Saturday, August 6, 2011

Britain’s secret policy on torture unveiled

Source: Press TV

Secret British policy discloses intelligence officers could get information from tortured prisoners.

A top-secret document has confirmed that British intelligence officers were allowed to get information from detainees who were being illegally tortured overseas.

The British government has been part of the torture policy for almost a decade, trying to repress the document, making a series of false statements. The document showed how the UK government allowed MI6 and MI5 to be involved in torture and then cover up that involvement.

The interrogation policy, which is claimed to be sensitive and therefore cannot be made public at the government inquiry into the UK's role in torture and rendition, instructed high-ranking intelligence officers to “weigh the importance of the information being sought against the amount of pain they expected a prisoner to suffer,” the document read.

A copy of the secret policy demonstrated that British ministers and intelligence officers worried that the revelation of the secret document would put public safety at risk, adding the disclosure would also damage the reputation of the UK agencies.

"If the possibility exists that information will be or has been obtained through the mistreatment of detainees, the negative consequences may include any potential adverse effects on national security if the fact of the agency seeking or accepting information in those circumstances were to be publicly revealed.

"For instance, it is possible that in some circumstances such a revelation could result in further radicalization, leading to an increase in the threat from terrorism," one section read.

Human rights groups and lawyers have strongly opposed the decision that the interrogation of policy document and other similar secret papers would not be made public at the inquiry into the country's involvement in torture and rendition.

Ten human rights groups, including Liberty, Reprieve, and Amnesty International expressed their refusal to give evidence or participate in the hearings, as the inquiry does not have "credibility or transparency,” and it's arrangements are "secretive, unfair and deeply flawed.”

The inquiry led by Sir Peter Gibson, a retired judge, would begin after police investigation into torture accusations are completed.

This is while that, there is no evidence that the UK intelligence was directly involved in torturing the prisoners, because the intelligence officers left jails when the torture sessions began and returned only after the prisoners were physically abused.

In the case of Zeeshan Siddiqui, a British national suspected of having links with al-Qaeda who was captured by Pakistani officials in 2005, Human Rights Watch revealed that Siddiqui “reported being repeatedly beaten, chained, injected with drugs and threatened with further torture and sexual abuse.” He insisted that after being tortured, British intelligence officers began his investigation.

Human Rights Watch also takes the case of Salahuddin Amin as an example. Amin, also a British citizen, accused of plotting attacks on UK targets, was “repeatedly tortured by Pakistan's notorious Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) and forced into a laundry list of false confessions”.

While he was being tortured he “was met by British intelligence officials on almost half a dozen occasions. He would be tortured, then forced back to his cell to do 'homework,' wherein he would provide a written confession at ISI instruction, then meet British interrogators the next day, who would ask questions on the same subjects. If the ISI felt his answers to the British agents were unsatisfactory, he would be told that he had embarrassed them 'in front of our friends' and be punished with further torture,” Amin said.

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