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British Military Intelligence 'Ran Renegade Torture Unit In Iraq'

British military intelligence 'ran renegade torture unit in Iraq'
Secret operation 'reporting only to London' deprived prisoners of sleep, documents show
By Andrew Johnson | Independent.co.UK

Fresh evidence has emerged that British military intelligence ran a secret operation in Iraq which authorised degrading and unlawful treatment of prisoners. Documents reveal that prisoners were kept hooded for long periods in intense heat and deprived of sleep by defence intelligence officers. They also reveal that officers running the operation claimed to be answerable only "directly to London".

The revelations will further embarrass the British government, which last month was forced to release documents showing it knew that UK resident and terror suspect Binyam Mohamed had been tortured in Pakistan.

The latest documents emerged during the inquiry into Baha Mousa, an Iraqi hotel worker beaten to death while in the custody of British troops in September 2003. The inquiry is looking into how interrogation techniques banned by the Government in 1972 and considered torture and degrading treatment were used again in Iraq.

Lawyers believe the new evidence supports suspicions that an intelligence unit – the Joint Forward Interrogation Team (JFIT) which operated in Iraq – used illegal "coercive techniques" and was not answerable to military commanders in Iraq, despite official denials it operated independently. Read more.

Don't They Know There's A War On

From the Stop The War Coalition:

DON'T THEY KNOW THERE'S A WAR ON?

The main political parties in the coming general election don't want to mention the war in Afghanistan. They all support it, but they know it is opposed by the majority of the electorate, who want all the British troops withdrawn.

The Afghan war has led to the deaths of 280 British soldiers and an estimated 30,000 Afghans. As the death toll and the levels of expenditure rise, the politicians' silence is matched by a consensus between the three main parties over proposed savage cuts in public services.

This year the government will spend £3.8 billion on the war in Afghanistan, almost the same amount it plans to cut from the National Health Service.

We have now had nine years of wars that the British public did not support, and Stop the War is asking its supporters and local groups to take every opportunity to make sure the issue is not ignored by election candidates seeking our votes.

Email office@stopwar.org.uk
Tel: 020 7801 2768
Web: http://stopwar.org.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk

Special Relationship? Why Britain's Affair With the U.S. Is Over

Special Relationship? Why Britain's Affair With the U.S. Is Over
By Catherine Mayer | Information Clearing House

March 29, 2010 "Time" -- If anyone still doubts that George Bush and Tony Blair were the closest of allies, the text of a July 2002 note from the U.K. premier to the U.S. President, revealed in a new book, should dispel any lingering skepticism. "You know, George, whatever you decide to do [about Iraq], I'm with you," Blair assured his friend.

The End of the Party, an account by British political commentator Andrew Rawnsley of how Britain's Labour government came to squander a huge popular mandate to face possible defeat in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, identifies a multiplicity of contributory factors. Blair's unwavering determination to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with a martial U.S. is prominent among them. (See pictures of the Bush-Blair friendship.)

The damage may be permanent. On March 28 an influential cross-party committee of MPs in Britain weighed in on the wider impact of that policy. "The perception that the British Government was a subservient 'poodle' to the U.S. Administration leading up to the period of the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath is widespread both among the British public and overseas," states the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. "This perception, whatever its relation to reality, is deeply damaging to the reputation and interests of the U.K."

The committee goes further, with a call to jettison the term "special relationship" as ruthlessly as colonists once dumped tea into Boston Harbor. The expression was coined by no less a person than Winston Churchill in 1946 to describe the intricate skeins of mutual interest, cultural heritage and sometimes gloopy sentiment that bind Washington and London. Globalization and "shifts in geopolitical power" mean that both countries are inevitably forming new and deep alliances with other players, and talk of a "special relationship" is increasingly misleading, says the report. "The overuse of the phrase by some politicians and many in the media serves simultaneously to devalue its meaning and to raise unrealistic expectations about the benefits the relationship can deliver to the U.K." (See the top ten most outrageous MP expense claims.) Read more.

The War On WikiLeaks And Why It Matters

The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters
By Glenn Greenwald | Salon

A newly leaked CIA report prepared earlier this month (.pdf) analyzes how the U.S. Government can best manipulate public opinion in Germany and France -- in order to ensure that those countries continue to fight in Afghanistan. The Report celebrates the fact that the governments of those two nations continue to fight the war in defiance of overwhelming public opinion which opposes it -- so much for all the recent veneration of "consent of the governed" -- and it notes that this is possible due to lack of interest among their citizenry: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders to Ignore Voters," proclaims the title of one section.

But the Report also cites the "fall of the Dutch Government over its troop commitment to Afghanistan" and worries that -- particularly if the "bloody summer in Afghanistan" that many predict takes place -- what happened to the Dutch will spread as a result of the "fragility of European support" for the war. As the truly creepy Report title puts it, the CIA's concern is: "Why Counting on Apathy May Not Be Enough": Read more.

CIA 'Suggests' Europe Should Understand Suffering Of Women Under Taliban

CIA 'suggests' Europe should understand suffering of women under Taliban
European Nato governments should emphasise the suffering of women under Taliban rule to counter domestic calls for troop withdrawal a leaked CIA analysis suggests.
By Ben Farmer | Telegraph.co.UK | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

A steep increase in French and German casualties this summer could trigger public anger at their involvement and calls for a military pull out the document warns.

Paris and Berlin should start a targeted propaganda campaign to "forestall or at least contain" a backlash by stating the benefits of military action.

French voters could be made to feel guilty about abandoning civilians and refugees, while both nations' electorates are reluctant to "disappoint" Barack Obama, it concludes.

Afghan women are "ideal messengers in humanising the [international coalition] role" and should be put in front of European media for their "ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory."

The analysis, marked "confidential" and not for release to foreign nationals, comes amid American concern that heavy fighting this summer could prompt a "precipitous" departure of Nato allies. Read more.

UK To Launch $3 Billion Green Investment Bank

UK to launch $3 billion green investment bank
By Matt Falloon | Reuters

The Labour government will unveil a 2 billion pound ($3 billion) "green" investment bank in Wednesday's budget to help Britain's transformation to a low carbon economy, a government source said on Sunday.

Finance minister Alistair Darling has said there will be no pre-election giveaways in the budget, with polling day expected on May 6, but he wants more investment to encourage future sources of economic growth after an 18-month recession.

The green bank, designed to help finance projects such as railways, offshore wind power generation and eco-friendly waste management, will be half-funded from government asset sales with the remaining one billion pounds coming from the private sector.

"The high risk profile of these investments, which are in new and unproven technologies means an initial government investment is needed to draw in investors," the source said.

"By providing an initial investment of government capital it will reduce the risk profile for investors and increase the incentive for the private sector to enter the market at the scale and pace needed." Read more.

Boo! The Scary, Scary Social Security 'Crisis' is Back!

By Dave Lindorff

Get ready kids. It’s time for more scare stories about Social Security.

The New York Times weighed in today with a dire warning that this year, six years ahead of what had been predicted only a few years ago, the Social Security system would be (cue scary music) paying out more in benefits than it takes in from the payroll tax. The reason for this earlier-than-anticipated event is the Great Recession, the paper explained.

Legal Loopholes Allow European Companies To Trade In 'Tools Of Torture'

Legal loopholes allow European companies to trade in 'tools of torture' | Press Release

European companies are participating in the global trade in types of equipment widely used in torture or other ill-treatment, according to evidence presented in a new report by Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation.

Fixed wall restraints, metal "thumb-cuffs", and electroshock "sleeves" and "cuffs" that deliver 50,000V shocks to detained prisoners are amongst the "tools of torture" highlighted in the report, From Words to Deeds.

Such activities have continued despite the 2006 introduction of a Europe-wide law banning the international trade of policing and security equipment designed for torture and ill-treatment. Read more.

Blair's fight to keep his oil cash secret

Former PM's deals are revealed as his earnings since 2007 reach £20million
By JASON GROVES

Tony Blair waged an extraordinary two-year battle to keep secret a lucrative deal with a multinational oil giant which has extensive interests in Iraq.

The former Prime Minister tried to keep the public in the dark over his dealings with South Korean oil firm UI Energy Corporation.

Mr Blair - who has made at least £20 million since leaving Downing Street in June 2007 - also went to great efforts to keep hidden a £1 million deal advising the ruling royal family in Iraq's neighbour Kuwait.

In an unprecedented move, he persuaded the committee which vets the jobs of former ministers to keep details of both deals from the public for 20 months, claiming it was commercially sensitive. The deals emerged yesterday when the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments finally lost patience with Mr Blair and decided to ignore his objections and publish the details.

Georgia: Simulating War Or Provoking It?

Georgia: Simulating War Or Provoking It?
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

On the evening of March 13 Georgia's Imedi television channel ran a 30-minute prime time "simulated" newscast about a Russian invasion of the South Caucasus nation complete with a report that the country's mercurial and (if not megalomaniacal) president - Mikheil Saakashvili - had been assassinated.

The show was aired "by the Imedi TV's weekly program Special Report, which started just a couple of minutes before 8pm - the time when Imedi TV runs its usual news bulletin Kronika." {Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from Civil Georgia reports of March 14, 2010.)

The Special Report's regular news anchor, Natia Koberidze, opened the program with the words: "Have you ever thought about the end of Georgian statehood? Probably yes, because we have already seen this threat in the summer of 2008."

The reference was to the five-day war fought between Georgia and Russia after the first launched an all-out assault on neighboring South Ossetia on August 8, killing hundreds of civilians and scores of Russian soldiers stationed there.

Baha Mousa inquiry: Eight or more civilians died in British custody

Legal chief tells of killings and torture in early days of invasion
By Richard Norton-Taylor, guardian.co.uk

Eight or more civilians died in the custody of British troops in the weeks after the invasion of Iraq, despite frequent warnings by the army's most senior legal adviser there about unlawful treatment of detainees, an inquiry has heard.

In devastating evidence to an official inquiry, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer described the way Iraqi detainees were intimidated and hooded by British soldiers as "repulsive". He said that 10 days after the invasion in March 2003 he saw 20 or 30 detainees lined up with sandbags on their heads.

READ THE REST.

UK: The Anti-War Majority Ignored By Politicians

THE ANTI-WAR MAJORITY IGNORED BY POLITICIANS

As Seumas Milne reported last week in The Guardian, "the gulf between people and politicians could scarcely be wider" on the issue of the war in Afghanistan.

The British Army is taking casualties at a level not seen since the 1950s, with six British soldiers killed in as many days earlier this month. The United Nations reported recently that Afghan civilian deaths doubled in 2009.

The UK costs of the war are spiralling: the current estimate for 2009/2010 is £3.7 billion, up from £2.5 billion last year.

Two thirds of the British public believe the war is unwinnable and all the troops should be brought home by Christmas.

And yet, despite the imminent general election, as Seumas Milne points out, "the political class seems determined to cling to Nato and its US patron, rather than represent the now settled will of the voters". And it does so supported by much of the media.

In the coming weeks, Stop the War aims to campaign as widely as possible to make the war in Afghanistan a central issue in the election, reflecting the view of the vast majority of electors.

We are encouraging local Stop the War groups to organise debates, meetings, days of action, lobbying of MPs in their constituencies, hustings etc. We need to take every opportunity to raise the profile of the anti-war voice in an election in which all three main political parties are united in supporting the government's war policies.

Rasmussen In Poland: Expeditionary NATO, Missile Shield And Nuclear Weapons

Rasmussen In Poland: Expeditionary NATO, Missile Shield And Nuclear Weapons
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

"[W]e must develop an effective missile defence. In the coming years, we will probably face many more countries – and possibly even some non-state actors - armed with long-range missiles and nuclear capabilities. Therefore, I believe that NATO’s deterrent posture should include missile defence.

"That’s why deterrence and defence need to go together. And why we have the obligation to look into missile defence options."

The civilian chief of the world's only, and history's first self-proclaimed global, military bloc is having a busy month.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered an address in Washington, DC on February 23 on the military alliance's new 21st century Strategic Concept along with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her predecessor twice-removed Madeleine Albright and National Security Adviser James Jones, the last-named a former Marine Corps general and NATO Supreme Allied Commander. [1]

At the seminar and on the preceding evening at Georgetown University in what is arguably NATO's true capital, Rasmussen sounded familiar themes: Highlighting the need to prevail in Afghanistan, NATO's first ground war and first armed conflict outside of Europe. Applauding the work of the bloc's new cyber warfare center in Estonia, ostensibly to protect the comparatively new member state against attacks emanating from Russia. Identifying Iran and North Korea for particular scrutiny.

He also spoke of "deepening our partnerships with countries from across the globe" and affirmed "NATO is a permanent Alliance...." [2]

The bloc's chief announced the creation of "a new division at NATO Headquarters to deal with new threats and challenges." [3]

UK PM Brown Makes Surprise Visit To Afghanistan


UK PM Brown makes surprise visit to Afghanistan | CNN

On the invasion of Iraq itself and the British role in it, Brown said Friday the decision to go to war "was the right decision and it was for the right reasons."

The inquiry, which began last year, is expected to be the most thorough investigation yet into decisions that led up to the war and governed Britain's involvement, analysts have said.

It is not a court of law, so the inquiry cannot find anyone criminally responsible or even apportion blame. But inquiry members will be able to judge the legality of the conflict.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid a surprise visit to British troops in Afghanistan on Saturday, his office said.

He went to Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand province, as well as a police training college and a British forward operating base, or outpost, according to 10 Downing Street.

Brown's office told news outlets of his visit to Afghanistan while he was in the country but asked that it not be reported until he left. CNN complied with the request. Read more.

Germany's Left Party Expelled From Bundestag

Germany's Left Party expelled from Bundestag
By Derek Scally | Irish Times | February 27, 2010

Germany's Left Party was expelled from the Bundestag yesterday after its members held up signs bearing the names of Afghan civilians killed in a German-ordered airstrike last September.

The protest came in the middle of a parliamentary debate on extending Germany’s nine-year military mission to Afghanistan by a further year.

Some 429 MPs voted for and 111 against the new mandate – 16 fewer votes in favour than last time – allowing troop numbers to be increased by 850 to 5,350.

The opposition Green Party abstained and, after being re-admitted, the Left Party MPs contributed to the 111 votes against the mandate.

“This was no routine vote, we reject the war in Afghanistan,” said Gesine Lötzsch, the Left Party’s designate co-leader, after MPs held up about 70 signs with names of victims. One read: “Ali Mohammad, farmer, 35 years old, nine children.

“This was a dignified way of remembering individual people with names and biographies who have died, deaths that have brought calamity on their families.”

The expulsion of the entire 76-member Left parliamentary party, a first for the Bundestag, underlined the controversy that still surrounds Germany’s first post-war military deployment outside Europe. The revised mandate will increase by five to 1,400 the number of Germans training Afghan soldiers. Read more.

Torture and The Shame of MI5: Top Judge Says Security Service Is Dubious and Untruthful

Torture and The Shame of MI5: Top Judge Says Security Service Is Dubious and Untruthful
By James Slack | Daily Mail Online

Britain's top three judges plunged MI5 into crisis yesterday by releasing a devastating finding that its officers have a 'dubious record when it comes to human rights and coercive techniques'.

In issuing the judgment by Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, the Appeal Court faced down an unprecedented 'bullying' campaign by the Home and Foreign Secretaries demanding that the allegation be withdrawn.

Alan Johnson and David Miliband had dismissed as 'ludicrous lies' suggestions that MI5 had a 'culture of suppression' over torture.

Two weeks ago, they persuaded the Appeal Court to change a contentious draft paragraph written by Lord Neuberger which made that allegation in relation to the treatment of ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed.

But yesterday, despite overwhelming pressure from Whitehall and MI5, the judges decided to release in full the original paragraph, known as 168. Read more.

21st Century Strategy: Militarized Europe, Globalized NATO

21st Century Strategy: Militarized Europe, Globalized NATO
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

With the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms expiring last December 5 and its successor held up almost three months in large part because of U.S. missile shield provocations in recent weeks, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is forging ahead with the formulation and implementation of a new Strategic Concept.

On February 5 Russia unveiled its new military doctrine, which identified further NATO expansion eastward to its frontier and American and NATO interceptor missile deployments on and near its borders as the "main external threats of war." [1]

On February 23 NATO held its fourth seminar on the new - 21st century - Strategic Concept decided upon at the sixtieth anniversary summit in April of 2009 in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany. After previous meetings in Luxembourg, Slovenia and Norway, the final - and far most important - meeting was held in Washington, DC. Entitled Strategic Concept Seminar on Transformation and Capabilities, it was conducted at the National Defense University in the nation's capital.

The Strategic Concept endorses expansion of the bloc deeper into the Balkans and the former Soviet Union, broadening global partnerships outside the Euro-Atlantic zone and consolidating an interceptor missile system to cover all of Europe as a joint U.S. and NATO project.

Russian concerns and NATO designs are at complete loggerheads, which accounts for among other problems a new START agreement remaining in limbo. And for Russia's new military doctrine.

Look Who Loves French Health Care


Look Who Loves French Health Care
By Jonathan Cohn | The New Republic | December 14, 2009

It's Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of the very libertarian Reason magazine:

To put it plainly, when free marketers warn that Democratic health care initiatives will make us more “like France,” a big part of me says, “I wish.” It’s not that I think it’s either feasible or advisable for the United States to adopt a single-payer, government-dominated system. But it’s instructive to confront the comparative advantages of one socialist system abroad to sharpen the arguments for more capitalism at home.

For a dozen years now I’ve led a dual life, spending more than 90 percent of my time and money in the U.S. while receiving 90 percent of my health care in my wife’s native France. On a personal level the comparison is no contest: I’ll take the French experience any day. ObamaCare opponents often warn that a new system will lead to long waiting times, mountains of paperwork, and less choice among doctors. Yet on all three of those counts the French system is significantly better, not worse, than what the U.S. has now. ...

In France, you are covered, period. It doesn’t depend on your job, it doesn’t depend on a health maintenance organization, and it doesn’t depend on whether you filled out the paperwork right. Those who (like me) oppose ObamaCare, need to understand (also like me, unfortunately) what it’s like to be serially rejected by insurance companies even though you’re perfectly healthy. It’s an enraging, anxiety-inducing, indelible experience, one that both softens the intellectual ground for increased government intervention and produces active resentment toward anyone who argues that the U.S. has “the best health care in the world.” Read more.

South Atlantic: Britain May Provoke New Conflict With Argentina

South Atlantic: Britain May Provoke New Conflict With Argentina
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

On February 22 two major developments occurred in the Americas south of the Rio Grande. The two-day Rio Group summit opened in Mexico and Great Britain started drilling for oil 60 miles north of the Falklands Islands, known as Las Malvinas to Argentina.

The meeting in Mexico was identified as a Unity Summit because for the first time the 24 members of the Rio Group (minus Honduras, not invited because of the illegitimacy of its post-coup regime) - Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela - were joined by the fifteen members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM): Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago. (Haiti, Jamaica and Suriname are members of both organizations.)

Ahead of the summit the Financial Times wrote, "The Mexican-led initiative, a clear sign of Latin America’s growing confidence as a region, will exclude both the US and Canada. Some observers believe it could even eventually rival the 35-member Organisation of American States (OAS), which includes the US and Canada and has been the principal forum for hemispheric issues during the past half century." [1]

In fact on the first day of the summit Bolivian President Evo Morales called for a "a new US-free OAS," [2] stressing Washington's centuries-long history of perpetrating military coups, blackmail, looting of natural resources and, over the past generation, the scourge of neo-liberalism in the Americas.

Election Watchdog Group Supports Call For Independent Investigation Into Ukraine Election Results

Yanukovich Campaign Team Tied To Election Rigging Allegations In United States

Washington, DC: Ukrainian presidential candidate and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko last week alleged that over one million votes were stolen by opposition candidate Viktor Yanukovich in the February 7th presidential run off election. http://japantoday.com/category/world/view/tymoshenko-calls-ukraine-vote-... She has filed over 60 complaints with the Central Election Commission and has called the irregularities “shocking.”

In 2004, Mr. Yanukovich’s campaign was caught rigging the election after members of his election team were recorded discussing how to destroy evidence that showed tampering with the tabulation results. That revelation led to massive protests in the street, the Orange Revolution and a new vote which resulted in the election of Viktor Yushchenko.

Ireland: The Arrest of Pat O'Donnell

By David Rovics

In a country with the kind of tumultuous history that Ireland has it's not surprising that a man being arrested and jailed for seven months would escape the notice of the media, at least outside of Ireland. What should hopefully pique some interest is that this is a man with a long history of being bullied, intimidated, arrested and treated roughly by the authorities for his nonviolent resistance against Shell Oil's construction of a gas pipeline, and now the judge is calling him a bully and jailing him for seven months on the extremely dubious charge of intimidating an officer.

To be sure, this is not Nigeria, where Shell regularly massacres those opposed to the oil drilling which is destroying the environment and the livelihoods of so much of the population. Shell doesn't run Ireland in the way it controls Nigeria. But at the same time, much like my own country, the Irish government has proven itself to be far from free of corruption.

Human chain blocks neo-Nazi rally


Thousands of people stand at the start of the human chain with a banner reading "Against violence and hostility to foreigners".

Thousands of people stand at the start of the human chain with a banner reading "Against violence and hostility to foreigners". (AFP)

Thousands of people have gathered in Dresden to block an annual neo-Nazi march commemorating the allied bombing of the German city during World War II.

The neo-Nazis gathered outside the Neustadt railway station to mark the anniversary of devastating bombing raids.

They planned to stage a "funeral march" after listening to a series of speeches but more than 15,000 counter-protestors blocked the rally.

"We have for the first time succeeded in preventing the biggest neo-Nazi march in Europe," Lena Roth, of the Dresden Without Nazis alliance, said.

Police reported "a few incidents" including attacks on officers by "violent demonstrators" who were not identified. But they later said the neo-Nazis were not able to stage the march.

READ THE REST

Europe's Five "Undeclared Nuclear Weapons States"

Are Turkey, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy Nuclear Powers?

Top Judge: Binyam Mohamed Case Shows MI5 To Be Devious, Dishonest And Complicit In Torture

Top judge: Binyam Mohamed case shows MI5 to be devious, dishonest and complicit in torture
Legal defeat plunges Security Service into crisis over torture evidence, and it is revealed that judge removed damning verdict after Foreign Office QC's plea
By Richard Norton-Taylor and Ian Cobain | Guardian.co.UK

The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, wrote to the court after the Sumption letter came to light on Monday night. He said today: "It is good news that – after a challenge from the Guardian and other news organisations – the courts have finally ordered the government to reveal evidence of MI5 complicity in torture. This is a watershed in open justice in an area in which it is notoriously difficult to shine a light. But it was extremely disturbing that the government's lawyers made a successful last-ditch attempt to get the master of the rolls to rewrite his judgment."

MI5 faced an unprecedented and damaging crisis tonight after one of the country's most senior judges found that the Security Service had failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a "culture of suppression" that undermined government assurances about its conduct.

The condemnation, by Lord Neuberger, the master of the rolls, was drafted shortly before the foreign secretary, David Miliband, lost his long legal battle to suppress a seven-paragraph court document showing that MI5 officers were involved in the ill-treatment of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed.

Amid mounting calls for an independent inquiry into the affair, three of the country's most senior judges – Lord Judge, the lord chief justice, Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Lord Neuberger – disclosed evidence of MI5's complicity in Mohamed's torture and unlawful interrogation by the US.

So severe were Neuberger's criticisms of MI5 that the government's leading lawyer in the case, Jonathan Sumption QC, privately wrote to the court asking him to reconsider his draft judgment before it was handed down.

The judges agreed but Sumption's letter, which refers to Neuberger's original comments, was made public after lawyers for Mohamed and media organisations, including the Guardian, intervened. Read more.

EU Parliament Rejects Interim SWIFT Deal


EU Parliament Rejects Interim SWIFT Deal
By emptywheel | FireDogLake

The EU Parliament voted today–by big margins–to end the temporary deal allowing the US access to data from SWIFT.

The European Parliament on Thursday broadly rejected an agreement with the United States on sharing information on bank transfers that was aimed at tracking suspected terrorists through their finances.The vote in Strasbourg, France, underlined differences between the United States and the European Union over how to balance guarantees of personal privacy with concerns about national and international security.

A resolution to reject the deal passed 378-196, with 31 abstentions. The vote means that the agreement, which provisionally went into force at the beginning of February, cannot be used as planned.

The agreement would have freed the United States from having to seek bank data on a country-by-country basis. But Washington still could press for access to the data through such avenues.

Remember, this deal would have given European citizens more protections than Americans currently get from their banks (because it would have allowed them to check whether their data had been accessed). Read more.

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