Guardian: Labour’s involvement in illegal abduction and torture of British citizens

Today’s Guardian reports the involvement of senior Labour figures, including Tony Blair and Jack Straw, in the illegal abduction and torture of British citizens by the secret services:

The true extent of the Labour government’s involvement in the illegal abduction and torture of its own citizens after the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001 has been spelled out in stark detail with the disclosure during high court proceedings of a mass of highly classified documents.

Previously secret papers that have been disclosed include a number implicating Tony Blair’s office in many of the events that are to be the subject of the judicial inquiry that David Cameron announced last week.

Among the most damning documents are a series of interrogation reports from MI5 officers that betray their disregard for the suffering of a British resident whom they were questioning at a US airbase in Afghanistan. The documents also show that the officers were content to see the mistreatment continue.

As then Lib Dem shadow foreign secretary Ed Davey commented last year in an article for the paper entitled, End the rendition cover-up:

When we fight to uphold the rule of law, it’s vital we uphold the rule of law as we fight. Otherwise we simply play into the hands of the terrorists and undermine our values and system of justice.

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  • Chris Squire 15th Jul '10 - 11:45am

    The persons being tortured were all, I think, ‘British residents’ not British citizens. In the minds of some people, perhaps many British people, that makes a big difference.

  • Gareth Pierce’s very, very good piece for the LRB last year on precisely this subject:

    Utterly, utterly damning.

  • @ Chris Squire
    What are you suggesting?

    Surely, the UK or any of its agents shouldn’t send *anybody* who is on British soil or in the hands of British troops/embassies/secret service anywhere to be tortured, whatever the status of that person in relation to the British state.

    As far as I am concerned (and I think international law is with me on that) when it comes to torture, all people are equal, whatever their citizenship status, even if they have committed crimes. Torture or any action to help others to commit torture of anybody is wrong and a breach of human rights (as well as a criminal act).

    That said – what happened is pretty shocking, but, alas, no longer entirely surprising.

  • Barry George 15th Jul '10 - 7:36pm

    @ Maria

    I totally agree with your comment and only wish to add that despite how it seems to work so well in films and television, the overwhelming evidence is that, in the real world, torture does not work…

    So not only is it illegal, its is also pointless.

  • Stuart Mitchell 15th Jul '10 - 10:15pm

    “The coalition government,,, wishes to preserve what it calls ‘liaison relationships’ – operational links with overseas intelligence agencies, including those known to use torture – on the grounds that they are a vital part of the country’s counterterrorism strategy.”

    Does this qualify as “complicity”?

  • Michael Seymour 16th Jul '10 - 8:39am

    I agree, it is irrelevant whether someone is a citizen or a resident of the country, it applies to all people, whatever their nationality, torture, whatever the circumstances is a violation of human rights, medieval in its use and ultimately of no value.

  • Andrew Suffield 16th Jul '10 - 9:06am

    I just wish there was a realistic chance of prosecuting those involved.

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