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  • This is how we treat our own


    by Sunny
    2nd April, 2007 at 8:39 am    

    A British resident held for nearly five years at Guantanamo Bay is to be set free aftera breakthrough in negotiations between the US and Britain. Bisher al-Rawi, 39, whose family escaped persecution in Iraq to live in London, was on a business trip when he was arrested in the Gambia after a tip-off by the Security Service, MI5.

    He said he thought the decision to help Mr Rawi was only taken because the Government did not want an embarrassing court case in which Britain’s involvement in his capture would have been made public.

    The High Court in London has already permitted the disclosure of classified documents linking MI5 to Mr Rawi’s arrest. Mr Katznelson said: “Mr Rawi helped MI5 as an interpreter and acted as a go-between with Abu Qatada [a terror suspect later arrested and detained by the British authorities]. All this would have… been very embarrassing for the government and… MI5.” [The Independent]


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    1. jailhouselawyer — on 2nd April, 2007 at 8:59 am  

      Which is why he was really locked up because of his embarrassment value nothing to do with terrorism or suspected terrorism. How many more like him?

    2. Taj — on 2nd April, 2007 at 9:55 am  

      Examples like this undermine our and America’s attempts at securing the moral high-ground in the Iranian hostage affair. How can we honestly cry “illegal” and “exploitation” when Guantanamo Bay exists?

    3. jailhouselawyer — on 2nd April, 2007 at 10:45 am  

      Taj: Precisely. Pot calling the kettle black!

    4. G. Tingey — on 2nd April, 2007 at 11:05 am  

      I also wonder how much the total embarassment and incompetence of the US authorites counts here?

      They obviously didn’t want to admit they had picked up someone who was (is?) a British agent, and then completely fucked-up their handling of him, by dumping him in Guantanamo, rahter than handing him straight back - which is what they should have done.

      A classic case (failed, fortunately) of trying to bury their mistakes.

    5. Kulvinder — on 2nd April, 2007 at 11:26 am  

      The actions of the British government and the security services during this ‘war on terror’ have been as abhorrant and as wrong as the actions of the government and security services during the troubles.

      That we can on the one hand celebrate Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley sitting down and working together and on the other ignore what helped sow the seeds of such bitter hatred is quite simply astonishing. It is so obvious that it would be trite for me to juxtapose the treatement of the british personnel in Iran and the treatment of our own ‘detainees’

    6. Kismet Hardy — on 2nd April, 2007 at 11:56 am  

      It’s depressing to think that had any of us visiting the motherland poked our nose in out of curiousity to see what was happenning out there first hand could have just as easily been nabbed by the afghan bounty hunters and handed over and carted off to suffer years of audio technique torture. And I hate Metallica so I’d suffer a lot. Bastards

    7. Bert Preast — on 2nd April, 2007 at 12:36 pm  

      The dastards would torture you with porn and women’s knickers. You wouldn’t last five minutes.

    8. ceedee — on 2nd April, 2007 at 1:47 pm  

      The Washington Post revealed a few days ago why the poor fucker was seized:

      “British and U.S. documents show that Rawi was not suspected of planning a terrorist attack and was detained in Gambia and later taken to Guantanamo after he resisted pressure to work as an informer for the CIA and for MI5, the British security service. His family and lawyers contend that the seizure was retaliation for that refusal. Rawi had previously given information to MI5 regarding the whereabouts and activities of Abu Qatada, a radical London cleric close to the al-Qaeda leadership, but he stopped cooperating.”

      Human rights? None here, mate!
      :(

    9. Bert Preast — on 2nd April, 2007 at 1:52 pm  

      So he worked for AQ, then MI5 threatened him so he worked for them, then he saw Qatada was still free and realised MI5′s threats were empty and went back to working for AQ? Not someone I’d consider ‘one of my own’.

    10. Chris Stiles — on 2nd April, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

      Bert -

      So he worked for AQ, then MI5 threatened him so he worked for them, then he saw Qatada was still free and realised MI5’s threats were empty and went back to working for AQ? Not someone I’d consider ‘one of my own’.

      How do you know that that is the interpretation of the facts? It could have equally started with “You are Iraqi and have Jordanian connections - could you try and get close to Abu Qutada and tell us what you find out ?” followed by a later refusal.

    11. Bert Preast — on 2nd April, 2007 at 3:09 pm  

      I doubt MI5 try to recruit randoms. So if he was recruited it was because he was already close to Qatada, and they had some way of leaning on him to ensure co-operation.

    12. Chris Stiles — on 2nd April, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

      Or he just happened to know him socially from some time in the past. Or happened to have a similiar enough background that he would be able to gain access quickly - one is reminded of the hand-wringing about the paucity of speakers of Dari and Pashtu in MI5 and SIS

      I maintain - there are other explanations of the facts that have been released so far, eventually we might know the full picture. So far you seem to be arguing for a level of guilt by association that you are unwilling to apply equally everywhere (BNP in thread on HuT)

    13. Bert Preast — on 2nd April, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

      Not sure how comparing HuT with the BNP is me supporting the BNP?

      In the intelligence world agents are rarely turned because their ideology changes. They get blackmailed. I don’t know the full picture here, but can see enough to believe that Bisher was working for AQ. Which makes him my enemy, rather than my own. Maybe he deserves the benefit of the doubt, but I ain’t giving it to him - though neither shall I be campaigning for his return to Guantanamo or anything. He’s fully comprimised now and unlikely to get the opportunity to be naughty again anyway.

    14. Kulvinder — on 2nd April, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

      I’m not sure why theres any point in speculating why he was treated the way he was, its enough for me that he had his freedom taken away for five years without being charged with anything let alone found guilty.

    15. Sid Love — on 2nd April, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

      There but for the grace of g!d goes my black arse.

    16. El Cid — on 2nd April, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

      brown arse

    17. ceedee — on 3rd April, 2007 at 12:15 am  

      Bert — I’ve read a dozen news reports about this guy and I’ve yet to spot *any* allegation from *anyone* that he had *any* sympathies for AQ.
      Point me to your sources?

    18. Bert Preast — on 3rd April, 2007 at 1:33 am  

      News organistations don’t want to get libelled. Bisher knew Qatada well, MI5 knew this and for reasons that were certainly not ideological were able to get him to co-operate with them. He also doesn’t know one end of a peanut from the other. Any innocent explanations spring to mind?

    19. Kulvinder — on 3rd April, 2007 at 9:29 am  

      Yes lots, obviously they’re all as unverifiable as your ‘information’

    20. Twining or Black in Blue — on 3rd April, 2007 at 10:20 am  

      “British and U.S. documents show that Rawi was not suspected of planning a terrorist attack and was detained in Gambia and later taken to Guantanamo after he resisted pressure to work as an informer for the CIA and for MI5, the British security service. His family and lawyers contend that the seizure was retaliation for that refusal. Rawi had previously given information to MI5 regarding the whereabouts and activities of Abu Qatada, a radical London cleric close to the al-Qaeda leadership, but he stopped cooperating.”

      If the above is the case in that R was taken because of mere refusal and there was nothing else then this is a blatant abuse and racism.

    21. Katherine — on 3rd April, 2007 at 10:26 am  

      Regardless of his associations or not with AQ, being linked to someone nasty is not a criminal offence. So even if he was a supporter of AQ (on which subject I have no clue), that’s hardly an excuse for arresting, trying and convicting him.

      Except of course that that didn’t happen, did it?

      He disappeared into GBay for FIVE YEARS. Five years. Think about that. Think about what you were doing five years ago, Bert Preast, and then continue on this line of, apprently, trying to blame him for his misfortune.

    22. Bert Preast — on 3rd April, 2007 at 12:13 pm  

      Not saying I blame him for it. Just saying he’s AQ, and that makes him my enemy, not one of my own. If I thought he was a normal sort of bloke I’d be outraged at his treatment, but as it is I really don’t care what happens to him.

    23. ceedee — on 3rd April, 2007 at 3:23 pm  

      Bert — Given the complete absence of pressure from HMG, would the CIA/MI6 et al have approved Mr. Rawi’s release if they had the slightest suspicion that he’d offer support or encouragement to AQ?

      You support the US policy of ‘disappearing’ suspects into the CIA’s network of shadowy prisons where they can be kept in solitary confinement for years without legal recourse?

      How about the use of torture to obtain doubtful intelligence?

    24. jailhouselawyer — on 3rd April, 2007 at 11:40 pm  

      Speaking of the BNP and libel, I note that Guido is now in difficulty on mine and Chris Paul’s blog in relation to the article he claimed had been retracted.

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