On December 13 2005 the British Secretary of State Jack Straw was questioned by the British Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs about illegal “renditions”. Straw responded:
Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States, and also let me say, we believe that Secretary Rice is lying, there simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition full stop, because we have not been, and so what on earth a judicial inquiry would start to do I have no idea.
Those who believed in that ‘conspiracy theory’ were right, finds the British Parliament:
Britain’s intelligence services tolerated and abetted “inexcusable” abuse of terrorism suspects by their American counterparts, according to a report released by Parliament on Thursday that offers a wide-ranging official condemnation of British intelligence conduct in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks…
The committee documented dozens of cases in which Britain participated in sending suspects to other countries that were known to use torture or aided others in doing so — a practice known as rendition.
There has still not been a judicial inquiry into the issue. The parliament report notes that the British government blocked access to relevant documents and prohibited the questioning of many witnesses the parliament inquiry wanted to hear.
Ambassador Craig Murray, who blew the whistle on British complicity in torture in Uzbekistan, notes:
Theresa May specifically and deliberately ruled out the Committee from questioning any official who might be placed at risk of criminal proceedings – see para 11 of the report. The determination of the government to protect those who were complicit in torture tells us much more about their future intentions than any fake apology.
In fact it is impossible to read paras 9 to 14 without being astonished at the sheer audacity of Theresa May’s attempts to obstruct the inquiry. They were allowed to interview only 4 out of 23 requested witnesses, and those were not allowed “to talk about the specifics of the operations in which they were involved nor fill in any gaps in the timeline”.
There is also evidence that the British MI6 outsourced illegal operations to other countries or agencies:
Although British policy prohibited rendition, the committee found, British agents repeatedly aided other countries in sending suspects to places where there was a high probability they would be mistreated. In three cases, it reported, the British paid, or offered to pay, for renditions; in 28, they “suggested, planned or agreed to rendition operations” conducted by others; and in 22, they provided intelligence to enable a rendition to take place.
The United Nations considers such extraordinary renditions to be crimes against humanity. Neither the U.S. nor the United Kingdom has held anyone but a few grunts accountable for their involvement in these crimes.
The British state has since repeatedly acted to ensure impunity for those involved, from Blair and Straw down to individual security service officers, who are not to be held responsible for their criminal complicity. This impunity of agents of the state is a complete guarantee that these evil practices will continue.
It seems that impunity is part of the “western values”. The CIA, MI6 and the myriad of “special forces” under this or that name continue to use these illegal practices.
The United Arab Emirates were just found to torture random Yemenis in its prisons in south Yemen. U.S. special forces and CIA interrogators are present:
Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme — including , an Associated Press investigation has found…
Several U.S. defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the topic, told AP that American forces do participate in interrogations of detainee.
Prisoners get isolated, threatened with dogs, waterboarded and more:
They raped detainees while other guards filmed the assaults. They electrocuted prisoners’ genitals or hung rocks from their testicles. They sexually violated others with wooden and steel poles.
“They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then the sodomizing starts,” said one father of four.
The U.S. defense establishment claims that none of its soldiers are “present” when actual torture happens. It also put bridges on sale. The CIA declined to comment to AP.
Some of the chaps the Saudi-UAE alliance or its al-Qaeda allies round up are brought onto (U.S.?) ships off the Yemeni coast where U.S. personal – special forces, CIA agents or their contractors – ‘interrogate’ these prisoners. To say that they directly torture them is – Jack Straw would say – a conspiracy theory.
Unless some court finally takes up the issues and throws some higher ranking officers and politicians into prison for committing these crimes nothing of this will change.