- By Arnaud Mafille, CagePrisoners
In a 35 minutes phone call he was permitted to give to his lawyer, Mahdi Hashi was able to give a glimpse of the mistreatment he suffered during his disappearance in East Africa. These revelations prove that Barack Obama, despite his words, is indeed a proud inheritor of the legacy of rendition and torture left by his predecessors.
The pattern of events described by the young Londoner is almost an exact replica of what other survivors of the War on Terror have recounted, a pattern in which American authorities harvest the fruits of the torture they delegated to other countries.
Mahdi explained to his lawyer how Djiboutian torturers forced him to watch a man being stripped to his underwear and hung upside down. Then, “’they beat the soles of his feet, poured cold water on him and said they would electrocute him. There was screaming all around me and it was pretty horrific” said Mahdi. He was then warned that he was to expect a similar treatment if he did not cooperate. He said he was himself stripped to his underwear, blindfolded and told he would be sexually abused.
After several weeks of mistreatment, he was handed over to American interrogators, only to be led to believe he would face far worse in case he did not want to cooperate. After that, he was made to sign a false confession as well as a disclaimer in which he agreed to waive his right to silence”.
Then, stuck in a plane, destination: New York.
This narration is indeed very similar to the “softening up process” described by Binyam Mohammed when he was tortured in a Moroccan prison on the behalf of American and British authorities. Hung by his wrists, beaten and mutilated with a scalpel for 18 months, he was then flown to several other CIA black sites. Having given false confessions under duress, he was then charged on terrorism related offenses. These charges were later dropped and he was cleared and released.
One should not be deceived by the (coming) American narrative according to which it might be possible that Mahdi Hashi was roughed up a bit by Djiboutian authorities, nevertheless, when he was handed over to the US interrogators, he was treated perfectly humanely and had his Miranda rights read to him.
As explained by Michael Scheuer, former head of CIA and one of the rendition program designers, arguing that during his time, his agency did not arrest or interrogate anybody:
“The local police or the local secret services took care of that. We always stayed in the background. The American government is full of cowards.”
One might discuss the cowardice of Obama, however the weakness of his memory can easily be diagnosed. In 2007, reacting to the Bush era of torture, he stated emphatically:
“The secret authorization of brutal interrogations is an outrageous betrayal of our core values, and a grave danger to our security (…) Torture is how you create enemies, not how you defeat them. Torture is how you get bad information, not good intelligence (…)
It’s time to stop telling the American people one thing in public while doing something else in the shadows (…)
When I am president we won’t work in secret to avoid honoring our laws and Constitution, we will be straight with the American people and true to our values”
By the way, after Mahdi was subjected to secret rendition to the US by the FBI on 14 November 2012, he was secretly charged the following day. Thereafter, he was kept for five weeks under the false name of John Doe.
How straight is that?
Also, Read KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: What to do when MI5 comes knocking for you?
To know more about the harassment of Mahdi Hashi before his disappearance
Read How MI5 blackmails British Muslims in The Independent (2009)
Read Cageprisoners’ report regarding the targeting and profiling of people from or travelling to the Horn of Africa for a full understanding of this phenomenon (including the testimonies of Mahdi and his friends from North London)
To know more about the disappearance of Mahdi Hashi
Read Theresa May strips British passport from Muslim care worker who refused to join MI5 and may now be in African prison by Robert Vervaik
Watch UK ‘discards own citizen who refused to spy on Muslims’ on Russia Today
Watch Search for missing care worker on ITV
The Bureau of Investgative Journalism: Missing British- Somali man reappears in New York court
Mahdi Hashi Campaign Website: Harrased…Abandoned…Stateless