Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Cops to investigate spooks’ role in Guantanamo torture

Issue No. 2648

A rendition flight

A rendition flight


Police have launched an investigation into MI5 and MI6 officers involved in the interrogation of ­suspects under torture.

Initially the US said that Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi national held in Guantanamo Bay, was a key link between Iraq and Al Qaida. It wasn’t true and the US no longer claim it.

Since 2006 he has been held in one of the most isolated sections of the detention camp in Cuba. He has been subjected to waterboarding at least 83 times during interrogations.

According to his torturers it left him “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth”. So they gave him “truth serums”.

In what the CIA described as the “aggressive phase of interrogation”, Abu Zubaydah was locked in a coffin sized box for 11 days.

He was then shut in a box measuring just 21 inches by two and a half feet for 29 hours.

At some point in his various ­interrogations he lost an eye.

A report from MPs last year said, “The case of Abu Zubaydah shows direct awareness of extreme ­mistreatment and, probable torture.

“However, the Agencies MI5 and MI6 continued to send the CIA questions to be used in interrogations without seeking any assurances ­regarding Zubaydah’s treatment in detention, until at least 2006.”

Poland and Lithuania have both been ordered by the European Court of Human Rights to pay Zubaydah £86,000 each for their role in the torture.

He has not been charged by the US government with any offences and remains in detention.

MI6 and the domestic spies in MI5 were involved in ­hundreds of torture cases and dozens of rendition cases.

Labour and Tory governments repeatedly denied this and this police investigation only comes reluctantly after repeated calls from Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers.


  • Sarah Vine complained last week that a protester had shouted “I hope you drop dead” at her husband, Michael Gove. In contrast Gilly Waddington, wife of the late former home secretary David Waddington, suggested to a noisy crowd outside her house that they march. She then joined the demo, leading chants of, “David Waddington is a bastard.”
  • A secondary school has been criticised after it advertised for a “strong disciplinarian” to deliver “tough love” to pupils. The job post states that anyone who “wants to be every child’s best friend” need not apply for the role. The full-time position is at Towers School in Kennington, Kent.

No room at refuges but 7 for trade envoy

Ten domestic abuse victims a day are turned away from women’s refuges because there is no space.

An audit by Women’s Aid discovered 3,605 were refused access to a refuge between 2017 and 2018, the equivalent to 69 a week.

The charity said many victims, often with children, are forced to sleep rough or return to abusers. Nearly one in ten refuges and a fifth of community based services said they had no council funding last year.


  • Poor Antony Phillipson, the trade commissioner for North America.

He needed somewhere to live in New York while he negotiates trade deals for us. So we bought him a new pad for £12 million. Troublemaker isn’t Kirstie Allsopp, but that seems a lot. He gets panoramic views, a library, steam room, access to a pool, many bathrooms and a couple of dishwashers. But only seven bedrooms.


Parents skip meals as quarter of children hungry

Children are going hungry as free school meals are not offered to many whose parents are on a low income, a new study suggests.

A report for the Child Poverty Action Group indicated that even when youngsters receive free school meals, it might not be enough for their needs.

Researchers at University College London studied low income families in London and a south east seaside town, finding that around one in four children went hungry at times, despite sacrifices made by their parents.

Half of parents in the study did not eat enough food, skipped meals or used food banks.

Some children said there were rules on what was available for a free meal, which could make them feel embarrassed.

Half of teenagers surveyed said they did not have money to spend on food with their friends.


Viscount against fracking but for sand quarries

Viscount Cowdray is the largest landowner in the South Downs and worth an estimated £238 million. He has submitted plans to turn two areas of his estate into a 185-acre industrial zone capable of extracting 2-4 million tonnes of sand for building materials.

In 2013 he opposed fracking just north of the estate. He railed against “the industrialisation of a very beautiful part of the world”, and sided with “those who live, work in, or take recreation in the weald and downlands of the national park”.

The proposed quarries lie on a patch of heath land and forest with protected birds and the like.

A boycott of the Cowdray Estate’s farm shop has started.

The estate away from the sand mine bit includes a golf course and a polo club.


Cruel council demolish home

A council has been criticised for ordering the demolition of a beach-side cabin built by a homeless man.

The wooden shack, which has a front door, window and a tarpaulin roof, as well as a flower garden outside, was built between two concrete walls on a seafront walk in Folkestone, Kent.

However, Folkestone & Hythe district council said that the shack was built on its property and have ordered the man to move out.

Officials placed a notice on the front door, addressed to “the unauthorised occupant, Temporary Structure, Marine Walk, Folkestone”, ordering him to remove his belongings within a week.

The council said it plans to dismantle the shack.


‘We want to treat colleagues with respect and courtesy and kindness’

Tory Home Office minister Victoria Atkins has an interesting view of her party

‘No one wants an election and no one wants her to lead us into it’

One cabinet minister on rumours that Theresa May could call a snap general election

‘We would be wiped out’

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen on his party’s chances in a general election

‘We have had a lot of patience but patience runs out’

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Brexit

‘Dark and truly perilous waters’

A Daily Mail newspaper editorial says derailing of Brexit is a threat to democracy

‘MPs have mounted a coup against the government’

The Mail continues


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