Whistleblower Silenced by High Court on Secret Renditions

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Ben Griffin, the British ex-Special Air Service (SAS) soldier who resigned over the illegalities involved in the U.S. extraordinary rendition program, and who has spoken out publicly on British troop collaboration with U.S. forces in these activities, was served with a UK high court gag order. According to yesterday’s Guardian:

Ben Griffin could be jailed if he makes further disclosures about how people seized by special forces were allegedly mistreated and ended up in secret prisons in breach of the Geneva conventions and international law.

At least hundreds of Afghans and Iraqis have been swept up in the program run with British and American special forces, and sent to prisons in countries often thousands of miles away to face torture and indefinite detention. Other European countries, including most recently Romania and Poland, have been implicated in the rendition program.

At a press conference February 25, before the court banned his free speech, Griffin spoke out more specifically about how the joint U.S.-UK operation worked (emphasis added):

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 this joint US/UK task force appeared. Its primary mission was to kill or capture high value targets. Individuals detained by this Task Force often included non-combatants caught up in the search for high value targets. The use of secret detention centres within Iraq has negated the need to use Guantanamo Bay whilst allowing similar practice to go unnoticed.

As UK soldiers within this Task Force a policy that we would detain individuals but not arrest them was continually enforced. Since it was commonly assumed by my colleagues that anyone we detained would subsequently be tortured this policy of detention and not arrest was regarded as a clumsy legal tool used to distance British soldiers from the whole process.

During the many operations conducted to apprehend high value targets numerous non-combatants were detained and interrogated in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of civilians in occupied territories. I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured.

Griffin joins U.S. whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in being gagged from speaking about what they know about illegal activities by their governments or their agents. It’s clear that the U.S. and their allies are ratcheting up the machinery of governmental repression against those who would oppose their criminal policies. This story has failed to make a stir in either the U.S. mainstream or alternative press or blogosphere. In the world of American Empire, those who would speak out against blatant transgressions of justice and human decency are silenced. It is only a matter of time until they become non-people, a process already begun with the implementation of the off-the-books “ghost prisoners” the CIA ran at Abu Ghraib, and the hundreds or thousands more who have been sent without hope of appeal to foreign dungeons around the world.

I can only hope that this story, and others like it, are picked up by those who still have the freedom to voice their opinions. Without at least that, the brave men and women who speak for justice and freedom, and against torture, have — no matter what Obama says — no hope.

Also posted at Invictus

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    • Valtin on March 1, 2008 at 10:09 pm
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    The U.S. has incorporated the armies of the world into its Empire, much as the ancient Persian kings and Roman Caesars did.

    I wonder how many of those busting at their buttons with pride at the U.S. armed forces know that these latter are but a portion of the armies wielded by the U.S. rulers.

  1. The Australian who was released from Guantanamo on condition he not talk about his treatment.

    Hicks had to sign a gag order at Guantanamo in which, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented Hicks in the past, Hicks agrees to not speak to the media for one year after his release and to state that he has never been mistreated while at Guantánamo. He also has to agree that his detention was lawful pursuant to law of armed conflict.

    Furthermore, he was forced to give up the right to sue over his treatment in the future, and will cooperate with investigators should the need arise. He is forbidden from profiting from his story by, for instance, publishing a book or selling movie rights.

    The question now is whether they can make the order stick.

    PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd says it is not his place to determine whether former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks should be allowed to profit from selling his story.

    Hicks is reportedly fielding lucrative offers for his story and could be paid up to $1 million in a key test of proceeds of crime laws.

    Up to 30 different TV networks and publishers, from Australia and overseas, have made contact with his Adelaide-based lawyer, according to The Australian newspaper.

    Hicks was freed from South Australia’s Yatala prison on December 29 and he remains under a US-imposed gag order until March.

    But his father, Terry Hicks, says it is reasonable that David be paid should he decide to tell his story after that date.

    Mr Rudd said the proceeds of crime laws were designed to prohibit criminals profiting from their story, but acknowledged there were “peculiarities” to the Hicks case.

    In the end the full truth is bound to come out.  Then its a matter of whether anyone will be actually be held those responsible for this descent into barbarism.

    Not holding my breath…

  2. What is it that’s going on that it seems that other countries “join” in our efforts to conceal the truth?  Are we setting the NEW standards for the world?  The New World Order?  And are countries, as our Congress, simply following that direction?  

    I find that we have done and exemplified is, somehow, setting a “pace” and/or “standard” for the world.  What a horrifying thing and thought.

    Yes, non-people — that’s what they will become, if we forget what has been done.  And, as you say, so many were simply “swept” up in a process, and without resource.

    I cry — my insides cry for what we have done.  I try to picture myself in Afghanistan, Iraq, whatever, just having been somewhere at the wrong time and being caught up in a net, sent away, forbidden connection with my family, or an attorney, or the right of a court to preside over me, and to suffer torment and torture at the hands of my capturers.  And no hope given me for any kind of release or communication with my family, and total and utter dispair consuming me.

    This is what we have done!  Death, destruction and killers of the human soul.  

    I honestly cannot believe what we have become!  It makes my heart so sick!

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