U.S. Threatens Independent British Judicial System

These two paragraphs demonstrate apparent thuggishness, wrapped in the language of diplomacy.

They're from a court brief submitted by the U.S. government to Britain's top court.

It has come to the United States Government's attention that on 22 April 2009 your High Court heard argument on a motion of Mr. Mohamed for reconsideration of the Court's decision to withhold seven paragraphs from its open decision of 21 August 2008. The Court withheld those seven paragraphs at the request of your Foreign Secretary, based on a Public Interest Immunity Certificate that explained the damage to the United Kingdom's intelligence relationship with the United States--and as a consequence the United Kingdom's own national security--if the paragraphs were disclosed. Mr. Mohamed argued during the 22 April hearing that given the change in administration in the United States, HMG should be ordered to ask the Obama administration for its views on the disclosure of the information contained in the seven paragraphs.

Days prior to the 22 April hearing, the Obama administration released four memoranda issued by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC of the U.S. Department of Justice that describe interrogation techniques that the CIA employed during interrogations of certain high-value detainees. I understand that during the hearing, the High Court placed great import on President Obama's decision to release the OLC memoranda as an indication that the United States Government would not object to disclosure of the seven paragraphs. The Court made clear, nevertheless, that it would entertain further clarification of the United States Government's position, and the potential damage to the U.K.-U.S. intelligence sharing relationship that would be caused by public disclosure of the seven paragraphs.

Is this a real threat? Or are the United States and Britain colluding on behalf of keeping the information about Binyam Mohamed's detention and rendition a secret? I agree with Glenn Greenwald. It seems transparently clear that both governments don't want to reveal the info because both governments (especially the Brits) would be embarrassed by what was in them, and that the best way to pressure the independent judiciary in Britain into keeping those facts a secret is to convince it that a ruling in favor of disclosure could tear apart the entire U.S.-Britain relationship.