UK counter-terrorism to be criticised

By staff

The United States was only able to pursue its extraordinary rendition policy with the help of allies during the Bush administration’s war on terror, including Britain, a UN report is expected to say today.

A final report from the UN special rapporteur on torture and secret detention is expected to criticise intelligence agencies and their lack of accountability.

Martin Scheinin is also expected to repeat his claim that he was “deeply troubled” by the “comprehensive” system of extraordinary rendition used by the Pentagon to ferry terrorist suspects over the world.

“This system required an international web of exchange of information and has created a corrupted body of information which was shared systematically with partners in the war on terror through intelligence cooperation, thereby corrupting the institutional culture of the legal and institutional systems of recipient states,” he wrote in an earlier report.

“While this system was devised and put in place by the United States, it was only possible through collaboration from many other states.”

Britain is named as being complicit with the policy alongside such countries as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Pakistan.

The Liberal Democrats have repeated calls for an inquiry into the treatment of British resident Binyam Mohamed, who was released last month after spending four years at Guantanamo Bay.

“It is shameful that we now seem to be reliant on outside organisations to uphold the rule of law in our own country,” said Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Edward Davey.

Mr Mohamed claims he was repeatedly tortured in the three years he spent in CIA detention in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan before arriving at Guantanamo.

His claims that MI5 agents were complicit in this torture are currently being investigated by the attorney general.

“The attorney general’s continuing delay in a decision on a police investigation into Binyam Mohamed’s allegations of torture is totally unacceptable,” added Mr Davey.

“It seems increasingly likely that we are either faced with an intelligence service out of control, begging serious constitutional issues, or with ministers secretly agreeing to a policy involving British complicity with torture.

“In either case, the seriousness of this situation means that the government must cooperate fully with the UN on this and ensure that the attorney general reaches her decision on whether the police should investigate as soon as possible.

“It is a dark day for the reputation of Britain’s secret services when a UN special rapporteur lumps them alongside those of Pakistan and Indonesia for cooperating with illegal activities linked to abduction and torture.”