by Graham Pierrepoint
UK Tolerated Horrible Abuse of US Detainees
It may be over a decade since the so-called ‘war on terror’ following 9/11 came to pass – spearheaded by George W Bush in the US and supported by the UK’s Tony Blair, in which the move to take down Saddam Hussein and his alleged weapons of mass destruction was mounted. This war on terror also concerned the fight against the organisation known as Al-Qaeda, reportedly led by mastermind Osama Bin Laden – who was also reportedly behind the 9/11 bombings. Bin Laden was eventually killed by US forces in Pakistan some years later under the Obama administration – but the impact of Bush and Blair’s legacy still rolls on.
One of the most controversial aspects of that time period – though not all that long ago – was that suspected terrorists may have been severely mistreated during their detainment ahead of trial. There have long been reports of the mistreatment of detainees under US operation for some years – and it seems that a British committee has this week determined that the UK were almost certainly aware of some of the cases of mistreatment that may have occurred.
The Intelligence and Security Committee, or ISC, was set up to investigate queries into the war on terror during that time period and, moreover, the UK’s role in proceedings. The ISC has found that the UK – according to the BBC – willingly supported allies in around 232 different cases with intelligence – despite knowing, or at least assuming, that mistreatment of detainees was occurring. A report published by the ISC has delivered nothing short of a damning verdict upon the UK, the US and other territories at that time. “That the US – and others – were mistreating detainees is beyond doubt, as is the fact that the agencies and defence intelligence were aware of this at an early point,” their report advises.
▶ UK Tolerated Horrible Abuse of US Detainees
While the report did not advise of any specific cases nor evidence where UK intelligence had directly mistreated detainees, there were reportedly at least 13 cases where British spies witnessed such events at the hands of others. The report also makes clear that Blair’s government could have done more in an attempt to redress US actions during this time.
As this is an unfolding story at the time of writing – we will have to wait and see quite what happens next – and what the world thinks elsewhere.