UK Criticised Over Role In US Rendition
The UK tolerated “inexcusable” treatment of US detainees after the 9/11 attacks, MPs have found.
The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said it was “beyond doubt” the UK knew the US mistreated detainees.
The UK continued to supply intelligence to allies in 232 cases where British officials knew or suspected mistreatment, its report said.
The ISC found no “smoking gun” indicating a policy of deliberately overlooking mistreatment.
Committee chairman Dominic Grieve said: “In our view the UK tolerated actions, and took others, that we regard as inexcusable.”
The ISC rejected claims by intelligence agencies that the cases detailed were no more than “isolated incidents”.
“It is difficult to comprehend how those at the top of the office did not recognise the pattern of mistreatment by the US,” the report said.
“That the US, and others, were mistreating detainees is beyond doubt, as is the fact that the Agencies and Defence Intelligence were aware of this at an early point.”
BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera says the report shows there is “no evidence of direct mistreatment” by British intelligence agencies, but there were “13 cases where spies witness first-hand a detainee being mistreated by others”.
He added that the ISC criticises the UK’s foreign intelligence service MI6, and its listening service GCHQ for playing “a role in enabling some detentions”.
In the report, it says the government “denied” the committee access to “officers who were involved at the time” of the UK’s involvement in rendition.
British citizen Moazzam Begg, previously held in Guantanamo Bay, criticised the inquiry’s scope as inadequate, saying “we still don’t know the process of accountability”.
Speaking about his own detention, he said: “British intelligence agents were physically there watching as I was hooded, shackled, with a gun to my head, threatened with being sent to Syria or Egypt if I didn’t co-operate.
“There was the sound of a woman screaming in the room next door, that I was led to believe was my wife being tortured. British intelligence agents knew all about this.”
What is rendition?
Rendering or rendition involves sending a person from one country to another for imprisonment and interrogation, probably by methods such as torture, that would be illegal in the country doing the rendering.
US intelligence agencies used the process of “extraordinary rendition” to send terror suspects for interrogation by security officials in other countries, where they have no legal protection or rights under American law.