The Obama Administration has taken the rare step of criticizing a British court. Why? Because the court released a few paragraphs of a report that confirmed our abuse and torture of detainees. Spokesman Ben LaBolt denounced the release of the information and threatened to cut off access of the British to classified information in the future. Note these paragraphs do not appear to reveal any new classified technique, but rather confirm our violations of international law — evidence that the Obama Administration has been refusing to release.
Americans are already following the British investigation to learn about the decision to invade Iraq — information that remains classified or unavailable in the United States (here).
Now, we can look to the British courts to confirm abuses of detainees that our courts and Congress have effectively blocked.
LaBolt said the administration “shared this information in confidence and with certain expectations.” Those expectations were that the British would support its effort to cover up the full extent of our human rights violations.
The paragraphs were released earlier on the British Foreign Office website, and conceded that the detainee, Binyam Mohamed, faced “at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities.” Mohamed was never charged and eventually released. The disclosure has more legal than national security implications — which is why the Administration is so upset. Obama has blocked any investigation into torture or war crimes. At the same time, it has been seeking to dismiss any lawsuits that would reveal the extent of the abuse. Any such litigation would reveal not only our violations but highlight the role of the Obama Administration in protecting Bush officials from any accountability for those violations.
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