The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 29th August, 2008
Binyamin Mohammed tortured
Welcome To Our Weekly Digest Edition
Please feel free to use this material provided the New Worker
WHITEHALL’S DIRTY WAR
by Daphne Liddle
THE SECURITY service MI5 last week faced scathing criticism
from High Court judges for its role in aiding and abetting torture and
rendition and a few days later another secret Government unit was
exposed as conducting a dishonest propaganda campaign against Al Qaeda.
Binyamin Mohammed, a young Ethiopian, was arrested, illegally
detained and interrogated in Pakistan in 2002 and secretly flown by
United States officers to Morocco to be tortured. Under torture
Mohammed made a confession that he later withdrew.
Subsequently US officers transferred Mohammed to Afghanistan and
then to their concentration camp at Guantanamo in Cuba and held for
four years without charge or trial.
But now he is facing a “trial” before a military commission on
charges that he conspired with Al Qaeda leaders to plan terror attacks
His lawyers brought a High Court case in London to force the
British security services to divulge secret material still held that
would help Mohammed prove that his confession was extracted under
torture and therefore has no validity.
MI5 agents took part in the illegal interrogation of Mohammed on
behalf of the American government. One officer, not named and known as
Witness B, was so worried about incriminating himself that he refused
to answer the judges’ questions, even in private.
The court heard that this officer interrogated Mohammed in
Pakistan, where he was held incommunicado and without access to a
lawyer. Later Mohammed was removed to Morocco where, he says, he was
tortured by having his penis cut by a razor blade.
The full findings of the judges remain a state secret but Lord
Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd concluded: “The conduct of the
security service facilitated interviews by or on behalf of the United
States when Mohammed was being detained by the United States
incommunicado and without access to a lawyer. Under the law of
Pakistan, that detention was unlawful.”
The judges ruled that MI5 “continued to facilitate” the
interviewing of Mohammed at the behest of the US, even after he was
secretly “rendered” out of Pakistan. MI5 did this, the judges added, by
providing information to America although the agents “must have
appreciated” he was being detained and questioned in a facility which
was “that of a foreign government”.
They said that Witness B worked with the US “to the extent of
making it clear to Mohammed that the UK government would not help him
unless he co-operated fully with the US authorities”. And they added:
“The relationship of the UK government to the US authorities in
connection with Mohammed was far beyond that of a bystander or witness
to the alleged wrongdoing”.
But the ruling may not help Mohammed. His lawyers, Richard Stein
of Leigh Day, said outside the court that although the Government was
clearly committed to a fair trial and opposed to the practices of
torture and extraordinary rendition but, “unfortunately when faced with
the choice between the rule of law and upsetting its allies the
Americans, it waivers this commitment”.
Clive Stafford Smith, the legal director of the human rights
group Reprieve, commented: “Compelling the British government to
release information that can prove Mr Mohammed’s innocence is one
obvious step towards making up for the years of torture that he has
“The next step is for the British government to demand an end to
the charade against him in Guantanamo Bay and return him home to
Since then a Home Office document leaked to the press revealed a
Government-backed secret “counter terrorism” unit (Ricu) set up by
former Home Secretary John Reid to feed stories to the BBC and other
“respected” media carrying the message that Al Qaeda is steeply
declining in strength.
The unit also uses the web to feed similar information into
blogs, forums and discussion pages, posing as ordinary web users.
The propaganda claims that Al Qaeda has been “expelled” from vast
areas of Iraq and Afghanistan and “is on the defensive throughout much
of the rest of the world”.
This is a curious ploy since previously the imperialist powers
have had to exaggerate the size and power of Al Qaeda in order to
justify the spurious “war on terror”.
Al Qaeda never existed in Iraq before the imperialist powers
Now the imperialists must claim that Al Qaeda is failing to
justify its brutal wars against the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan –
and perhaps to lay the ground for a face-saving retreat from these
continuing wars that it cannot win and can no longer afford to sustain.
The day of the
BARAK Obama has been crowned
at the Democrat convention in Denver and he’s now set to challenge
Republican John McCain in the US presidential race this November.
All bourgeois elections are the manipulation of the largest number of
votes by the smallest number of people and this is no more so than in
the United States. And as Marx famously said: “The executive of the
modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the
US politics are dominated by two bourgeois parties that reflect
different trends and interests within the American ruling class. McCain
and his fellow Republicans represent the most reactionary and
aggressive sections of the American ruling class while the Democrats
adopt liberal bourgeois reform programmes to win support from working
people and the oppressed ethnic minorities in the United States.
Both parties are led by millionaires, which in practice is a
prerequisite for high office, given the vast sums needed for election
campaigns. Their platforms are drawn up by multi-millionaires to
reflect the needs of their vested interests but disguise their aims
with popularist platitudes and token reforms to win support from the
minority of American people who actually bother to register to vote.
Barack Obama is the first Black presidential candidate to have ever
been chosen by an American ruling-class party and the Democrats believe
he can mobilise the African-American community behind their ticket in
the run-up to the election.
Obama’s “hope, change and unity” campaign is aimed at the millions of
Americans who want change; the millions angered at the criminal wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan which they pay for in their lives and taxes; the
millions who are bearing the burden of the capitalist crisis and have
been impoverished by Bush’s neo-con policies. Organised labour is
backing the Democrats and the Obama campaign has the support of some of
the largest unions in America. But Obama is by no means assured of
victory in November.
The American left, which is weak and divided, has differing approaches.
The Communist Party (CPUSA) is backing the Democratic slate because
they see the defeat of the Republicans as an essential first step in
shifting the ground for further advance. They don’t regard Obama as a
“left” candidate in any way but argue that “none of the people’s
struggles — from peace to universal health care to an economy that puts
Main Street before Wall Street — will advance if McCain wins in
The Workers World Party (WWP), which in the past has fielded
presidential candidates of its own, is this time endorsing the
candidacy of Cynthia McKinney, a black former Congresswoman from
Georgia. The WWP know this will only win the protest vote but they also
have no illusions about a Democrat victory. They say “should Obama win
the election (a prospect that shouldn’t be considered certain), the US
imperialist ruling class will have a gifted Black politician to help
them save their troubled empire. An Obama presidency as the face of an
imperialist state will not change anything fundamental, but on the
surface it will mark a change, a new situation”.
While we cannot hope to influence the American left, nor indeed should
we as it is a question solely for American working class, we need to
heed the Workers World warning and have no illusions of what a future
Obama administration would represent.
To the New Communist Party Page