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Wednesday, March 10, 2010 

Eliza Manningham-Bullshitter.

Becoming a member of the security services is a little like converting to Islam - once you're in, you're in for life, unless you decide to turn whistleblower, ala, Peter Wright or David Shayler, although in the case of the latter it seems to have done little to help his state of mind. Most though stay a spook for the rest of their life, and even after retirement continue to deny reports about the antics of agents which are known to be true, and in the case of Eliza Manningham-Buller, continue to be at the very least economical with the truth.

According to the previous head of MI5, "the Americans were very keen that people like us did not discover what they were doing". Really? How then does that square with the "seven paragraphs" which very clearly show that the Americans were at the least indulging in "cruel and unusual punishment" when interviewing Binyam Mohamed, and which they were more than prepared to share with their friends in 5/6 back in 2002? How is Buller's claim not contradicted directly by the evidence of Craig Murray, who sent back evidence in 2002 and 03 that showed the CIA was using evidence obtained from the torture of dissidents and others in Uzbekistan, and which the government and security services already knew about in any case? Previously MI5/6 have claimed that they didn't properly realise that the US policy of mistreatment had extended as far as it had until the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, although they knew about the "ghost sites", which even then was stretching the realms of feasibility. Now Manningham-Buller claims that she didn't know why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been so talkative until after her retirement when she discovered that he had been "waterboarded" 160 times.

If you were to believe Manningham-Buller, you'd also have to accept that the same people who are meant to be keeping us safe are also some of the most gullible and least inquisitive individuals around. There's plenty of things that you can call the security services, but those that rise to the top are not idiots, nor are they easily led or deceived. Did she really ask her underlings why KSM was talking and not even have an inkling that it might have something to do with the fact that the US was subjecting him to simulated drowning on a frighteningly regular basis? That's of course if this whole recollected conversation actually took place at all, which is itself unlikely. Why else after all were certain "high-value" detainees disappearing if they weren't being taken to "black sites", which MI5 and 6 have said they knew about? Then there's the little matter of Guantanamo Bay, established in December 2001, and where from the very beginning there were allegations of mistreatment. The only reasonable conclusion that can be reached is that Eliza Manningham-Buller is lying, and lying in a feeble attempt to protect both herself and MI5. Then again, why should we be surprised? When lying is what you do for a living, why stop when you retire?

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It's all very well to rant about lies and cover up by our security services; what you say in your blog is probably true. However, perhaps we should take a step back here and consider the implications of so quickly condemning our security services for the methods they employ to gain valuable intelligence to combat terrorism. Basically it boils down to human rights and there lies the dichotomy by protecting the human rights of murdering ghastly terrorist who would not think twice about blowing you up or any innocent person to further their heinous ends you are infringing on the human right of the rest of us, the right to life and that life without fear. So don't be so high and mighty in your condemnation; terrorist set no store by protecting our human rights (probably do not know what the words mean) so why worry so much about protecting theirs?

I don't know, why do we worry about it? Probably because even at a very basic level torture doesn't work, as proved by KSM himself, who said absolutely anything and everything to his willing torturers, none of which was useful. Your whole point is a mess of contradictions: we shouldn't respect the rights of "terrorists", assuming they are terrorists of course, as Binyam Mohamed wasn't, and nor has even KSM been convicted in an actual court yet, as they don't respect them. Presumably we should lower ourselves to their level then? The actions of the CIA and MI5/6 might just have been justifiable if they made us safer, but they haven't: they further lowered our reputation in the Middle East, and will doubtless help to radicalise the next generation of potential terrorists.

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