Friday, February 06, 2009
Guardian reports no threats against UK intelligence
by Larry Geller
If you’ve been surfing the web you may have seen the story that the US government, even under President Obama, has threatened the UK with ending intelligence sharing if the British High Court reveals details of the rendition and Guantanamo torture of a UK resident.
Here’s the sequence. The first snippet is from Thursday’s Democracy Now headlines. The second is from an ACLU letter to Obama (the link will take you to the full text). The third is snipped from the Guardian article saying that this never happened.
UK Court: US Threats Thwart Disclosure of Torture Evidence
The British High Court is claiming US government threats have prevented it from revealing details on the alleged torture of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner. On Wednesday, two senior judges said they are unable to release key information, because the US has threatened to end intelligence sharing with Britain. [Democracy Now, 2/5/2009]
The British High Court today ruled that evidence of British resident Mohamed's extraordinary rendition and torture at Guantánamo Bay must remain secret because of threats made by the Bush administration to halt intelligence sharing with Britain if the evidence is disclosed. According to the British court's opinion, the U.S. "position remains the same, even after the making of the executive orders by President Obama," and, if the evidence is to be made public, "it must now be for the United States Government to consider changing its position or itself putting that information in the public domain." [ACLU.org, ACLU Asks Secretary Of State Clinton To Clarify U.S. Policy On Exposing Torture And Rendition, 2/4/2009]
Guardian reports strange twist:
Lawyers for Binyam Mohamed, the former British resident held at Guantánamo Bay, last night asked the high court to reopen its "gagging" judgment after accusing David Miliband, the foreign secretary, of giving a misleading account of why he wanted to suppress evidence of torture.
This twist in an unprecedented dispute between a cabinet minister and senior judges came after Miliband told MPs that the US did not, after all, make any threat to cut off intelligence links with Britain.
In a high court ruling on Wednesday Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said such threats were the main reason why they were convinced the US torture evidence should remain secret. The judges also made clear that they believed Miliband had contacted the Obama administration and was told the US view had not changed despite the decision to ban torture and close down Guantánamo. [The Guardian (UK), US made no threat over torture evidence, Miliband tells MPs, 2/6/2009]
Let’s see what happens from here. Will the details be released? Stay tuned.