No-one in security circles can ever remember anything like this ever happening before
…. said reporter Andy Davies on Channel 4 News, last night. Why? Because, he reckons, the Binyam Mohamed investigation will put to the test the intelligence service’s commitment to the rule of law. “This is a very important moment for M15”, he says.
And not just them, I’d have said. It’s pretty important for Binyam Mohamed himself but potentially also significant for people like the Tipton Three, Moazzam Begg, Bisher al-Rawi, Omar Deghayes, Jamil el-Banna and others caught up in the “war on terror”.
Or at least it should be. Because, correct me if I’m wrong here, but it shouldn’t be a matter of just “get the Met” to look at one case and forget about everything else. What we need – and if I’ve said this once, I’ve said it about 863 times – is a full, independent inquiry into the wider conduct of UK officials in the 2001-2009 “war on terror”. (Take action for one here).
So, okay, I’ll now keep this post mercifully brief. (If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can always find me boring on about Binyam at considerable length on the Daily Telegraph site today; please check it out and add a comment: a few well-informed, human rights-aware remarks never go amiss over there!)
Two final thoughts. First, there’s an important sub-story to all of this about thinly-veiled (or not-at-all-veiled) racism in some online reactions to Binyam Mohamed’s case. The Ancient Order Of Moridura picks up on this in the Scottish context. And I’ve certainly seen it on some of the (often highly unpleasant) comment threads of national newspaper websites.
And second, when Binyam Mohamed actually arrived back in Britain last month we had all those Sky News reports of him coming down the steps from the plane. What no-one seemed to mention was the fact that the plane was a private Gulfstream plane very similar to the ones used by the CIA to run their rendition operations.
Oh, the irony …
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.