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Awkward questions ahead

Nick Robinson | 14:48 UK time, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Britain deplores torture, the prime minister has always insisted. Yet today the police are being asked to investigate whether an MI5 officer was complicit in the torture of the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Binyam Mohamed.

Prisoner and guards at Guantanamo BayI understand that ministers are concerned there could be more allegations that British agents have been complicit in torture and even for the possibility of more police investigations. That is why the prime minister recently set out Britain's approach to torture and promised to publish the guidelines given to the security services.

Recently the intelligence and security committee of the Commons handed Mr Brown a report on the matter.

I'm told that during their enquiries, they asked one senior security official which countries it would be safe for Britain to send prisoners to if we wanted to be sure that torture was not being used. He paused for a long time and then with a smile answered Switzerland.

This investigation is going to ask some very awkward questions and its conclusions may not be comfortable.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Is that another stable door I hear banging shut?

    What were the regulators of government policy doing at the time?

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.


    at last. I am so pleased but we need answers and soon. It is wonderful what 7 signatures on a petition can achieve. Mind you shameful that the PM is out of the country when this is announced. There must be a formal statement to the House of Commons.

  • Comment number 4.

    It seems pretty clear that 'something' (the two high court judges alluded to the fact in pretty clear terms) has been going on although I have very little faith that that 'something' will be exposed by the Met.

    Besides, even if the Met were going to bother investigating properly, aren't most of the documents censored?

    If anything is discovered, it'll be our version of Abu Ghraib - they'll blame it on a few rotten apples.

  • Comment number 5.

    Not to worry old chap, what do you think D Notices and Public Interest Immunity Certificates are for.

    No chance of this one spinning out of control. Not before June next year, anyway.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Nick, has it occurred to you, as it has to us, that your presence with Brown on his ego-trip is a complete waste of licence payers' money? Why don't you come home to where the real news is or are you too busy writing, under his direction, your account of how successful next week's G20 summit has been?

  • Comment number 8.

    I ask again, Nick. What is your view on Daniel Hannan's speech to Gordon Brown?

  • Comment number 9.

    Ah yes! But how long will it take to carry out the investigation

    Just like the investigation into the Iraq war.

    Seems like labout have now resigned themselves to defeat at the next election and are making sure they investigate themselves before the tories do it for them.

    Perhaps there will be other investigations to come.

    All designed to make sure they are all kicked into the long grass until after the next election.

    Everything this government does now is so predictable.

  • Comment number 10.

    Well posted BRITOM no. 7 post.Tell me, BBC, why do we have to pay Nick " I am a Brown nosed lap dog " Robinson wages ? And for him to follow his guru round the world. Perhaps he could leave the country forever along wiwh Crash Gordon ! Oh joy!

  • Comment number 11.

    Many many awkward questions, Nick as you rightly point out. So what exactly is the PM doing there when he should be back here in Blighty.

    Perhaps you could also ask why, apart from your very good self, this leg of the Save the World vanity tour is being covered by only the B-list hacks, with most of Fleet Street's finest choosing not to cover the PM's 'Save the World' vanity tour. At £5,000 a pop can you blame them?

    Perhaps you could also ask if the employment minister still has his full support. There's been a bit of a rumpus going on about this at Westminster.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    That's the real problem with Pandora's box once people ask the first awkward question it leads to another and another. Once they get on a roll how do you stop the questions coming?

    I think we may be at the beginning of what may well turn out to be a very awkward subject for the current government.

  • Comment number 14.


    That is why the prime minister recently set out Britain's approach to torture and promised to publish the guidelines given to the security services

    our approach to torture? ... practical guidelines? ... surely not

  • Comment number 15.

    @Britom I would actually say that BBC 3 is a greater waste of license payers' money as it only creates 2 or 3 decent original series a year and is usually content to simply show repeats of Doctor Who, Little Britain and other BBC 1 and 2 shows.

    As for the supposed left wing bias in the BBC, don't watch BBC News if you don't like it. After all ITN is certainly more right wing, as is Sky News. Vote with your feet. After all the BBC has to justify the License Fee with ratings.

    Back to topic, it's clear that this Govt has had some hand in proceedings in Guantanamo Bay either by shipping prisoners there or by physically taking part. It is despicable that this country which once stood for Liberty, Freedom and Individual Rights has allowed itself to fall so far. Many on the political Left want nothing to do with New Labour and I agree with them.

  • Comment number 16.

    Allegations of this gravity should always be fully investigated no matter whether thought credible or otherwise.

    Binyam Mohamed and the public deserve an examination and explanation of Britain's role in his questionning. And his allegations of torture and abuse. If, as I suspect, Britain simply provided information about him to the USA before these activities were known, that does not imply any fore-knowledge or complicity in any torture he may have suffered.

    If it turns out that his US or other inquisitors abused him as any consequence of providing information under our exchange arrangements, the government should make its great annoyance well understood by our allies. And be even more circumspect in future.

  • Comment number 17.

    First things first - torture can never be right.

    So why is dear Mr B delaying calling an election. The mess he has presided over is like death by 1000 cuts

  • Comment number 18.

    Good grief ! Will we gat an apology ? Somehow I doubt it. Blair and Brown both believe fully that they know best, and therefore don't require our mandate, or approval.

  • Comment number 19.

    can you guys PLEASE stop the chuntering about Derek Hannon, it's making me feel a bit ill now - is this a taste of what Clown government is going to be like? - the relentless, boorish BANGING ON about one thing a la the drunk down the local who everyone tries their level best to avoid? - one of my pet hates is inappropriate, out of context references to Orwell's masterpiece, 1984, but here we can use it quite properly - if you want to imagine the future, Winston, think of a boot stamping on a human face ... over and over again ... forever

    so look, this post will be 17,18,19 ... something like that ... can we say that we allow up to post 30 for more Derek stuff and then, after that, no more, that's it - c'est fin

    is that okay? ... please (please!) say it is

  • Comment number 20.

    No 15.

    In order to watch other news channels I am legally forced to pay the licence fee to the BBC. If I buy the Daily Mirror I know it will be Labour propaganda and so I don't buy it. I don't expect the BBC News to be the TV equivalent of the Daily Mirror at the licence payers' expense.

  • Comment number 21.

    Who's kidding themselves that this "investigation" will be? It will be a whitewash. Or it will go something like this:

    "We didn't do it, it wasn't us, honest. The Americans made us do it, and anyway he was a terrorist and so why do you care anyway? Anyway we're really reeeeeally sorry (that you found out about it), and although we don't accept any responsibility (ever) we'll try not to let it happen again (until next time).

    It was that Bob down the road, evil so-and-so he is (I heard he thought about you being stabbed the other day, and SMILED!), soooo... we'll arrest him and send him to Morocco if you like :-D You don't? OK, we never did that anyway. He wants you dead, look, he'll say so himself if you hang him upside down over a vat of molten lava, what more proof do you need?

    Errrrr... so in conclusion, it wasn't us."

  • Comment number 22.

    Can Ministers offer an early assurance that they will offer immediate resignations should an enquiry reveal that Torture has taken place while they have had responsibility for the armed services ?

  • Comment number 23.

    bango @ 12

    What is the continuing fixation with this Derek Hannon speech?

    you are a wise and generous bloggerperson and you are slap bango back in my good books - I have totally forgotten our tetchy little interchange on the skill and efficiency (or not) of the Markets

  • Comment number 24.

    Craig Murray served in the diplomatic service in Africa and was UK ambassador in Uzbekistan during the height of the War on Terror and the beginnings of the Iraq War.

    He makes a number of serious allegations in his books and on his blog about information obtained under torture and the knowledge, if not complicity, of senior Government ministers in its use.

    An inquiry - not just into the allegations raised by Binyan Mohammed - has long been overdue.

    These things will not simply go away.

    Where there is secrecy and cover-up, many will draw an inference that there is something to hide.

    After all, as we are repeatedly told with respect to greater State surveillance upon the UK populace: the innocent have nothing to fear.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good. All of these cases need going over. We should miss no opportunity to expose any members of the security services who are torturers.

    It helps us to show that British people hate torturers as much as (or more than) we hate our enemies. That is how we wish the world to see us.

  • Comment number 26.

    No 19
    His name is Daniel Hannan not Derek! Perhaps you were thinking of that Labour bete noire Derek Hatton, although you sound as though you would have been a fan of his.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.


    You mean like:

    "No more boom and bust"

    "No return to boom and bust"

    "An end to boom and bust"


    "Best placed to weather the downturn"

    "Uniquely placed to beat the recession"

    "Best placed of all developed nations to come through the downturn"


    "It started in America"

    "It started in America"

    "It started in America"

    Yes that can get tedious, can't it.

  • Comment number 29.

    Dear Nick,

    What is your view on MEP Daniel Hannan standing up in front of Gordon Brown and giving old GB both barrels? (Youtube now)

    Do you have a veiw yet, or are you not allowed to have a view?

    Is a view on this marvalous speech actually banned under some BBC rules? Not once has it appeared on any BBC channel or news item.

    Can you not give a view until you are told what yours is?

    Brown's Broadcasting Company.


  • Comment number 30.

    Awkward questions ahead

    yeah, for the bbc once the Mail get hold of the Daniel Mannon story tomorrow

  • Comment number 31.

    End torture

    End occupation of Iraq

    End occupation of Afghanistan

    End occupation of West Bank & Gaza

    End posts on Daniel Hannan

  • Comment number 32.

    "I'm told that during their enquiries, they asked one senior security official which countries it would be safe for Britain to send prisoners to if we wanted to be sure that torture was not being used. He paused for a long time and then with a smile answered Switzerland."

    O. My. God!!! We're on the list!! The United States of America, that so-called "beacon of hope" is on the damned list despite the fact that Barack Obama is now in power!!! There are no words!!

    Lets be honest here. Under George Bush the UK was probably not (if it was) freely and of their own will "complicit" in the torture of this poor man. They were probably threatened or pressured into it. So lets call a spade a spade and lets see some MPs very angrely marching on Washington and beating down the doors of Congress demanding a full discloser of all the comunications that went on between the Bush and Blair/Brown governments over the time in question!!! Lord knows our Congress won't do it! Come on David Davous, you're our ownly hope!

    There are no words with which to describe the utter anger I feel at the disheartening reality that the newly elected Democrats aren't investagating the previous Republican administration's role in the torture of this man like you all are doing now, if not like what you will be doing once the Tories get into power!!! Sure Obama signed executive orders pledging to not torture any more and that was a good start. But he has been so damned focused on "moving this country forward" that he has forgotten the little matter of investagating the errors and unconstitutional behavior of the Republicans, so as to "live up to our founding fathers's ideals!!" If the British government isn't going to make public those 7 crucial paragraphs detailing what we did to this man and how we treated the British, then Obama and the Democrats here should have lept at the chance to do so, to expose the Republicans and Labour for what they really are!!! Why isn't he doing it!!

  • Comment number 33.

    I am in favour of a full enquiry:

    Torture is wrong in any circumstance. If any UK personnel are proven to be involved in torture they should be prosecuted. Torturers should be jailed.

    Then again: It is just as wrong travelling half way round the world on 'unknown funds' to illegally enter a country as an 'unknown immigrant', claim 'unknown amounts of benefits', decide to claim asylum for 'unknown alleged cruelties', and then after a few years clear off to a nation known to harbour many 'unknown violent, radical enemies of the land' you migrated to and whilst over there visiting previously 'unknown relatives', attending 'unknown education courses' whilst all the time using 'unknown identities'!

    Did I leave any 'unknown' out about this extremely hard done by and sadly victimised case?

    There really should be an enquiry about that many 'unknowns': If the 'unknowns' are proven apparently returning the unfortunate unknown to their birthplace is not legal as there's an 'unknown future' over there.
    Whereas, over here, the 'unknown' is the size of compensation pay-out!

  • Comment number 34.

    sagamix please read my response #207 on the '"Brown looks to Obama for consensus" thread.

    Fubar_Saunders same thread at post #194.

    Thank You

  • Comment number 35.

    #11 theorangeparty

    I was amused to hear Derek Draper describe your ilk (probably mine too) as an 'obsessive' - can't really argue with that, he's the shrink.

  • Comment number 36.

    Awkward questions ahead

    Indeed. But of whom. About what?

    I do trust that is newsworthy enough... and on topic:)

  • Comment number 37.

    I am sick & tired of this torture allegation, there should be no enquiry until we have established what this individual was doing in Pakistan/ Afghistan, using false documents (why) trying to get back to the Uk (why)where did he get passport? so many questions, yet he just hides behind misguided Human Rights Lawyers.
    So we supplied information to the US why not? if this individual as nothing to hide what questions did we supply that could do him harm if he is so innocent.
    Why on earth does he want to settle in a Country that was complicit in his torture. The one thing we do know, he was trying to get into this Country illegally. Deport him end of.

  • Comment number 38.

    TORTURE ... even the word is horrible, isn't it?

    this one should no way be a party political issue - it's plain wrong and whenever it happens, wherever it happens, it makes us all a little bit smaller inside

  • Comment number 39.

    These allegations against the UK can never be proved, this is a total non-issue, and colossal waste of money. Binyam Mohammed was simply caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time, by the wrong people from his point of view. If the Americans mistreated him, he should address his complaint to the US govt, and then the International Court.

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 28 and 23

    yes that's exactly what I mean, Bango - and since you went and typed all that out when there was no need (also off topic, although I suppose you could argue that mindless, repetitive chanting can amount to torture) you are no longer in my good books - actually, I think that's the record you now hold for the shortest period of elapsed time between entering my GBs and exiting them ... congratulations!

  • Comment number 41.

    "the conclusions may be uncomfortable"

    Yes - but not for the Government or the PM who will call for stricter oversight, must not happen again, etc etc.

    Amazing how nothing seems to touch Gordon - hear nothing, see nothing.
    Will he ever admit he lost the next election? Or whose fault was it?

  • Comment number 42.

    britom @ 26

    His name is Daniel Hannan not Derek! Perhaps you were thinking of that Labour bete noire Derek Hatton, although you sound as though you would have been a fan of his

    whatever his name is, we are beyond post 30 and hence no longer discussing it - we're talking about TORTURE now, if that's okay with you

    the other Derek (Hatton) I do remember ... he had his qualities but you had to look quite hard for them, if memory serves ... shiny suits and a shaving rash is what mainly comes back to me

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.


  • Comment number 45.

    Will there be an inquiry into the recently reported case of the defenceless economic zealot Gordon Brown being mercilessly tortured in Strasbourg by the evil C&A henchman Daniel Hannan. I have seen the disgusting sight on the video posted on that propaganda website Al-YouTube

  • Comment number 46.

    I have no real idea about the conduct about our security services or the "who knew what" role of the politicians.

    But it's obvious to me where this is heading. This Ethiopian individual, who is currently resident in the UK for whatever reason, will be suing someone soon with a highly paid human rights solicitor using legal aid, hoping to win substantial compensation funded by the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 47.

    I've just seen Gordon Brown speaking on TV in Brazil.Deeply dull, is anyone actually listening anymore.

    The whole things seems like a triumph of Air Miles over Carbon Footprint. Thank you for flying with "Hot Air"!

  • Comment number 48.

    I cannot get excited about this indivivdual, he is not British and what was he doing anyway in Pakistan? I bet he was not on holiday! Why are we giving this man credence? I think it was quite right that he was interogated especially as does not seem to share our values in Britain. What a waste of my taxes to take on this bitter persons rantings and ravings. Keep MI5 secret and long may MI5 protect us all.

  • Comment number 49.

    12. At 4:25pm on 26 Mar 2009, obangobang wrote:
    What is the continuing fixation with this Daniel Hannon speech?

    I think it's because it has became apparent that today is the day that the MSM, and in particular the Bloated Broadcasting Corporation, lost control of the news agenda.

  • Comment number 50.


    Any response yet Nicholas on the Daniel Hannan speech???? :-)

  • Comment number 51.

    Is this the same Binyam Mohamed who at his hearing in Guantanamo, admitted, through his lawyers, to travelling to Afghanistan in June 2001 and attending al-Qaeda's al-Farouq training camp where he 'received 40 days of training in light arms handling, explosives, and principles of topography' and 'was taught to falsify documents'. Al-Farouq's training was reserved for only the best and most committed, and among those who have trained there include 4 of the nineteen 9/11 bombers.

    Who was he planning on killing when he received al-Qaeda training? Also apparently he had received specific instructions from 9/11 planner, Khaled Sheikh Mohamed, to attack the United States. And he was on his way to carry out these attacks when he was apprehended for the second time at Karachi Airport in April 2002 while attempting to travel to the USA with fake documents.

    We should not tolerate any Britons or former Ethiopians who claim asylum, attending training camps designed especially for teaching people how to operate effectively as terrorists within western countries.

  • Comment number 52.

    "Awkward questions ahead"??? What is to question? All Guantanamo Bay prisoners were tortured. That is the truth. Now deal with it.

    What a waste of time and money! Both US and UK government should officially admit that they like to torture people and nobody can do anything about it. That's the end of the story.

  • Comment number 53.



  • Comment number 54.


  • Comment number 55.


  • Comment number 56.

    It is my understanding Binyan Mohammed was an illegal immigrant in this country seeking asylum ? from whom and what?

    So if bad luck had had its way, before he arrived on these shores he would have been tortured or murdered anyway, he was obviously being persued , which is why he landed up in Britain in the first place. IS he really a British national?

    I think the plot has been lost somehow, don't you?

  • Comment number 57.

    So what was Binyam Mohammed doing in Afghanistan anyway? Learning needlepoint?

  • Comment number 58.

    I bet Yates of the Yard is looking forward to yet another wild goose chase which will result in yet another whitewash... what a waste of money. Wouldnt be so bad if it was actually going to find something out and be far reaching. Fat chance. A politicised police force that spends half its time chasing political targets, being unaccountable for phenomenal breaches of rules of engagement, accountability... they can just about catch a cold. Utterly bereft of leadership. They can find £200M from the public purse to buy New Scotland Yard though cant they?

    Same with the Iraq inquiry that we're being promised. Dont expect to find out anything from that which would possibly cast NL in a less than favourable light.

    Let alone anything from 7/7, which we will certainly NEVER find anything out about... certainly not, for at least another 50 to 100 years.

    The intelligence services need to be accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, they tend to be a political instrument to do the deniable bidding of their political masters. Things like this are the fallout you sometimes get.

    Until you get the political accountability, things like this are always going to happen. I'm not saying its right, but it'll happen.

    One thing is for sure. Without the intervention of the intelligence services, for at least the last 40 years, you'd have been seeing an awful lot more bodybags of troops and civilians in the news than what we have done.

  • Comment number 59.

    Gordon Brown must have found it even more awkward having to sit before the EU and have the truth of his actions laid out by Daniel Hannan.

    If you haven't seen the Daniel Hannan video yet it will put a smile on your face!

    Daniel Hannan YouTube Video

  • Comment number 60.

    Me thinks that GB's fellow Scot Des Browne may have some skeletons in the closet in the torture debate. Maybe he will be the scape goat. Never understood why he disappeared off the face of government so quickly. Expect a difficult few weeks Dessy boy.

    So why is Gordon really in South America? OK so Brazil is the 9th largest economy but he has seen number 1 a few days before so what about 2 to 8? Given that he will be wrapped up in G20 for a week that means he will have out of the circulation for about 2 weeks. Bet he hopes there are riots in London so can say how awful the protesters are therfore avoiding any questions on the mess he has created at home.

  • Comment number 61.

    I won't mention names, but some regular contributers to this blog are so blinkered and partisan, that anything other than virulent attacks on Brown by Nick R would be interpreted as pro-government bias.

    Firstly folks, do you not realise both that Nick R has an ironic understated style, and that there is more than one possible point of view? (not necessarily correct of course.)

    It is the job of the BBC correspondent to present the salient facts, sit on the fence, and let us come to our own conclusions. Most here seem to be quite capable of that?

    Finally, if our PM is jetting off round the world for whatever reason, do you seriously think that Auntie Beeb shouldn't send someone to keep an eye on him? Far better that than spending the money on Jonanthan Woss?

  • Comment number 62.

    44. tenmaya

    Don't be daft.

  • Comment number 63.

    The whole issue of torture, UK culpability is horrific. But what we mus face is the human rights violation reality. If these men have been detained their this alone merits them to financial compensation. The have never been charged and therefore are presumed innocent under due process. Without due process we are a lawless country, the proper judicial process must be defended from this particular government which at one point a couple of years back advocated (for a short while) with the abolition of the jury system. Dangerous times.

    This upheaval must be properly scrutinised through the independent police enquiry into individual cases, and where government culpability is found, charged ought to be brought against those ministers (if any) whom knew and winked at this brutal programme in human misery and dehumanisation.

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi Nick

    Just a quick, why has the BBC for which I pay not reported on the well deserved lashing Gordon Brown got at the hands on Dan Hannan? I pay my license for an impartial BBC, but this bias has now gone to far. Every other news station and paper (1400 and counting) around the world is reporting this. I am disgusted in the conduct of the BBC, and when the next administration comes to power, I will be writing my MP until those NuLabour Lovies resposible for this one sided reported are kicked out.

    BBC IS FOR THE PEOPLE, not the politicians!

  • Comment number 65.

    Never would have believed it, but Michael Winner is on sparkling form on Question Time. Brilliant.

  • Comment number 66.


    I think I'll survive.

    Do I get a certificate?

  • Comment number 67.


    Aye right.

    In yer dreams, matey.

  • Comment number 68.

    All these different 'bloggers' still harping on about, what's his face, Daniel Hanlon. I think they must really be one and the same person. And that person is...

    Daniel Hanlon

  • Comment number 69.

    How about this from the BBC front page:

    "A university professor who warned that bankers could be "hanging from lampposts" during G20 protests next week has been suspended from his job."

    Better suspended from your job than from the lamppost? You couldn't make it up!

  • Comment number 70.

    #42 Sagamix

    .....the other Derek (Hatton) I do remember ... he had his qualities but you had to look quite hard for them, if memory serves ... shiny suits and a shaving rash is what mainly comes back to me.....


    That was then, Saga.

    Today the reality is very different because Derek Hatton threw away the suit and in the meantime has become a millionaire property tycoon in Cyprus.

    He's still got the shaving rash though.

  • Comment number 71.

    52. Seniorfluffs

    "What a waste of time and money! Both US and UK government should officially admit that they like to torture people and nobody can do anything about it. That's the end of the story."

    End of the story? Last time one checked we'd signed up to certain internationally binding committments to not torture enemy prisoners or violate human rights, Geneva or the UN convention on human rights or the EU human rights act- ministers responsible for any violations ought to be placed on trail by fellow peers (i.e. jury trial- open to public). Perhaps you'd be quite happy to leave those responsible for human rights violations free "end of", but one isn't.

    YDo you really think that a simple "officially admit that they like to torture people" is enough? Your cavalier attitude towards this issue of human treatment and human rights is dispicable. One thought better of you than to simply dismiss any opportunities for trial for violations of the said international agreements upon guilty members of secret services and ministers.

  • Comment number 72.

    #61 sashaclarkson

    I wholly agree. I think it almost inevitable that after the Tories win the next election (the most likely scenario) there will be huge numbers of posts from Labour supporters attacking Nick for his pro-Tory agenda.

    Partisans are seldom to be relied on for rational judgement.

    The more dangerous possibility, however, should not be discounted - that the BBC (and consequently, the careers of its staff) are institutionally biased towards whichever party is in power at the time (and consequently has its fingers round the throat of the licence fee).

  • Comment number 73.

    Nick Robinson:

    Awkward questions ahead

    Yes, the outcome of the investigation and the many questions (and) answers are going to make many Government officials, very uncomfortable....

    I am here to not blame anyone involved in the investigation, until the evidence is in....They're presumed innocent until proven guilty...

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 74.

    Gentle reminder to sagamix: Daniel Hannon's brilliant assault on the great leader now has over a million viewings on Youtube. Good to see part of it played on This Week last night. At least Andrew Neil is not in Mandy's pocket. Oh and sagamix, you do not get to decide what we discuss here.

  • Comment number 75.

    For all the airy dismissals from the MSM's dead tree dinosaurs and their slavish supporters, many surrounding the relative obscurity of the 'incident' (an MEP, in the Brussels Parliament, and a noted commentator on a major UK quality daily), it might have been better that the commentator made his political point by lobbing a shoe to be deemed 'newsworthy', as opposed to polite, calm, but deadly, not to mention well-aimed words.

    It seems quaint for a few to bleat that it's time to move on, and throw toys out the pram that some do not feel ready to, when the point at issue is that something of not insignificant political note, and public interest, remains essentially glossed over, apparently through not conforming to a desired narrative.

    How much better to have given the piece the objective coverage it warranted at the time... and then move on. Now, each time a non-group think politician is fingered for putting their bins out on the wrong day, the credibility of those that suddenly get excited by trivia over substance spirals ever lower.

  • Comment number 76.

    Also, I am only now 'finding out' but for some reason from oddly selective sources, that a world leader (The President of Brazil no less), came out with a rather 'interesting' take on the racial breakdown that should be considered in the global banking crisis.

    Is this lack of reporting due to who was standing next to this person, given a pass to be more than a tad racist when others might find the full glare of liberal ire upon them? Maybe it is, as SKY's anchor suggested, 'yet another embarrassment for the PM'.

    If anyone should be embarrassed, it should be those caught editing by omission whilst claiming objective reporting.

  • Comment number 77.

    #65 fubar

    I thought Michael Winner was excellent. Eric Pickles was almost lost for words. As a Conservative MP, he really lets the side down over his extortionate claim for expenses, for a mere 37 mile commute into London, and he was certainly put in his place by Winner, Davey, Lucas and the audience.

    A rare sight, but I live in hope to see more of the same, and then perhaps we can shame them into getting off the gravy train.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    56. sagablonde

    You may want to read Flashman's post #34 of NR's previous blog, 'Brazil'.

    Too many CLOWNS and JOKERS around.

  • Comment number 80.

    Listened to your interview with Brown on the Toady Programme this morning and was forced to turn it off as the pain from the propaganda torture was too severe.
    Why are we having to listen to the same old mantra's from a man who has lost all reason, (reminds me of Hitler in "Downfall"), and does not accept he is yesterday's bad news?
    You are certainly not doing your career or CV any good in travelling with this world tour comic act.

  • Comment number 81.

    38. At 6:59pm on 26 Mar 2009, sagamix wrote:
    TORTURE ... even the word is horrible, isn't it?

    this one should no way be a party political issue - it's plain wrong and whenever it happens, wherever it happens, it makes us all a little bit smaller inside


    Only when its on Labours watch would you suggest its all our faults.

  • Comment number 82.

    Torture is legally and morally wrong. So is terrorism which results in the death of innocent people here in the UK. Yes, there may well be awkward questions ahead, but let's make sure that in all this hysteria ALL the awkward questions get asked, and more importantly answered. For a start, why was this man, who claimed asylum in the UK from repression at home in Pakistan in the first place? Secondly, if he was innocent of all wrong, doing why was he travelling on a false passport - innocent people don't do that.

    By all means have an investigation into his allegations of torture, but don't let obscure the need to find out exactly what this man was doing and why. And if there is any evidence that he is guilty of supporting terrorism, send him back to where he came from, whatever risks he may or may not face there. No-one should abuse the hospitality of their host. It is a mystery whay we are harder on those who work to protect us than we are on those who seek to destroy us!

  • Comment number 83.

    #56 sagablonde

    No, Binyam Mohammed was not an illegal immigrant in this country - he had leave to stay. I believe he became an illegal immigrant whilst in US custody as he was unable to re-submit the necessary paperwork. Consequently, he came here as a child from Ethiopia and was working and paying tax.

    Anyway, I really don't understand the point of your post. Are you suggesting that it's fine for our security services to be involved with his torture as he would have been tortured anyway if we hadn't granted him asylum or that because he's an illegal immigrant it's fine because he shouldn't be here or both.

    Either way, I think you have a pretty uncivilised view on life and have no place writing such rot. You disgust me and you're a sad indictment on the rest of us British nationals if you are one.

  • Comment number 84.


    Obviously this has been going on for a long while. I am not sure if the full truth will ever come out. To many people would be embarassed

    Also everyone seems to be ignoring the question - why was this man in Afganistan?

    Finally I propose a knighthood for Daniel Hannan. Nick - why the slavish stories following crash gordon all over the world and nothing on this. I am already so tired of hearing crash tell us 'that all nations will pull together and do the right thing etc' - the gap between his rhetoric and reality gets larger every day

  • Comment number 85.

    #82 MalcolmW2

    After 8 years in custody without any charges being brought, don't you think that the awkward questions have been asked?

    Binyam Mohammed is a British resident of Ethiopian origin (he is not Pakistani) who came here as a child - escaping civil war. He worked as a caretaker.

    He decided to travel using his British friends passport to get out of Pakistan when the Americans attacked Afghanistan as he thought he had more chance of getting out - the Americans were paying up to five thousand dollars to the Pakistanis (more than a years' salary) for anyone of Middle Eastern/Horn of Africa origin.

    In case you were unaware, very few of the prisoners in Guantanamo were actually arrested on the 'battlefield'. Many were sold by the Pakistani Security Services. There was even a 96 year old prisoner in Guantanamo at one point, he was there with his 14 year old great grand son. There were over fifty children held at it's peak.

    Yes, the 'awkward' questions have been asked but the answers have been kept quiet - certainly from us anyway and for obvious reasons if you're in the government.

  • Comment number 86.

    I well remember Tony Blair, defiant in the House of Commons, when asked about rendition. His line was, give me the evidence and I will investigate. He obviously knew full well what was going on; but was quite happy to turn a blind eye to it all. Not to do so would have harmed his close friendship with Bush which he seemed to value above all else. Well, after a lot of digging some of the evidence is now being laid bare fo all to see. However, knowing the Mets track record for investigating the Establishments` embarassing moments, from Diana`s butler to cash for honours, I don`t expect anything else other than a total white wash. It would have been far more transparent to have set up a Royal Commission, held in public, rather than have the security arm of the police service investigating the security arm of the government. Seems all a bit, "Yes Prime Minister," to me.

    A comment on the tour Nick. You might be living in some sort of a bubble with the saviour of the world. But Gordon is bombing down at home. We are having a good chuckle at Daniel Hannas bit on YouTube which is getting more coverage than any of Gordon`s speeches. He could have saved a packet in these recession hit times and done a piece on YouTube himself. Probably would have got more exposure than on the BBC who seem to have relegated the tour to the end of its bulletins in an effort to hide all the embarassment of it all.

  • Comment number 87.

    #84 Charlesm186

    Do you not think that after eight years in custody that he may have been asked why he was in Afghanistan (he was arrested in Pakistan, it is a myth that Guantanamo prisoners were arrested on the 'battlefield')?

    Consequently, as a result of hundreds of interrogations over eight years his answer didn't appear to warrant any charges whatsoever. He has been exonerated.

  • Comment number 88.

    andrew @ 74

    Oh and sagamix, you do not get to decide what we discuss here

    I know, Andrew, I know - it's only GUIDELINES that I set, not RULES, and it's only an attempt at quality improvement

    losing battle, of course, but it can sometimes be honourable to fight one of those, don't you think?

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    anybody @ 81

    Only when it's on Labours watch would you suggest it's all our faults

    sorry, sweet, I didn't mean it was your fault, it's not your fault, none of it is ... all I mean is when you find out that a TORTURE incident has happened (the Baby P case, for example) then you have to face up to the fact that you're living in a world where that happens, so you're part of it, and simply because of that, you are damaged ... absolutely nothing to do with whether you're Labour, LibDem or a Clown

  • Comment number 91.

    and finally @ 70

    Derek Hatton threw away the suit and in the meantime has become a millionaire property tycoon in Cyprus

    and prior to that, a lucrative stint in Public Relations - I'd call him a Champagne Socialist if I was in the habit of calling people Champagne Socialists

  • Comment number 92.

    bango @ 66

    Do I get a certificate?

    it's a BADGE ... and no, you don't

    bit cheeky to even ask

  • Comment number 93.

    Could Nick Robinson explain why the BBC has not reported Daniel Hannan's speech in the European Parliament ridiculing Gordon Brown's leadership during this financial crisis? Every other news organisation has run a story about this brilliant speech? It smacks of massive bias in favour of 'New' LAbour.

  • Comment number 94.

    Entertaining Question Time last night. Watching Pickles dig himself deeper and deeper into the expenses hole, it was like a motorway pile up.
    Dimbleby set the trap, he knew the facts, and Pickles walked straight into it. There would have been an embarrassing call to make to Cameron after the pre-recorded show.

    The silence that followed every one of Charles Clarke's answers was also noteworthy, as was the hiss that greeted Dimbleby's mention of Harriet Harman appearing on the next QT. This in Newcastle, not the South.

    Clarke's response to a new Iraq inquiry epitomises the cabinet's attempts to skew the arguement. He'd still vote for the war because it has improved the lives of Iraqis. Conveniently forgetting that the motive for the invasion was WOMD and the 45 minute claim, underpinned by Saddam Hussein's alleged links to Al Qaeda. NOT regime change. Which, on the basis of a lack of evidence of WOMD, makes it an illegal war.

    Nick could learn from the likes of Dimbleby and Andrew Neil, proving it is possible to maintain a balance while working for Auntie.

  • Comment number 95.

    The number of posts on here asking 'what was he doing over there?' or 'why was he in ...' is concerning.

    Whether he is guilty or innocent isn't relevent to whether this country was complicit to torture or not.

  • Comment number 96.

    Laugh and Saga,

    You keep asking for Daniel Hannan comments to end. The problem is, it is big news - politically (over 1m YouTube viewers). Now, your politics might not want it to be big news, but it is.
    Contrast the lack of coverage in this case, to complaints about the excessive BBC coverage, and main story lead, over the death of Jade Goody. In response, the BBC stated that "coverage was justified on the grounds of the level of public interest".

    This is clearly a duplicitous situation. Even after admitting defeat through gritted teeth, the BBC website has included the clip. This goes under the heading of "EU speech is an internet phenomenon" on a side bar of the Politics page. Still the BBC can't bring itself to make it easy. They know how inspiring the use of the term "EU Speech" is.

    Perhaps - "PM exposed during withering attack during World Freebee Junkett" would have been better?

  • Comment number 97.

    The questions to the Security and Intelligence Services will be awkward, however the answers are more important assuming that the officers concerned do not suddenly take up a monk's vow of silence!

    But if the answers are truthful, will this not be in effect be a breach of the Official Secrets Act? Is this a case of Heads I win, Tails you lose?

  • Comment number 98.

    If any compromising revelations are forced out into the public domain, Milliband can always use the line: My statements were made in good faith. This was used in the rendition flights farce and will be used again, no doubt.

  • Comment number 99.

    Gordon's not having a happy time, Hannan mauls him, America ignores him and the president of Brazil pulls the rug away. This tour has been a resounding success,Nick Robinson has got a bit of a break from reality (and a suntan) and is now refreshed and ready to applaud the success of Gordie's efforts to save his own bacon.

  • Comment number 100.

    Binyam Mohamed didn't "come here as a child from Ethiopia". He came here when he was 15 from the United States with his father who left him here with instructions to report to Social Services. His sister still lives in the United States.


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