CAGE has recently, and again, called for accountability of the security services, the call arose out of the case of Mohammed Emwazi who was harassed by the security services. As a result of this, CAGE came under attack from media and Parliamentarians. CAGE would like to thank all those who have been sharing their comments and feedback via social media, we appreciate your concern for contributing to the discourse in an intelligent way.
CAGE’s remit revolves around abuses of due process in the War on Terror. We are perhaps the only organisation in the world that has this unique focus. We have been campaigning to highlight abuses of due process and the rule of law in the form of our work on Guantanamo Bay, torture, secret detention sites, drones and more. In recent years, we have taken greater interest in documenting and highlighting the impact of the War on Terror domestically in the form of draconian policies and legislation that again, circumvent or threaten the principles of due process and rule of law.
Our work on Western intelligence agencies, including MI5, complicity in torture has been pioneering. Our message is simple: the application of the rule of law is a prerequisite for a fair and just society. Everyone must be held to the standards of the rule of law equally or it will lead to grave violations and abuses and lasting consequences, making our world less safe.
Is CAGE really talking too much about Security Services abuses?
Has there been any real debate about the lack of accountability and transparency for the activities of the security state?
Our call (which has not changed since we started campaigning) is simple: the security state must be held accountable to the same standards of the rule of law as everyone else. Due process must not be suspended. The legal maxim of innocence until proven otherwise must be upheld in all cases, it is never justified to presume that one is guilty before any evidence has been brought against them; furthermore guilt cannot be presumed by association nor without the proper legal process of a criminal trial. It is not right that a person is treated as a criminal without ever knowing what the charges are against him. Fair trials must be afforded to all, regardless of the accusations levelled against them.
Important points to consider:
- After all the abuses that have taken place over a period of 14 years in Guantanamo Bay – how many people have been brought to justice for those crimes? Hundreds of men have been tortured and locked up in cages for years, eventually to be released without charge nor a simple apology. Where is the accountability for these injustices?
- The illegal occupation of Iraq by the British was based on the “dodgy dossier” compiled by the intelligence agencies based on assumptions and lies; this ultimately led to the suffering of millions, deaths of thousands and a completely destroyed the infrastructure, all the while no weapons of mass destruction were found. Has a single person that has faced justice or been held accountable for these crimes?
- The Senate Committee published the CIA torture report recently in which US officials finally admitted to using torture – something that is morally and legally reprehensible by every known international convention and law. Where is the accountability for this? Who will bring these criminals to justice?
- Closer to home, our own security services have been involved in the outsourcing of torture to brutal regimes, such as Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan to name just a few and continuous engagement in such abuses without any accountability. The parliamentary committee given powers of oversight is itself mired in controversy after its chair was forced to resign due to corruptly accepting money.
We are calling for accountability and transparency. We are calling for an informed and intelligent debate around these vital issues with a view to finding solutions to this never ending conflict called the “War on Terror”. We feel that CAGE, an organisation which works closely with victims and survivors of the “War on terror”, and is thus uniquely placed to play a role in bridging communities and seeking solutions.
For too long now, the discourse around the causes of politically motivated violence has been centred on ideology, adherence to Islam, the discredited conveyor belt theory etc. For the first time, and at a great cost to itself, CAGE has managed to ignite a serious debate up and down the country on the causes of terrorism. Including failures in domestic counter terrorism policy into this discussion is not only necessary but is well overdue. We want the cycle of violence to end; we do not want to see innocent lives being lost on either side of the conflict. Anyone who is serious about contributing to finding a solution must take the time to properly understand the causes and drivers of politically motivated violence. Such an understanding will not be complete without engaging the communities that are facing the full force of anti-terrorismpolicies and legislation. CAGE is uniquely placed to understand and represent these communities. We hope that we can contribute in a meaningful way towards solutions that can lead to just and fair outcomes for all.
- CAGE has made important contributions to unveil crimes committed in the name of the War on Terror this last decade.
- When the Pentagon refused to identify any of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay in 2006, CAGE provided the most extensive list of detainees, see here.
- It was also the first organisation to document cases of UK complicity in rendition. Read more here.
- It also compiled the first comprehensive list of over 100 secret prisons used in the War on Terror: see here and here.
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)