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Moazzam Begg: ‘British intelligence were there at every stage of my detention’

February 13, 2010

 

British Muslim held at Guantánamo Bay says Binyam Mohamed revelations are no surprise considering his own experience
Friday 12 February 2010 19.50 GMT

Photograph: Murdo Macleod

When I heard about Binyam Mohamed I felt a certain sense of relief that finally some of the truth was coming out into the public arena. But it’s not a revelation to me as it’s something I have ­maintained since my release: that the British intelligence services were present at every stage of my ­incarceration and knew what was happening to me and to many other British prisoners.

I am a British citizen and the British intelligence services were, as far as I’m concerned, complicit in the torture of their own citizens – the ones they’re supposed to protect.

I think that although the government is caught between trying to justify it and trying to deny it, this revelation should cause things to change more than they ever have before. But I don’t know if that will be the case. There’s been a strong denial from the government and suggestions from them that it’s a slur. That’s impossible. It’s a statement of fact.

The government is trying to hide this under the interests of national security.

I remember very well when I was held – not just in Guantánamo, but also in Bagram and Kandahar – that British intelligence services were present at every leg of that journey. I knew one of them from the UK because he’d ­visited my house in Birmingham, so we already knew each other when I saw him again at Kandahar and Bagram. It’s well-known, especially to all the Guantánamo prisoners, that the British intelligence services were present. The evidence is well-corroborated.

I don’t want to see those involved going to prison or suffering the way we did, but I do want the truth to come out and I don’t want them to hide behind national security. They need to be open so we can get some reconciliation.

It’s hard to describe the conditions in which I first met British intelligence officials when I was in US ­custody. After running the gauntlet of US soldiers punching and kicking me and dogs barking at me, I was forced to my knees, hooded and in shackles, with a gun pointed towards me.

When the hood was lifted so, metaphorically, was the veil, and in front of me I saw British intelligence agents.

I felt shock and relief. Relief that these people – among them was the man who’d been in my house and who I’d offered a cup of tea to – were British and so must have my interests at heart. And shock that they were British but didn’t have my best interests at heart.

Related:

12 February 2010 Release the 42 CIA Documents on Binyam Mohamed’s Brutal Torture   The Public Record, Jeffrey Kaye

11 February 2010  Details of British Resident’s Brutal Torture by CIA Officers Released  Truthout, Andy Worthington

10 February 2010 Binyam Mohamed: the government lawyer’s letter to the court of appeal, annotated by Ian Cobain  The Guardian,

10 February 2010 David Miliband condones torture of Binyam Mohamed? (video)  Jon Snow interviews Miliband for Channel 4  (Drinking game:  a shot for each lie.  Warning – may easily lead to death by alcoholic poisoning)

10 February 2010 Ex-Guantánamo man thanks Ireland  The Irish Times, Jamie Smyth

30 July 2009  The Opening of Guantanamo Justice Centre  (video) Guantanamo Justice Centre

26 March 2009  Moazzam Begg in Conversation with Binyam Mohamed  (audio & transcript) Cageprisoners

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