- Launched in October 2003, Cageprisoners is a human rights
organization dedicated to raising the "awareness of the plight of
prisoners at Guantanamo Bay" and other War on Terror victims. As a
"comprehensive resource," six words explain its mission: "education,
campaign, support, motivation, co-operation (and) prevention" for
its efforts to educate the public, campaign for Guantanamo and other detainee
repatriations or their asylum, and have prisoner rights guaranteed under
international law, including humane treatment not to be:
- -- tortured;
- -- indefinitely detained;
- -- disappeared; or
- -- denied proper legal representation, due process, judicial
fairness, and access to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
medical personnel and families.
- In April 2009, its report titled, "Fabricating Terrorism
II: British Complicity in renditions and torture" followed its same-titled
2006 report. Part I covered 13 cases with evidence based on detainee testimonies,
interviews with security service officials, and other research.
- Part II updated it (including 16 other cases - 29 in
all), focusing on Britain's claim to be a human rights leader. Stating
it ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in
2003, its practices belie its commitment.
- Prior to 9/11, Britain became complicit in America's
War on Terror, and the worst of its crimes, including renouncing the rule
of law, due process, and judicial fairness in persecuting innocent people,
subjecting them to barbaric torture, other abuses, and long internments.
- Muslims were targets of choice for their faith, ethnicity,
prominence, activism, and at times charity. They've been singled out, hunted
down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted
in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence and bogus charges,
convicted in sham proceedings, then incarcerated as political prisoners
for practicing Islam at the wrong time in America and Britain.
- Targets were kidnapped, illegally detained, then extrajudicially
disappeared to black sites, called extraordinary or irregular rendition,
or the practice of forcibly transferring someone from one nation to another.
The term is undefined in law.
- Sourcewatch calls it "transferring or flying captured
terrorist suspects from one country to another for detention and interrogation
without the benefit of formal legal proceedings."
- Others say it's "torture by proxy" in secret
US or foreign black sites where anything goes and commonly does. According
to the ACLU, current policies trace back to the Clinton administration,
then were broadly expanded post-9/11 to Guantanamo, Bagram, Afghanistan,
and facilities in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Diego Garcia, prison ships, and
elsewhere. According to former CIA agent Robert Baer:
- "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a
prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria.
It you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them
- In 2005, the British All Party Parliamentary Group on
Extraordinary Rendition (APPG) was established to investigate charges of
UK involvement, because "more likely than not (targets) may be subjected
to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment." Made up of
a "cross party grouping of MPs and Peers from the British parliament,"
it calls the practice:
- "a process by which a detainee is transferred from
one state to another, outside normal legal processes (where they're held
in) secret detention....for the purposes of interrogation, often in circumstances
where they face a real risk of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment."
- "This applies to the UK as it does to the US - as
the authors state plainly that:
- seemingly innocuous acts (e.g. allowing refueling at
airports of aircraft of another State) can become wrongful under international
law if those acts facilitate Extraordinary Rendition."
- Besides being illegal, "the moral case is unassailable:
there is simply no justification whatsoever for the UK or the US engaging
in torture, whether by direct or indirect means." Nor can it provide
reliable information or combat terrorism. Yet the practice continues unabated.
- In November 2009, APPG published its "legal proposals
to criminalise UK involvement in extraordinary rendition" in a report
titled, "Extraordinary Rendition: Closing the Gap."
- It called the practice "illegal, immoral, a stark
breach of the rule of law and ineffective as a counterterrorism tool."
It's unaddressed sufficiently in British law, so it called for "effective
legislation to ensure that the UK does not facilitate or support such a
practice now or in the future."
- It stated that:
- -- evidence shows that extraordinary rendition is longstanding,
but more frequent during America's War on Terror;
- -- it expressed great concern about Britain's involvement;
clear evidence shows it, but "no prosecutions have taken place to
- -- it called for new legislation to criminalize specific
practices, including providing transport facilities like airports or planes
at home or in British territories;
- -- it stated "There is no doubt that the UK has
been involved with the US rendition programme," but the government
has been silent on the practice even though there's been "direct involvement
of MI5 officers;"
- -- it cited a Joint Committee on Human Rights report
titled, "Report on Allegations of UK Complicity in Torture"
providing evidence it's true;
- -- it mentioned other evidence as well, including detainee
testimonies, interviews with legal representatives and insiders, investigative
journalists' accounts, exhibits, parliamentary inquiries, and information
gotten under Freedom of Information legislation;
- -- it cited Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur
on Torture saying he received "credible evidence from well-placed
sources familiar with the situation" of Britain's involvement; and
- -- it affirmed that "It is unlawful to aid, abet,
counsel or procure the commission of a criminal offence" like illegal
renditions and torture, calling for complicit government officials to be
- Torture Becomes Official US Policy - Britain Endorses
- On September 17, 2001, a secret White House finding empowered
the CIA to "Capture, Kill, or Interrogate Al-Queda Leaders,"
authorizing a covert (black site) global network to detain and interrogate
them without guidelines on proper treatment. In response to an ACLU lawsuit,
George Bush acknowledged its existence without revealing program specifics,
such as detainee locations or details of their confinement.
- Claiming "the United States does not use torture,"
he admitted that "an alternative set of procedures" were involved
for information not gotten by conventional means.
- According to former CIA Counterrorism Center chief, Cofer
Black (in September 2002): "After 9/11, the gloves came off - old"
standards no longer apply. They never did but Washington now officially
endorses them. UK officials are less forthcoming, but willingly partnered
in America's high crimes and abuses, undermining their commitment to human
rights and the rule of law.
- According to Britain's Lord Bingham, "English common
law has regarded torture and its fruits with abhorrence for over 500 years."
- The 1984 UN Convention against Torture defines it as:
- "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether
or physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such
purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession,
punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected
of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person,
or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or
suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent
or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official
- Article 3 states:
- "No State Party shall expel, return ('refouler')
or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds
for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture."
- Article 4 says:
- "Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of
torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an
attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes
complicity or participation in torture."
- In his book titled, "Enemy Combatant: A British
Muslim's Journey to Guantanamo and Back," Moazzam Begg wrote:
- "The sad fact is (the UK government) acted duplicitously,
immorally and unlawfully. It is not just their uncritical acceptance of
and obedience to torturous conditions, regimes, and physical restraint
or worse. They were there by choice." They were complicit "in
breach of international law (but remain) unperturbed in using information"
known to be worthless and "abhorrent to the British way of life."
- Fabricating Terrorism II covers 29 case studies "mostly
detailing the experiences of British citizens and British residents granted
asylum (showing how they) passed through a subterranean system of kidnappings,
ghosted to 'black sites,' suffering abuse and torture" to extract
information and confessions known to be unreliable and false." In
addition, no one was charged with terrorism or other crimes. UK authorities
knew it before their rendition, yet allowed it and their torture to happen.
- Cageprisoners "found systematic violations of international
law," showing senior government officials lied to Parliament, its
committees and the public regarding their complicity with America. UK security
forces were present during torture interrogations. They supplied falsified
evidence leading to kidnappings, renditions, illegal detentions and torture.
No evidence proves their direct participation, but they're "unequivocally
guilty of facilitating" the above practices and enlisting other States
as willing partners. "Not exactly a clean pair of hands."
- Cageprisoners published its report in April 2009. Torture,
abuse and degrading treatment continue unabated globally under the Obama
administration despite promises to end them.
- Treatment at Guantanamo and Other Torture Prisons
- Despite no involvement in terrorism, prisoners are subjected
to horrific torture, abuse, and humiliating treatment as "unlawful
enemy combatants" - now called "unprivileged enemy belligerents,"
defined as anyone (with or without evidence) suspected of "engag(ing)
in (or materially supporting) hostilities against the United States or
its coalition partners."
- International law expert Francis Boyle calls it this
legally nihilistic "quasi-category....where human beings (including
US citizens) can be disappeared, detained incommunicado, denied access
to attorneys and regular courts, tried by kangaroo courts (with no right
of appeal, convicted), executed, tortured, assassinated and subjected to"
- Whatever its wording, the notion is "a long-defunct
World War II era legal category of dubious provenance....superseded by
the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949" and their Common Article 3, requiring
detainees to be treated humanely and prohibiting:
- -- "violence to life and person, in particular murder
of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture (and) degrading treatment."
- No longer under the bogus War on Terrorism where imperial
rights replace human ones.
- Of the original 517 Guantanamo detainees:
- -- few at most committed violent acts;
- -- many were randomly seized, guilty only of being in
the wrong place at the wrong time;
- -- 95% were sold for bounty - $5,000 per claimed Taliban
and $25,000 for alleged Al Queda members; and
- -- 20 were children, some as young as 13, yet were treated
as horrifically as adults.
- Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was victimized,
despite no evidence of his involvement, yet in custody, he:
- -- was initially held in Afghanistan;
- -- had no lawyer;
- -- was isolated at black sites for over two years, including
the secret "Dark Prison" near Kabul International Airport, infamous
for its brutalizing torture in total darkness;
- -- another north of Kabul called the "Salt Pit,"
where in 2002, a detainee was stripped naked and left chained to the floor
in frigid temperatures until he died;
- -- in Afghanistan, Mohammed was hog-tied, stripped naked,
hooded, and repeatedly abused in numerous ways, including being:
- -- kept in prolonged isolation for months;
- -- waterboarded numerous times;
- -- chained naked to a metal ring in his cell in a painful
crouch in intense heat and extreme cold;
- -- subjected to deafening sounds round the clock for
- -- forcefully thrown against walls, a procedure called
- -- suspended from the ceiling by his arms so his toes
barely touched the ground;
- -- beaten with electric cables;
- -- given electric shocks; and
- -- forced to endure a variety of stress positions for
extended periods, causing excruciating pain until -
- -- in 2006, he was sent to Guantanamo where his torture
continued, including being waterboarded over 180 times and subjected to
numerous other tortures.
- Since its 2002 opening, the Center for Constitutional
Rights (CCR) represented hundreds of Guantanamo detainees, publishing detailed
accounts of their treatment that remain unchanged, appalling, and illegal.
Besides the above listed ones, they include:
- -- 20 or more daily hours in tiny cells with virtually
no human contact;
- -- severe discipline for the slightest infraction;
- -- holes for toilets;
- -- burning lights 24 hours a day;
- -- sleep deprivation;
- -- painful shackling;
- -- physical attacks by guards;
- -- confinement in boxes in extreme stress positions causing
severe physical and psychological pain and trauma;
- -- under restraint for hunger strikers, force feeding
through their noses and throats abrasively enough to draw blood - a procedure
causing excruciating pain;
- -- instances of severe beatings causing deaths; in some
cases, willful murders; and
- -- to exact confessions, some are told they won't be
killed, but will taken to the brink of death and back repeatedly.
- War on Terror Rendition and Torture Case Studies
- Examples of UK involvement in several are recounted -
subjecting innocent victims to barbarous tortures. They're explained to
arouse public outrage enough to stop them and hold those involved (in America
and Britain) accountable and punished.
- Farid Hilali - A British Resident of Moroccan Nationality
- Initially detained in 1999 in the United Arab Emirates
(UAE), he was tortured and interrogated at the behest of Britain's security
services, then sent to Morocco for more. After release, he came to the
UK, was arrested on immigration charges, then re-arrested when Spain charged
him with terrorism, specifically for alleged 9/11 involvement. The evidence
was entirely bogus, but it stuck.
- During his UAE interrogation, a British government representative
was present. Introducing himself, he explained: "If you want to come
out of this problem, you have to cooperate with the British government;"
that is, tell what you know meaning say what they wanted to hear, no matter
- Failing to "cooperate," Hilali was violently
beaten for an extended period, isolated in a dark cell for three days with
no food or water, had no human contact, was told it was only the beginning,
and it continued in Morocco - not to learn about him, but about Britain
and others there, alleged terrorists despite no evidence.
- In testimony to his lawyers, Moazzam Begg said MI5 agents
first visited him in 1998. Hilali wrote him from Dubai explaining he was
arrested in Pakistan, transfered to Dubai authorities, and severely tortured
to confess that he belonged to the Armed Islamic Group (GAI) connected
to bin Laden.
- His case is significant in one respect. It occurred pre-9/11,
showing rendition and outsourced torture predated it, but intensified greatly
thereafter, Britain very much involved as it remains today.
- Binyam Mohamed - a British Resident of Ethiopian Nationality
- After being granted UK asylum in 1994, he converted to
Islam, then travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to learn more about his
new faith. Post-9/11, Pakistani authorities arrested, interned, and abused
him in the presence of MI6 officers.
- He was then renditioned to Morocco, held from July 2002
- January 2004, and reported the following abuse:
- -- numerous penis mutilations;
- -- sustained, severe beatings;
- -- sensory deprivation in solitary confinement;
- -- deafening music for days; and
- -- being administered mind-altering drugs intravenously.
- British authorities gave interrogators questions and
were kept informed, apparently directing the entire process.
- In January 2004, Mohamed was flown to Afghanistan, held
at the "Dark Prison" near Kabul airport, and remained there until
May for more torture, including:
- -- soldiers smashing his head against a wall;
- -- being hung by his wrists for days so his toes barely
touched the ground;
- -- deafening hip hop music and other harrowing sounds,
and throughout the process, CIA operatives, doctors and psychiatrists were
- He was then taken to Bagram Airbase, forced to sign a
confession that he planned a dirty bomb attack on a US city, so to end
his abuse he said "whatever they wanted to hear."
- In September 2004, he was transferred to Guantanamo,
placed in "super maximum" Camp V, further abused, explaining
MI6 officers were very much involved, and at one point said he'd be tortured.
- "Mohamed's case is one of the most disgraceful examples
of how the rendition process (is) used by (America, Britain, and other)
governments in order to extract information (detainees have no knowledge
of or involvement in) through illegal and inhuman means."
- He was an innocent victim, later released, and now resides
- Jamal Al-Harith - A British Citizen
- After converting to Islam, he spent years abroad learning
about his new faith. On October 2, 2001, he attended a Pakistan religious
retreat, feared he'd be suspected as a British spy, tried leaving for Turkey,
but Taliban forces seized and imprisoned him. After the Afghan invasion,
he contacted Britain's Kabul embassy, then followed ICRC advice to remain
where he was while they tried to arrange for his UK return.
- However, US Special Forces intercepted him, said he could
fly home, yet took him to Kandahar Airbase where he was stripped naked
and beaten, then sent to Guantanamo where he was:
- -- shackled up to 15 hours a day;
- -- confined to open-air cells and exposed to extreme
temperatures, rats and snakes;
- -- physically beaten by guards;
- -- psychologically tortured;
- -- denied medical treatment;
- -- served rotten food and unsafe drinking water; and
- -- subjected to religious abuse.
- MI5 operatives had full knowledge of his treatment, abandoned
one of their subjects, and tried to get him to confess to terrorism, even
after checking his background and finding nothing incriminating.
- In March 2004, Al-Harith was released, is currently,
with other detainees, suing top Bush administration officials for redress,
- "They deprived me of my liberty, interrogated and
tortured me and let me go without even a word of apology."
- Omar Deghayes - A British Resident of Libyan Nationality
- Like Moazzam Begg, Deghayes wanted to experience life
under Taliban rule after seeing how western media distorted it. When war
broke out, he left for Pakistan, was arrested and visited numerous times
by British officials who said they'd help but didn't, even though they
knew he was innocent.