David Miliband, the torturer’s friend, continues to deploy the ‘simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play’, inherited from the almost equally squalid Jonathan Aitken.
Here is part of a letter from Miliband published on page 32 of today’s Observer:
‘Your leader (“Tell us the truth about torture, Mr Miliband”, Comment, last week) suggested that I had “suppressed evidence” linking British officials to serious offences allegedly committed against Binyam Mohamed, and that my decision to seek public interest immunity against public disclosure of the documents might be from “fear of offending an ally”.
‘The truth is quite the reverse.’
And here is The Observer itself rebutting Mr Valiant-for-Truth on page two:
‘The Foreign Office (FCO) solicited the letter from the US State Department that forced British judges to block the disclosure of CIA files documenting the torture of a British resident held in Guantánamo Bay, the Observer can reveal.
‘A former senior State Department official said that it was the Foreign Office that initiated the “cover-up” by asking the State Department to send the letter so that it could be introduced into the court proceedings.
‘The former senior State Department official said: “Far from being a threat, it was solicited [by the Foreign Office].” The Foreign Office asked for it in writing. They said: ‘Give us something in writing so that we can put it on the record.’ If you give us a letter explaining you are opposed to this, then we can provide that to the court.”
‘The letter, sent by the State Department’s top legal adviser John Bellinger to foreign secretary David Miliband’s legal adviser, Daniel Bethlehem, on 21 August last year, said: “We want to affirm in the clearest terms that the public disclosure of these documents or of the information contained therein is likely to result in serious damage to US national security and could harm existing intelligence-sharing arrangements.”
In other words, once again Mr Miliband is correct. Rather than wishing to cover US backs, as The Observer shamefully alleged, it was the back of the UK government which he had intended to protect. Meanwhile he appears intent on applying the bad apples / Abu Ghraib defence to Britain’s role in government sanctioned torture.
Good for him!