US Tried To Gag Binyam Mohamed

Mohamed and his lawyers rejected a gagging order the US tried to impose on him, the Guardian understands.

This is his statement on landing in the UK-

I hope you will understand that after everything I have been through I am neither physically nor mentally capable of facing the media on the moment of my arrival back to Britain. Please forgive me if I make a simple statement through my lawyer. I hope to be able to do better in days to come, when I am on the road to recovery.
I have been through an experience that I never thought to encounter in my darkest nightmares. Before this ordeal, “torture” was an abstract word to me. I could never have imagined that I would be its victim.
It is still difficult for me to believe that I was abducted, hauled from one country to the next, and tortured in medieval ways — all orchestrated by the United States government.
While I want to recover, and put it all as far in my past as I can, I also know I have an obligation to the people who still remain in those torture chambers.
My own despair was greatest when I thought that everyone had abandoned me. I have a duty to make sure that nobody else is forgotten.
I am grateful that in the end I was not simply left to my fate. I am grateful to my lawyers and other staff at Reprieve, and to Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley, who fought for my freedom.
I am grateful to the members of the British Foreign Office who worked for my release. And I want to thank people around Britain who wrote to me in Guantanamo Bay to keep my spirits up, as well as to the members of the media who tried to make sure that the world knew what was going on.
I know I would not be home in Britain today if it were not for everyone’s support. Indeed, I might not be alive at all.
I wish I could say that it is all over, but it is not. There are still 241 Muslim prisoners in Guantanamo.
Many have long since been cleared even by the U.S. military, yet cannot go anywhere as they face persecution. For example, Ahmed bel Bacha lived here in Britain, and desperately needs a home.
Then there are thousands of other prisoners held by the U.S. elsewhere around the world, with no charges, and without access to their families.
And I have to say, more in sadness than in anger, that many have been complicit in my own horrors over the past seven years.
For myself, the very worst moment came when I realized in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence.
I had met with British intelligence in Pakistan. I had been open with them. Yet the very people who I had hoped would come to my rescue, I later realized, had allied themselves with my abusers.
I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known, so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured.

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The Return

Binyam Mohamed will return to Britain suffering from a huge range of injuries after being beaten by United States guards right up to the point of his departure from Guantanamo Bay, according to the first detailed accounts of his treatment inside the camp.

Mohamed will arrive back tomorrow in the UK, where he was a British resident between 1984 and 2002.

During medical examinations last week, doctors discovered injuries and ailments resulting from apparently brutal treatment in detention.

Mohamed was found to be suffering from bruising, organ damage, stomach complaints, malnutrition, sores to feet and hands, severe damage to ligaments as well as profound emotional and psychological problems which were exacerbated by the refusal of Guantanamo’s guards to give him counselling.

Mohamed’s British lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said his client had been beaten “dozens” of times inside the notorious US camp in Cuba, with the most recent abuse occurring during recent weeks.

He said: “He has a list of physical ailments that cover two sheets of A4 paper. What Binyam has been through should have been left behind in the Middle Ages.”

Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Bradley, Mohamed’s US military lawyer, added: “He has been severely beaten. Sometimes I don’t like to think about it because my country is behind all this.”

Also see Andy Worthington

Torturer’s Conspiracy

“It is basically subject to perception. If the detainee dies you’re doing it wrong.”

John Fredman, then chief counsel to the CIA’s counter-terrorism center.

The Pentagon has exonerated itself over Gitmo, but try some minutes from 2002 to see the real deal @Invictus, excerpts-

LTC Beaver: We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques. We must have the support of the DOD.

<…>

Fredman: Yes, if someone dies while aggressive techniques are being used, regardless of cause of death, the backlash of attention would be extremely detrimental. Everything must be approved and documented.

<…>

Becker: We have had many reports from Bagram about sleep deprivation being used.

LTC Beaver: True, but officially it is not happening. It is not being reported officially. The ICRC is a serious concern. They will be in and out, scrutinizing our operations, unless they are displeased and decide to protest and leave. This would draw a lot of negative attention.

<…>

Becker: Videotapes are subject to too much scrutiny in court. We don’t want the LEA people in aggressive sessions anyway.

<…>

Fredman: If a well-trained individual is used to perform [sic] this technique it can feel like you’re drowning. The lymphatic system will react as if you’re suffocating, but your body will not cease to function. It is very effective to identify phobias and use them (ie, insects, snakes, claustrophobia). The level of resistance is directly related to person’s experience.

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John Pilger, Cambodia & Our Complicity

Cambodia’s empty dock

At my hotel in Phnom Penh, the women and children sat on one side of the room, palais-style, the men on the other. It was a disco night and a lot of fun; then suddenly people walked to the windows and wept. The DJ had played a song by the much-loved Khmer singer Sin Sisamouth, who had been forced to dig his own grave and to sing the Khmer Rouge anthem before he was beaten to death. I experienced many such reminders.

There was another kind of reminder. In the village of Neak Long I walked with a distraught man through a necklace of bomb craters. His entire family of 13 had been blown to pieces by an American B-52. That had happened almost two years before Pol Pot came to power in 1975. It is estimated more than 600,000 Cambodians were slaughtered that way.

The problem with the UN-backed trial of the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders, which has just begun in Phnom Penh, is that it is dealing only with the killers of Sin Sisamouth and not with the killers of the family in Neak Long, and not with their collaborators. There were three stages of Cambodia’s holocaust. Pol Pot’s genocide was but one of them, yet only it has a place in the official memory.

It is highly unlikely Pot Pot would have come to power had President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, not attacked neutral Cambodia. In 1973, B-52s dropped more bombs on Cambodia’s heartland than were dropped on Japan during the second world war: equivalent to five Hiroshimas. Files reveal that the CIA was in little doubt of the effect. “[The Khmer Rouge] are using damage caused by B-52 strikes as the main theme of their propaganda,” reported the director of operations on May 2, 1973. “This approach has resulted in the successful recruitment of a number of young men [and] has been effective with refugees.”

Prior to the bombing, the Khmer Rouge had been a Maoist cult without a popular base. The bombing delivered a catalyst. What Nixon and Kissinger began, Pol Pot completed. Kissinger will not be in the dock in Phnom Penh. He is advising President Obama on geopolitics. Neither will Margaret Thatcher, nor a number of her retired ministers and officials who, in secretly supporting the Khmer Rouge after the Vietnamese had expelled them, contributed directly to the third stage of Cambodia’s holocaust.

In 1979, the US and Britain imposed a devastating embargo on stricken Cambodia because its liberators, Vietnam, had come from the wrong side of the cold war. Few Foreign Office campaigns have been as cynical or as brutal. The British demanded that the now defunct Pol Pot regime retain the “right” to represent its victims at the UN and voted with Pol Pot in the agencies of the UN, including the World Health Organisation, thereby preventing it from working in Cambodia. To disguise this outrage, Britain, the US and China, Pol Pot’s main backer, invented a “non communist” coalition in exile that was, in fact, dominated by the Khmer Rouge. In Thailand, the CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency formed direct links with the Khmer Rouge.

In 1983, the Thatcher government sent the SAS to train the “coalition” in landmine technology – in a country more seeded with mines than anywhere except Afghanistan. “I confirm,” Thatcher wrote to opposition leader Neil Kinnock, “that there is no British government involvement of any kind in training, equipping or co-operating with Khmer Rouge forces or those allied to them.” The lie was breathtaking. In 1991, the Major government was forced to admit to parliament that the SAS had been secretly training the “coalition”.

Unless international justice is a farce, those who sided with Pol Pot’s mass murderers ought to be summoned to the court in Phnom Penh: at the very least their names read into infamy’s register.

Friday! North by Northwest

The splendid swirling, urgent opening theme (Bernard Herrmann on the choons, Saul Bass on the penz!) to the little seen documentary about the dangers of low flying crop dusters, possibly.

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BBC Trust Supports DEC Gaza Appeal Ban

Unsurprisingly? Anyway something very sinister seemed to leap at me from this quote:-

Mr Lyons said: “The director general argued that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply divisive and that the suffering of civilians plays a central part in the political case each side makes in the ‘court of world opinion’.”

Mr Thompson had consequently thought it “impossible in this case to separate the political causes from the humanitarian consequences”, Mr Lyons added. “In the director general’s view, the appeal would, by its very nature, have shown only one aspect of the conflict and broadcasting it, he argues would have implied a significant level of the endorsement by the BBC of the appeal itself – thereby putting BBC impartiality at risk.”

Mr Lyons said the Trust had found this to be “a reasonable argument” and that the decision taken was “within the parameters of reasonable decisions open to him”.

No, it is not impossible, it is only impossible if like the BBC you have sought a rapprochement with Israel since 2003 and are now impartially close to it. Also this means the only main UK broadcasters to help the Israeli war effort are Murdoch’s Sky and the BBC. Must make the Beeb proud- look at us, we’re as good as Fox News!!!!!

So if you are sufficiently chums with the UK, US and the Beeb elite you can murder at will and your victims are unworthy of help, that’s what “impossible in this case to separate the political causes from the humanitarian consequences” amounts to, total cowardice, utter partiality. The more the killers have explained their position to us, the more we have elected to listen to them, the less able we are to see clear past that. Mark Thompson, go fuck yourself and take the BBC quisling Trust with you. No nation should get special treatment off the BBC, no casualty of violence should be ignored because the attacker is so awfully good at making their case. Now tell me is there any sign the BBC is now trying to build bridges with those who this decision has appalled? Or are they sat smugly with a shit eating grin the warm glow of victory obscuring the millions now even less accepting of the BBC as a useful source of information. Are they ok with powerful murderous friends and a lowered professional reputation? Silly question, corporate media always are, after all they don’t hang out with us, they hang out with them. Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, they’ll always be a good reason echoed through the media for killing people. Don’t rock the boat, especially when you’re in it and the BBC really are now in it.

Afghanistan: Humanitarian Swindlers

The fine words are just that, Afghanistan is being pacified brutally while the killers cover up civilian casualties and lie about the level of aid they actually are delivering. Crime & war, business as usual, Afghanistan is the imperial blood sacrifice, money (always) for military deployment, a pittance for that ‘humanitarian’ brand that sells so well, the figures betray the real intention-

FT.com:- Afghanistan’s international backers have left the country billions of dollars short of the money promised to the poverty stricken country at last summer’s high-profile Paris aid conference, according to analysis by the Afghan government.

While $21bn (€16.8bn, £14.8bn) in aid was officially pledged by world governments at the conference in June, nearly a third of the total has proved to be old money that had been “double pledged”.

According to a detailed study by the Afghan ministry of finance, the US double pledged $3bn, while all of the $780m promised by the European Union had been announced previously. In total about $7bn, a third of the total, was double-pledged money.

A senior development official in Kabul said: “Everyone knew at the time this was not new money, but there was pressure from everyone, including the Afghan government, to come up with a big number.”

It is a problem that has hit all five of the international donor conferences held since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, with the ministry estimating that $11bn of the total $44.5bn promised over the years has been old money, re-announced.

The Afghan study also reveals that large parts of the National Development Strategy laid out by the Afghan government will go unfunded. The strategy, which cost an estimated $15m to prepare and was approved by donors at the Paris conference, sets out the government’s development priorities for the next four years.

The NDS puts a heavy emphasis on improving the country’s agricultural base but the finance ministry report shows that rural development will be underfunded by $412m in 2009 alone. Overall, there will be a $3.1bn shortfall for this year, with other key sectors, including health, education and infrastructure all suffering for lack of funds.

In a sign of where international priorities lie, nearly half of all available money will be spent on building up the security forces.