The News Line gives the best write-up of this latest example of the erosion of civil liberties, the gagging of a true hero:
GAGGED! – ex-soldier who exposed Labour’s lies on rendition
‘As of 1940hrs 29/02/08 I have been placed under an injunction preventing me from speaking publicly and publishing material gained as a result of my service in UKSF (SAS)’, said ex-SAS trooper Ben Griffin yesterday.
The former UK Special Forces trooper earlier this week revealed the extensive British collaboration with US rendition and torture.
He was served with an injunction immediately after speaking at the London World Against War rally on Thursday night, organised by Stop the War Coalition.
Labour MP John McDonnell told News Line: ‘This is an outrageous assault on our basic civil liberties.
‘It is another example of how the government is trying to prevent coverage of the truth about Iraq.’
Stop the War Coalition said in a statement yesterday: ‘The government is trying to gag Ben to prevent any more revelations about British involvement in the US policy of kidnapping people and sending them to secret centres for interrogation and torture.’
Griffin pledged: ‘I will be continuing to collect evidence and opinion on British involvement in extraordinary rendition, torture, secret detentions, extra judicial detention, use of evidence gained through torture, breaches of the Geneva Conventions, breaches of International Law and failure to abide by our obligations as per UN Convention Against Torture.
‘I am carrying on regardless.’
Condemning the gag, joint general secretary of Unite the union Tony Woodley told news Line: ‘Britain’s foreign policy adventures need to be subject to increased public scrutiny, as the scandal of the WMD dossier showed all too clearly.
‘Attempts by government to sweep the Iraq war disaster under the carpet will not make the issue go away, and this move to suppress information and free speech can only do further damage to the government’s reputation.’
At the Stop the War press conference on Monday, Griffin read out a statement revealing that UK troops handed over thousands of prisoners to the Americans for torture in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He said: ‘Since the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001 UKSF (UK Special Forces) has operated within a joint US/UK Task Force.’
He added: ‘As UK soldiers within this Task Force, a policy that we would detain individuals but not arrest them was continually enforced.
‘Since it was commonly assumed by my colleagues that anyone we detained would subsequently be tortured this policy of detention and not arrest was regarded as a clumsy legal tool used to distance British soldiers from the whole process.
‘During the many operations conducted to apprehend high value targets, numerous non-combatants were detained and interrogated in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of civilians in occupied territories.
‘I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured.’