Podcast: UK — Yes, We Were Involved in US Torture After 9/11

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw were in office at the time that torture was allegedly carried by US personnel with British involvement

On Thursday, the UK Government finally acknowledged its involvement in American torture of detainees after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee issued a report establishing that British intelligence personnel participated in two cases of “maltreatment”, witnessed 13 others, and were told in 128 of abuse, among 3,000 “interviews” conducted at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as well as interrogations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite knowledge of the torture, UK agencies supplied questions for further interrogation on 232 occasions, and they received information 198 times from a prisoner whom they knew was being abused.

The Committee wanted to go farther in its investigation, but was not permitted to interview British personnel involved in the interrogations.

In an interview with BBC Hereford, I summarized the findings and explained their significance.

Under any standard of international law, this was torture. This was not just “enhanced interrogation”, as the Americans called it.

But there is going to be no accountability in this case, because the Committee was denied access to the intelligence officers and, at this point, there will be no Ministerial culpability for what happened.

Listen to Discussion

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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