There aren’t any security reasons to introduce secret courts


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8:50 am - April 5th 2012

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contribution by Donald Campbell

On the BBC’s Today programme yesterday morning, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke defended the Government’s dangerous secret justice plans on the grounds that the changes were needed to reassure a “nervous” CIA which had “started cutting back” on intelligence-sharing with the UK.

Interestingly, he claimed to know this despite never having discussed the issue with the US authorities directly.

He didn’t have to wait long to be contradicted – on the BBC’s World at One – by a former senior CIA officer – no less than the ex-chief of the Agency’s Bin Laden unit.

Michael Scheuer said that, in fact, the relationship between the US and UK remained “exceedingly close,” and there was less nervousness at the CIA about sharing intelligence with the UK than with any other country.

He emphasised that “the Central Intelligence Agency would never hold any information back from the British that was important to their domestic security, or to the security of their people and facilities overseas.”

The World at One – transcript:
Q: “Do you sense that there has been a nervousness in the CIA and US intelligence agencies about sharing intelligence with Britain?”

Michael Scheuer: “I think less than with anyone else. There’s always a nervousness when you share a piece of intelligence with anyone. But the relationship between Britain and the United States, especially on the issue of terrorism is exceedingly close, and more than that important to the security of both countries.

I think that there’s a nervousness in the CIA about the use of our information in American courts, so it would not be surprising that we would be nervous about what’s going on in Britain or elsewhere in Europe
[…]
There are certainly things, for example, that we share with Britain, Canada and Australia that we share with no one else, because of the closeness and the duration of that relationship […]
The Central Intelligence Agency would never hold any information back from the British that was important to their domestic security, or to the security of their people and facilities overseas.”

This direct contradiction must surely strengthen still further the concern expressed by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights today, that there is a “troubling lack of evidence” for the proposals set out in the Green Paper on Justice and Security.

To abandon a centuries-old tradition of open justice solely to placate a foreign spy agency would be bad enough. But it seems now that even this flimsiest of justifications no longer stands up.

It is time ministers dropped their plans for secret justice altogether.


Donald Campbell is the Communications Officer at Reprieve.

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Reader comments


1. douglas clark

What a surprising place for a rebuttal to come from. Can we take it from this that Ken Clarke lied?

What a parcel of rogues we have leading our nation.

2. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

“the Central Intelligence Agency would never hold any information back from the British that was important to their domestic security, or to the security of their people and facilities overseas.”

The CIA might not but Obama would.

http://www.salon.com/2009/05/12/obama_101/singleton/

“If it is determined that [her majesty’s government] is unable to protect information we provide to it, even if that inability is caused by your judicial system, we will necessarily have to review with the greatest care the sensitivity of information we can provide in the future.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/12/obama-threatens-to-limit-us-intel-with-brits/

@1

Can we take it from this that Ken Clarke lied?

If he did then David Miliband did too.

“However, David Miliband, the foreign secretary, has repeatedly told the court that the US would stop sharing intelligence with the UK if the CIA material was published.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/29/binyam-mohamed-cia-torture

3. the a&e charge nurse

Appeasement of a paranoid, and vindictive CIA – what a splendid reason to justify a veil of secrecy falling on British courts?

Interesting. It seems that UK politicians are so used to demands from the CIA (and the Americans in general) that they anticipate them.

So we are doing this because the Americans demand it.

I look forward to all the usual tory suspects who bang on about Europe, and national sovereignty voting against this. Oh wait, tory sovereignty is not a matter of principles, they are quite happy to give our sovereignty away, if they like the benefactor.

And Ken Clark in opposition said we should stand up to the Americans more , shows himself up as a hypothetical sack of shit.

Secret courts are required to jail people on the basis of trumped up evidence. Rest assured that ‘enemies of state’ will be the ultimate umbrella demographic featuring any and all who (successfully) challenge the political status quo. I’d say it’s very Stalinist, but our propaganda was explicitly clear that such things simply could not exist under liberal capitalism…

Government minister lies to justify his department’s position.

This constant drip, drip, drip of lies, spin and manipulation has resulted in nobody having any confidence in any politician, any department of state, quango etc., etc., and still they don’t get it.

And they don’t get it because, they couldn’t care less what we think.

Would the more creative amongst us care to suggest how the ConDems might spin the building of Work Camps, where the poor, unemployed and disabled might be usefully ‘tasked’?.

Surely, the next building block in liberal capitalism’s Metropolis?

The way things are going we will get numbers of people bothering to vote down to about 50% at the next election.

Which ironically is about the same as the USA. Great result for the police state fetishists.

Mark this up as another win for Bin Laden. He has been very successful at destroying western democracy. Never imagined the clueless politicians would be so helpful in doing his work. It’s almost as if they are on the same side; Oh wait……………

9. Paul Newnan

In France the authorities have just rounded up a load of would be Merahs in dawn raids. Merah let us remember was 23 year old panel beater who claimed to be inspired by Al Qaid and we cannot doubt could have picked up by email and web site surveillance. He was not; and went on a ten day killing spree shooting Jewish Children and Rabbii. Liberal Conspiracy, of course, are only interested in a right wing lunatic and his left wing prey and the BBC dropped it like a hot brick the second the truth was known.
This myopic, see no evil ,dimness undermines the case

As George Galloway has shown in Bradford sectarian politics is back with a vengeance in the UK .You could hardly get a better demonstration that a shaved monkey could get elected by our Muslim citadels if they say the right anti West things .
Now the people who have encouraged the creation of foreign Nations whithin our country are horrified that this has consequences for freedom and security
This is so childish that the General Public are likely to conclude opposition comes only from whiney students and only criminals and terrorists have anything to worry about.

Compromises on freedom will have to be made whether they are e mail surveillance or judicial and the blame lies with the proponents of multiculturalism and mass immigration.

10. Leon Wolfeson

@9 – So what, death for all the “foreign nations”? Entirely typical…

Paul Newman shows us again what a bunch of liars tory libertarians are.

Thanks for confirming it.

12. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

In France the authorities have just rounded up a load of would be Merahs in dawn raids. Merah let us remember was 23 year old panel beater who claimed to be inspired by Al Qaid and we cannot doubt could have picked up by email and web site surveillance. He was not; and went on a ten day killing spree shooting Jewish Children and Rabbii.

Managing to recursively dismiss your own point, impressive.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  9. BevR

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  10. Andrew Ducker

    The Government is lying about the reasons for introducing secret courts http://t.co/ANxLI9Y1

  11. Donald Campbell

    There aren't any security reasons to introduce secret courts http://t.co/1xmsKVQL

  12. Donald Campbell

    How Ken Clarke was contradicted on intel-sharing by ex-CIA officer (via @libcon): http://t.co/MPRoV9uf #secretjustice

  13. Janet Graham

    There aren't any security reasons to introduce secret courts http://t.co/1xmsKVQL

  14. Reprieve

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice: US-UK intel relationship remains "exceedingly close" http://t.co/DKYtfKan

  15. Just Say Noam

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice: US-UK intel relationship remains "exceedingly close" http://t.co/DKYtfKan

  16. Barbara

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice: US-UK intel relationship remains "exceedingly close" http://t.co/DKYtfKan

  17. spartacus303

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice: US-UK intel relationship remains "exceedingly close" http://t.co/DKYtfKan

  18. Beth Maria Davies

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice: US-UK intel relationship remains "exceedingly close" http://t.co/DKYtfKan

  19. Rhian Brenton

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice; says closed trials not necessary http://t.co/qVBauUHQ

  20. Clemency Wells

    Look! @dn_campbell of @ReprieveUK wrote a blog about secret justice: http://t.co/aH0GLGz2

  21. Ed Gillett

    Look! @dn_campbell of @ReprieveUK wrote a blog about secret justice: http://t.co/aH0GLGz2

  22. Tony Finch

    http://t.co/t7DaoEkL – There aren't any security reasons to introduce secret courts.

  23. Rabel Civil Liberty

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice; says closed trials not necessary http://t.co/qVBauUHQ

  24. Michael Rawlings

    There aren't any security reasons to introduce secret courts | Liberal …: He emphasised that “the Central Inte… http://t.co/UVXzUTYW

  25. Jason Leopold

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice: US-UK intel relationship remains "exceedingly close" http://t.co/DKYtfKan

  26. Suzanne TwoTon

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice: US-UK intel relationship remains "exceedingly close" http://t.co/DKYtfKan

  27. Inna Mood

    Ex-CIA officer contradicts Ken Clarke on #secretjustice: US-UK intel relationship remains "exceedingly close" http://t.co/DKYtfKan

  28. Daniel Pitt

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  31. THE SECRET SOCIETY « DUCKPOND

    [...] There aren’t any security reasons to introduce secret courts (liberalconspiracy.org) Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]





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