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British intel asked for CIA torture report redactions, Downing St admits

British intel asked for CIA torture report redactions, Downing St admits
British intelligence was in contact with the CIA prior to the publication of the US Senate report on torture published earlier this week. Downing Street confirmed the UK asked for information to be redacted on national security grounds.

The statement contradicts those made earlier by the British government, which denied any involvement in US torture operations.

The controversial report produced by Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee found US military personnel had been involved in torture techniques, classified as “enhanced interrogation.”

The techniques were called “brutal” by Senate members, and include graphic accounts of waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation and rectal feeding.

Following the report’s publication, British media reported “Downing Street said to the best of their knowledge they hadn't asked for any redactions from that report.”

However, CIA head John Brennan defended the torture program, claiming it had helped to save American lives, and aided the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

While it is unclear how involved the UK were in rendition and torture following the 9/11 attacks, MPs have called for a judge-led inquiry into the role MI6 played in assisting the US in extraordinary rendition.

“The Senate’s report, and the further reports of redactions, greatly strengthen the case for a full and detailed inquiry into allegations of British facilitation of kidnap and torture, led by a judge,” said Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, who founded the All Party Group on Extraordinary Rendition.

“We cannot know what, if any, of the material redacted might be of legitimate public concern. Until a full inquiry is completed, it will continue to be claimed that some of it is,” he added.

An undated file photo shows Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos archipelago (Reuters)

The 499-page report does not mention anything in regards to UK assistance in torture programs, nor does it make reference to Diego Garcia, a British territory widely suspected to have been used to transport rendition victims to countries where they would be tortured and abused outside of Britain’s legal remits.

The CIA ‘black site’ is suspected to have been used on multiple occasions under Britain’s previous Labour government, while David Miliband, brother of current Labour Leader Ed Miliband, was serving as Foreign Secretary.

“Downing Street’s U-turn on its previous denial that redactions had taken place tell us what we already know – that there was complicity, and that it wasn’t reflected in the Senate report,” said Conservative MP and former Home Secretary David Davis.

“We know from the behavior of the previous government with respect to the Binyam Mohamed case, that the term national security includes national embarrassment.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also said on radio station LBC he would be open to an official inquiry.

“Once the police investigations are done, once the report from the Intelligence and Security Committee is done, we should keep an open mind if we need to about moving to a full judicial inquiry if there are any outstanding questions,” he said.

“I'm like anybody else: I want the truth out there.”

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