further pressure from the odious miliband

David Miliband presses for gag on CIA memo
Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian, May 15 2009

David Miliband, the foreign secretary, on Friday night made a fresh attempt to stop high court judges from disclosing information about what Britain’s security and intelligence agencies knew of the ill-treatment and alleged torture of a UK resident. In his third demand for a gagging order, he argued that “real harm to the national security and international relations of the United Kingdom would be caused” if a seven-paragraph summary of CIA intelligence information was disclosed. The foreign secretary placed himself at odds not only with lawyers acting for Binyam Mohamed, the UK resident released earlier this year from Guantánamo Bay, but with two senior judges. Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones ruled in February that nothing in the seven paragraphs at issue could “possibly be described as ‘highly sensitive classified US intelligence’.” They said “the ordinary business of intelligence-gathering would not be affected” by their disclosure. Miliband told the judges today that British interests would be harmed. The Foreign Office has passed to the court a letter purporting to come from the Obama administration saying disclosure of the text “could likely result in serious damage to UK and US national security.” The foreign secretary said he could not reveal who in the US wrote the letter. Lawyers for Mohamed and media organisations led by the Guardian demanded an explanation from Miliband about where the letter came from and who drafted it. Foreign Office officials have solicited help from the US in the past to back up their case that if any of the CIA information was disclosed Washington would stop sharing vital intelligence with Britain. Evidence already disclosed to the high court shows how MI5 officers gave the CIA information, including photos, about Mohamed to help in his secret interrogation in Pakistan, Morocco, and Afghanistan, where he was questioned before being flown to Guantánamo. Mohamed says MI5 knew he was being tortured. The CIA information is believed to show what the CIA told MI5. In a further twist in the dispute, Miliband today argued that Mohamed and his lawyers could seek the information in the US courts as the information belonged to the American authorities.

One Comment

  1. Hoarsewhisperer
    Posted May 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Has the British govt helped Moazzam Begg squeeze some compo out of the putrid Americans yet?

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