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The CIA, 'enhanced interrogation methods' and the UK

The CIA, 'enhanced interrogation methods' and the UK

Categories: Latest News

Monday April 07 2014

The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Daily Mail, BBC News and ITV  News all report on the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s majority decision to vote in favour of the declassification of the summary, findings and conclusions of its report on the CIA’s use of ‘enhanced interrogation methods’.

The lengthy report, some 6,200 pages long, is based on detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees and documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use interrogation techniques.

According to the Independent, the report refers to cases in which CIA officials demanded the continued use of harsh interrogation techniques even after analysts were convinced that prisoners had no more information. The Daily Telegraph and BBC News both note that the draft report concluded that such techniques did not yield any breakthroughs in counter-terrorism.

The Daily Telegraph also notes that a security source has claimed that the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was fully aware of the techniques used by CIA officials engaged in rendition and torture.

The chairman of the all party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, Andrew Tyrie MP, who has been involved in legal action against US authorities in a bid to uncover information on alleged British involvement, has previously criticised the Government’s plans of extending the use of secret trials, in an effort to keep disclosures about the scale of British complicity, as “the tools of dictatorship”.

Last month, Andrew Tyrie MP sent a letter to the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who is overseeing the Detainee Inquiry. Tyrie urged Sir Malcolm to “examine the issue of detainee transfers in Iraq and Afghanistan, both whether anyone captured by the UK had been handed over to the control of the US or another country or transferred out of the country and whether the UK was involved in or had knowledge of subsequent mistreatment of these detainees.”

According to Ian Cobain, Britain’s involvement in torture and secret interrogation is nothing new. His book “Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture” documents British involvement in torture and prisoner abuse in the Second World War, Aden, Kenya, Northern Ireland and in South Iraq after the invasion in 2003.

Last year, Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service launched investigations into allegations against MI5 and MI6 regarding complicity in torture. The number of legal challenges brought by victims alleging UK complicity in their rendition and torture, such as Abdel Hakim Belhadj, have been noted as reasons for the passing of the Justice and Security Act last year, introducing the so-called ‘secret trials’.

Whether or not the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report confirms and exposes the UK’s continuous involvement in torture through US-led interrogation methods and rendition, it is vital for the UK’s own Detainee Inquiry to move forward.

Although the Senate Committee have voted for the declassifying sections of the report, ‘it will be some time’ before any part of report will be made public, according to the BBC.


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