As though there’s any doubt that these intelligence agencies were up to their necks in it.
Flashback: UK: Secrets of CIA ‘ghost flights’ to be revealed | UK: CIA ‘put pressure on Britain to cover up its use of torture’ | Revealed — the secret torture evidence MI5 tried to suppress | Guantanamo’s closure window dressing – overseas CIA ‘black sites’ to stay | ‘If I didn’t confess to 7/7 bombings MI5 officers would rape my wife,’ claims torture victim | MI5 faces fresh torture allegations | UK: Government makes ‘unprecedented’ apology for covering up Binyam torture | Obama administration: Guantanamo detainees have ‘no constitutional rights’ | Obama backs Bush: No rights for Bagram prisoners | U.K. resident held at Gitmo alleges Canadian involvement in torture | Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’ | Confirmed: Mexico drug plane used for CIA ‘rendition’ flights | Chinese Torture Techniques Inspired Interrogations at GuantÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¡namo | Third Cocaine Plane Surfaces and is Tied to Web of Government Connections
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian
July 31, 2009
Documents reveal MI5 official visited Morocco three times during period ex-GuantÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¡namo detainee claims he was interrogated
An MI5 officer visited Morocco three times during the period former terror suspect Binyam Mohamed claims he was secretly interrogated and tortured there, according to documents revealed by the high court today .
Lawyers acting for MI5 have repeatedly told the high court in London the agency had no idea Mohamed was in Morocco in 2002-03. But documents passed to the court show an MI5 officer, known as Witness B, visited Morocco during that time.
New evidence of MI5′s involvement in Mohamed’s earlier interrogation in Pakistan was disclosed yesterday by Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones. Thomas said they had taken the “very unusual step of correcting a judgment”, a move dictated by the emergence of new documents about MI5′s role in the affair.
Mohamed was flown to Morocco by the US from Pakistan. He was later taken to the “dark prison” in Bagram in Afghanistan before being transferred to GuantÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¡namo Bay.
The court has heard that Witness B interrogated Mohamed incommunicado in Pakistan after the Ethiopian-born UK resident was arrested in Karachi in early 2002 carrying a false passport. However, MI5 has insisted it did not know Mohamed’s whereabouts after he was flown out of Pakistan later that year and the US had refused to tell British security and intelligence officers where he was being held.
The judges revealed today it was clear from MI5 documents that Witness B visited Morocco once in November 2002 and twice the following February. They said: “As no information about these visits was available at the hearing, Witness B was not questioned in the open and closed sessions about these visits.”
They added: “We have been informed that [MI5] maintains that it did not know that BM [Binyam Mohamed] was in Morocco in the period in question.”
Reprieve, the legal charity which represented Mohamed in GuantÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¡namo, told the Guardian there was credible evidence that Witness B was in Morocco to meet an informant.
Clive Stafford Smith, its director, said: “It is now obvious that the British authorities were not telling the truth when they denied knowing that Binyam was in Morocco. Again the question for the police and the public must be, how far up the political ladder did this knowledge go?”
He added: “Informant A actually met Binyam in the secret prison in Morocco in September 2002. He then clearly spoke with British intelligence. Since Witness B went to Morocco in November 2002, it seems most likely that he was debriefing Informant A, and then facilitating the man’s return to Britain”.
The judges also revealed that documents show in August 2002 MI5 was “aware that BM was being held in a covert location where he was being debriefed”. At that time, the judges add, “direct access was not possible but [MI5] were able to send questions to the US authorities to be put to him”.
Later, in April 2003, MI5 requested from the US that Witness B should be allowed to “interview” Mohamed again. It sent a list of 70 questions he should be asked, the documents show. They reveal that the US responded by passing MI5 with answers Mohamed had provided under interrogation.
The judges also referred to a 33-page MI5 document, all but three pages heavily redacted, relating to reports of Mohamed’s treatment in Pakistan. In a telling passage, the judges said: “We have no doubt that other persons within [MI5], including persons more senior to Witness B, must have read the report and must have appreciated what they said about BM’s detention and treatment at Karachi.
“Those officers should have drawn to the attention of Witness B these matters … It is now clear that the reports were studied by other desk officers.”
Witness B is being investigated by Scotland Yard amid allegations of “possible criminal wrongdoing” — the secret interrogation of Mohamed in Pakistan. Significantly, he is represented in the court case by his own lawyers, not those representing MI5 and other government officials.
The case centres on attempts by Mohamed and UK media groups led by the Guardian to get the government to disclose evidence of his abuse and torture and alleged CIA and MI5 involvement in it.
The new documents raise serious questions about evidence given to the court by lawyers acting for MI5 and other government officials.
The judges want to disclose a seven-paragraph summary of CIA documents, which they say contains nothing that could possibly be described as “highly sensitive classified US intelligence”.
Lawyers for David Miliband, the foreign secretary, told the court on Tuesday he believed if the summary was published the US would limit intelligence-sharing with the UK, a move that “would put lives at risk”.
Thomas said the dispute was not related to any legal principle but was about “the exercise of naked political power”.
The transcript of that hearing has been passed to Miliband to see if he is still sticking to the view attributed to him in court about the consequences of publishing the seven paragraphs.
Mohamed was released from GuantÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¡namo in February and was flown to the UK after the US dropped all charges against him.
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