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UK Spy Chiefs Tried to Hide Involvement in CIA Torture: Reports

Sputnik News

15:30 12.12.2014(updated 19:06 12.12.2014)

British intelligence agencies spoke to US counterparts about a report on CIA interrogation before it was published, Downing Street says.

MOSCOW, December 12 (Sputnik) – The US Senate published a CIA torture report on Wednesday, which examined the CIA's treatment of detainees in the years after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

In the report there was no mention of British agencies and their involvement in brutal tactics used against inmates. But it now seems like the British intelligence agencies deliberately asked not to be mentioned. As reported by the BBC, British intelligence agencies spoke to their US colleagues about a CIA interrogation report before it was published, Downing Street has said.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said there had been a conversation between UK and US intelligence services about the executive summary of the report and references to Britain's intelligence agencies were deleted at their request from the US report.

A spokesman for David Cameron has admitted that the UK had been granted deletions in the publication, contrasting with earlier assertions by No 10. Downing Street, which said any redactions were only requested on "national security" grounds and contained nothing to suggest UK agencies had participated in torture or rendition.

On Thursday, the prime minister's deputy official spokesman said: "My understanding is that no redactions were sought to remove any suggestion that there was UK involvement in any alleged torture or rendition. But I think there was a conversation with the agencies and their US counterparts on the executive summary. Any redactions sought there would have been on national security grounds in the way we might have done with any other report."

The American Psychological Association called the details in the report 'sickening and reprehensible,', reports Reuters.

Earlier, last month a Pakistani man claiming that the UK and the US cooperated in his rendition and torture, has been given the go ahead by a judge to sue the British government for his alleged ordeal. It was one of the latest cases of Britain being criticized over its treatment of terror suspects.

The charity Reprieve, which lobbies on behalf of prisoners and is supporting Mr Rahmatullah, said he was seized by UK forces in Iraq in 2004, handed over to the US and sent to Bagram prison in Afghanistan via the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The charity says he was released from Bagram in June this year. Yunis Rahmatullah claims he was secretly detained by the US for ten years.

The UK has long denied any involvement in renditions, however back in 2008, the then Defense Secretary John Hutton did admit to the UK Parliament that the rendition of Mr Rahmatullah and another man, Amanatullah Ali, had taken place.

"Yunus Rahmatullah suffered some of the most shocking abuses of the 'war on terror' – now we know the Government's attempt to avoid accountability for his ordeal is without merit," legal director at Reprieve, Kat Craig said. "The fact is that victims of British rendition and torture, like Yunus, deserve their day in court – the Government must accept this, and be prepared to answer for its past actions."

His pain is echoed by many others. Human rights lawyer Sapna Malik believes it is "time for the British government to abandon its attempts to evade judicial scrutiny of its conduct in operations involving the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that justice may finally be served for what has passed and lessons learned for the future."

In the aftermath of the Senate report, the UK government is coming under increasing pressure to order a more transparent inquiry into the actions of British agencies in the US torture program.

Diane Abbott, the Labour MP, said that "as a first step we need to know what was removed from the reports" and more must be revealed about what UK government ministers knew at the time, reports The Guardian.

"The US is at least trying to be honest about what went on," she said. "To their shame, the UK authorities are still trying to hide their complicity in torture. We need to know how much ministers knew. And if they didn't know why not?"


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