More on this year’s Bilderberg where Clarke was UK steering group rep.
Kissinger & Bilderberg global neo-Nazi protection racket
Tony Gosling rounds up after Bilderberg 2012, interviewed by Rick Wiles from Trunews.com (40mins)
Bilderberg 2012 – Secret Rulers of the West (30mins)
Climbdown over secret courts? Nonsense. Now it’s even worse: How Ken Clarke’s masterclass in spin hid REAL story about new justice laws
By David Rose – Daily Mail – 3 June 2012
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke briefed reporters that his plans to allow courts to sit in secret had ‘gone too far’.
It looked like a Government U-turn last Monday when Justice Secretary Ken Clarke briefed reporters that his plans to allow courts to sit in secret had ‘gone too far’ and promised, as one front-page headline put it, they would be ‘rowed back’.
That was the spin. But the following morning, when Mr Clarke’s Ministry published the text of his Justice and Security Bill, the truth became clear.
In reality, the Government had made just one important concession: dropping its original intention that the new secret hearings would extend to inquests.
But, in every other respect, the Bill is draconian and will, if passed, introduce levels of secrecy quite without precedent.
Despite Mr Clarke’s soothing reassurances, this is the truth about the supposed ‘climbdown’:
- will be able to demand secret hearings in any civil court case where they claim airing evidence openly might ‘damage the interests of national security’.
- Theoretically, judges could reject such demands. But the Bill makes clear that in practice their role will be that of rubber stamps.
- In some types of case, Ministers will be able to shut down an action altogether if it has anything to do with an intelligence service, or if the Government claims it might damage ‘international relations’.
Senior Tory backbencher David Davis, a fierce opponent of the plans, said yesterday: ‘The way this was managed is typical of the Blair years. They chose a week when Parliament wasn’t sitting and successfully pre-spun the Bill with the media before it was even published.
‘Only when it was issued did it become apparent that it is still a corrosive attack on centuries of legal tradition and the rules of natural justice, with their basic principle that people must have the right to know what is alleged against them.’
So restrictive are the Bill’s proposals that one young woman whose family was ‘rendered’ to Libya has sent a letter – printed on this page – to Mr Clarke.
In it, she describes her horror when, aged 12, MI6 played a direct role in spiriting away her family in the night on a secret flight from China to detention in Libya.
Now she wants to know why the British Government is still trying to suppress the truth in court.
The main argument Mr Clarke used to justify the Bill also needs close scrutiny.
The turning point, he claimed in a newspaper article, came in 2010, with the payment of millions of pounds in damages to 12 men – all UK residents or citizens – who had been prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and were suing the Government for Britain’s alleged collusion in their torture and ill-treatment.
‘There is understandable public outrage when the Government is forced to spend significant sums settling cases which it believes it can win,’ he wrote.
If only he had been able to order a secret hearing, he suggested, the courts could have heard the full case against the men, and the damages would not have been paid.
But could the Government really have won the Guantanamo damages action, under any circumstances?
All of the men had already been cleared for release by US tribunals at Guantanamo, which heard every scrap of evidence against them – including the confessions of others obtained by torture.
Where on earth was Mr Clarke going to find a fresh ‘smoking gun’? Take Bisher al-Rawi. I spoke to him last week, more than five years after he first told his story in The Mail on Sunday on his release from Guantanamo.
Mr al-Rawi spent months in 2002 working closely with handlers from MI5 in an eventually successful effort to find the radical preacher Abu Qatada, who was then on the run – only to find himself betrayed by the very agency he had helped.
As only emerged much later, they sent a message to the Americans recommending he be abducted when he went on a business trip to the Gambia.
Detained and interrogated there on the grounds he was planning to set up a terrorist training camp in an African country he had not visited, he then spent five years in Guantanamo. And the critical evidence against him? His ‘association’ with Abu Qatada, whom he had only contacted at the behest of MI5.
Now married with two children, Mr al-Rawi has spent the period since his release rebuilding his life. ‘I try not to remember the pain of it. Some of it has gone, but not all,’ he said.
But one thing he is happy to remember vividly is the ‘mediation’ meeting which led to the damages settlement between the 12 former prisoners, their lawyers, and those representing the Government.
A girl who was abducted with her family and sent by MI6 on an ‘extraordinary rendition’ torture flight to Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya has made a personal plea to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, urging him not to protect those responsible via the new Justice and Security Bill.
As The Mail on Sunday revealed last year, Khadeeja al-Saadi was just 12 when she was abducted in Hong Kong in 2004 with her mother, three siblings and her father Sami, a leading opponent of the Gaddafi regime.
All were detained, and her father suffered years of torture and was sentenced to death before finally being freed when the regime was toppled last year. The family, who had lived in London for many years, are now suing the British Government.
Documents found in Libya confirm that their rendition was only possible because MI6 lured them to Hong Kong on the pretext of an interview at the British Embassy.
Instead, they were seized by CIA agents at the airport and handed over to the brutal Libyan security service.
The Bill, published last week, would give the Government sweeping powers to ensure that any evidence about the role of the intelligence and security services is heard in secret.
In an attempt to change Mr Clarke’s mind, Khadeeja has written this letter, which his office confirmed he has received.
He said: ‘The Government team never gave any hint that they wished they could have been presenting some kind of secret defence. You could see they had no confidence they could win if it went to trial. Had they really thought they could, things would not have progressed as they did.’
His lawyers, led by solicitor Gareth Peirce, make a further point. When the Government – just a few months into the action – began to try to settle it, they had already disclosed about 1,000 documents. Of these, not one cast any doubt on the former prisoners’ case; in fact, each disclosure only strengthened it.
Mr al-Rawi said he didn’t mind that the full details of his case, and thus the identities of those to blame for his plight, had not come into the open: in some ways, not having to revisit his suffering had made life easier.
However, when documents were published by this newspaper showing that in 2004 MI6 also connived with Colonel Gaddafi’s intelligence service to ‘render’ his political opponents for torture in Libya, and the opponents in turn decided to sue the Government, he became excited.
‘I thought: here at last is just one story which will be fully told. Let’s find out what the heck was really happening: who was responsible, who was making the decisions.’
Instead, if the Bill becomes law, the cases brought by the Libyan victims of rendition will either be held in secret, or stop dead in their tracks.
Yesterday former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald said: ‘The improvements do not go nearly far enough.
‘The Bill means that for the security services, no matter how strong the evidence of wrongdoing, it will be suppressed. That is bad for them, and bad for the rule of law.’
How distant David Cameron’s promises on taking office two years ago now seem. Allegations that UK services had been involved in torture had ‘overshadowed’ their reputation, he said then, and it was time ‘to clear up this matter once and for all’.
Foreign Secretary William Hague added that Britain’s involvement in torture meant the country was not as effective as it should be ‘in dealing with a world marred by tyranny, oppression and injustice’.
Then, their solution was a public inquiry. That was cancelled months ago, when the MI6 Libya rendition documents were discovered.
Now, with Mr Clarke’s Bill, the last available means of letting in the daylight is about to be shut down.
- Secret justice bill not perfect, says Ken Clarke (guardian.co.uk)
- Secret courts bill U-turn fails to silence critics (guardian.co.uk)
- Still a clear and present danger (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- Justice and security: still a very bad bill | Richard Norton-Taylor (guardian.co.uk)