Australian collusion with Mubarak, Bush torture crimes

This video from Australia is about Australian Mamdouh Habib, released without charge after years in torture prisons of the United States government and the Egyptian Mubarak dictatorship.

By Richard Phillips in Australia:

“All those involved in my treatment should be jailed for war crimes”

Former Guantánamo Bay prisoner Mamdouh Habib speaks with WSWS

9 February 2011

On December 17, the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard signed an out-of-court settlement with former Guantánamo Bay prisoner Mamdouh Habib to end his legal action over the Australian government’s complicity in his illegal detention, extraordinary rendition, and torture by officials from the United States, Pakistan and Egypt between 2001 and 2005.

The government’s sudden decision came after 54-year-old Habib presented its lawyers with testimony from a former Egyptian military intelligence officer, and from ex-detainee Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni, who was incarcerated with Habib in Egypt and at Guantánamo Bay.

Habib was seized by Pakistani police in October 2001, just after the September 11 terror attacks in the United States. Interrogated for three weeks, he was then rendered to Egypt, where he was incarcerated for seven months. During this time, he was systematically tortured and then transferred, via Afghanistan, to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He was finally released and repatriated to Australia without charge in January 2005.

From the outset, the former Liberal-National government of Prime Minister John Howard claimed it had no knowledge of Habib’s rendition from Pakistan to Egypt. When news began to filter out in 2002 that Habib was imprisoned in Egypt, the government, backed by the Labor Party Opposition, rejected outright any investigation. Instead, senior government ministers consistently accused Habib of being an “Islamic terrorist”.

Department of Foreign Affairs media officers were directed to tell journalists that the government had no knowledge about the Australian’s kidnapping, but they had recently received “credible advice that [Habib] is well and being treated well”.

Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) officers claimed to have had no contact with Habib in Egypt. A spokeswoman for then attorney general Philip Ruddock told reporters that, “No Australian official, including ASIO, was ever provided with access to Mr Habib [in Egypt].”

Ruddock continued to insist, even up until a few days before the Australian’s release, that Washington had enough evidence to try Habib in a Guantánamo Bay military kangaroo court.

Questioned in February 2005, then foreign minister Alexander Downer conceded that Habib “may have been tortured” in Egypt, but denied that any Australian officials were present.

Habib’s legal case for compensation was strenuously opposed by the Howard government and the subsequent Labor administrations of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. All of them tried to quash the case and protect those involved in the crimes perpetrated against Habib.

The Gillard government has now initiated an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence (IGIS) into actions taken by Australian intelligence agencies against the Australian citizen. The inquiry, which will be held in secret, is designed to maintain the cover-up.

Under the terms of the legal settlement, Habib cannot disclose the amount of his compensation payment. He has, however, provided the WSWS access to some of the damning testimony that compelled the government to produce its sudden offer.

The former Egyptian intelligence officer, who was employed at the prison where Habib was incarcerated, categorically states that “each nationality” had embassy, intelligence and medical officials at the Egyptian prison facilities where their rendered citizens were imprisoned.

US government is backing Omar Suleiman who “tortured Egyptian-born Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib himself”: here.

The “Save Shaker Aamer” Tour: Eight New UK Screenings of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo,” February and March 2011: here.

Human rights campaigners condemned the ongoing incarceration of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held at Guantanamo Bay, as a “mockery of justice” today: here.

NAIROBI – A case filed before an African judicial body could open a new front in efforts by human rights groups to hold the CIA and its partners accountable for what they allege was the torture of innocent victims in secret “black site” prisons around the world: here.

Britain: MPs refused the facts on UK’s part in rendition cases. The Government is accused of avoiding disclosure about Britain’s role in extraordinary rendition: here.

Israel, Extraordinary Rendition and the Strange Case of Dirar Abu Sisi. Richard Silverstein, Truthout: “The gag [order] also prevented Israelis from knowing that Abu Sisi was jailed, what the charges brought against him were or what conditions he was being held under. I was especially concerned, because during such secret detentions the Israeli security service is often accused of torturing suspects to procure confessions, which are then used against them in court… Of course, all of this is speculation because the national security state prefers to operate in the dark, prefers opacity. We can only look forward to a day when extraordinary rendition and the other favored tactics of such a state are as discredited as the lynchings and apartheid of a bygone era”: here.

19 thoughts on “Australian collusion with Mubarak, Bush torture crimes

  1. Secret US files on Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks released by WikiLeaks

    Ben Packham and Mark Dodd
    From: The Australian
    April 25, 2011 3:28PM

    FORMER Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib told Egyptian interrogators under “extreme duress” he planned to hijack a Qantas plane and had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks on the United States, according to newly-released WikiLeaks files.

    The documents also allege fellow Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks was approached to become a martyr by al-Qa’ida’s number three in charge of military operations, but refused the invitation.

    Mr Habib’s Guantanamo prisoner file appears to confirm he was tortured by Egyptian authorities in 2001, making a raft of “admissions” which he later recanted.

    In its latest high-profile information release, WikiLeaks has begun releasing 779 secret files from the United States’ notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

    The 2004 files classified both Mr Habib and Mr Hicks as “high risk” detainees, with Mr Habib’s file alleging “violent behaviour” by him towards US guards.

    Mr Hicks’ file describes him as a “compliant” but “deceptive”. He was held in “high regard” by other detainees, including senior al-Qa’ida operatives.

    “The detainee is highly-trained, experienced and combat-hardened, which makes him a valued member and possible leader for any extremist organisation,” it says of Mr Hicks, who was returned to Australia in 2007 after being convicted by a US military commission of providing material support for terrorism.

    In an analysts’ note on Mr Hicks’ file, it says: “Mohammed Atef, al-Qa’ida’s No. 3 in charge of military operations, approached detainee regarding his willingness to be a martyr, which the detainee declined.”

    Mr Habib, who plans to sue the Egyptian government over his detention and alleged torture, told interrogators in Cairo he was en route to hijack a Qantas plane when he was detained, and had information on his home computer on poisoning US rivers.

    He also claimed to have trained six of the 9/11 hijackers in martial arts and how to use a knife disguised as a cigarette lighter.

    Once at Guantanamo Bay, Mr Habib retracted the confessions, saying he lied to Egyptian interrogators.

    Mr Habib was released without charge from Guantanamo Bay in 2005 and returned to Australia.

    His file says he had “direct and personal access” to a senior al-Qa’ida official but his US interrogators said his real value to the hardline Islamist terror group was as an Australian organiser and operative.

    It contains a note by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo that Mr Habib was regarded as a detainee of “high intelligence value”.

    It says he refused to take a polygraph test.

    US intelligence officials regarded Mr Habib as a high value asset for his knowledge of al-Qa’ida financing, safe houses, and its training and tactics.

    They questioned whether he was a “money courier and terrorist operations facilitator”, given his extensive international travel.

    “Among the questions that remain unanswered: how did he afford to travel as extensively as he did while being unemployed and having lost a great deal of money in the matter of his Australian government contract?

    “What were the actual number of times he went to Afghanistan, Egypt and the US (records indicate that he entered the US prior to 1993).”

    Mr Habib’s case against Egypt’s new vice-president, Omar Sulaiman, is seen as a human rights test case of the post-Mubarak era in Egypt.

    Cairo lawyers acting for Mr Habib have notified the Egyptian Attorney-General they are launching proceedings against General Sulaiman, who heads Egyptian intelligence, along with the country’s former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, and Jamal Mubarak, the son and lieutenant of former president Hosni Mubarak, who resigned amid anti-regime protests in February.

    A summary filed by the Cairo lawyers says Mr Habib was detained without charge for six months and subjected to “the most horrible torture methods” including electric shock, cigarette burns, attack by dogs, sexual violation and water torture.

    The documents allege some of Mr Habib’s interrogations were conducted personally by General Sulaiman, who has been Egypt’s intelligence chief since 1993, and that torture occurred in the presence of Jamal Mubarak, who was a senior official in the ousted regime.

    Mr Habib received a confidential payout from the Australian government after a legal case in which he accused the government of aiding and abetting his torture by foreign agents in Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

    The Australian government has refused to disclose how much it paid Mr Habib, who was released from Guantanamo Bay in January 2005.


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