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.

Click Guantánamo for more blogs
Or visit our Guantánamo project pages for more information and videos.
To order Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Spectacle homepage
Befriend Spectacle.Docs on Facebook
Follow SpectacleMedia on Twitter

Ministers determined to “avoid” scrutiny over torture, say MPs

Channel Four last night reported that the joint committee on human rights, investigating claims of UK intelligence forces complicity in torture, have called for a major inquiry into the role of British security forces abroad. The group of MP’s described the government’s level of accountability on this matter as ‘woefully deficient’.

The committee has been investigating a series of allegations against British security forces, including those of Binyam Mohamed, that they used information gathered under torture as part of MI5 investigations  into terrorism.

According to Channel Four the committee’s report finds:

‘the accusations of complicity in torture would amount to illegality if proved; but says the government has failed to engage with the charges, instead “hiding behind a wall of secrecy”.

“As to what may have happened in the past, general assertions of non-complicity are no longer an adequate response to the many detailed allegations,”

Spectacle has been reporting on allegations of torture through it Guantanamo project and has video testimony from Omar Deghayes describing his maltreatment at the hands of the British.

It’s good to see MP’s within parliament are beginning to put pressure on the government to take responsibility for it’s actions. Torture is illegal and those who are complicit in a crime should be sent to jail whether they are ministers or not.

To see Channel Fours report on this issue please click here

To see edits of Spectacles film The Guantanamo Files which deal with torture please click here