Nat Hentoff
The Washington Times
March 3, 2009

Last year, Britain’s Foreign Office angered the British High Court by ordering it to censor seven paragraphs from a previous ruling in the case of a British legal resident, Binyam Mohamed, who had been “rendered” and tortured by the CIA in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco and Guantanamo.

[efoods]This muzzling of the High Court was caused by a Bush State Department threat to the Foreign Office, a threat renewed last month when Mr. Mohamed’s case came again before the High Court.

Last August, John Bellinger, then chief legal adviser to the State Department, wrote the Foreign Office: “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 U.S. national security, and could harm existing intelligence-sharing arrangements between our two governments.”

On Feb. 4, the British High Court wanted to finally disclose those seven paragraphs summarizing actual U.S. reports on Mr. Mohamed’s treatment, paragraphs originally provided to the Foreign Office. The judges expected that “the situation had changed significantly following the election of President Barack Obama, who was avowedly determined to eschew torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” (That court is also interested in British involvement with Mr. Mohamed’s interrogations.)

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