British government tries to hide role in CIA torture


This 12 July 2014 video is called Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

UK ambassador ‘lobbied senators to hide Diego Garcia role in rendition

Rights groups claim that top-level talks were part of bid to redact link to Diego Garcia from report

Jamie Doward

Saturday 16 August 2014 21.45 BST

Logs released under the Freedom of Information Act have reinforced claims that the UK lobbied to keep its role in the CIA‘s torture and interrogation programme out of what is expected to be a damning Senate report.

They show that the UK ambassador to the US met members of the Senate select committee on intelligence 11 times between 2012 and 2014 – as they were investigating the CIA’s rendition programme. This included two meetings with the committee’s chair, Diane Feinstein, which took place as crucial decisions were being made regarding how much of its report into the programme should be made public.

The revelation has prompted fresh concern that the government lobbied for key parts of the report referring to Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean leased to the US as a military base, to be redacted. Human rights groups believe that the territory played a key role in facilitating the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme – the movement of high-value terrorist suspects to “black sites” around the world without legal oversight.

The US authorities have confirmed only that the territory was used for two refuelling stops. But there are suspicions Diego Garcia has played a more extensive role than the US has so far admitted, raising questions about when and what the UK knew about its use.

The release of the report on the torture and rendition programme has been delayed after the Democrats criticised what they claimed were excessive redactions made by the CIA. Sources suggest that the spy agency wanted as much as 15% of the report blacked out.

Former foreign secretary William Hague confirmed in a recent letter to the human rights group Reprieve that the UK government had discussed the report with the US, prompting concerns it had pushed for sections relating to Diego Garcia and possible other British involvement to be blacked out.

“We have made representations to seek assurances that ordinary procedures for clearance of UK material will be followed in the event that UK material provide[d] to the Senate committee were to be disclosed,” Hague explained.

Now the newly released logs reveal that UK ambassador Peter Westmacott met Feinstein on 29 April and 2 May this year, Senator Martin Heinrich on 16 July, and Senator Marco Rubio on 26 March 2014. The timing of the meetings appears significant. The committee voted to declassify its report’s summary and conclusions on 3 April this year, succeeding by 11 votes to three. Rubio voted against. Mid-April also saw numerous stories appear in the world’s press relating to Diego Garcia and the CIA’s rendition programme.

The ambassador met Rubio last year on 1 February and 10 April, Senator Saxby Chambliss on 20 November 2012, Senator Mark Warner on 11 January 2013, Senator Susan Collins on 16 July and 25 July 2012, and Senator Jay Rockefeller, the then chair, on 28 June 2012.

There were also at least 11 meetings between Britain’s then ambassador, Nigel Sheinwald, and members of the committee between 2009 and 2011, commencing shortly after the committee voted by 14-1 to investigate the rendition programme.

“This is yet more evidence of the desperate attempts being made by the UK to censor the Senate’s report on CIA torture,” said Reprieve’s executive director, Clare Algar. “We already know that our government was up to its neck in the CIA’s programme of rendition and torture – making it highly likely that the Senate’s report will contain information which is deeply embarrassing for them. But simple embarrassment is not a justification for suppressing the truth. Ministers must change course and instead support the publication of this crucial report in the most open and transparent form.”

Confirmation that a British territory was involved in extraordinary rendition could leave the government vulnerable to legal action. Last month the European court of human rights ruled that the Polish government had actively assisted the CIA’s European “black site” programme.

See also here.

CIA Diego Garcia torture flights and the British government


This video is called Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Government challenged over ‘damaged’ Diego Garcia evidence

Friday 18th July 2014

GOVERNMENT claims that potential evidence of the extent of the CIA’s use of Diego Garcia as part of its rendition programme had been damaged were challenged yesterday.

Foreign Office ministers Mark Simmonds and Tobias Ellwood both told MPs this week that “extremely heavy weather in June 2014” had damaged flight records held in Diego Garcia, a British territory which the government has admitted was used by CIA aircraft carrying detainees as part of its programme of “extraordinary rendition.

However, records from a US commercial weather service obtained by legal action charity Reprieve show that the total rainfall for the month was well below average.

Legal charity Reprieve’s Cori Crider said: “Perhaps there is a microclimate over the hut on Diego Garcia where all the embarrassing files are kept? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office needs to hand the documents over to Parliament before some other invisible monsoon strikes.”

President Obama is allowing a dozen current and former CIA officials access to the still-classified Internal Panetta Review—a document which contains evidence of state torture of hitherto unknown proportions: here.

CIA torture flights to Diego Garcia update


This video from the USA is called CIA Lied About Torture To Justify Using It (Senate Report).

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Emails shed new light on UK link to CIA ‘torture flights’

Police given crucial logs about Diego Garcia‘s role in rendition programme when it was allegedly used as a secret prison

Jamie Doward and Ian Cobain

Saturday 12 July 2014 21.36 BST

Crucial logs revealing flights to a British overseas territory when it was allegedly used as a secret US prison are in the possession of the police, the Observer has learned.

The revelation has raised concerns about why, despite repeated demands, details of the flights have not been shared with lawyers and MPs, who for years have been investigating the role played by Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian ocean, in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme.

A Whitehall official was photographed last week carrying documents marked “sensitive” confirming that the logs recording details of planes landing and taking off at the atoll have been handed to detectives. The documents, a series of printed emails and handwritten notes made by the official, reveal internal Foreign Office discussions about the line to take in response to questions about the British territory raised by lawyers and MPs.

The Foreign Office has repeatedly stressed there is no evidence Diego Garcia was used in the rendition programme, with the exception of two occasions in 2002 when two planes, each carrying a detainee, landed to refuel. But in April leaked classified CIA documents from a forthcoming US Senate intelligence committee report revealed that the US had held “high value” detainees on Diego Garcia, which has been leased by Britain to the US since 1966, with the “full co-operation” of the British government. The Metropolitan police are currently investigating allegations that an opponent of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was rendered via Diego Garcia.

Attempts to obtain the logs, which would allow lawyers to check them against planes known to have been used for rendition, have met with stonewalling from ministers. When Andrew Tyrie, the Tory MP who is chair of the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, demanded to see the logs in 2008, he was told “a thorough review had been conducted which had found no such information”.

The Commons intelligence and security committee has also complained in its annual reports that a lack of access to such documents compromised its ability to carry out an effective investigation into rendition, resulting in the publication of an inaccurate and misleading report. Last week, in an astonishing new twist, the Foreign Office revealed in a parliamentary answer to Tyrie that the flight logs existed, but maintained some had been lost “due to water damage”. Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said: “Daily occurrence logs, which record the flights landing and taking off, cover the period since 2003. Though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage.”

However, blowups of the photographed emails reveal that both “monthly log showing flight details” and “daily records [obscured] month of alleged rendition” exist and are in the possession of the police.

“All relevant treaties, UN mandates and an ever-increasing body of authoritative court rulings demand that investigations into suspected state involvement in the mechanisms of torture, including rendition, be speedy, transparent and far-reaching,” said Gareth Peirce, a lawyer for several Guantánamo detainees.

“If answers to Andrew Tyrie’s direct questions have contained no mention of highly relevant logs seemingly at all times in the possession of police, then the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] has marched this country into clear violation of its most fundamental legal obligations.”

“The FCO should immediately release all documents, including the water-damaged ones, so a proper assessment can be made of this material and what it means,” said Cori Crider of human rights group Reprieve. “Only this can begin to address the decade-long whitewash of Diego Garcia‘s position in the CIA secret prison system.”

An FCO spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on internal documents.”

CIA Libyan torture scandal on Diego Garcia island


This video says about itself:

New website reveals extent of secret CIA flight network

29 May 2013

A team of academics have launched the world’s largest interactive database detailing suspected CIA rendition flights, many of which may have transported detainees to Guantanamo Bay.

Scotland is the only country so far which has raised any questions on the alleged rendition activity on home soil.

The Rendition Project is a product of a collaborative research between Dr. Ruth Blakely from the University of Kent and Dr. Sam Raphael from Kingston University, London.

Now anyone with an internet connection can understand, view, and track over 11,000 CIA flights detainees who may have been aboard between 2001 and 2006 under the US rendition program, a murky operation of secret detention and torture.

“Our purpose is to shed as much light as possible on this system,” Blakely told RT.

Blakely’s team has compiled a unique database sourced from freedom of information requests, testimonies from detainees, Red Cross reports, courtroom evidence, flight records, and invoices.

The data is categorized into four subcategories- flights which definitely had a detainee on board, those which are suspected of having suspected terrorists on board, and ‘dummy’ or test flights, and other circuit flights, all on 122 different US-registered civilian aircraft.

“Our main aim was to try and map the global rendition system to try and provide a comprehensive a picture as possible how rendition took place, which countries were involved,” Blakely told RT.

Most information was already in the public domain, but Blakely hopes by making it web-accessible, the project will assist human rights investigators and lawyers to defend the rights of detainees who have been victims to unfair torture or questionable tactics.

The site will help reveal “how the CIA managed to hide individuals in this system as it transported them around the world to hold them in prisons where they could be tortured and interrogated,” said Blakely.

By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:

CIA ‘held Gadaffi torture victim on British soil’

Monday 14th April 2014

Kidnapped Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhadj held briefly in overseas territory Diego Garcia

Fresh evidence emerged yesterday that the CIA held a Libyan opposition leader on British soil before delivering him to Gadaffi torturers.

Kidnapped Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhadj alleged that he was told by Gadaffi’s own spy chief that the plane which delivered him to Libya had stopped at the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia.

Mr Belhadj, who was kidnapped along with his pregnant wife as they boarded a flight in Malaysia in 2004, made the claim through his lawyers, provided by human rights charity Reprieve.

He said: “The first time I heard that I had gone through a place called Diego Garcia was when I was told by the head of the Libyan intelligence, Moussa Kousa, during my first interrogation session in a prison outside Tripoli.

“He was running the interrogation, and was angry that it had taken a long time for me to arrive in Libya.

“I told him that the plane had stopped somewhere on the way from Bangkok.
“He told me that he knew, and that the plane had landed on an island in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia.”

The claim is supported by a CIA flight plan discovered in 2011 at the offices of Gadaffi’s head of intelligence Moussa Kousa showing the joint CIA-MI6 operation had been scheduled to stop at Diego Garcia.

Reprieve deputy director Polly Rossdale said the revelations pile pressure on Tory Foreign Secretary William Hague to answer the allegations.

“The government must come clean about the UK’s role in this dirty affair,” she said.

MINISTERS must face up to the US’s use of Diego Garcia for torture and kidnapping flights, legal action charity Reprieve demanded yesterday: here.

Carl Bernstein – article about the CIA’s interaction with journalists since WW2: here.

CIA torture island Diego Garcia and the British government


This video says about itself:

Stealing A Nation‘ (2004) is an extraordinary film about the plight of the Chagos Islands, whose indigenous population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for an American military base. The tragedy, which falls within the remit of the International Criminal Court as “a crime against humanity”, is told by Islanders who were dumped in the slums of Mauritius and by British officials who left behind a damning trail of Foreign Office documents.

Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands in the Indian Ocean, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony. In the 1960s, the government of Harold Wilson struck a secret deal with the United States to hand over the main island of Diego Garcia. The Americans demanded that the surrounding islands be “swept” and “sanitized”. Unknown to Parliament and to the US Congress and in breach of the United Nations Charter, the British Government plotted with Washington to expel the entire population.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Come clean on US torture complicity, lawyers tell William Hague

Saturday 12th April 2014

Reprieve writes to foreign secretary following allegations that Britain let the CIA set up an interrogation ‘black site

Lawyers told Britain to come clean yesterday on whether it let the US run a secret torture site on an overseas territory.

Legal action charity Reprieve has written to Foreign Secretary William Hague following reports that the CIA set up a “black site” on Diego Garcia.

Al-Jazeera said this week that a secret US Senate intelligence committee report found “that the CIA detained some high-value suspects on Diego Garcia, an Indian Ocean island controlled by the United Kingdom and leased to the United States.”

And classified CIA documents showed it was run with Britain’s “full co-operation.”

After repeated denials the government finally admitted in 2008 that two rendition flights carrying detainees refuelled on Diego Garcia in 2002.

But it continues to deny that any prisoners were held that or that that a secret CIA prison existed.

Reprieve said that in 2004 anti-Gaddafi militant Abdulhakim Belhadj and his wife were rendered back to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation and, according to a CIA flight plan found following the toppling of Gaddafi, were scheduled to be flown via Diego Garcia.

But in December 2011 Foreign Minister David Lidington told Parliament: “No flights with a detainee on board landed on Diego Garcia in March 2004.”

He added that, apart from the two cases in 2002, the US government had confirmed no other US intelligence flights had landed “in the UK, our overseas territories or the crown dependencies with a detainee on board since September 11 2001.”

Reprieve director Cori Crider said: “We need to know immediately whether ministers misled Parliament over CIA torture on British soil.

“If the CIA operated a black site on Diego Garcia then a string of official statements — from both this and the last government — were totally false.

“Were ministers asleep at the wheel or, as the report suggests, have we been lied to for years?”

When asked for comment, a Foreign Office spokeswoman referred the Star to the department’s previous statements.

See also here.

UK urged to admit that CIA used island as secret ‘black site’ prison: here.

James Mitchell designed the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. He insists he has nothing to apologize for: here

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British colonial bases for war against Iran?


This video says about itself:

6 August 2007

Chagossian refugees are appealing to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to make a decision on their right to return to their islands.

They were expelled four decades ago by Britain from their tropical archipelago. This happened during the Cold War to make way for a U.S. military base on the island of Diego Garcia. The base has since been used for military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In May, Britain’s High Court dismissed an appeal by the Foreign Office against the Chagossians’ return, saying the right to go home was “one of the most fundamental liberties known to human beings”.

Jacques Aristide takes a closer look at the Chagossians’ struggle to go back to their homeland.

By Peter Symonds:

US sought use of British bases for war against Iran

27 October 2012

The British-based Guardian newspaper reported Thursday that American diplomats have been lobbying Britain for the use of its military bases on Cyprus as well as US bases on the British territories of Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for war on Iran.

The US request points to a massive military buildup against Iran. The Pentagon has already stationed two aircraft carrier battle groups in or near the Persian Gulf, along with additional minesweepers and a specialised floating base that could be used to launch special forces operations inside Iran. A squadron of advanced F-22 fighters has also been moved to the region.

Access to the bases on Cyprus, Ascension Island and Diego Garcia would significantly boost the ability of the US air force to wage round-the-clock strikes against Iran.

The British government has, to date, rebuffed the Pentagon, significantly pointing out that an unprovoked US attack on Iran could be illegal under international law, as Tehran did not currently represent “a clear and present threat”.

British officials have cited advice drafted by the attorney general’s office that has been circulated to the Prime Minister’s office, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence. A senior government official told the Guardian: “The UK could be in breach of international law if it facilitated what amounted to a pre-emptive strike on Iran. It is explicit.”

Like the US-led illegal invasion of Iraq, the Obama administration is preparing to launch a war of aggression against Iran. This was the chief crime for which Nazi leaders were tried and convicted at Nuremberg following World War II.

That Iran is not “a clear and present threat” also punctures the steady buildup of propaganda in the US and international media about the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.

WikiLeaks reveals how West’s Iran war drive was undermined: here.

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn warned the People’s Assembly that Britain could be dragged into a devastating war with Iran: here.

The Other Lobby: Newspapers of Persian Gulf Oil Monarchies Condemn US-Iran Rapprochement: here.