Saturday, 14 March 2009
Binyan Mohamed was traveling on a false passport, and he wondered why the British authorities needed to be involved in investigating his background!
"In the first interview since his release, Mohamed, an Ethiopian refugee who worked as a cleaner at a West London mosque, released memos which reveal MI5 fed questions to his interrogators."
Daily Telegraph 10/03/09
So, MI5 fed questions to his interrogators. Let's think about why they might have done that.
"He said he wanted to go to Chechenya as an aid worker but was told he would need "basic training" and and joined an Afghan camp for six weeks."
"He was arrested in Pakistan in April 2002 as he tried to fly back to London on a false passport and said he was chained to the top of the door of his cell by his wrists for 22 hours, beaten with a wooden stick, and a gun was put to his head."
He needed basic training as an aid worker, so he went to Afghanistan for six weeks? Doesn't seem like an obvious place for training as an aid worker.
And let's see: he was trying to fly back to London on a false passport. Now, it seems to me that if he was holding a false passport, the authorities would want to investigate his background, hence the questions, as quoted on the Today programme, that he said MI5 fed to the interrogators, questions like, his address, his job, his associates. Someone who had just come from Afghanistan, trying to fly out of Pakistan on a false passport and he thinks it's somehow highly irregular for the British authorities to become involved to try to establish his true identity and background?
Binyam Mohamed appears to contradict himself quite a lot here on significant details. He needed basic training as an aid worker and joined an Afghan camp for six weeks or he "he left Britain for Afghanistan in May 2001 to learn more about his religion," or were these different trips? One where he went to be trained as an aid worker and one where he went to learn about his religion?
In the interview aired by the Today programme Mohamed was asked why he had gone to Afghanistan. He said that people had told him that Afghanistan was where the "real Islam," was to be found. Really? What people? Well, he was quite vague about who these people were, but I would have thought that "real Islam," could be found elsewhere, like Pakistan, maybe, and in studying his religion there, he might have avoided the ongoing problems in Afghanistan, but then he was arrested because of his false passport, I believe. I think this was what drew the attention of the authorities. So, I would ask again: why the need for a false passport if he was just trying to find out about his religion and this was just a totally innocent trip?
Those who have nothing to hide don't need to travel on false passports. The Today programme did not air the full interview and if the question of the passport was raised, it wasn't in the extracts we heard this morning. I would hope that the judicial enquiry would focus on this issue and also on the issue of Mohamed's remaining in the UK. He has not been tried and so he has not been found guilty of any offence, but then neither has he been found innocent.