Judges, 1

Front page on today’s print Guardian was a story headed MI5 criticised for role in case of torture, rendition and secrecy about a judges’ ruling that some documents – as yet unspecified, as the ruling is secret – have to released for the man’s defence.

It’s hard to salvage any national pride from this disgusting story except:

Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve, the legal rights group also defending Mohamed, said: “The British government may have been accused of being Bush’s poodle, but the British courts remain bulldogs when it comes to human rights.”

Indeed. It’s wonderful that there are indeed still judges with respect for the rule of law.

However, the rest of the story makes me want to throw up. The details are so griim, I imagine that any man who reads it will be wincing.

It appears that Binyam Mohamed faces the death penalty, on the basis of admissions extracted under torture, in which the British government was, at the least, complicit. The Indepedent reported last year that there is photographic evidence of the torture.

Here’s David Miliband (whose father is currently spinning in his grave, methinks,)

David Miliband, the foreign secretary, has provided the US with documents about the case, though the US has so far refused to release them. Miliband has declined to release further evidence about the case on grounds of national security, arguing that disclosure would harm Britain’s intelligence relationship with the US.

I fail to how “national security” would be threatened by the presentation of this evidence and the documents involved. Surely, this would only threaten our national belief in the veracity of the Foreign Office officials who’ve been assuring us that our hands are clean.

This story doesn’t appear on the BBC. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough, because the BBC has reported the story in the past. But even the Daily Mail has a reasonable summary of the judges’ ruling, in a prominent place on their website. Even the Daily Mail.

The world news has been reporting terrorist atrocities all week. Some of these have taken place in exactly the sort of countries that use torture freely. Guess what? Torture doesn’t prevent terrorism. It breeds it.

And, to be honest, I could hardly think of more effective anti-western propaganda coup than the execution of people on the basis of admissions made under torture.

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