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Walker reports: "Britain and the US have come under increasing pressure as details emerge of the so-called secret rendition programme, in which terrorism suspects - some wrongly identified - were often snatched off the streets and flown to either secret CIA prisons or detention centres operated by other countries, for example Egypt, where many complained of torture and other mistreatment."

UN investigator Ben Emmerson said 'failure to release intelligence reports shows seeming unwillingness by UK and US to face up to international crimes.' (photo: UN)
UN investigator Ben Emmerson said 'failure to release intelligence reports shows seeming unwillingness by UK and US to face up to international crimes.' (photo: UN)


Britain and US Asked to Release Secret Torture Reports

By Peter Walker, Guardian UK

05 March 13

 

Allies accused by human rights lawyer of covering up the truth on kidnapping and torture of terrorist suspects

UN human rights advocate has called on Britain and the US to release confidential reports into the countries' involvement in the kidnapping and torture of terrorism suspects, accusing them of "years of official denials, sophistry and prevarication" to cover up the truth.

In a speech to the UN human rights council in Geneva introducing a report on the issue, Ben Emmerson, a British barrister who is the UN's special rapporteur on protecting human rights within efforts to combat terrorism, demanded that Britain publish the interim findings of a report by a retired judge, Sir Peter Gibson, into the involvement of MI5 and MI6 in the removal and mistreatment of terrorist suspects.

In a response delivered at the council, British officials said the government was "looking carefully at the contents of the report by the Gibson inquiry on its preparatory work, with a view to publishing as much of it as possible". There was no word on when this might happen.

Emmerson also asked the US to release a similar report by the Senate's select committee on intelligence into the CIA's secret detention and interrogation programme.

Failure to do so showed a seeming unwillingness by both governments to face up to serious international crimes and "a policy of de facto immunity for public officials who engaged in acts of torture, rendition and secret detention, and their superiors and political masters who authorised these acts", Emmerson said.

"Words are not enough. Platitudinous repetition of statements affirming opposition to torture ring hollow to many in those parts of the Middle East and North Africa that have undergone, or are undergoing, major upheaval, since they have first-hand experience of living under repressive regimes that used torture in private whilst making similar statements in public," he added.

"The scepticism of these communities can only be reinforced if western governments continue to demonstrate resolute indifference to the crimes committed by their predecessor administrations."

Britain and the US have come under increasing pressure as details emerge of the so-called secret rendition programme, in which terrorism suspects - some wrongly identified - were often snatched off the streets and flown to either secret CIA prisons or detention centres operated by other countries, for example Egypt, where many complained of torture and other mistreatment.

On Monday, a Libyan politician suing the former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the British government for damages after being kidnapped at Bangkok airport and sent to jail in Tripoli, where he was tortured and also interrogated by UK intelligence officers, offered to settle the case for £3, so long as he receives an unreserved apology.

Despite government efforts to keep such acts secret, Emmerson said, more and more details had emerged, "and calls for accountability are fast approaching a critical mass".

He makes a series of specific recommendations in the associated report, including a call for 35 countries that had failed to respond to questions from a UN study on secret detention to do so, and that Britain and the US should release their reports.

Shortly before the speech, Emmerson told the Guardian it was time for "a reckoning with the past".

He said: "In South America it took up to 30 years before the officials responsible for crimes like these were held fully accountable. With the conspiracy organised by the Bush-era CIA it has taken a decade, but the campaign for securing the right to truth has now reached a critical point.

"The British and American governments are sitting on reports that reveal the extent of the involvement of former governments in these crimes. If William Hague is serious about pursuing a policy of ethical counter-terrorism, as he says he is, then the first thing the British government needs to do is to release the interim report of the Gibson Inquiry immediately."

The Gibson report was announced by David Cameron in July 2010. However, rights groups and victims' lawyers decided not to take part when it emerged the inquiry would have no power to compel official cooperation or evidence. In January 2012, the government said the inquiry was being scrapped owing to police investigations into alleged crimes. However, Emmerson said, there were no prosecutions pending and the government should publish an interim version of the report handed to them by Gibson in July last year.

Emmerson's report into the issue goes into greater details about what has so far been uncovered about the US network of secret detention facilities for terrorism suspects and other countries' complicity in the process.

It says: "There is now credible evidence to show that CIA 'black sites' were located on the territory of Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania and Thailand and that the officials of at least 49 other states allowed their airspace or airports to be used for rendition flights."

Despite the scale of this, the report notes, just one criminal case has been brought, when an Italian court in 2009 convicted 22 CIA agents in absentia along with Italian intelligence service officials over the case of an Egyptian-Italian national kidnapped in Milan and sent to Cairo, where he was tortured.

 

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+16 # indian weaver 2013-03-05 14:55
Obama and dubya should face their crimes against humanity. A billion people worldwide would be relieved and cheer, including me. Oh well, I expect no justice for those 2 and their associates (1000s of them) who have tortured and terrorized, assassinated and pissed on innocent humans domestically and worldwide, and burned and dismembered alive so many of them - many survived and living lives now of absolute horror - thanks to obama and dubya et. al.
 
 
+13 # indian weaver 2013-03-05 15:00
Remember, obama paid off Spain to quash a war crimes indictment against dubya 2 years ago. The human rights attorney preparing the indictment was somehow minimized and disappeared, or maybe remanded to Turkey / Poland etc. for torture? Indictments against dubya for war crimes have been issued in Switzerland (praise the lord for Switzerland's independence from amerikan influence / money), Malaysia, Scotland and at least 2 other countries. dubya cannot travel to them. dubya remains in internal exile with his secure water source and armed camp. obama will soon be living the same life of exile in order to save his 2 daughters. This is why dubya's daughter is no longer seen in public or on NBC as a reporter - her safety has been compromised by her daddy. Same with obama.
 
 
+4 # jmac9 2013-03-05 19:00
Thankfully there are people and groups out there that are still trying to bring the Bush-Cheney criminals to justice and slap them in some jail time.

How important this is to try and clean up the reality of America the Great Hypocrite.

America preaching freedom - and practicing torture, illegal invasion of Iraq, crushing human rights around the world and now bringing that destruction even to its own citizens with the Patriot Act, the NDAA, drones and the ridiculous fraud and failure of the 'war on drugs' that keeps the equally fraudulent DEA in operation.

You can't do the Obama thing and just say, we have to move on - that doesn't work - people remember and the American hypocrite reality continues.

Thank you Ben Emmerson, Indict Bush.org, Amnesty International and others.
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2013-03-06 04:01
"the UN's special rapporteur on protecting human rights within efforts to combat terrorism, demanded"

While it is great that he's demanding the reports, the part of the UN he works for has a problem. The "efforts to combat terrorism" are the greatest use of terrorism on earth. By phrasing the name of a UN organization that frames the terrorism vs anti-terrorism as if each were in principle an opposing force we are all being deceived.

The issue in the world is not terrorism. It is colonialism by the same Euro/American/I sraeli forces that have been pushing people off of their land and stealing their natural resources for a very long time. The resistance that colonized people put up is called terrorism by the colonizers. We need to break that frame. Resistance to oppression and colonization is heroism. It is possible to disagree about some individual tactics and targers, but the cause of anti-colonialis m is just and noble.

Colonialism is terrorism. Colonialism is anti-thetical to human rights. The greatest abusers of human rights in the world is the Euro/American/I sraeli axis of evil.
 
 
+1 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-03-06 07:06
& the US & UK stand revealed as despicable tyrannies without conscience or virtue.
 
 
+1 # Archie1954 2013-03-06 11:28
What we need now is another Manning, someone brave enough and committed enough to human rights to put his won life on the line to snare the war criminals like Bush and Cheney. It is obvious the current government is complicit in the evil that was done, so let's get the criminals and put them where they can do no more harm.
 
 
0 # Kwelinyingi 2013-03-07 14:59
Without justice being served, our presidents, present and future, presiding over a criminal military-indust rial complex will continue to torture, maim and kill innocents at home and abroad. Yet these same monsters are busy supporting regime change in yet another country, Syria, with the help of that Middle Eastern bastion of democracy, Saudi Arabia; under the usual pretext of course --- promoting "democracy" and "human rights". The "war on terror" has been nothing less than the war OF terror all along. Had another country been guilty of committing these crimes (even a muted version of them), guess who would call for their punishment? Until our country takes responsibility and adopts a zero tolerance towards inhuman treatment and murder of innocents and convicts those responsible, expect more of the same in a theater near you. Our country will remain a rogue state that it is. Shame, shame, shame.