Hand over redacted UK torture material! – MPs committee tells US administration

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THE House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee is to request that the US hands over any material documenting the UK’s role in the CIA’s torture programme.

The MPs are conducting an inquiry into the treatment of detainees by British intelligence agencies in the decade following 9/11.

Committee chairmman, Tory MP Malcolm Rifkind, said yesterday: ‘If British intelligence officials were present when people were being tortured then they were complicit in that torture.

‘That would be quite against all the standards of this country, it would be something that ought to be brought into the public domain.’

A US Senate report found ‘brutal’ treatment of al-Qaeda suspects in the wake of 9/11.

Downing Street has admitted that some material was removed from the report at UK intellingence agencies’ request, citing national security reasons.

It claimed that no redactions related to British involvement in the mistreatment of prisoners.

Rifkind told the Andrew Marr Show his committee would ask the US government if it could see the redacted material.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said she had concerns that the intelligence committee did not have the capacity and scope to be able to get to the truth.

A 525-page summary of the US Senate report, compiled by Democrats on the committee, was published earlier this week, although the full version remains classified.

It revealed that the CIA carried out ‘brutal’ interrogations of terrorism suspects in the years after the 9/11 attacks which produced unreliable information.

The summary contains no reference to UK agencies.

Home Secretary Theresa May was one of several UK officials who met with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) ahead of the publication of its report on torture by the US and its allies, it has emerged.

Documents unearthed by legal charity Reprieve reveal that from 2009, 24 meetings were held between UK government officials or ministers and SSCI members.

The Home Secretary met with the Committee in 2011 ‘in her capacity as Home Secretary’, while other UK government visitors to the SSCI included former and current UK ambassadors to the US.

The SSCI began its formal inquiry into the CIA torture programme in 2009, and the timing of the UK meetings with the Committee have raised concerns that the UK may have attempted to influence the contents of the report.

Reprieve Head of Communications Donald Campbell said: ‘We already know that the UK was complicit in the CIA’s shameful rendition and torture programme.

‘What we don’t know is why there is no mention of that in the public version of the Senate’s torture report.

‘There are important questions which members of the current and the previous governments must answer: did they lobby to ensure embarrassing information about the UK was “redacted” or removed from the report?’

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has called for former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to reveal what they knew about the CIA’s torture and rendition programme when they were in office.

‘It’s for ministers in that government to account for their actions,’ he said.