees – allowed suspects to be transferred to localities were torture was known to take place. Now Miliband is purveying the US default patriotic response to allegations of unlawful secrecy by claiming that to release the how-to detention pamphlet would undermine national security, whose authority must not be challenged.

Miliband’s protestation that he was unaware of any rendition or mistreatment was weakened considerably by the revelation that Gulam Mustafa, a 48 year-old businessman from Birmingham, was sent to Bangladesh and tortured with the full knowledge of MI5 in May of this year. Miliband remains a candidate in the race for the Labour leadership.

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For more information and ordering DVDs of Spectacle’s documentary Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Omar Deghayes Video Testimony

During an in-depth interview with Spectacle in December 2008, Omar Deghayes described the astonishing betrayal and complicity of British Intelligence agent, ‘Andrew’, and others (MI5 and MI6) while held illegally in Pakistan, before being sold into US custody and subjected to torture.

Omar Deghayes is one of the former detainees of Guantánamo and Bagram at the centre of an explosion of news stories surrounding classified documents that implicate the involvement of Tony Blair’s government in the torture of terror suspects.

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‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’ screening across the UK

‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’ will be showing at Oxford University this Friday, 21st May at 7.30pm, and will screen at a number of UK venues throughout the next month. At Oxford, and also the following events listed below, there will be a Q&A session. Visit the Spectacle website and the Spectacle Guantánamo Blog to read more about the project.

Friday May 21, 7.30 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
Christ Church College, Blue Boar Lecture Theatre, the University of Oxford, St. Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1DP.

With Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash.
This screening is organized by the Oxford University Amnesty International group. For further information, please contact Amnesty Oxford.

Thursday May 27, 7 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
The Broca, 4 Coulgate Street, Brockley, London, SE4 2RW.

With Andy Worthington.

Friday May 28, 6.30 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
Chichester Lecture Theatre, The University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RF.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by the University of Sussex Amnesty International group.

Saturday May 29, 2 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
Under the Bridge music studio, 7 Trafalgar Arches, Brighton, BN1 4FQ.

With Omar Deghayes and Andy Worthington.
This screening is organized by Under the Bridge. For further information, please contact Jackie Chase on 07799 564620

Wednesday June 2, 6 pm: Film screening – “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Followed by Q&A.
Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX.

With Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash.
This screening is organized by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. Please contact Barbara Zollner for further information.

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Or visit our Guantánamo project pages for more information and videos.

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Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence

VIDEO INTERVIEW: FORMER GUANTANÁMO DETAINEE ON BRITISH COMPLICITY IN TORTURE

Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence agent, “Andrew’, and others (MI5 and MI6) while held illegally in Pakistan, before being sold into US custody and rendered to Bagram prison in Afghanistan and subjected to torture. This is an extended rough cut from Spectacle’s film: “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo”

WATCH Omar Deghayes’ interview

For related interviews and extras visit Spectacle’s Archive Page

For further information on the Guantanamo Project visit Spectacle’s Project Page

To find out when/where screenings of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” are taking place visit Spectacle’s Events Page

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Human Rights Watch report “Cruel Britannia: British Complicity in the Torture and Illegal Treatment of Terror Suspects’

VIDEO INTERVIEW: FORMER GUANTANÁMO DETAINEE ON BRITISH COMPLICITY IN TORTURE

Human Rights Watch report “Cruel Britannia: British Complicity in the Torture and Illegal Treatment of Terror Suspects” seriously undermines British Government denials of Intelligence service complicity in torture. Testimonials of Pakistani torturers included in the report allege that U.S. and British officers were “perfectly aware that we were using all means possible to extract information.”

This corroborates the statements of numerous ex-terror suspects who have come forward about their experiences. Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence agent, “Andrew’ and others while held illegally and subjected to torture in Pakistan and Bagram prison in Afghanistan.

His full interview, describing his first-hand experience can be viewed online:

Omar Deghayes on Torture and British Intelligence

This interview is an extract from the newly released documentary “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’ (Spectacle 2009, Directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington) which is now available on DVD:

BUY DVD – Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Other excerpts and extras can be found at:

http://www.spectacle.co.uk/outside-the-law-stories-from-guantanamo

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Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo is now available to buy on DVD

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo is now available to buy on DVD on the Spectacle Catalogue page.

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo is a new documentary film telling the story of Guantánamo, focusing on the stories of three prisoners, Shaker Aamer, Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes. A powerful rebuke to the myth that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst”.

The Spectacle Catalogue page contains videos produced by Spectacle, Despite TV and others and all the titles are available to buy on both video and DVD.

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Criminal investigations into torture finally begins

According to The Guardian (July 10), the metropolitan police have launched an investigation into allegations by Binyam Mohamed that MI5 officers were complicit in his torture.

The investigation has been launched by the Attorney General after Binyam, a former Guantanamo detainee, persistently argued he was interrogated by MI5 and the FBI while being tortured in Pakistan.

Later on in his detainment, whilst being held captive in Morocco, Binyam became aware of British agents feeding his torturers questions and information. This supports  the claim of many other former captives, including Omar Deghayes who is featured on the Spectacle website, that British agents were not only aware of torture by foreign agents but used it to garner information from suspects.

The question we have to ask is why it has taken the police so long to launch this investigation and when  will criminal investigation be extended to every case of torture?

Furthermore, given the governments reluctance to release key documents related to Binyams case how indepth is any investigation going to be?

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