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Vol. 74/No. 45      November 29, 2010

Guantánamo inmates win
settlement from UK gov’t
As many as 16 people have won a financial settlement from the British government for its complicity with Washington in their unconstitutional detention and abusive treatment at the U.S. prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

UK justice secretary Kenneth Clarke announced the deal November 16, saying London was admitting no guilt but wanted to avoid “protracted” litigation and feared “compromising national security” if the cases went on longer. The settlement is reportedly in the millions of dollars.

The most prominent legal action is that of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident born in Ethiopia. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and sent by U.S. forces to Morocco for 18 months of interrogation, with London’s knowledge. Among the abuses he endured was monthly torture that involved dozens of scalpel cuts to his genitals, which were then doused with a burning liquid. Eventually Mohamed ended up at Guantánamo.

Last year a British court ruled Mohamed’s treatment was “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” and ordered the release of CIA files on him that were in British possession. London did so, violating the understanding between the U.S. and British secret police that such shared files are never made public.

Mohamed sought redress in U.S. courts as well, but was not successful. No former or present Guantánamo detainees have been able to sue the U.S. government under either the George W. Bush or Barack Obama administrations. Both have used “state secrets” as an excuse to prevent the cases from going to court, or claimed the agencies and individuals being charged enjoy immunity.

The White House said it had no comment on the British settlement.

Clarke said the British government is devising a system whereby spy files of interest in future court cases “would be seen and heard in secret hearings and withheld from interested parties and their lawyers,” the Guardian reported.
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Obama’s Afghan war timetable: 2011 2014+
Gates: We’ll still be ‘out there killing’  
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