After faffing around for over 4 years, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police Service have decided not to charge anyone at MI5 the Security Service or SIS the Secret Intelligence Service in the cases of two people who have made allegations of complicity in torture against them.
Their joint statement does not "clear" the officers and agencies concerned of any wrongdoing, which is the propaganda line being spun by say , the Daily Telegraph, it just says that the CPS feels that there is insufficient evidence for the likely prospect of a criminal conviction.
This is a joint statement by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) dealing with:
(a) the decisions of the CPS not to charge any named individuals in relation to the investigations in Operations Hinton and Iden;
(b) the setting up of an advisory panel for scoping other complaints about ill-treatment by detainees in similar circumstances; and
(c) the decision by the MPS whether to investigate two further cases where allegations of criminal wrongdoing are raised in relation to the alleged rendition of named individuals to Libya and the alleged ill-treatment of them in Libya.
All concerned have been mindful of the obligation that allegations such as those made in Operations Hinton and Iden must be investigated thoroughly and in accordance with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights is very short and all encompassing:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Operation Hinton involved the investigation of the alleged involvement of British officials in the ill-treatment and torture of Mr Binyam Mohamed when he was detained in Pakistan between about April and July 2002 and/or when he was detained elsewhere between about July 2002 and early 2004.
Mr Mohamed has never alleged that any member of either the Security Service or the Secret Intelligence Service was directly involved in the torture and ill-treatment he alleges. The investigation has therefore focused on whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of convicting any member of either Service for offences of aiding and abetting torture, aiding and abetting war crimes and misconduct in public office.
However, the CPS has also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove to the standard required in a criminal court that any identifiable individual provided information to the US authorities about Mr Mohamed or supplied questions for the US authorities to put to Mr Mohamed, or was party to doing so, at a time when he or she knew or ought to have known that there was a real or serious risk that Mr Mohamed would be exposed to ill treatment amounting to torture.
"he or she knew or ought to have known that there was a real or serious risk"
The Crown Prosecution Service appear to be completely out of touch with reality, again.
Intelligence Agencies not only ought to have known exactly which countries and state agencies use torture, but they ought to know exactly where the torture chambers are located and the identities of the torturers and their superiors, because they should be hunting them down, instead of helping them.
If the Intelligence Agencies are claiming to be somehow ignorant of this, then MI5 or SiS officers and their superiors, should be charged with Misconduct in Public Office,
for "wilful neglect or misconduct", since everyone within the UK Intelligence Agencies is supposed to be aware that "torture" or "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" is utterly wrong.
Any investigation of the Libyan allegations , which Sir Peter Gibson's Detainee Inquiry had already promised to look into back in September 2011, are now in danger of being spun out for another 4 years by the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Ploddingly and bureaucratically, they have announced that they have set up "an advisory panel" to decide whether they should investigate these claims or not. Why have they not already started to investigate before Christmas 2011 ?
Following the advice of the joint advisory Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police Panel, the Metropolitan Police has decided that the allegations raised in the two specific cases concerning the alleged rendition of named individuals to Libya and the alleged ill-treatment of them in Libya are so serious that it is in the public interest for them to be investigated rather than at the conclusion of the Detainee Inquiry.
The Detainee Inquiry Panel will now carefully consider its next steps and the Chairman of the Panel, Sir Peter Gibson, will make an announcement in due course.
Surely it is possible for the Detainee Inquiry to proceed in parallel with any Police investigation ? If they wait for every investigation and court case to finish, before they get formally started, then they might as well all resign now.
Were these kidnappings of individuals and families, none of whom were terrorists who posed a threat to the UK and their "extraordinary rendition" into the hands of torturers in the USA, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt or Libya etc.
sanctioned by Labour government Ministers under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, section 7 Authorisation of acts outside the British Islands ?
Will Tony Blair and his henchmen like Jack Straw and David Blunkett, try and divert responsibility for British complicity in torture by blaming their civil servant officials instead ?
The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government's hands are not entirely clean either, given that only last year, they firstly accepted the defection of
Moussa Koussa from the Gadaffi regime in Libya and then let him go freely out of their custody. There are plenty of allegations around of his personal involvement in political assassinations, massacres and torture as head of the Libyan intelligence bureaucracy, whose abandoned offices have yielded prima facie evidence of such complicity.
It is now over 18 months since the Detainee Inquiry was set up and the promise Undertakings to protect witnesses or whistleblowers from prosecution and / or disciplinary action have still not been agreed or published
Spy Blog has raised with the Detainee Inquiry, the question of Communications data snooping, Interception of Communications and Intrusive Surveillance and recruitment of Confidential Human Intelligence Sources i.e. routine Intelligence Agencies powers and techniques, which could easily be aimed at members and staff of the Detainee Inquiry and their families and friends, by one or all of the intelligence Agencies, trying to identify potential or actual whistleblowers who may not be adhering to the official party line. The self justification for doing so will be on the nebulous grounds of "national security" - to determine if anyone willing to talk, even in secret, to the Detainee Inquiry about the deeds or misdeeds of their colleagues or superiors be trusted any more.
See the previous Spy Blog article: Reply from the Detainee Inquiry, regarding anonymity protection for whistleblowers, surveillance targeting against the Inquiry itself etc.
Were the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service teams working on investigations Operation Hinton and Operation Iden targeted in this way ? Given the 4 years it took them to fail to find sufficient evidence and the number of people they were not allowed to interview, it may well be that the Intelligence Agencies were always one step ahead of the investigators, perhaps through the use of such surveillance techniques.
Will the Metropolitan Police investigation into the Libyan allegations, if it ever goes ahead, also be so targeted by the Intelligence Agencies ?
Remember that individual Police officers and investigation teams have, according to evidence given to the Leveson Inquiry, been targeted by News of the World and / or other journalists and private investigators, including the team investigating Downing Street complicity in the "cash for honours" scandal headed by the now politically disgraced Assistant Commissioner John Yates.
It is therefore not fanciful to assume that people within the UK Intelligence Agencies with these secret surveillance powers will use them, or will get their US or European sister intelligence agencies to do so on their behalf against such torture investigations, unless expressly and publicly forbidden to do so .
Any such ban must be public, so that the companies and staff working in telecommunications, internet and postal communications services can recognise illegal requests for Communications Data or the contents of communications and refuse to accede to them.
It is ironic that the person to whom complaints about such abuses of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 by the Intelligence Agencies, if they exist, is the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the post held by Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson until he resigned it early in his tenure to devote himself to the Detainee Inquiry.
The current Intelligence Services Commissioner is Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller - see the previous Spy Blog article: Intelligence Services Commissioner, Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller appointed early, announced late