Fra The Guardians YouTube-kanal.
MI5 kendt skyldig i tortur, nådesløs kritik fra dommer – ville det ske i Danmark?
Sagen er alvorlig, og vi har skrevet om den før:
Den britiske borger Binyam Mohamed, som blev holdt fange og torteret i Pakistan og senere sendt til Guantanamo, efter at han havde læst en satirisk artikel om, hvordan man bygger en atombombe, blev udsat for voldsom tortur. Det brtiske efterretningsvæsen MI5 medvirkede i denne tortur, hvilket såvel tjenesten selv som den britiske regering lige siden har forsøgt at dække over ved løgnagtige påstande om “hensyn til fremmede magter”, nemlig USA.
En dommer har nu afgjort, at MI5 var medskyldig i denne tortur, og har i en helt usædvanligt voldsom kritik karakteriseret tjenesten som uhæderlig, løgnagtig og uden respekt for menneskerettighederne.
The Guardian skriver om sagen:
Amid mounting calls for an independent inquiry into the affair, three of the country’s most senior judges – Lord Judge, the lord chief justice, Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Lord Neuberger – disclosed evidence of MI5’s complicity in Mohamed’s torture and unlawful interrogation by the US.
So severe were Neuberger’s criticisms of MI5 that the government’s leading lawyer in the case, Jonathan Sumption QC, privately wrote to the court asking him to reconsider his draft judgment before it was handed down.
The judges agreed but Sumption’s letter, which refers to Neuberger’s original comments, was made public after lawyers for Mohamed and media organisations, including the Guardian, intervened.
They argued that Neuberger had privately agreed with Sumption to remove his fierce criticisms without giving then the chance to contest the move.
In his letter, Sumption warned the judges that the criticism of MI5 would be seen by the public as statements by the court that the agency:
• Did not respect human rights.
• Had not renounced participation in “coercive interrogation” techniques.
• Deliberately misled MPs and peers on the intelligence and security committee, who are supposed to scrutinise its work.
• Had a “culture of suppression” in its dealings with Miliband and the court.
Sumption described Neuberger’s observations in his draft judgment as “an exceptionally damaging criticism of the good faith of the Security Service as a whole”.
His letter also refers to the MI5 officer known as Witness B, who is understood to have interrogated Binyam Mohamed in Pakistan in 2002. Witness B gave evidence in the hearings and is now at the centre of a Scotland Yard investigation. Sumption’s letter implies that Neuberger did not believe that Witness B was acting alone and that the judge believed that Witness B’s conduct was “characteristic of the service as a whole”.
Kritikken kunne ikke ret godt være voldsommere og har kastet hele efterretningstjenesten ud i en krise, som i allerhøjeste grad smitter af på den regering, der hele tiden og med stort set alle midler har forsøgt at dække over skandalen til skade for sagens offer Binyam Mohamed, der under sit fangenskab blev udsat for den mest ubegribelige tortur:
As many will recall, Mohamed was seized by the Pakistanis in April 2002, turned over to the Americans for a $5,000 bounty, abused for three months, rendered to Morocco, tortured with razor blades to the genitals, rendered on to the “Dark Prison” in Kabul, tortured some more, and then held for five years without charge or trial in Bagram air force base and Guantánamo Bay.
Og dog viser sagen noget om Storbritannien, som man ikke ville se her i Danmark: Storbritannien har faktisk et fungerende, uafhængigt retsvæsen, der en gang i mellem trækker en streg i sandet.
I en tilsvarende sag i Danmark, hvor domstolene fødes i en usund symbiose med det øvrige retsvæsen og især Justitsministeriet, ville der blive dækket over en sag, der var så uheldig for regeringen, og en skræmt dommer ville lade sig forlede til at fastslå, at der ikke var noget at komme efter.
I mellemtiden kan man så undre sig over, hvad der egentlig blev af det åbne samfund, man skulle forestille at “forsvare”, i den her krig mod terror: Hvorfor en sådan eftergivenhed overfor menneskeretskrænkelser, og det i et land, som normalt har ry for at være så civiliseret, at det forbød tortur allerede i middelalderen, mens hjul og stejle drejede lystigt herhjemme?
Der venter vist et større opgør ovre på den anden side af Nordsøen.
Retssag mod Guantanamo-bagmænd på vej
Ikke i USA, men i Spanien. Men det kan blive alvorligt nok for de pågældende, hvis de rejser uden for USAs grænser. Sagens bagmand er Baltasar Garzón, hvis retssag mod Chiles diktator Pinochet førte til hans anholdelse i London for mange år siden.
The Observer skriver:
The officials named in the case include the most senior legal minds in the Bush administration. They are: Alberto Gonzales, a former White House counsel and attorney general; David Addington, former vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff; Douglas Feith, who was under-secretary of defence; William Haynes, formerly the Pentagon’s general counsel; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who were both senior justice department legal advisers.
Court documents say that, without their legal advice in a series of internal administration memos, “it would have been impossible to structure a legal framework that supported what happened [in Guantánamo]”.
If Garzón decided to go further and issued arrest warrants against the six, it would mean they would risk detention and extradition if they travelled outside the US. It would also present President Barack Obama with a serious dilemma. He would have either to open proceedings against the accused or tackle an extradition request from Spain.
Link: Six Bush officials accused of torture
Update: Politiken skriver nu også om sagen, der ifølge dem også kunne komme til at omfatte selveste Dick Cheney.
Brown, Blair – for retten, medskyldige i tortur?
Ja, hvor meget skal der egentlig til, før man kan betragtes som rigtig medskyldig?
Timoty Garton Ash skriver i The Guardian, at tiden må være kommet for at give sagen om tortur af briter eller med de britiske myndigheders stiltiende accept videre til anklagemyndigheden:
You do not need to believe that he was harmless to find the treatment of Mohamed over these seven years shocking and shameful. Yes, he seems to have been just a pretty mixed-up young guy, led astray by some version of Islamism. So were the London bombers. If we are to take the high court’s judgment as our gold standard then we must also note its view that Mohamed was “a serious potential threat to the national security of the United Kingdom”. But that, in the British government’s own repeatedly stated view, does not justify torture. Centuries of common law and more recently embraced international obligations unite on this: torture is never justified. Never.
The strong impression that Britain became complicit in Mohamed’s torture derives particularly from the testimony of an MI5 officer identified only as Witness B, who interviewed Mohamed – in what Witness B surreally describes as “very cordial circumstances” – in Pakistan some five weeks after his arrest in spring 2002. The high court finds that he and others in M15, “including persons more senior to Witness B”, must have read reports (still kept secret) about the circumstances of Mohamed’s illegal detention and treatment in Pakistan. Whether or not it was Witness B who produced the truly Pinteresque threatening remark that Mohamed would need more sugar in his tea “where you’re going” (Witness B denies it), the high court finds that MI5 continued to “facilitate” interviews by and on behalf of the US, knowing full well that Mohamed was being interrogated in a third country…
Then there was the British government’s withholding of information that could have enabled Mohamed to argue in his defence, before the American military commission, that the confessions he did make were exacted under duress. The high court is eloquent on this, quoting an English common-law judgment from 1783 that “a confession forced from the mind by the flattery of hope or by the torture of fear comes in so questionable a shape when it is to be considered as the evidence of guilt, that no credit ought to be given to it; and therefore it is rejected”. As we know, the foreign secretary argued that Mohamed could not be offered the only available means to this ancient redress because it would threaten national security. Subsequently, he argued that some of this information could not be made public because the US government had said that to do so would endanger British-American intelligence sharing – that sacred heart of our alleged special relationship with Washington. Then it turned out the Foreign Office had asked the US government to say that.
Den normalt meget borgerlige og moderate Timothy Garton Ash lægger ikke fingrene imellem i sin konklusion: Hvis den britiske regering nogensinde vil gøre sig forhåbninger om at kunne tage ordet “menneskerettigheder” i sin mund igen uden at folk griner eller ryster på hovedet, er man nødt til at komme til bunds i det her – eller, som han selv udtrykker det:
“Until we have got to the bottom of this dark well, using the unrestricted searchlight of the law, any lectures the British government tries to deliver to others on respect for human rights will be dismissed as rank hypocrisy.”
Link: If Britain became complicit in torture, we must discover who is to blame
På Guantanamo for at læse satire
Hvor meget eller lidt skal der egentlig til, for at man bliver mistænkt for at være terrorist og sendt til Guantanamo?
Den britiske borger Binyam Mohamed blev sendt afsted og mistede syv år af sit liv, fordi han havde læst en satirisk artikel om, “hvordan man laver en brintbombe”, skriver Mail on Sunday:
A British ‘resident’ held at Guantanamo Bay was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a website on how to build a nuclear weapon, it was revealed last night.
Binyam Mohamed, a former UK asylum seeker, admitted to having read the ‘instructions’ after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail.
It was this confession that apparently convinced the CIA that they were holding a top Al Qaeda terrorist.
But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the offending article – called How To Build An H-Bomb – was first published in a US satirical magazine and later placed on a series of websites.
Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, the publication’s food editor, Rolling Stone journalist Peter Biskind and scientist Michio Kaku, it claims that a nuclear weapon can be made ‘using a bicycle pump’ and with liquid uranium ‘poured into a bucket and swung round’.
Despite its clear satirical bent, the story led the CIA to accuse 30-year-old Mohamed, a caretaker, of plotting a dirty bomb attack, before subjecting him to its ‘extraordinary rendition programme’.
During his eight-year imprisonment, Mohamed has allegedly been flown to secret torture centres in Pakistan, Morocco, an American-run jail known as the Dark Prison near Kabul in Afghanistan and, finally, to Guantanamo Bay.
The Foreign Secretary is refusing to release classified documents relating to Mohamed’s detention.
Det har senere vist sig, at den britiske regering selv bad den amerikanske udsende en erklæring om, at det kunne “true forholdet mellem de to lande”, om dokumentationen for den tortur, Mohamed blev udsat for, blev offentliggjort – fordi det naturligvis er pinligt for den britiske regering, at de nu kommer frem, at de i alle disse år har kendt til, bifaldet og assisteret fremmede magters tortur mod deres egne borgere.
Det er pinligt for den britiske regering, som sagt, og for de ministre, som måske kan retsforfølges. Tortur er vold og mishandling og dermed ulovligt – selv mod en suspekt person som Binyam Mohamed, der uomtvisteligt har gjort sig skyldig i at læse en satirisk artikel på nettet. Gad vide, hvor mange år på Guantanamo man kunne få for at se en video med Jon Stewart eller Ricky Gervais?
Via Lenin’s Tomb.
Amerikansk dommer: Sag frafaldes, fangen blev torteret
Den amerikanske dommer Susan J. Crawford, der har til opgave at vurdere, om Guantanamo-fanger kan retsforfølges, har opgivet at rejse sag mod en saudi-arabisk statsborger, fordi vedkommende blev udsat for ødelæggende tortur, skriver Washington Post:
The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a “life-threatening condition.”
“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.
Crawford, a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantanamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.
Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani’s health led to her conclusion. “The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge” to call it torture, she said.
Så nu er det officielt, med en amerikansk dommers ord. Hvornår starter retssagerne?
17 kinesere på Guantanamo – helt uskyldige, kommer aldrig fri
17 kinesere, der har siddet på Guantánamo i næsten syv år, som ikke er sigtet for noget som helst og altså er 100% juridisk og praktisk uskyldige og har en dommers ord for, at de hører til på fri fod, har nu fået at vide, at de formentlig kommer til at tilbringe resten af deres liv i et amerikansk fængsel.
The Guardian fortæller:
No country is willing to accept them and the US justice department has now blocked moves for them to be allowed to go to the US mainland, where they had been offered a home by refugee and Christian organisations.
The men’s lawyer, Sabin Willett, is flying to Guantánamo Bay this weekend to break the news to the men, who are members of the Uighur ethnic group seeking autonomy from China. In a blunt and angry letter to justice department lawyers, Willett spelled out what he thought of the way the men had been treated.
“After years of stalling and staying and appellate gamesmanship, you pleaded no contest – they are not enemy combatants,” Willett has written. “You have never charged them with any crime.”
Last month a federal judge ruled that the men should be freed. “They were on freedom’s doorstep,” said Willett. “The plane was at Gitmo. The stateside Lutheran refugee services and the Uighur families and Tallahassee clergy were ready to receive them.” However, the justice department appealed against the ruling and Willett claims this will put the men into a potentially endless limbo.
Men hvad er det, man helt præcis har på dem, siden man ikke vil slippe dem fri? Ifølge det amerikanske justitsministerium har mændene (haft? – syv år er lang tid) “tilknytning” til en organisation, som udenrigsministeriet opfatter som en terrororganisation. Den pågældende organisation opfattes ganske vist ikke som en trussel, men det er “beside the point because the law excluding members of such groups [from US soil] does not require such proof”.
Så – efter at have tilbageholdt 17 helt skyldige mennesker i syv år i en af verdens mest ubehagelige tortur- og isolationslejre afviser man at løslade dem med henvisning til, at de vist nok er tilknyttet en organisation, der vist nok ved en fejltagelse er optaget på en terrorliste.
USA står dog ikke alene med skændslen, idet man er villig til at løslade kineserne til et andet land, hvis det vil modtage dem som flygtninge. Men ak:
So far, more than 100 countries have been asked to take them as refugees but none have agreed. Willett blamed US authorities for incorrectly describing them as terrorists.
Min første indskydelse: Danmark bør tage dem som flygtninge, og det straks. Vi har en forpligtelse her: USA er vor nærmeste allierede, vores statsminister har de sidste syv år rendt i hælene på den amerikanske præsident som en puddelhund i løbetid, og takket være ham og resten af det borgerlige sammenrend i regeringen har vi taget lystigt del i amerikanernes krigsforbrydelser. Disse menneskers skæbne er lige så meget dit og mit ansvar, som det er George Bushs.
Danmark må tage dem, og hvis de senere ønsker at vende tilbage til Kina, må vi forhandle med Kina om det derfra. Nogen må tage dem. For helvede da: 17 uskyldige mennesker skal da ikke rådne op i fængsel resten af deres liv, fordi alverdens lande og regeringer leger “Jerusalem brænder” med ansvaret.
Link: No charges but US may never release Guantánamo Chinese
Guantanamo – amerikansk tortur med britisk hjælp
Fra dagens Guardian, om en retssag, der skal afklare efterretningstjenesten MI5s mulige indblanding i en sag om bortførelse og tortur af en britisk borger:
Mohamed, a UK resident, was initially held in Pakistan in 2002 and was later secretly rendered to Morocco, where he claimed that he was tortured and had his penis lacerated while further threats were made. He was then flown by the US authorities to Afghanistan, where he claims he was subjected to further ill-treatment and interrogation, at the end of which he said that he would have said anything to avoid further punishment
In September 2004, he was taken to Guantánamo Bay, where he is still held. He claims that all his confessions were a result of the torture. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
Den amerikanske regering ser helst ikke, at den britiske domstol afklarer, hvad der er sket:
- ‘The US state department today warned that disclosure of secret information in the case of a British resident said to have been tortured before he was sent to Guantánamo Bay would cause “serious and lasting damage” to security relations between the two countries – the “national security of the UK” would be affected’
- Oversættelse: “National security would be affected” = “det er alt for pinligt for os, det her”
Er der noget om tortur-snakken? En af de implicerede efterretningsagenter var i hvert fald bange for at udtale sig under vidneansvar:
Last week, in the initial hearing of the case, the high court found that MI5 had participated in the unlawful interrogation of Mohamed. It emerged that one MI5 officer was so concerned about incriminating himself that he initially declined to answer questions from the judges even in private… It was disclosed that the officer, Witness B, was questioned about alleged war crimes, including torture, under the international criminal court act.
Det tyder som udgangspunkt ikke godt. Vi bemærker, at som altid, når det handler om Guantanamo og de mennesker, der er havnet i dette helvede af en moderne koncentrationslejr, er det en helt usædvanligt ubehagelig historie.
Jeg håber, de skyldige ender med at få deres straf (og det er ikke den efter alt at dømme ganske uskyldige hr. Mohamed, jeg tænker på).