The Great Debate UK
-Padraig Reidy is news editor at Britain’s Index on Censorship an organisation promoting freedom of expression. The opinions expressed are his own.-
The Court of Appeal’s decision on Wednesday to release material relating to the torture of “war on terror” detainee Binyam Mohamed is undoubtedly an embarrassment for David Miliband, the Foreign Office and the government.
The redacted evidence, itself a mere seven paragraphs, revealed reports that Mohamed, who has never been charged with any terror offence, was shackled during interrogation, subjected to sleep deprivation and suffered severe mental stress.
The paragraphs did not reveal any evidence of direct British intelligence involvement in torture, though the judges made it clear in the last paragraph: “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 readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of BM by the United States authorities.”
- Moazzam Begg is Director for the British organisation, Cageprisoners. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Little seems to have changed regarding the treatment of prisoners held at the U.S. military-run Bagram prison since I was there (2002-2004). The recent study conducted by the BBC shows allegations of sleep deprivation, stress positions, beatings, degrading treatment, religious and racial abuse have gone unabated. On a personal level though, I can’t help wonder if British intelligence services are still involved.
-John Bew is Lecturer in Modern British History at Peterhouse, Cambridge University. Martyn Frampton is a Research Fellow, also at Peterhouse. Their book, co-written with Iñigo Gurruchaga, is called “Talking to Terrorists: Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country” and they blog at Talking to Terrorists. The opinions expressed are their own.-
One of the current fashions in British and American diplomatic circles is the idea that it is necessary to engage with our enemies, no matter how extreme they might seem. In response to the recent Iranian election results, for example, Steven Clemons of the New America Foundation – a think tank with strong links to the Obama administration – suggested that “nothing at all has changed in the equation that Obama set out during the campaign: we have to deal with out enemies – we must engage”.