Thursday, March 31, 2011

Still collaborating in torture

When the UK's coalition government took power last year, it promised to end the intelligence services' collaboration in torture.

They lied:

An alleged terrorist says he has been interrogated by British intelligence officers after being severely mistreated at a notorious prison in Uganda, in what appears to be the first major challenge to the coalition government's renunciation of the use of torture.

Omar Awadh Omar, a Kenyan businessman, has been charged with involvement in the planning of suicide bomb attacks in Kampala last July in which 76 people died and more than 70 were injured.

Awadh was abducted in Nairobi two months after the attacks and illegally rendered to Uganda to be interrogated and charged. Since then, according to his lawyers and relatives, he has been repeatedly beaten, threatened with a firearm and with further rendition to Guantánamo by Ugandan officials, before being questioned by American officials. They say that on at least one occasion he was also questioned by men who identified themselves as MI5 officers.

This is exactly the sort of behaviour the UK has engaged in in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Bangladesh, in Morocco and Guantanamo: questioning people after foreign torturers have done their dirty work, so as to gain the fruits of torture. Its exactly the sort of behaviour David Cameron promised would stop. So, was he lying? Or do the UK's spies not accept that they are subject to democratic control?