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British Pay Jihadists to Tell Tall Tales of Torture

“Never surrender”— unless you are sued by jihadists.

12:01 PM, Nov 16, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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The UK government has decided to award seven former Guantanamo detainees millions of dollars in an out-of-court settlement, according to multiple press accounts. Why? The ex-Gitmo detainees claim that British authorities knew they were being tortured during their detention by the U.S. and other countries. And the Brits reportedly do not want their intelligence officials to become embroiled in costly and time-consuming litigation.

British Pay Jihadists to Tell Tall Tales of Torture

Moazzam Begg

When the proposed settlement was first announced earlier this year, UK prime minister David Cameron explained his government’s rationale. “Our [intelligence] services are paralysed by paperwork as they try to defend themselves in lengthy court cases with uncertain rules,” Cameron said. “We cannot have their work impeded by these allegations.”

Cameron’s reasoning makes sense from a certain point of view. But he is still wrong.

The struggle against the West’s jihadist foes is as much an information war as it is a military conflict. The contest for hearts and minds, both in the Muslim world and in the West, is a significant part of the war. Britain’s capitulation to the former Gitmo detainees might be evidence that the West is losing this battle.

To defeat the UK government, all the former Gitmo detainees and their lawyers had to do was claim they were tortured and then bury government officials in paperwork. It didn’t even matter that their claims have been repeatedly investigated and disproved. I’ve written about this previously, so I will not recount all of the facts again. (See, for example, here and here.)

However, consider two striking examples.

One of the former Gitmo detainees who is profiting from his phony torture claims is Moazzam Begg. The U.S. government has investigated Begg’s claims four times – that’s right, four times. The DoD investigated his story three times. The Department of Justice’s Inspector General also investigated Begg’s claims as part of its comprehensive review of the FBI’s involvement in detainee operations around the world.

What did they find? There is no evidence to substantiate any of Begg’s allegations. Moreover, Begg willingly signed an eight-page confession that detailed his Taliban and al Qaeda ties. (I reproduced the relevant excerpts from the inspector general’s report here.)

Begg stands to receive a large payout from the UK government nonetheless.

Binyam Mohamed is another one of the seven detainees who will reportedly be getting paid. Mohamed claims that his private parts were repeatedly sliced with a razor over an 18-month period while he was detained in Morocco. If this is true, then it certainly amounts to torture and it should be condemned in no uncertain terms.

The problem is, there is no evidence that it is true, and the U.S. government’s medical records do not substantiate Mohamed’s story. Mohamed is represented by lawyers working for Reprieve, a radical British outfit that spreads anti-Gitmo, anti-American myths. Reprieve has repeatedly pushed Mohamed’s razor-torture story, forcing the U.S. to respond. You can read part of the U.S. response in a PDF document published on Reprieve’s website. Here, according to Reprieve, is what U.S. officials found:

There is no evidence to support counsel’s claim that Mr. Mohamed’s genitalia were brutalized. Nothing abnormal about his genitalia is noted in any of his medical records. He received complete medical intake evaluations after he arrived in DoD control and upon arrival at Guantanamo. The doctors did not identify any scarring on his genitalia. He has never complained to doctors about his genitalia…

Reprieve’s response is laughable. The organization did not dispute the U.S. government’s claim that there is no scarring on Mohamed’s genitalia. Instead, Reprieve argued:

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