A blog for the socially and politically conscious, written by a young, gay activist who strongly believes in equality and justice.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The big MI5 torture cover-up

Following his detention by the Pakistani secret service in 2002 and his sale to the US for a bounty of $5,000, Binyam Mohamed lived a shadow existence, deprived of his basic human rights. Following interrogations where he was deprived of sleep, hooded and shackled he was rendered to Morocco where his torture intensified. He was then transferred to the "Dark Prison" in Kabul and endured further torture before being held for five years at Bagram air base in Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bay. He was then released without charge or trial. Now - after two years of court action, numerous evasions by the security services and a succession of government ministers, including Kim Howells, David Miliband and Alan Johnson, attempting to intimidate the judiciary - the second most senior judge in the country, Lord Neuberger, has accused MI5 of a "culture of suppression" and a "worrying disregard for the truth" over this case. He subsequently withdrew these comments following pressure from the government's barrister but has since said that he regrets doing so.

Head of MI5 Jonathan Evans went even further and in an unprecedented public intervention implied that those who supported this case were aiding "our enemies" who will use "propaganda and campaigns to undermine our will and ability to confront them." The picture being painted, as with the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, is of Labour government ministers colluding with state security forces and avoiding any democratic checks as they followed the lead of the right-wing neo-conservative Bush and his cabal. Howells, Miliband and Johnson now seek to protect their own careers from the accusation that they were complicit in the torture of an innocent man; moreover there are a further 13 cases where former terror suspects are suing the government for alleged torture. The strategy of blatant cover-ups is a dangerous one however for the ruling class - the Financial Times points out that they run the risk of undermining the British public's trust in the intelligence services. This is at a time when the legitimacy of the capitalist system itself is in question due to the unfolding of the banking and financial crisis and the political system has just survived the scandal over MPs' expenses. In the fallout from this case an MI5 officer may even be tossed to the lions in an attempt to divert attention from the role of the politicians. However, in the absence of an organised voice for working-class people, of a new mass workers' party, these careerist, unprincipled politicians will continue to trample on our human rights.

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