No Comment — July 30, 2009, 10:23 am

Clinton Intervened to Keep Lid on Torture Account

In English court proceedings surrounding released Guantánamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, British Foreign Minister David Miliband has reinforced his claims that disclosing details of Mohamed’s mistreatment would harm British national security. He now states that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally intervened in the matter to state that disclosing information given by the CIA to a British court would damage the Anglo-American special relationship in intelligence matters. The Guardian reports:

In a written statement proposing a gagging order, Miliband told the court that she “indicated” that the disclosure of CIA evidence “would affect intelligence sharing”. Pressed repeatedly by the judges on the claim yesterday, Karen Steyn, Miliband’s counsel, insisted that Clinton was indeed saying that if the seven-paragraph summary of CIA material was disclosed, the US would “reassess” its intelligence relationship with the UK, a move that “would put lives at risk”.

The Daily Telegraph reports the same exchange:

Mrs Clinton personally told the Foreign Secretary that the US government would consider the dramatic step if a short summary of the treatment of Binyam Mohamed is placed in the public domain, the High Court was told. A hearing was told that the move could cause “serious harm” to Britain’s national security and potentially put the lives of British citizens at risk.

Binyam Mohamed is an Ethiopian national who was granted protected status in Britain. He was arrested in April 2002 when he attempted to board a plane in Karachi, Pakistan, to fly back to Britain. Pakistani authorities turned him over to the CIA, and he was held in the CIA’s extraordinary renditions program until 2004, when he was transferred to Guantánamo. His accounts of torture at the hand of captors in Pakistan and Morocco were previously validated by British courts, which noted the involvement of the CIA and British intelligence in the process.

Miliband explains Clinton’s objection in terms of the “principle” that intelligence furnished should not be disclosed, even in court proceedings. However, it is fairly obvious that the American State Department is acting as a proxy for American intelligence services in this process. And there is a far more powerful principle in play. The torture practiced on Binyam Mohamed was a serious crime. Evidence is being suppressed to preclude the full investigation of that crime and to block possible criminal prosecutions of those involved. That’s called obstruction of justice, and it’s also a crime. This case well exemplifies how the Obama Administration is using claims of national security interests to preclude serious investigations of criminal conduct and accountability of those involved.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

Tremendous Machine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Goose in a Dress

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Genealogy of Orals

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Neoliberal Arts

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
New Television·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Season 5 of Louie (FX), Louie is a new kind of superhero. Like Wonder Woman, the canonical superhero he most resembles, Louie’s distinctive superpower is love.”
Illustration by Demetrios Psillos
Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.

In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.

Article
The Prisoner of Sex·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Gangs of Karachi·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
Article
Weed Whackers·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.

A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today