The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Obama Supports Bush Secrecy About U.S.-Sponsored Torture

The Obama administration may have just failed the first big test of its promises to end unwarranted government secrecy. According to a decision issued

Candice Burns
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Feb 05, 2009

The Obama administration may have just failed the first big test of its promises to end unwarranted government secrecy.

According to a decision issued Wednesday by the High Court in Great Britain, the court will not publish its summary of the alleged torture of Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed because the U.S. government threatened to end intelligence cooperation with the British if it did.

Mohamed, a lawful U.K. resident, claims he was seized by U.S. agents in Pakistan and tortured before being “extraordinarily rendered” to Morocco to be tortured some more.

Although the threat was originally made by the Bush administration, the British court’s opinion says that the Obama administration has not changed its insistence that the 7-paragraph summary remain secret.

According to the court: “There was an arguable case disclosed by the documents that cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment had been inflicted on [Binyam Mohamed],” and that such treatment could be prosecuted as a war crime.

In its own view, the British court wrote, “there was every reason to put the paragraphs into the public domain. [...] The suppression of reports of wrongdoing by officials (in circumstances which cannot in any way affect national security) would be inimical to the rule of law and the proper functioning of a democracy.”

However, the court chose not to publish the summary of the evidence because the U.K. Foreign Secretary had concluded that doing so would harm British national interests, given the threat from the United States.

“[T]he United States Government’s position is that, if the redacted paragraphs are made public, then the United States Government will re-evaluate its intelligence sharing relationship with the United Kingdom with the real risk that it would reduce the intelligence provided,” the court wrote.

Despite the inauguration of President Obama on Jan. 20, the court states, “we have been informed . . . by counsel for the Foreign Secretary that the position has not changed.”

If it’s true that the Obama administration actually considered the previous position and affirmed it, that calls into serious question the sincerity of Obama’s executive orders in which he pledged to end government secrecy and torture.

In response to the decision, the American Civil Liberties Union today called on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to “clarify the position of the United States” in the case.

In a case I wrote about early last week, the ACLU has been representing Mohamed, among others, against Jeppesen Dataplan, the Boeing subsidiary that allegedly assisted the CIA in carrying out its extraordinary rendition policy. That case — the Obama administration’s first big secrecy test in a U.S. court — is scheduled for oral argument in a federal court of appeals in California on Monday.

I’ll be following the case closely to see if the Obama administration changes the U.S. government’s previous assertion of “state secrets” in that lawsuit.  But its position in this related U.K. case is not a good sign.

Candice Burns | Candice Burns has worked in the real estate industry for a long time. She understands the importance of a home for long-term happiness and has dedicated her career to placing people in the home of their dreams. Candice's passions for helping others during difficult times and a strong interest in high-end, luxury homes drove her to explore real estate. She's been in the real estate business for ten years and has helped over 3,500 people find homes during that period. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Los Angeles. She's worked with some of Los Angeles' most prestigious real estate firms.

Related

Pentagon Shooter Exploited Gun-Show Loophole

John Patrick Bedell, who shot and wounded two police officers near the Pentagon earlier this month, bought at least one of his 9 mm guns at a Nevada gun show,

MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals

BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks

MA-Sen: Brown Wins

BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie

MA-Sen: 66 to 19

BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary

MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown

BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to

MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown

BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,

MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’

Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of

Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation

Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of

Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket

Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.

No Experience Necessary

Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com