Irish Anti War Movement

UK Govt admits defeat over claim renditions court case will damage UK-US relations

UK Govt admits defeat over claim renditions court case will damage UK-US relations
 
The British Government admitted defeat in court today over its claims that a renditions case could not be heard for fear of embarrassing the US.
 
Government QC James Eadie told the court that he accepted they had “come second” when it came to arguments over “Foreign Act of State” – the theory that a British court cannot hear cases where the UK has cooperated with another state in wrongdoing.
 
Today’s hearing concerned Yunus Rahmatullah, who was seized by UK forces in Iraq in 2004 before being handed over to the US and ‘rendered’ to Bagram, Afghanistan. Mr Rahmatullah suffered years of torture before finally being released in June this year.
 
The UK long denied any involvement in rendition, before being forced to correct the record in Parliament in 2008, when then-Defence Secretary John Hutton finally publicly admitted that the rendition of Mr Rahmatullah and another man, Amanatullah Ali, had taken place.
 
Today’s hearing also considered written testimony from a former senior US Ambassador, Thomas Pickering, who contradicted the UK Government’s claim that hearing the case would endanger UK-US relations. In written testimony, Ambassador Pickering stated that “I firmly believe that adjudicating Mr Rahmatullah’s case in UK courts is highly unlikely to cause damage to the relations or national security cooperation between the US and UK," adding that the UK Government’s claims “misunderstand the value the United States places on the rule of law.”
 

UK Govt attempts to push rendition case out of High Court

UK Govt attempts to push rendition case out of High Court
 
The High Court will tomorrow (Tues 11 November) consider whether a case concerning UK involvement in rendition and torture in Iraq and Afghanistan should be heard. 
 
Judges will hear arguments from lawyers for Yunus Rahmatullah, who was seized in Iraq in 2004 by British forces before being handed over to the US, who rendered him to Bagram prison in Afghanistan.  During his ordeal Mr Rahmatullah was subjected to torture on multiple occasions, held at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and held without charge or trial for a decade in Afghanistan before his release earlier this year.
 
Lawyers for the UK Government however are arguing that the case should not be heard, as to do so would damage relations with the USA. The legal team for Mr Rahmatullah – who is being assisted by the charity Reprieve and solicitors Leigh Day – are expected to point to the testimony of a former senior US diplomat who believes that the Government’s argument is false.
 
Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who represented the USA at the UN under George HW Bush and served for four decades as a diplomat, states in written testimony that that “I firmly believe that adjudicating Mr Rahmatullah’s case in UK courts is highly unlikely to cause damage to the relations or national security cooperation between the US and UK." Pickering further said that the UK Government’s claims “misunderstand the value the United States places on the rule of law.”
 

UK Govmt to release secret policy on lawyer surveillance - case brought by victims of rendition and torture.

UK Government to release secret policy on surveillance of lawyers after last-minute u-turn
 
The Government today agreed to release its until-now secret policies governing how and when it eavesdrops on confidential communication between lawyers and their clients, in response to a case brought by victims of rendition and torture.
 
The concession was made ahead of a hearing of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) – a highly secretive quasi-court which considers complaints brought against the intelligence services – in response to a claim brought by two families who were ‘rendered’ by MI6 and the CIA to Col Gaddafi’s prisons in 2004.
 
The IPT case concerns whether the Government had spied on confidential communications between the victims – the Belhadj and al Saadi families - and their legal teams, concerning a separate, ongoing claim which they brought against the UK Government in the High Court.   If the Government has spied on these communications, it will have breached the long-established principle that each side is allowed confidential communication with its legal team.  Doing so would give the Government an unfair advantage, and threaten the victims’ right to a fair hearing.
 
Today, the Government conceded shortly before a rare public hearing of the IPT that it would release its policies on the interception of legally privileged material, although only in redacted form.  It has been given until 17:00 GMT tomorrow (Thursday 30 October) to do so.
 

Washington Piles Lie Upon Lie: new lie, Russian invasion of Ukraine

G4S Guantanamo contract ‘breaches UK policy’

G4S Guantanamo contract ‘breaches UK policy’
 
The government is being asked to take action against British firm G4S, after it emerged the company has won a £71m contract to provide a range of ‘base support’ services at Guantánamo Bay.
 
Legal charity Reprieve, which assists Guantánamo prisoners such as British resident Shaker Aamer, has submitted a dossier of evidence to the UK’s responsible business watchdog, the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines (UK NCP). The submission argues that by providing ‘essential’ services at the prison, G4S will be contravening British government policy that the prison must be closed, as well as the OECD’s guidelines for responsible business conduct.
 
Support services form an important part of a complex regime of mistreatment at Guantánamo, and the broad scope of the G4S contract – which includes ‘vehicles’, ‘custodial’, and ‘limited facilities support’ – has raised concerns that G4S will be directly complicit in abuses such as force-feeding.
 
Last week, several detainees protesting their detention without charge alerted their Reprieve lawyers to a new crackdown by the Guantánamo authorities. Mr Aamer was reportedly beaten, while another detainee’s hand was broken.
 
The British government maintains that the prison must close, and that Mr Aamer should be returned home to London. Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Guantánamo “has actually helped to radicalise people and make our country and our world less safe”, while elsewhere the prison has been called “a shocking affront to democracy.”
 

Events For Gaza Sat 9th August 2014 (Taken From IPSC)

Saturday 9 Aug – [Dublin] Freedom & Justice for Palestine – National Demonstration – 2pm, Assemble at The Spire, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

Saturday 9 Aug – [Ennis] Protest for Gaza – 12pm, O’Connell Square, Ennis

Saturday 9 Aug – [Cork] Vigil for Gaza – 1pm, Daunt Square, Cork

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