Tony Blair’s Libyan torture scandal, continued

This video from Britain says about itself:

New evidence of UK complicity in Libya torture

8 February 2013

Exclusive: what was the role of MI6 and Tony Blair’s government in the kidnap of Abdul-Hakim Belhaj from Malaysia in March 2004, which delivered him into the hands of Colonel Gaddafi’s torturers?

His cell is a living coffin.

Stretch your hands out and your fingers trail against both of the side walls. Turn your body around and your fingers are tantalisingly close to the back wall and the metal cell door, writes Kevin Toolis.

In the heat of the Libyan summer the concrete walls baked like a furnace radiating heat, 130F degrees plus, into the airless cell. In the winter, in freezing temperatures, rain poured through the open roof grille soaking the two filthy blankets given as a bed. And then there was the solitude.

For one year Abdel Hakim Belhaj was entombed as the only prisoner in the solitary confinement block deep inside the Gaddafi regime’s notorious Abu Salim prison. His only human contact was the twice-daily visit by the guard to drop off food.

But outside the cell was worse. “When I was taken out of the cell for interrogations I was treated very violently. I was blindfolded and handcuffed with my hands tied behind my back. I was often beaten in these small corridors. It depended on the shifts of the guards.

“Some took pleasure in treating us badly or if they were pressurising us to say something they want. Sometimes they would make me stand hooded for long hours in the blazing sun and I would long to be back in this cell despite knowing how hard it was just to be here. It was my sanctuary.

“In the cell I used to spend the time reading the Koran and waiting, waiting for the hope that didn’t go away, that God Almighty will take away this suffering. I thank God I survived to take back my freedom.”

What is less clear, though, is the role of MI6, and Tony Blair’s government, with the CIA’s help, in the kidnap of Mr Belhaj and his pregnant wife Fatima Boucher from Malaysia in March 2004 which delivered them into the hands of Gaddafi’s torturers.

Through his English lawyers Leigh Day & Co, Mr Belhaj is now suing former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw, the then deputy head of MI6 Sir Mark Allen, MI6, MI5, the Foreign Office and Home Office for their alleged complicity in his torture.

For 10 years British politicians like Jack Straw, Gordon Brown and David Miliband have flatly denied that the British state was complicit in torture during the war on terror. But new evidence in Mr Belhaj’s case appears to strongly challenge those claims.

In one of Gaddafi’s luxurious offices, Mr Belhaj showed Channel 4 News piles of Libyan copies of top secret MI6 documents detailing phone numbers, passport numbers and the postal codes of Libyan opponents of Gaddafi living in Manchester as proof of the depth of collaboration between MI6 and the Gaddafi regime. Other documents in English listed the names and whereabouts of Libyan exiles in Iran and showed MI6 trading information gathered in Teheran with the Libyan regime.

Most importantly of all, the files also contained a crucial memorandum of understanding, dating from October 2002, detailing a two-day meeting in Libya between Gaddafi’s external intelligence agency and two senior heads of MI6 and one from MI5 outlining joint plans for “intelligence exchange, counter terrorism and mutual co-operation”. Channel 4 News is not naming the British officials but they are clearly identified on the document.

Other secret files relating to Mr Belhaj’s rendition were discovered by foreign journalists during the fall of Tripoli in 2011, but these new files are far more detailed, wide ranging and, crucially, come from the Libyan side of the intelligence exchange.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Libyan says he would settle torture claims for £3 and apology

Monday 04 March 2013

A Libyan claimant dealt a major blow to government claims that secret courts are needed to prevent multimillion-pound payouts today, saying he’d settle his case for £3 and an apology.

Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and wife Fatima Boudchar – opponents of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi – are suing the British government, former foreign secretary Jack Straw and former MI6 counter-terrorism director Mark Allen over their alleged role in the couple’s 2004 rendition and torture.

Documents surfaced after the fall of the Gaddafi regime showing that Mr Allen had written to Libyan spy chief Moussa Koussa to say that while the US paid the “air cargo” for the rendition the “intelligence … was British.”

The pair argue that Mr Straw would have had to sign off on the MI6 operation as foreign secretary.

Ken Clarke – the otherwise jobless minister responsible for the Justice and Security Bill – has claimed that secret courts are needed to prevent the government being forced to pay out in cases it can’t defend because of security concerns.

But Mr Belhaj wrote to the defendents, saying: “I am making an open offer to settle our litigation.

“My wife and I are willing to end our case against the UK government and Messrs Straw and Allen in exchange for a token compensation of a British pound from each defendant, an apology and an admission of liability for what was done to us.”

He adds: “Various media reports I have seen suggest that our motive for bringing this case is to enrich ourselves. I wish to lay this misconception to rest.

“We have come to court in Britain because we believe your courts can deliver justice.”

Legal action charity Reprieve legal director Cori Crider said: “What our clients want from the government is an admission, an apology and an explanation of how this was allowed to happen.

“The next time the government repeats its mantra that secret courts will save the public purse, remember – this family was willing to walk away for £3.”

Blair and Libya: here.

36 thoughts on “Tony Blair’s Libyan torture scandal, continued

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  6. The film exposes British criminality of the establishment, and its complicity, it is obvious the British hierarchy, has become so debauched that they have lost their way, this at first becomes a shock to any well grounded person, as one reflects upon the British history, it is not hard to see the outcome of individuals who have become indoctrinated by the British culture, that is now so well inbred, as you see faults in dogs and inner breeding of excess, you can see deformity within the breeding, it is not a fault of those who become freaks, they are the outcome of a idea, long before, the manifestation of tragedy became..


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