Ben Griffin: Former SAS, Banned
Speech to Anti-War Rally
speaks to World Against War rally before being gagged by UK
"As of 1940 hrs 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).
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 "
Ben Griffin, Former UK Special forces trooper
Ben Griffin, the ex-SAS trooper who this week revealed the
extensive British collaboration with US rendition and torture,
was served with an injunction immediately after speaking at the
London World Against War rally last night. 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.
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Former SAS soldier blows apart Miliband denial of
UK torture involvement.
Written by Stewart office
This statement was prepared and read by Ben Griffin, ex-SAS
soldier, at a press conference on Monday 25 February 2008.
Our government would have us believe that our involvement in the
process known as Extraordinary Rendition is limited to two
occasions on which planes carrying detainees landed to refuel on
the British Indian Ocean Territory, Diego Garcia. David Miliband
has stated that the British Government expects the Government of
the United States to “seek permission to render detainees via UK
territory and airspace, including Overseas Territories; that we
will grant that permission only if we are satisfied that the
rendition would accord with UK law and our international
obligations; and how we understand our obligations under the UN
Convention Against Torture¹.” (Taken from a statement given to
the House of Commons by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband on
Thursday 21 February 2008)
The use of British Territory and airspace pales into
insignificance in light of the fact that it has been British
soldiers detaining the victims of Extraordinary Rendition in the
first place. Since the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of
2001 UKSF has operated within a joint US/UK Task Force. This
Task Force has been responsible for the detention of hundreds if
not thousands of individuals in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Individuals detained by British soldiers within this Task force
have ended up in Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Bagram Theatre
Internment Facility, Balad Special Forces Base, Camp Nama BIAP
and Abu Ghraib Prison.
Whilst the government has stated its desire that the Guantanamo
Bay detention camp be closed, it has remained silent over these
other secretive prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. These secretive
prisons are part of a global network in which individuals face
torture and are held indefinately without charge. All of this is
in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions, International
Law and the UN Convention Against Torture.
Early involvement of UKSF in the process of Extraordinary
Rendition centres around operations carried out in Afghanistan
in late 2001. Of note is an incident at the Qalai Janghi
fortress, near Mazar-i-Sharif. UKSF fought alongside their US
counterparts to put down a bloody revolt by captured Taliban
fighters. The surviving Taliban fighters were then rendered to
After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 this joint US/UK task force
appeared. Its primary mission was to kill or capture high value
targets. Individuals detained by this Task Force often included
non-combatants caught up in the search for high value targets.
The use of secret detention centres within Iraq has negated the
need to use Guantanamo Bay whilst allowing similar practice to
I have here an account taken from an interpreter interviewed by
the organisation Human Rights Watch (http://hrw.org/reports/2006/us0706/2.htm).
He was based at the detention and interrogation facility within
Camp Nama at Baghdad International Airport during 2004. This
facility was used to interrogate individuals captured by the
joint US/UK Task Force. In it are the details of numerous
breaches of the Geneva Convention and accounts of torture. These
breaches were not the actions of rogue elements the abuse was
systematic and sanctioned through the chain of command. This
account is corroborated by an investigation carried out by NYT
reporters into Camp Nama and the US/UK Task Force, which
appeared in the New York Times on March 19 2006. Throughout my
time in Iraq I was in no doubt that individuals detained by UKSF
and handed over to our American colleagues would be tortured.
During my time as member of the US/UK Task Force, three soldiers
recounted to me an incident in which they had witnessed the
brutal interrogation of two detainees. Partial drowning and an
electric cattle prod were used during this interrogation and
this amounted to torture. It was the widely held assumption that
this would be the fate of any individuals handed over to our
America colleagues. My commanding officer at the time expressed
his concern to the whole squadron that we were becoming “the
secret police of Baghdad”.
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.
The joint US/UK Task Force has broken International Law,
contravened The Geneva Conventions and disregarded the UN
Convention Against Torture. British soldiers are intimately
involved in the actions of this Task Force. Jack Straw, Margaret
Beckett David Miliband, Geoff Hoon, Des Browne, Tony Blair,
Gordon Brown. In their respective positions over the last five
years they must know that British soldiers have been operating
within this joint US/UK task force. They must have been briefed
on the actions of this unit.
As the occupiers of Iraq we have a duty to uphold the law, to
abide by the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention Against
Torture. We are also responsible for securing the borders of
Iraq on all counts we have failed. The British Army once had a
reputation for playing by the rules. That reputation has been
tarnished over the last seven years. We have accepted illegality
as the norm. I have no doubt that over the coming months and
years increasing amounts of information concerning the actions
of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will be become
Whilst the majority of British Forces have been withdrawn from
Iraq, UKSF remain within the US/UK Task Force.
¹Torture, according to the United Nations Convention Against
Torture, is "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether
physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for
such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person
information or a confession.”
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