Recent developments raise the prospect that British intelligence agents could finally face justice for their little-known role in the CIAs global torture program.
Britains foreign and domestic intelligence apparatus is facing scrutiny by a tribunal tasked with intelligence oversight. On May 26, Londons infamously opaque Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) unanimously issued a landmark ruling which means the complaints of two Saudis brutally tortured at CIA black sites and jailed for years in Guantanamo Bay can finally be heard, at least behind closed doors.
The British government insisted that the Tribunal, which explicitly examines wrongdoing by Londons security and intelligence agencies, did not have jurisdiction over the cases of Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Abd al- Rahim Nashiri. But the IPT disagreed.
Noting that the underlying issues raised by this complaint are of the gravest possible kind, the tribunal declared that if the allegations are true, it is imperative that that should be established, as it would be in the public interest for these issues to be considered.
The ruling means the Tribunal is likely to hear a complaint from Mustafa al-Hawsawi, whos remained in US custody since American troops captured the man they claim is a senior al-Qaida member in 2003.
Al-Hawsawi bounced between CIA black sites for three years before being shipped to the US torture camp in illegally-occupied Guantanamo Bay in 2006. Along the way, he was subjected to brutal enhanced interrogation techniques, including rectal examinations conducted with excessive force, from which he was severely injured and reportedly suffers ongoing health problems to this day.
Lawyers for al-Hawsawi say they have proof that British intelligence agents illegally aided, abetted, encouraged, facilitated, procured and/or conspired with the US to torture and abuse their client.
Al-Hawsawi is one of just five remaining Guantanamo detainees to have been charged over alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
According to the declassified summary of the US Senate report into CIA torture, al-Hawsawi was one of several prisoners held and abused despite doubts and questions surrounding their knowledge of terrorist threats and the location of senior al-Qaeda leadership.
His lawyers say theres credible evidence that Britains MI5 and MI6 provided questions for his American torturers to ask, and were passed along information obtained during the so-called enhanced interrogation sessions.
Nashiri was detained in the United Arab Emirates in October 2002, due to his alleged involvement in an al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Yemen two years earlier. The US Senates report concluded Nashiri was repeatedly tortured and mistreated, despite his interrogators assessment that he was cooperative and that any enhanced techniques were therefore unnecessary.
Over the course of several sessions, they used a variety of bloodcurdling and officially unauthorized techniques, including threatening to sexually abuse the prisoners mother, raising a pistol to his head, and holding a cordless drill to his body, the UKs Rendition Project noted.
Nashiris lawyers argue he was of specific interest to British intelligence. This may be why London reportedly encouraged the CIA to refuel at Luton Airport in December 2002 while he was being rendered from Thailand to Poland.
There is an irresistible inference that the UK agencies participated in intelligence sharing in relation to [Nashiri] and were complicit in his torture and ill-treatment.
Intelligence committee unable to produce a credible report
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