On Friday, the High Court gave permission for a judicial review of the government’s failure to hold a public inquiry into the UK’s alleged complicity in the torture of a large number of civilians.
The abuse they have documented includes 59 allegations of detainees being hooded, 11 of electric shocks, 122 of sound deprivation through the use of ear muffs, 52 of sleep deprivation, 131 of sight deprivation using blackened goggles, 39 of enforced nakedness and 18 allegations that detainees were kept awake by pornographic DVDs played on laptops.
Lord Goldsmith is now saying that he ‘had no knowledge’ that the Government in which he served might have been complicit in the rendition and torture of British subjects.
On moral grounds, and moral grounds alone, we are right to share the International concern that we may be hypocritical in our desire to impose our values across the world when those values include the despicable crime of allowing people who have been given the right to live in Britain having a hood put over their head whilst they are questioned about the fact that they now appear to be in a Middle East war zone and engaged in terrorist activities against the British Government.
There are worse fates than having a hood put over your head or being kept awake at night. In the same week that the High Court decided that it was right to look into these techniques, another torture manual was released by order of the court. Try this:
“Use an inverted knuckle into the sternum and drive inward and upward.”
“Continue to carry alternate elbow strikes to the ribs” until the desired effect is achieved.
“Drive straight fingers into the face, and then quickly drive the straightened fingers of the same hand downwards into the groin area.”
These techniques are all taken from a manual written by HM Government – and therefore of which they very much do have knowledge. Instructions warn that the techniques risk giving a “fracture to the skull” and “temporary or permanent blindness caused by rupture to eyeball or detached retina”. One passage warns that “if breathing is compromised the situation […] becomes a medical emergency”.
If we are so offended by the idea of an individual who has declared war on our Government being deprived of his sleep, you may well ask what heinous crime a person might have committed to be on the receiving end of the torture that the UK Government so specifically does condone?
The answer will surprise you.
The techniques described above are those sanctioned for use on young children who have been ‘taken into the care’ of our illustrious State. They are not waging war against the state, they are the victims of the years in which it was decided that having a Father was unnecessary, discipline at school was to be deplored, smacking at home was illegal, and the most important thing in life was to express yourself however you wished. When their parents are no longer able to cope with these feral youths in their homes, the State removes them to institutions in which the above techniques result in broken arms, noses, wrists and fingers.
Earlier this month the government was prepared to go to a tribunal to fight against the disclosure of the manual, despite the information commissioner ruling that the public interest was so grave the document should be released. The Ministry of Justice backed down and last week released the entire 119-page document published by the HM Prison Service in 2005 and classified as a restricted government document. Previously, officials had even refused to give a copy to the parliamentary human rights committee.
Meanwhile the main stream media are content to focus on the claims of Binyam Mohamed that the British might have been aware that someone was being nasty to him.
Lord Goldsmith has a lengthy interview in the Independent today in which he says:
“The fundamental principle as far I was concerned was, we can’t be involved in torture, we can’t encourage torture, we can’t be complicit in torture.”
You are Goldsmith, you were, you continue to be; now let us see you campaign to clean up the techniques used in British children’s homes before you emote on the trials and tribulations of Binyam Mohamed.