This week Binyam Mohamed a UK resident, revealed in a number of interviews the physical and mental torture he received whilst being held captive by US authorities, 4 of those year spent at Guantanamo Bay.
His account of his imprisonment suggests that the British government was aware of and may have even colluded in his torture. If that idea wasn’t bad enough it took seven years of imprisonment and torture before charges were eventually dropped and for Mohamed to be released.
After his arrest in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002, Mohamed was later that year taken to Morocco where he claims a Moroccan interrogator said to him “Do you know who sent you here? The British sent you here”
Mohamed has also said that his Moroccan interrogator brought him files and binders, which held photos of people living in London and photos of a number of Mosques around the city. From Mohamed’s account it suggests that British intelligence must have been responsible for supplying this information to their American counterparts.
There is no evidence to suggest that British Intelligence services were directly involved or responsible for Mohamed’s torture, but it does imply that British Intelligence would have known that torture methods were being used in the interrogation of Mohamed. Torture made Mohamed confess to a number of far fetched terrorist plots and conspiracies, which he later admitted to making up just to give his captors information that they wanted to hear.
There have already been a number of calls for a judicial review from opposition MPs, and the Attorney General; chief legal advisor to the government has been considering whether to open an investigation into any criminal wrongdoing by British Intelligence. Personally I believe this needs to happen otherwise it gives the impression that the government has something to hide.
Since Binyam Mohamed’s evidence emerged I can’t help but feel disappointment that the government and British Intelligence could potentially be involved indirectly, in the torture of terrorist suspects.
Not only does it raise moral questions on how we capture, detain, and put together cases against terrorist suspects, it also made me think further on just how effective the tactics and strategy on ‘The War on Terror’ has truly been since the attacks on 9/11. Despite the election of President Obama and the subsequent optimism and good will that he has, I’m still pretty pessimistic that there will be any sort of positive outcome in Afghanistan in the first term of his presidency.
As for Iraq, the situation has improved in the last year particularly in Baghdad, but in Basra in the South, despite the withdrawal of British troops, there are many senior US military and Intelligence figures who view this British withdrawal as nothing more then a military defeat. When I think about this situation, along with the account from Binyam Mohamed, I does make me wonder again just where we are going, and what we’re actually achieving in this so called ‘War on Terror’.