Alex Massie

Binyam Mohamed & the Missing Seven Paragraphs

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So, the government has lost its case and the FCO has now published the famous missing seven paragraphs:

v)  It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation.  The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed. 

vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him.  His fears of being removed from United States custody and “disappearing” were played upon.

vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews 

viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the inter views were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.

ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.

x) The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972.  Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities]"

All that is pretty clear and, frankly, you can see why the government didn't want this in the public domain.

William Hague's reaction is equally clear and worth noting for the record:

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said the alleged treatment was "utterly unacceptable", adding: "These things - if true - are not only morally wrong, but harm our efforts to combat terrorists, play into the hands of their propagandists and weaken rather than strengthen our national security."

The whole shabby affair is disgraceful. Not least because the way in which it has been conducted obscures, rather than illuminates the truth. It was, remember, the Bush administration that dropped charges against Mohamed. 

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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Topics in this articleSocietyterrorismtorture