MI5 Cover Up Continues To Crumble

“[The record of security service officials] regrettably, but inevitably, must raise the question of whether any statement in the certificates on an issue concerning such treatment can be relied on … Not only is there an obvious reason for distrusting any UK government assurance based on SyS [security service] advice and information, because of previous ‘form’, but the Foreign Office and the SyS have an interest in the suppression of such information.”

Original unredacted judgement

This is the original Paragraph 168 written by Lord Neuberger:

“The Security Service [MI5] were making it clear in March 2005, through a report from the Intelligence and Security Committee that ‘they operated a culture that respected human rights and that coercive interrogation techniques were alien to the Services’ general ethics, methodology and training’ indeed they ‘denied that [they] knew of any ill-treatment of detainees interviewed by them whilst detained by or on behalf of the [US] Government’.

“Yet that does not seem to be true: as the evidence in this case showed, at least some Security Service officials appear to have a dubious record when it comes to human rights and coercive techniques, and indeed when it comes to frankness about the UK’s involvement with the mistreatment of Mr Mohammed by US officials.

“I have in mind in particular witness B, but it appears likely that there were others.

“The good faith of the Foreign Secretary is not in question, but he prepared the certificates [applications to withhold information in the name of national security] partly, possibly largely, on the basis of information and advice provided by Security Service personnel.

“Regrettably, but inevitably, this must raise the question whether any statement in the certificates on an issue concerning such mistreatment can be relied on, especially when the issue is whether contemporaneous communications to the Security Service about such mistreatment should be revealed publicly.

“Not only is there an obvious reason for distrusting any UK Government assurance, based on Security Service advice and information, because of previous ‘form’, but the Foreign Office and the Security Service have an interest in the suppression of such information.”

On Friday 26 February, Lord Neuberger issued a final opinion on the matter.

In effect, he uses the same language and makes the same observations – but he confines his remarks to the specifics of Mr Mohamed’s case – rather than a broader attack on MI5’s reputation and respect for human rights. He also removes the reference to “previous form”.

This is the final version of Paragraph 168:

“The Security Services had made it clear in March 2005, through a report from the Intelligence and Security Committee, that ‘they operated a culture that respected human rights and that coercive interrogation techniques were alien to the Services’ general ethics, methodology and training’, indeed they ‘denied that [they] knew of any ill-treatment of detainees interviewed by them whilst detained by or on behalf of the [US] Government’.

“Yet, in this case, that does not seem to have been true: as the evidence showed, some Security Services officials appear to have a dubious record relating to actual involvement, and frankness about any such involvement, with the mistreatment of Mr Mohamed when he was held at the behest of US officials.

“I have in mind in particular witness B, but the evidence in this case suggests that it is likely that there were others.

“The good faith of the Foreign Secretary is not in question, but he prepared the certificates partly, possibly largely, on the basis of information and advice provided by Security Services personnel.

“Regrettably, but inevitably, this must raise the question whether any statement in the certificates on an issue concerning the mistreatment of Mr Mohamed can be relied on, especially when the issue is whether contemporaneous communications to the Security Services about such mistreatment should be revealed publicly.

“Not only is there some reason for distrusting such a statement, given that it is based on Security Services’ advice and information, because of previous, albeit general, assurances in 2005, but also the Security Services have an interest in the suppression of such information.”

One Response to “MI5 Cover Up Continues To Crumble”

  1. earwicga Says:

    “Regrettably, but inevitably, this must raise the question whether any statement in the certificates on an issue concerning such mistreatment can be relied on, especially when the issue is whether contemporaneous communications to the Security Service about such mistreatment should be revealed publicly.

    “Not only is there an obvious reason for distrusting any UK Government assurance, based on Security Service advice and information, because of previous ‘form’, but the Foreign Office and the Security Service have an interest in the suppression of such information.”

    What an explosive statement! There is no way this government is ever going to push for Shaker Aamer’s release from Guantanamo. He has 8 years of evidence against security forces.


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