During many of the interrogations, he says, the MI5 officers would ask
him: “We’re not torturing you, are we?” He would confirm that they were not.
Jamil Rahman, a former civil servant from south Wales, is a British citizen who moved to Bangladesh in 2005 and married a woman he met there. He returned to the UK last year, claiming to have been tortured in Bangaladesh with MI5 collusion. They were trying to get him to confess to be the mastermind behind 7/7! He is now suing the Home Secretary over UK’s role in his detention over there.
Confess, or we Rape your Wife
A Guardian article described the threats made to Jamil Rahman: If he didn’t confess, they would rape his wife ‘(!!) They threatened my family. They go to me, “In the UK, gas leaks happen, if your family house had a gas leak and everyone got burnt, there’s no problems, we can do that easily”.’
Mr Rahman (31 years old) did eventually succumb – and made a false confession of his involvement in the July 7 bomb plots. It is quite hard to believe, that this is happening. We emphatically demand the names of his torturers, and that they be put on trial. One should not criticise a man for doing this. After all, even the great scientist Galileo recanted when shown the instruments of torture by the Holy Inquisition.
Explained Mr Rahman: ‘It was all to do with the British. Even the Bengali intelligence officer told me that they didn’t know anything about me, that they were only doing this for the British.’ He was released after three weeks but re-arrested and mistreated repeatedly over the next two years. He described how two men he believes were British agents would leave the room for ‘a break’ while he was beaten. They often asked: ‘We’re not torturing you, are we?’ and recorded his confirmations that they were not, he alleges.
When the Bangladeshi police came to take away Jamil Rahman, he says that among the armed officers surrounding the home of his wife’s family were a couple of incongruous figures. Wearing balaclavas that left only their eyes showing were two men who, according to Rahman, towered over the police.
Rahman immediately suspected the men were European, but could not be sure of the colour of their skin as they were wearing gloves. He said there are witnesses to what happened next: the Bangladeshi police picked out Rahman, asked the masked men if this was the individual who was to be detained, and the two men nodded. Rahman was then beaten, and he and his wife driven away.
The events he describes happened on 1 December 2005 and, according to an account by Rahman that forms the basis of civil proceedings being brought against the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, it was the start of an ordeal that would last more than two years. The couple were taken to the local headquarters of the directorate general of forces intelligence (DGFI), one of the country’s main intelligence agencies, and held in separate cells. After being stripped, beaten and told that his wife would be raped and murdered and her body burned, Rahman says he agreed to make a lengthy tape- recorded confession to a number of terrorist offences, including masterminding the suicide bomb attacks on London’s transport network the previous July.
He says he was then questioned by two well-spoken Britons by the names of Liam and Andrew, who said they were MI5 officers. When he told them he had been tortured and had made false confessions, and asked for their help, he says the two said they “needed a break”. Andrew is said to have added: “They haven’t done a very good job on you.” Rahman says he was then beaten, had extreme pressure exerted on his testicles, and was told his wife was to be raped.
When the questioning resumed, according to Rahman, Andrew said: “That’s good, you’ve learned your lesson.” Rahman then made a series of admissions that he and his lawyers say were false. He says he was also shown a number of maps that he was instructed to copy on to pieces of paper, which were taken away by the two.
Rahman says that after being interrogated for almost three weeks he and his wife were released, but he was told that he must reside in his wife’s family’s village and not talk to anyone about his experiences. He says he was told that his calls would be monitored and that he was specifically instructed not to contact any lawyers or members of the media, or the UK high commission in Dhaka.
Rahman, a graduate and former civil servant, had settled in Bangladesh that year after marrying a woman from Sylhet, in the north-east of the country. On his release there his passport was withheld and not returned by the high commission for two and a half years. During that period, Rahman says, he was frequently summoned for interrogations by MI5 and Bangladeshi officials.
He says he was shown hundreds of photographs, including surveillance photographs of friends in the UK, whom he was asked to identify. If he did not co-operate, he says, the two British officers would leave the room, during which time he would be beaten. He says that during these interrogations he was accused of “masterminding” the July 2005 suicide bomb attacks in London.
On one occasion, he says, he was ordered to bring his wife with him, and she too says she was threatened with rape. Rahman says that senior Bangladeshi agents who were supervising his mistreatment would give instructions that his head was not to be marked and that no bones were to be broken.
During many of the interrogations, he says, the MI5 officers would ask him: “We’re not torturing you, are we.” He would confirm that they were not, and on one occasion he was told to repeat his answer in a louder voice, which he did. Rahman believes that these exchanges were being recorded.
He alleges he was also questioned by three men who identified themselves as Scotland Yard officers, and by an American woman who called herself Mary. He says the police wanted him to give evidence against another man in a UK trial, and alleges that MI5 said it would arrange for others to give evidence against him if he refused.
Rahman returned to the UK in May last year after his passport was returned by British consular officials in Dhaka. He embarked on legal proceedings once his wife and son were able to join him last week. The couple’s four-month-old boy remains in Bangladesh, however, as they have not received the British passport for which they applied 12 weeks ago. They say they are deeply concerned for his safety.
The Guardian has been reporting for almost four years on allegations that British intelligence officers have been colluding in the torture of ¬British citizens during counter-terrorism ¬investigations, and on the evidence that supports a number of the claims.
Torture in Operation ‘Crevice’ (1)
Torture was also used in the ‘Crevice’ trial, which preceded the London Bombings in a rather strange manner, to obtain its confessions. My book describes (p.168) how, on the steps of the Old Bailey, on 30th April 2007, after being found guilty, Salahuddin Amin had these words read out by his lawyer, the distinguished civil rights lawyer Imran Khan:
‘I demand the truth about the other people who are still in secret detention and being tortured as part of this misguided war on terror. I was illegally detained with some of these people. I know that some of them were treated far worse than I was, while British, American, and Canadian intelligence officers stood ready to benefit from the unreliable fruits of torture.’
Fake- terror cases such as Britain’s Operation ‘Crevice’ (Nobody hurt, stash of fertiliser found in storage locker, Muslims get sent to jail, because they might have been intending to … [fill in this section]) have used torture-extracted confessions. That is the ghastly fact.
‘Crevice’ is sometimes alluded to as the ‘fertiliser trial’: ‘The fertiliser trial has also raised questions of an “MI5 link to torture”. The Guardian journalist Ian Cobain reported that “one of the men convicted of the bomb plot was arrested in Pakistan and interrogated there for 10 months while his co-conspirators were being questioned in London. Salahuddin Amin, a British citizen, alleges he was repeatedly beaten and flogged, threatened with an electric drill, shown other prisoners who had been tortured, and forced to listen to the screams of men being abused nearby….Under the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, it is illegal for British officials to commission acts of torture anywhere in the world, or even to acquiesce in the face of torture. The crime can be punished by life imprisonment. MI5 officials denied that they knew Amin was being tortured. They said there was no reason to suspect it was happening. Amin’s lawyers dismiss these denials as laughable, given the ISI’s notorious reputation for mistreatment of prisoners. His counsel, Patrick O’Connor QC, suggested to the jury that perhaps both sides in the so-called war on terror had come ‘to share common standards of illegality and immorality’. Amin’s lawyers are convinced that the reason he was held in Pakistan for so long without consular assistance was that British officials had decided that his questioning, under torture, should be coordinated with the questioning of his co-conspirators being held in the UK. Amin was eventually set free, told that he had ‘been cleared in England’, and allowed to leave the country. He was re-arrested as his plane touched down at Heathrow. Amin is expected to appeal against his conviction, and his lawyers are preparing a civil action against the British government.”’
Use of torture
In his essay upon Sir Francis Bacon, who was the Lord Chancellor of England in Elizabethan times and is regarded as the ‘father of British Philosophy,’ the historian Lord Macaulay described him as noting down confessions extracted under torture, and that he was even knowing while he did so that that confession was untrue! Macaulay has been much criticized for that essay, but it seems likely that this particular detail was correct. That is the crux of the matter: quite apart from the terrible ethics of being prepared to use torture, it is not the route to finding truth – it leads somewhere else.
Does Britain condone or collude in use of torture, under any circumstances? The answer to this needs to be very simple and unqualified: N-O, no, never. Make sure your MP agrees with you on this matter. And, to show that it means this, those imprisoned from the Crevice trial (its verdict was on May 1st, 2007) should be released. ‘Forced confessions were gained through illegal detention, and torture abroad.’ – this Operation Crevice trial statement was read out by lawyer Imram Khan on steps of Old Bailey. Official denials that Britain uses torture can all too easily mean, that it happens in host nations – with MI6 agents standing nearby!
Likewise, for the Heathrow Liquid Bomb trial – let’s here quote Guardian correspondent Craig Murray (ToT p176):
“… an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes … Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. The trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn’t give is the truth.” (2)
Maybe those words need to be engraved on the walls in halls of justice.
1. This term ‘Crevice’ has no meaning, its just the term by US intel., who brewed it up (ToT, p166)
2. The UK Terror plot: What’s Really Going On? 15 August 2006, archived at: www.oilempire.us/blair-scare.html.