American Security ‘Threats’ to Britain? Put a sock in it, Your Lordships

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    UPDATE 5th February, 2009: David Miliband making statement to an almost empty Parliament: “Reciprocal ownership of own security did not threaten shared intelligence … America said last night ‘disclosure would be likely to result in harming reciprocal arrangements between our two countries’ … Not that they would withdraw intelligence sharing.” William Hague responded.  “Is the Foreign Secretary suggesting that the courts are misrepresenting America’s position?” Miliband: The word ‘threat’ is the court’s word, not the USA’s.” Lib Dem speaker says that we are covering up America’s record of torture and accused the Foreign Secretary of standing “in the way of letting justice take its course”. Miliband: “British government has an absolute commitment against torture”. Interesting that his MP (Labour) is very keen to have Mr Mohamed back in her constituency.  Kim Howells, (Labour) asks if the investigation of OUR agencies will be referred to the appropriate tribunal.  Confirmed by Miliband.  David Davis (Conservative) refers to the judges’ report – “did he or did he not give the judges reason to say that there was a threat or a grave threat”? Go here to watch live. [Verbatim record of all parliamentary business at Hansard, 3 hours after debates.]

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    4th February, 2009



    The long-running tale of the British-based Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed is drawing to some sort of conclusion. Mr Mohamed has been on hunger strike for some weeks and although he is not a British citizen the authorities are fairly desperate to return him to Britain for obvious reasons. Apart from that Mr Obama is emptying Gitmo and back they must return to whence they came.

    But OUR problem, in the time-honoured way, is NOT that we may … maybe just … who-knows … be returning a suspected but yet untried and thus unproven terrorist to our midst. No, our problem is that we the Great British public are being threatened by the Americans.

    Give me a break!

    Like most of us I have little time for the idea of torture. Not necessarily because it is beneath my principles – though it probably is – but because it is counter-productive, often producing tainted evidence.

    The BBC and The Independent are falling over themselves to break the news of the worthy judges blasts westwards, oh and homewards too, as is the wont of all three.

    In court today there was great umbrage taken by the two judges who complained that the US was, and still is under Mr Obama, refusing to allow the courts to release information that they, OUR courts, might decide could put our security services in the dock.  (I’m sure some ‘honourable members’ would find it useful too if they got Tony Blair’s government squeezed alongside, of course. But that’s just incidental.)

    Their good Lordships complain that by refusing to allow the courts to release the security information to the public the Americans are interfering in the jurisdiction of another democracy.

    Well, thank God somebody can – since our country’s hands are tied behind its back by our sometimes justice-twisting courts, British & European, and by seemingly suicidal Human Rights legislation!

    The threat that co-operation between US/UK security services could be withdrawn by the Americans if our courts make public their received information has, if  The Independent is to be believed, confirmed by the Foreign Secretary. That would be David Miliband, who met the Secretary of State the other day in Washington. If you believe they did not discuss this matter, tell me what Santa brought you.


    In case they haven’t quite understood, this world is “global” in more ways than just the economy. Security services, if they are to remain secure, must be able to trust their counterparts in other democracies, more, yes, I said MORE than they trust our British courts, civil righters or the EU courts.

    It’s some responsibility this spooks business, and not always the purest waters to swim in.

    Story from Independent here:

    Two senior judges today launched a scathing attack on the US authorities over their suppression of evidence of allegations of torture of a British resident.

    But the judges decided not to release the evidence because the US had threatened to withdraw cooperation over terrorist intelligence and “the public of the United Kingdom would be put at risk”.

    In a joint judgment involving terror suspect Binyam Mohamed, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said: “In the light of the long history of the common law and democracy which we share with the United States it was in our view difficult to conceive that a democratically elected and accountable government could possibly have any rational objection to placing into the public domain such a summary of what its own officials reported, as to how a detainee was treated by them and which made no disclosure of sensitive intelligence matters.

    “Indeed we did not consider that a democracy governed by the rule of law would expect a court in another democracy to suppress a summary of the evidence contained in reports by its own officials … relevant to allegations of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, politically embarrassing though it might be.

    “We had no reason … to anticipate there would be made a threat of the gravity of the kind made by the United States Government that it would reconsider its intelligence sharing relationship, when all the considerations in relation to open justice pointed to us providing a limited but important summary of the reports.”

    In another part of the ruling, the judges said they had been informed by lawyers for Foreign Secretary David Miliband that the threat to withdraw co-operation remained even under President Barack Obama’s new administration.

    More here

    I am not quite sure which Lord Justice Thomas is concerned in this case, but if it is this one, he might wish to refer to another high-placed legal scholar. One who knows a thing or two about the threats still facing this country.  The dots are not beyond their lordships’ ability to join. Releasing this information to those with a blunt pencil with “agenda” written right through it – press scribblers – might NOT be the best policy for protecting the long-term security interests of this country.

    (Read & listen to audio) of court judgement, 22nd August 2008.  “MI5 accused of being involved in the ‘torture of Mohamed’.  MI5 participated in the unlawful interrogation of a British resident now held in Guantánamo Bay, the high court found yesterday in a judgment raising serious questions about the conduct of Britain’s security and intelligence agencies.”

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    2 Responses to “American Security ‘Threats’ to Britain? Put a sock in it, Your Lordships”

    1. margaret walters Says:

      number 10 has announced that what papers claim over US intelligence is pure nonsense

    2. Who Is Binyam Mohamed, poor human? A committed Al Qaeda terrorist. PROOF. « Tony Blair Says:

      […] 4th Feb, 2009 – American security threats to Britain – Put a sock in it, your Lordships […]

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