The British Government has shot itself in the foot again. Not only that, but MI5 has been shown to be a lying, deceitful and untrustworthy organization which demeans the democracy that it claims to serve.
1) Determined and lengthy British Government legal initiatives have failed to stop the courts allowing publication of a seven paragraph summary prepared by the Americans that proves that MI5 knew that a UK resident called Binyam Mohamed was being tortured by the Americans and their associates and continued to interrogate him in that knowledge, in clear breach of international obligations and of a government ruling dating from 1972.
2) In an attempt to water down a judicial ruling that criticised MI5 and its behaviour, the lawyer acting on behalf of the government wrote to the courts and asked the court not to publish the following allegations which form a summary of just what the judge thought that MI5 gets up to:
"The Master of the Rolls' observations .... will read as statements by the Court (i) that the Security Service does not in fact operate a culture that respects human rights or abjures participation in coercive interrogation techniques ..... (iii) that officials of the Service deliberately misled the Intelligence and Security Committee (of the House of Commons) on this point ...."
The lawyer continues:
"The Master of the Rolls' observations .... constitute an exceptionally damaging criticism of the good faith of the Security Service as a whole. In particular, the suggestion that the Court should distrust any UK government assurance based on the Service's advice ....."
Full details are in reports in the Guardian and other newspapers today.
It is likely that the full text of the Master of the Rolls' observations will become public shortly and I look forward to reading paragraph 168 of the Master's judgement in full and gory detail and adding its text to this post.