By Kim Sengupta
British intelligence officers witnessed prisoners being tortured and played an active part in the rendition of terror suspects into the hands of the secret police of brutal regimes knowing that they faced inhuman treatment, a damning official report has revealed.
The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) concluded that British authorities turned a blind eye to the routine mistreatment of detainees by US authorities. The committee said UK intelligence agencies knew it was going on from an early point.
But despite knowing of the abuse, the UK agencies continued to supply questions for interrogations. The committee found there were 232 cases when this took place despite the knowledge or strong suspicion that the information was being obtained by torture or other abuse.
The UK agencies played a major role in the rendition of suspects carried out by the US administration, the report found.
MI6 and MI5 financially subsidised, or offered to subsidise, the rendition of suspects on three cases and provided information enabling arrests and transportation in 28 cases as well proposing or agreeing to rendition on 22 others.
They failed to take the opportunity to stop rendition in 23 cases, including those of British nationals or residents. Two renditions took place through Diego Garcia, the British-owned island in the Indian Ocean whose population had been deported to make way for an American base. However, the inquiry was restricted on this issue by "woefully inadequate records".