Socialist Worker

Torture evidence: what is the government hiding?

Issue No. 2164

Government denials of complicity in torture are unravelling.

The parliamentary joint committee on human rights said there were a “disturbing number of credible allegations” of British complicity in torture.

And the foreign affairs select committee slammed the government over claims that paperwork relating to US “rendition” torture flights had somehow been “destroyed”.

In 2008 foreign secretary David Miliband was forced to admit that US planes were allowed to refuel on the island of Diego Garcia, a British territory “leased” to the US.

Iqbal Madni, who was released from Guantanamo Bay last year, says he was tortured in Egypt after being taken there via Diego Garcia.

The foreign affairs select committee also highlighted the government’s links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which is known to torture.

Ministers David Miliband and Alan Johnson penned a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper responding to the allegations.

It is not British “policy” to torture, they wrote—but added that “it is not possible to eradicate all risk” of torture.

Sir John Scarlett, the head of MI6 spy agency, said there has been “no torture and no complicity with torture”. But this is the same man who ran the joint intelligence committee when it said Iraq could attack Britain “within 45 minutes”.

The case of Binyam Mohamed is revealing.

Binyam was arrested in 2002 and taken from Pakistan to Morocco, and from there on to Guantanamo Bay.

Documents revealed after a high court case show that MI5 visited Morocco three times while Binyam was held there.

Binyam says MI5 agents fed questions to his torturers.

The government has issued the usual denials. But David Miliband is keeping critical documents secret—widely believed to be CIA material that links the British state with the torture of Mohamed.

If Miliband has nothing to hide, then why doesn’t he release that evidence?

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Tue 11 Aug 2009, 18:46 BST
Issue No. 2164
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