UK intelligence agencies involved in torture of 9/11 detainees, new report says

UK intelligence agencies involved in torture of 9/11 detainees, new report says

The MI6 headquarters in London. Image: Getty

Friday, June 29, 2018

A report released yesterday reveals that UK intelligence agencies were involved in torture of terrorism suspects after the September 11 attack.

The parliamentary intelligence and security committee compiled the report, which says that MI5 and MI6 were involved in hundreds of torture and rendition cases.

There was no evidence, though, of officers physically carrying out torture.

Allegations in the report include three instances of MI5 and MI6 offering to fund rendition cases, 232 cases of UK personnel continuing to supply intelligence despite suspecting detainees were being mistreated, and instances of UK personnel witnessing the mistreatment of suspects.

“We have found 13 incidents where UK personnel witnessed at first hand a detainee being mistreated by others, 25 where UK personnel were told by detainees that they had been mistreated by others and 128 incidents recorded where agency officers were told by foreign liaison services about instances of mistreatment,” the report said.

“In some cases, these were correctly investigated but this was not consistent.”

'Complicity' of British intelligence

"What this report shows is that British people and the families of British intelligence, of whom I am one, were not told the full truth about the complicity of British intelligence, particularly MI6, in the torture of detainees by the US," said professor of politics Anthony Glees.

"There’s a reputational issue here, not just of the intelligence services, but of the then-foreign secretary Jack Straw [and] Sir Richard Dearlove, who was head of MI6 at the time this was going on.

"We knew Americans were torturing but our intelligence chiefs told us we the British had nothing to do with it. This report shows that’s completely untrue."

Speaking on the talkRADIO breakfast show, he added that he thought the British public would be unhappy with the findings.

"Did we help the Americans to torture and did we shut up about it? The answer provided by the report is yes," he said.

"The Americans say jump, and we say, how high? I don’t think the British public will accept that. We don’t do torture, that’s what the bad people do."

Jack Straw 'unaware'

Dominic Grieve, the chair of the committee, said the inquiry had had to end early because the committee could not get access to all intelligence personnel they wanted to speak to.

The information revealed so far, he said, should be made public.

Jack Straw, who was foreign secretary at the time of the 9/11 attacks, said that he was unaware of many of the activities mentioned in the report.

“The report also shows that where I was involved in decisions I consistently sought to ensure that the United Kingdom did act in accordance with its long stated policies, and international norms,” he said in a statement.

He is likely to face more questions about how much he knew at the time.

The report is in two sections, with one focusing on mistreatment of detainees between 2001-2010 and the other looking at current issues.

Listen to the full interview above.