British Judge: Gov Can’t Hide Torture of Binyam M. by US

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

A British Court of Appeals has ruled against the Foreign Secretary David Milliband, that the British government can no longer refuse to disclose what MI5 knew about the torture of Binyam Mohamed while in US custody, according to an article published today in the Guardian UK.…

UK Foreign Secretary Milliband concured with the ruling only because of previous disclosures in a US Court, which would then preserve the “control principle” of one country doesn’t turn loose intelligence without the cooperation of the other, if they share intelligence.

“The foreign secretary spoke last night to Hillary Clinton. He stressed to her that the court had strongly supported the control principle and would have agreed with HMG [her majesty’s government] had it not been for the Kessler judgment in the US court last December, which had effectively disclosed the material in the seven paragraphs.

An MI5 officer known only as Witness B is being investigated by the Metropolitan police over his alleged role in questioning Mohamed incommunicado in a Pakistan jail.

Mohamed was detained in 2002 in Pakistan, where he was questioned incommunicado by an MI5 officer. The US flew him to Morocco, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay, where he says he was tortured with the knowledge of British agencies.

The 7 paragraphs that the British Government were trying to hide are below, below the fold.  As noticed by commenters under another story at FDL, there are 2 dates.  The date in the Guardian story says 17 May 2002 in the first paragraph.  The date in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office dot gov dot uk site, has the date as 17 May 2001, with a disclaimer that “we have alerted the Court to a typographic error.”  

Oh, those pesky typos. What’s a year, here or there ?   ask Bush & Cheney.

The 7 redacted paragraphs from the uk dot gov website:…

10 Feb 2010

The Foreign Secretary said the Government accepts the decision of the Court of Appeal and has published the seven paragraphs at issue in the case of Binyam Mohamed.

The following is quoted from the first judgment of the Divisional Court in the Binyam Mohamed case on 21 August 2008. We have alerted the Court to a typographic error.

“The following seven paragraphs have been redacted

[It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2001 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer.  

v)  It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation.  The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed.

vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him.  His fears of being removed from United States custody and “disappearing” were played upon.

vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews

viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the inter views were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.

ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.

x) The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972.  Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities]”  

Note the last paragraph, which is bolded italics.  Per Jim White,…   (and look who signed that Convention Against Torture, none other that REPUBLICAN ICON St. Ronnie Raygun of Trickle Down Economics, aka President Ronald Reagan. )

 Jim White:

“This is not a simple case of a politician or other public figure making an accusation against the United States. This is a British High Court rendering a decision after examining evidence. The language chosen is significant. Although “could readily be contended” perhaps could be interpreted as leaving a bit of wiggle room, that possibility is slapped down entirely by “at the very least” before launching into the highly significant “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.  This final phrase, often shortened to CIDT, is important because it is a key element of the UN Convention Against Torture, which actually has the full name “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”. Finally, this torture has been carried out “by the United States authorities”.

Here is a portion of President Ronald Reagan’s statement on submitting the Convention Against Torture to the Senate after he signed it in 1988:

“The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today. ”

Here is Article 12 of the CAT:

Article 12

“Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction. ”

Barack Obama and Eric Holder now are required to act. A decision of a British High Court certainly would qualify as “reasonable ground to believe” that CIDT has occurred in the case of Binyam Mohamed and that it was at the hands of “United States authorities”.


Here is beginning of the same version of the newly released 7 paragraphs, using the different date, from today’s Guardian 2/10/2010…

Here are the seven paragraphs that were blanked out in earlier proceedings:

It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2002 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer.  



* (other paragraphs are the same)

Even with the later date, (whoops!)  Emptywheel at FDL has noticed that this would mean Binyam Mohamed was being tortured by an “expert interviewer”  


Mohamed was subjected to sleep deprivation, the British Government tells us, more than 75 days before the Bybee Two memo authorized such treatment.

So this is not just proof that the US was engaging in torture before they got their CYA memo authorizing such torture. But it was proof that they were using Mohamed, in addition to Abu Zubaydah, as guinea pigs to test out that torture.

This proves the entire myth told to explain the torture memos (and Abu Zubaydah’s treatment) to be a lie.

Why was Binyam Mohamed being tortured ?  And why is the date significant ?  Abu Zubaydah, the subject of Bybee’s gift pass Memos of non- accountability to the CIA under the Bush administration, confessed to a non existent “dirty bomb” plot and implicated others.….


“…..the British judges have made two important points.

Firstly, they have reminded us that torture was, in fact, taking place long before it was supposedly authorized, with disturbing ramifications for those who ordered its use, which have not been adequately addressed by the Obama administration, and which are not addressed at all in Eric Holder’s decision to investigate only those agents who exceeded the indefensible guidelines for “enhanced interrogation” that were laid down by Bybee and Yoo in August 2002.

Secondly, by comparing the treatment of Binyam Mohamed with that of Abu Zubaydah, the judges have also reminded us that the use of torture was not confined to a select group of 14 “high-value detainees” – including Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – who were moved to Guantánamo in September 2006, but also to 80 other prisoners that the OLC acknowledged were held in secret CIA prisons, and the many dozens of others who had their torture outsourced to proxy torturers in countries including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Syria.


a timeline review:



October 23, 2001  by John Yoo & Robert J Delahunty, Memorandum for Alberto R Gonzales, William J Haynes II, “Re, Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.”   Claimed the United States can ignore the 4th Amendment, the Takings Clause, and the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution, subsequently repudiated.

July 23, 2002 Secret meeting of British government, UK MOD, and UK Intelligence to discuss Iraq war plans and how President Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein justified by evidence of terrorism, facts not matching policy (published May 1 2005 “Downing Street Memo”)

August 1, 2002  The First Jay Bybee Memo  “Memorandum for Alberto R Gonzales, Counsel to the President, from Jay S Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, Re Standards of Conduct for Interrogation under 18 USC  ss 2340 23 40A

August 1, 2002  The Second Jay Bybee Memo  “Memorandum for John Rizzo, Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency: Interrogation an al Queda Operative  (released 4/16/2009)  The “operative” was Abu Zubaydah, who would be subsequently waterboarded…

both Bybee memos written (with John Yoo) to give the President of the US the power of the unitary executive, not bound by the War Crimes Act,  responsible to no one in being able to order torture on command

October 2002.  The Senate is briefed that Iraq has bio and chemical weapons to attack the US eastern seaboard, a few days before they vote on the Authorized Use of US Armed Forces Against Iraq


2001 Binyam Mohamed, a legal resident of the UK, goes to Afghanistan.

April 10 2002, Binyam Mohamed arrested in Pakistan’s Karachi Airport.  Subsequently claims to have been held in secret prisons in Pakistan, Morocco, and Afghanistan, and to have been tortured in Morocco from July 2002 to sometime in 2003 (?).

Sept 19 2004 Binyam Mohamed taken from Bagram AFB in Afghanistan,  to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

2005 Binyam Mohamed charged with conspiracy

2008 Oct 21,  Susan J Crawford, OMC, announces charges dropped.  Carol J Williams writes in LA Times that Binyam Mohamed was one of 5 men connected to Abu Zubaydah, who had been waterboarded.

August 7 2009  UK calls for release of Binyam Mohamed and 4 others, US refuses

Feb 23 2009  Binyam Mohamed repatriated from Guantanamo to the UK, released after questioning

March 12, 2009  Calls for investigation by the British government into possible collusion of MI5 in Mohamed’s torture

February 10, 2010.  The United Kingdom rules it can no longer allow its intelligence services to hide what they knew about the torture of one of its legal residents, Binyam Mohamed, while in US custody, and when it occurred.


February 10, 2010,  The United States stands poised to begin another major offensive in Afghanistan, and is bombing Pakistan with drones.

Now what, and why ?  Are we still chasing Bagram’s ghosts ?


  1. ….  

    “On Afghanistan, President Obama has shown the kind of leadership he promised during the campaign – he’s built consensus and earned bipartisan support,” Cornyn said.

    There’s that bipartisanshipthingee again.  

    • allenjo on February 12, 2010 at 18:36

    Judge Kessler, the US judge who released the evidence, had characterised the treatment of Mr Mohamed as “torture”.

    His account included being beaten with a leather strap, subjected to a mock execution by shooting, being punched and kicked, hearing other prisoners screaming and being cut on his chest and genitals with a scalpel. He was also deprived of sleep and had drugs put into his food.

    The White House said that it was deeply disappointed with the decision. “The court’s judgment will complicate the confidentiality of our intelligence-sharing relationship with the UK,” a spokesman for President Obama said.

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