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Foreign Secretary David Miliband has refused to release documents requested by Guantanomo Bay resident Binyam Mohamed and denied that his decision was based on fear of US reprisals.

A damning High Court judgement yesterday said the documents could not be released because Foreign Office lawyers told the court that if they were then the US would stop giving the UK intelligence information, which would put UK citizens at risk.

The US gives the UK selected pieces of its intelligence findings in exchange, amongst other things, for a permanent US seat on the UK's Joint Intelligence Committee. The supposed exchange is really hopelessly in favour of the US with its enormous intel gathering infrastructure compared to the UK's.

Miliband told the House of Commons today that the US had made no threat to end this exchange of intelligence. Or at least he sort of said that.

Miliband told the House: "For the record, the United States authorities did not threaten to 'break off' intelligence cooperation with the UK. What the United States said, and it appears in the open, public documents of this case, is that the disclosure of these documents by order of our Courts would be 'likely to result in serious damage to US national security and could harm existing intelligence information-sharing between our two governments'." Clear? Serious damage is not the same as "break off".

He repeated that any disclosure of information against the wishes of the US authorities "would indeed cause real and significant damage to the national security and international relations of this country".

For the Tories, David Davis said Miliband's remarks were inconsistent with the High Court judges' findings, released yesterday.

All the weasel's words are here. ®

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