MI5 in the dock

The Guardian exclusive comes as no surprise. It always seemed likely that it was the UK Government who asked the US to appear to threaten to withdraw security cooperation if details of the Binyam Mohamed case were disclosed in court. It’s pretty clear now that those details, however redacted, would have led to evidence of the British agents on site obtaining information extracted by Pakistani torturers. And now the Guardian quotes from MI5 evidence.

The officer, who can be identified only as Witness B, admitted that although Mohamed had been in Pakistani custody for five weeks, and he knew the country to have a poor human rights record, he did not ask whether he had been tortured or mistreated, did not inquire why he had lost weight, and did not consider whether his detention without trial was illegal.

(An interesting point is : why wait until now to publish? Was it in a closed session and is the Guardian risking contempt of court? )

At the same time, the first woman head of MI5 Stella Rimington has joined her successor Eliza Manningham-Buller to condemn 42 days detention and much else of the anti-terrorism policy since 9/11.
Says Rimington:
“The US has gone too far with Guantánamo and the tortures. MI5 does not do that. Furthermore it has achieved the opposite effect: there are more and more suicide terrorists finding a greater justification.” She said the British secret services were “no angels” but insisted they did not kill people.

The Rimington blast comes as the government prepares to launch Contest2, a new counter-terrorism strategy” which threatens to clash with hearts and minds campaigns with young Muslims, as reported on the BBC ‘s Panorama last night.

A senior Whitehall source said that Muslim leaders who urge separation will be isolated and publicly rejected. He also said this would occur even if their comments fell within the law.This will include those who argue that Muslims should not vote and that homosexuals should be condemned on religious grounds


Are militant Islamists really such a big threat? It takes me back to a similar psychological moment in Belfast 1970 when the tough choice was between hearts and minds and a military approach. A very hard call of course, but in the intervening decades, have the tactics become any more refined?

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Categories Uncategorised

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.