"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Binyam Mohamed's Gravy Train from Guantanamo

The case of Binyam Mohamed trundles depressingly towards its inevitable destination.

MPs have demanded a judicial enquiry into the handling of his case and whether or not British authorities were involved in 'extraordinary rendition' and his alleged questioning under torture in several Muslim states before he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

I don't condone torture; but I recognise in this instance that militant Muslims are at war with the West.

They don't play by our rules; that's the whole idea of being a terrorist and trying to defeat a modern, well trained and well equipped army.

I have several friends who think the existence of Guantanamo goes against all the West is fighting for; I'd like to agree, but I recognise that with some of these psychopaths a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit simply won't do the job.

I have no sympathy for Mohamed; he seems to me to be a professional liar who is now trying to get sympathy, money from the press and presumably at some point compensation for what we and those dastardly Americans put him through.

He was a cleaner at a west London mosque, working illegally whilst living as a refugee from Ethiopia and claiming benefits.

His story changed several times; he first claimed he travelled to Afghanistan (in the back of a lorry from Pakistan) to learn more about his religion, then to help out in hospitals as an aid worker after the war started.

Of course, being a refugee he had to forge a passport to leave this country in the first place, the poor chap.

The details get sketchy; he admits, somehow, despite not being a terrorist, spending 45 days at a training camp.

A wrong turn, perhaps?

Sadly, when he did make it back to Pakistan, his false passport was detected both times he tried to return to Britain.

They, perhaps not unreasonably given the circumstances, put two and two together, and he found himself being questioned in Pakistan then Morocco, he claims at the behest of MI5 and the CIA.

His answers were unimpressive enough that he ended up in the custody of the US.

Again, understandable - I'm told there were a lot of weddings going on in Afghanistan in late 2001.

We were stupid enough to take him back because he has 'links' with this country (probably not the first time illegally claiming benefits has been referred to as such), and now it emerges that, quelle surprise, some of those in Camp X-Ray were terrorists after all!

I wonder how many coalition troops will die at the hands or planning of someone who should be in jail?

As for Binyam, I do hope that the immense pay out coming his way soon will make up for some of the hurt feelings he suffered due to being caught red-handed.


LibertyMine said...

I agree. But then, this government has shown an uncanny ability of finding trillions of pounds when we steer precariously towards depression.

Again I sit frustrated. This man deserves no time, no space, no credit, no sympathy, no nothing. The moment he arrived back in the UK he should have been booted back to Ethiopia or whatever fantasy-land he decided to come from. There he could have used what I am sure would be a generous Ethiopian Legal Aid system and the services of a Mohammed Mansfield or similar to fight his case for compensation.

I can dream of that day when what is right is done and what is wrong is not. Unfortunately it's the other way round.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...


The BBC are devoting more and more energy to his story, it seems - it's just a question of when he gets paid and how much at the moment.

This makes me angrier than it would - a few weeks ago I was made redundant.

For the first time in my (admittedly, quite short) life I found myself on 'Jobseeker's Allowance'.

Now, because I taught in Germany from Sept. 06 - May 07, they've sent me something this morning called a 'residency test' (after losing the first one and the photocopies of my passport, helpfully - let's hope they don't have any Binyam Mohameds working there).

It has questions like 'why have you come to the UK?'

If it wouldn't just hold things up further, I'd have written 'because I tried Afghanistan and it wasn't for me'.

I mean, they know I'm a British critizen - who are all these questions really for?

Rant over, but yes, we owe this man nothing but a plane ticket.

LibertyMine said...

E-mail me via the blog about this if you want.

It's an Habitual Residency Test. Everyone - yes including full British citizens - has to complete one even if they have spent just a couple of weeks abroad on holiday. The old rules were you had to be abroad for six months.

I know of several British citizens who have been denied benefits because of how they answered the HRT form. They've then had to go through a lengthy appeals process and even that isn't guaranteed to work.

It asks lots of nonsense questions. It's all PC crap of course. Can't just pick people who obviously should complete it, instead EVERYONE has to do one.

Everyone that is aside from refuges with leave to remain, EEA nationals or someone who left Montserrat after 1995.

I think the forms are issued often regardless of the circumstances.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

I filled it as sensibly as possible, given the nature of the questions.

They've been messing me around for a while with it now, but I guessed that they were woried about singling anyone out.

What a mad place this country is.

LibertyMine said...

Truly mad. The department in question is full of pointless bureaucracy.

I had promised Gallimaufry & Chips I would start giving specific examples and I will do over the next few days.

I reckon it could be run - even in these times, even with only minor tinkering to legislation with about half the staff. That is not to say staff having nothing to do, its just what they do doesn't need to be done - it just to satisfy statistics, Data Protection, the spiral of continuously tinkering with benefit processes month after month simply in response to an error, a piece of fraud or an overpayment. Forms get bigger, not smaller. Questions get repeated over and over, written in different ways to try and cover every possible angle. Take a look at the ES40 or JSA40 booklet, or whatever it is called now. It's about 30 or so pages of information. Very few people ever read it. Even if you did it only taps, barely taps into the labyrinth that is the benefit system. There are hundreds of forms and leaflets in every office. Some are never used. Some are used so often they go out of stock to the point even the printer can't supply them. I'll rambling. I'll save the rest for posts.