Monday, 10 August 2009

Shaker Aamer

Another victim of torture by the US, apparently with the knowledge of - even in the presence of - British intelligence agents:

Ministers have admitted the Government sent secret agents to interview a British detainee in Afghanistan, supporting allegations MI5 and MI6 officers were present while he was tortured by his American captors.

The admission is made in documents addressed to lawyers representing Shaker Aamer, 42, who has spent seven years in Guantanamo Bay. His claims are part of a growing body of evidence highlighting Britain's alleged complicity in the rendition and torture of at least 15 other UK citizens and residents.


Mr Aamer says an MI5 or MI6 officer was present while he was being tortured by US agents at Bagram air base in Afghanistan in January 2002.

He said a man called "John", who said he was from British intelligence, was in the room when Mr Aamer's head was repeatedly "bounced" against a wall.

"John" was the same name given by Witness B, the MI5 agent who interrogated Binyam Mohamed.

In a statement to his lawyers Mr Aamer said: "After a few days of sleep deprivation, they took me to the interrogation room and the team started coming one after another, up to ten or more. One of them, a British agent, was standing, and they started talking to me in different languages –English, French, Arabic – and shouting.

"I started shouting with them, and after that I do not know what happened. All I know is I felt someone grab my head and start beating it into the back wall – so hard that my head was bouncing. And they were shouting that they would kill me or I would die. After this, they left the room and told me to think and tell them the truth or I would die."(1)

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Alan Johnstone have co-authored a snivelling attempt at exculpation, deliberately employing the sort of weaseling behaviour typical of these contemptable little New Labour appartachiks trying to save their worthless careers. Only,this time they haven't been caught making egregious expense claims, but fucking about with people's lives and condoning and assisting torture. They say that they "oppose torture" but that it is "impossible to eradicate all risk," and that when working with foreign agencies that might not share out "values" (a word that makes me gag when I hear it uttered by a New Labour jobsworth like Miliband), "we have to work hard to ensure that we do not collude in torture or mistreatment" (2).

Fine. Glorious. Wonderful. Mother Theresa is shaking her head in amazement and thinking how much more saintly and prisine you two are than her. But all your lip flapping about "values" is empty, like everything else about the cankerous New Labour disaster.

You - all of you, and your predecessors in your oft-sullied departments - have done nothing to make these words real. No-one expects that "all risk" can be eradicated." But you made nothing more than token efforts, did you? That's the unforgiveable gulf between what you say and what you did. You were, at best, passive in your support - it is absurd to claim that British intelligence agents are so incompetent that they didn't know anything about what was happening to Aamer at Bagram.

More likely, the agents interpreted their instructions to liberally - this is the New Labour weasleing, because we're assured that there is "no truth in suggestions that the security and intelligence services operate without control or oversight" (3). At the extreme, it is quite possible all the allegations are true and this was all known and approved at the time. It's a measure of how disgracefully Britain has entangled itself in the USA's toxic program of rendition, detention and torture that this last option can't be dismissed out of hand.

Miliband and Johnstone claim that no "alleged wrongdoing is covered up". Yet they are doing just that, proclaiming earlier that in order to effectively defend Britain, "operational work needs to remain secret" - in other words, alleged wrong doing is indeed covered up (4). They can't even keep their justifications straight for the length of one short, mealy mouthed exercise in bureaucratic self-justification.

Idiots. Useless, incompetent, evil idiots.

1 - " Ministers' admission links MI5 and MI6 to 'torture victim'," by Robert Verkaik, published in The Independent, 10th of August, 2009. (
2 - "David Miliband and Alan Johnson: We firmly oppose torture – but it is impossible to eradicate all risk," by David Miliband and Alan Johnson, published in The Daily Telegraph, 8th of August, 2009. (
3 - ibid.
4 - ibid.

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