Redacted! No scratch that the Binyam paras are published   

I’ve railed against the secrecy reflex of the UK state before, but today, for once, I’m pleased that knee-jerk secrecy has been set aside in today’s Court of Appeal ruling on the Binyam Mohamed case.

The supposedly US relationship-endangering seven paragraphs summarising what the US were doing to UK resident Binyam Mohamed back in 2002 have, finally, been published. Hooray for that. It’s only taken endless litigation and about a year and a half to get this to happen. So what do the seven previously redacted (ie blacked out) paras actually say? Here’s what:

(iv) 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.

(vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled during 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 provided to the SyS 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 easily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of BM by the United States authorities.

(This is from the full judgment. Scroll right down to the appendix at the very bottom).

So, continuous sleep deprivation (I wonder for how long?), threats (including of being “disappeared”), and shackling – to add to the “stress”. There seems little doubt, then, that MI5 knew that a UK resident was being tortured but it appears that nothing was done to stop that happening.

Isn’t it now overwhelmingly obvious that we need a proper inquiry into what MI5 and other bits of the UK state were up to during the “war on terror”? Or are we still supposed to leave all that in the shadows?

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