The United States' hostility toward publishing details of Binyam Mohamed's treatment suggests that the stakes are higher than we may realize.
Binyam Mohamed was tortured. Yesterday’s high court ruling leaves that fact in very little doubt. The lengths the US government has gone, to prevent public disclosure of information in the possession of the British government related to Mohamed’s treatment, have been extraordinary. So great, in fact, that more must be at issue than the mere confirmation of something that almost everyone already believes.
Official secrecy should not be employed to cover up criminal acts or deny necessary information to a defendant. Yet, even in the most distasteful of circumstances, there are sometimes compelling reasons for keeping intelligence activities out of the public domain. This may be one of those times.
The case of Binyam Mohamed is unfortunately all too similar to those of far too many others swept up in the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. A lawful British resident of Ethiopian descent, he was first snatched in Pakistan, and bounced from one jail to the next before finally ending up at Guantanamo. Mohamed, correctly as it turns out, believed that the British security services were aware of his confinement and treatment and may have been complicit in his unlawful detention and abuse.
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