A further appeal by the British government has now been lost, and the Court of Appeal has issued a judgment authorising release of the originally redacted information and criticising the behaviour of the British government. The ruling is a sharp slap in the face of British foreign secretary, David Miliband. According to the Guardian:
The judges – Sir Igor Judge, the lord chief justice; Lord Neuberger, the master of the rolls; and Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench – shattered the convention that the courts should not question claims by the executive relating to national security.
In damning references to claims made by Miliband and his lawyers, and stressing the importance of the media in supporting the principle of open justice, they said the case raised issues of "fundamental importance", of "democratic accountability and ultimately the rule of law itself".
Publication of the material Miliband wanted to suppress was "compelling", Judge said, since they concerned the involvement of wrongdoing by agents of the state in the "abhorrent practice of torture". The material helped to "vindicate Mr Mohamed's assertion that UK authorities had been involved in and facilitated the ill- treatment and torture to which he was subjected while under the control of USA authorities".So after all that, here is the section of the originally redacted judgment that the British government fought so hard to suppress:
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.
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.It's not pretty, and it reveals a clear pattern of deliberate torture. Mr Mohamed has also alleged that he was subjected to vicious physical punishment, including having his genitals sliced, and being viciously beaten.
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 interviews 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 [security services] 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.
It gets worse. According to the Guardian, the text of the Court of Appeal judgment was watered down to delete damning references to MI5's culture of suppressing evidence, after the Court was leaned on by the government's lawyers. The Guardian has published a letter from the government's lawyers to the Court requesting the deletion of some of this damning material. The letter itself reveals what some of that information is.
All of this suggests the British intelligence services think they are a law unto themselves, that they have the right to act outside the law, and that they should not be held accountable for anything they do. But everyone who doesn't believe the TV show Spooks is actually a documentary should be concerned by such rampant abuse of power.