new torture cover-up

Mar 2015
a few more little steps forward to a war crimes trial, but steps forward none-the-less..

British government suppressing key documents on allegations of UK collusion in torture and rendition

Files reveal Tony Blair and Jack Straw discussed treatment of British detainees in Guantanamo with US officials

James Hanning

Key documents that could shed light on allegations of UK collusion in torture and rendition are being suppressed by the British government. The newly uncovered files include confidential exchanges between former PM Tony Blair and former president George Bush about treatment of detainees at Guantanamo. Possibly most significant are five other documents, communications between the former UK foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and former US secretary of state, Colin Powell, expressing interest and concern about the welfare and legal status of UK detainees at Guantanamo.

While the documents may relate to casual expressions of care for the welfare of UK citizens, former detainees have alleged that British officials have either been present at, or submitted questions for, “extreme” interrogation by US officials. The US government has been required to make public a large number of files which relate to British involvement in the treatment of prisoners in the years following the 9/11 bombings.

Litigation continues across multiple US departments over the possible release of mainly intelligence-derived documentation. But 12 documents found in the US State Department’s search, not derived from intelligence, were also withheld. These relate to interventions by British politicians and officials over the treatment of detainees and interrogation techniques. In court papers, the State Department reported: “After reviewing the documents, the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office requested that all 12 documents be withheld in full from public disclosure.”

The revelation will surprise campaigners, who are accustomed to hearing that the release of confidential documents by Whitehall would go against established protocol whereby a country (eg the US) is entitled to have intelligence documents it has shared with another country kept secret. On this occasion, the US has explicitly stated that the UK is preventing publication.

The documents, which appear not to have been seen by either the Chilcot inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the 2007 Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) inquiry into rendition, have come to light as a result of a lawsuit by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition. In 2008, the group’s chairman, Andrew Tyrie MP, started legal proceedings against seven US departments and agencies, including the FBI, Interpol and the CIA, under freedom of information legislation. The group asked the State Department to supply files on “the circumstances and extent of participation in (rendition) programmes by the UK” and on the US’s control and treatment of detainees. The State Department initially refused to release any information relating to the 12 documents, but relented on the day they were due for review by a US court but giving only imprecise details of their content.

so much more to read, so please read all: British government suppressing key documents on allegations of UK collusion in torture and rendition | UK Politics | News | The Independent
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