Wednesday, 10 February 2010


David Miliband has failed to block disclosure of intelligence information relating to torture allegations of former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed. Three high-ranking judges dismissed his appeal against an earlier ruling that summaries of information received by the British security services from United States intelligence should be disclosed.

The decision from the Court of Appeal was hailed a resounding victory for freedom of speech by international media. However Miliband said that the ruling was causing a great deal of concern in Washington and said that he had fought to prevent the release of the information to defend the fundamental principle that intelligence shared with the UK would be protected. He said that this was essential to the relationship between the UK and the US. The treatment of Mr Mohamed went against British principles, he continued, but it was not carried out by the UK, he said.

Mr Mohamed was tortured with the knowledge of the British, while held by the CIA. Miliband said torture of prisoners violated the most basic principles of the UK, and national and international obligations. He said that there was a commitment of the government and the intelligence agencies to uphold the highest levels of conduct both for the UK and its allies.

Lawyers for Mr Mohamed and the British and international media had accused the government of seeking to suppress embarrassing and shaming evidence of Britain's involvement in torture. They said admissions by the CIA to the British security service over his ill-treatment raised the possibility of both UK and US Governments being liable to serious criminal liability for an international war crime. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said a public inquiry was now inescapable.

Lawyers for the Foreign Secretary had accused the judges of jeopardising UK – US arrangements on information sharing.

In the ruling, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said that the arguments in favour of publication of redacted information were compelling given that the case engages concepts of democratic accountability and, ultimately, the rule of law itself.

There are still people who argue that all our warring in the Middle East has made the UK streets safer. (Indeed Danny sent me this video of Tony Blair being interviewed by ex (Republican) presidential candidate Rev Mick Huckabee, in which he says just that, before launching an attack on Chilcot. How little respect he has for our procedures when there is money to be made for appearing on right wing Fox television.)

But we all know different. Britain is not safer. We have made enemies with our indiscriminate killing of Iraqis and the mess we have left their country because of poor planning, no, total lack of planning for the aftermath of the war.

We talk big about democracy in the UK; we talk about civilised behaviour and we talk about the rule of law. Indeed we talk so loudly about it that we commit troops to enforce it. But clearly none of this applies to us. We have an undemocratic country, with an unelected House of Parliament; we break international law with impunity when America tells us to; our ministers lie to parliament about rendition flights landing in the UK, our ministers take to the courts in the hopes of engaging the judges to break the law to protect the “special relationship”, which in any case is in tatters, and, although we condemn torture elsewhere, when it is our master in Washington doing the torture we turn a blind eye.

What a bunch of second raters.


  1. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksFebruary 10, 2010 11:26 pm

    Unlike the USA, Britain seems to have the odd notion that government ministers should be held accountable for their illegal actions. Between British court rulings and the Chilcott Inquiry, Americans may yet get a glimpse of the war crimes of the CIA and the Bush administration.

    Obama and his much vaunted new Justice Department clearly have no stomach for any such disclosure, much less prosecutions. (One might damage morale within the CIA.)

    Some time back, I saw Miliband being grilled by the Commons about this. His argument simply seemed to be that disclosure would anger the Americans. He should have been canned on the spot.

  2. Totally correct Danny.

    The fear that this pile of horse dung appear to have of upsetting your government in any way is quite incredible.

    They are terrified, and have been for so long, that unless they do everything they are told they will be dropped by America. Once that happens they will revert to being the hapless government of a small, broke, island of no import at all, off the mainland of Europe somewhere between Iceland and France.

    It would be fantastic for the rest of us who have no desire to stand on the steps of the White House. We'd have loads more money to spend on Britain if we weren't fighting wars, and of course our troops wouldn't be dying for Cheney's oil.

  3. The reasons for the war, the actions after and rendition to Guantanamo have put a cloud (to say the least) over Britains foreign policy, though this is just one reason amongst many to despise Labour and mock the lightweight, gurning, imbecilic Milliband.

  4. I beyond sickened by it all QM.

    It's so embarrassing to have the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary shivering in his shoes because Mrs Clinton is going to be ever so cross with him.

    Brown will be hopping mad. If he was snubbed by Obama last time can you just imagine how he will be treated now.

  5. That ethical foreign policy did not last long did it?

  6. Munguin

    Yes Labour dumped her ethical foreign policy pretty quickly.
    Multi million pound military air traffic control radar system for Tanzania ( who have no military aircraft and are very poor).
    Propping up the regime in Uzbhekistan where opponents are boiled alive and child labour is used to pick cotton.
    Freeing the mass murderer Pinochet while an arrest warrant is outstanding in Spain for crimes against humanity.
    Invading Iraq on a fake dossier.
    Invading Afghanistan to make Britain safer despte the opposite being the case.
    Opening the floodgates to immigration to make the UK more 'multicultural' ( read more likely to vote nuLab)
    Signing the Lisbon Treaty despite promising a referendum

  7. About a week or so Munguin... then reality hit.

  8. Tris your getting better and better at placing those pictures in the middle of the page!

    On a serious note, a solid victory for our judiciary here. And vital for any fight against torture.

    "Lawyers for the Foreign Secretary had accused the judges of jeopardising UK – US arrangements on information sharing"

    That sounds suspicously like blackmail to me, and frankly I highly doubt the USA would actually follow through, they need all the allies they can get/keep right now.

  9. Impressive list there Anon.

    I seem to remember something about war planes to Indonesia, when they were using them against their own people.... Lots more if I could just think of them.

    The trouble is of course that the UK is only on the Permanent Members at the toleration of the USA. They could, and should be removed along with France and replaced either by Germany, the real European power, or by the EU. France might reasonably be replaced by India or Brazil.

    If the UK wants to stay at the top table it has to do what the boss says. (Yes, I know France doesn't, but it's safe as long as the UK is safe, so it has the best of both worlds.)

    You have to wonder if this is it. I imagine if by some miserable stoke of bad fortune Cameron manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, a combination of this story and the fact that Obama clearly can't stand Brown will mean the end for the UK's world rôle?

    Well, I hope so. It would an appropriate slap in the face for Brown and at the same time leave us with more money to build roads and railways, and do all the things that other European countries seem to have the money for.

  10. Dean. LOL, thanks, I catch on real quick once I'm told how to do things. It's great fun moving them around.

    I think you're probably right. The USA needs someone to be on its side when it comes to wars.

    This government (I suspect in fairness to it, like many other governments) has tried to get the courts to do its bidding.

    Remember that horrible little man Dez Browne trying to get Coroners to distort the truth in their reports so that the MoD suffered no criticism at their hands.

    Wasn't it fortunate then that the Coroners had backbone?

  11. Tris
    The Indonesian sales were under a Tory government ( 'trainer' Hawk aircraft fitted with missile pods and bomb pylons).
    There was a strange court case where the Tories tried some protestors for damage to the Hawks and the protestors got off because the judge said the damage they did to the planes stopped a greater crime ( bombing civilians).
    The Tories are equal if not worse than Labour.
    While prisoners in Chile were having their gonads sliced off Maggie was taking tea with Pinochet. And while Sadam was gassing civilians we were arming the Iraqis with anything they wanted. The Matrix churchill case was quite interesting. Supplying Sadam with the biggest gun barrel in history ( it was fitted to the side of a hill as it was too heavy to fit to a standard artillery carriage.)

  12. Thanks Anon.

    Pretty little to choose between them. They are both grim prospects.

  13. The Tories are lovely in that respect in 1953 Churchill was instrumental in installing the Shah as an autocrat by deposing a democratically elected government that threatened to nationalise Anglo-Iranian Oil. The Shah was quite fond of torture as well, especially the application of electricity to certain parts of the body and the insertion of hot hard boiled eggs into another.

  14. Brits could always choose them Munguin.