The account by the three young British men from Tipton reported by the Guardian last Wednesday, with its graphic images of torture at Guantanamo Bay, reveals the horror of what has been suffered and is still being suffered in that lawless place by British citizens and residents, with the complicity of MI5 (UK counter-intelligence) and the British Foreign Office. It also highlights the lies and incompetence of MI5 and Foreign Office officials. No minister should ignore it for a day, knowing that four British citizens and two residents are living this hell now.
Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Ruhal Ahmed have set out the degradation they and their colleagues of many nationalities suffered: shackling in a bent position to a ring in the floor for hours or days, isolation for weeks or months, being held naked, kept in freezing air conditioning, sleep deprivation, near-starvation, imposed injections, forced shaving of hair and beard, withholding of family mail, refusal of medical attention, beatings, interrogations, psychological torture to force false confessions or false testimony against others, being confronted with confessions they never made, sexual humiliation and being shown pornographic photos and videos.
Their report is newly corroborated by four colleagues and will be impossible to dismiss. Two Frenchmen released on July 27 told their lawyer, Jacques Debray, details of ill-treatment they suffered in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, which Debray described as "close to those of Abu Ghraib." And on radio the Swedish citizen Mehdi Ghezali, also released last month, described torture and sexual humiliation.
Marcos Garcia, the lawyer for a Spaniard, Hamed Abderrahman, who was released in March, said he is bringing a lawsuit against the US and US President George W. Bush. Abderrahman witnessed several prisoners attempt to hang themselves with their clothes.
The Tipton dossier is a crucial tool for the US lawyers trying this week to get urgent habeas corpus hearings for men like Jamil el-Banna and Bishar al-Rawi, who UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is scandalously trying to pretend are not the UK's responsibility, and who wear armbands in the camp saying, respectively, Jordan and Iraq.
Banna is a Jordanian-Palestinian who has lived in the UK for 10 years and has five children, all British citizens. He is now an acute medical case. His London doctor's records since 1999 show him suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and, since 2002, diabetes. The Tipton statement says these illnesses are not given treatment in Guantanamo and he has not received medicine or proper diet.
Shafiq Rasul said that in Guantanamo Banna lost about 40kg and became very thin. He was interrogated only five times, and was told by his US interrogator, when he cried, showing photographs of his children: "We're trying to get you out of here, we know you're an innocent man."
He was repeatedly questioned about the whereabouts of his friend, Abu Qatada. (In fact, Abu Qatada was arrested in the UK in 2002.) Family videos from 2001 show a large, gentle-looking man playing with his children and dancing with his mother. His family have had no letter from him for a year.
Bishar al-Rawi, who is Banna's close friend and translator, has lived in the UK for 20 years, and has a sister and brother here who are British citizens with business interests. The two men were kidnapped by the Americans, with the connivance of the British, while they were on a business trip to Gambia to start a mobile peanut oil factory in October 2002, and taken to Afghanistan.