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BLIND EYE SPIES; VERDICT ON UK ROLE IN TREATMENT OF DETAINEES; Our agencies 'knew of CIA torture of prisoners'; Officers 'could have done more' to stop it.

Byline: CHRIS HUGHES Defence and Security Editor and NICOLA BARTLETT

BRITISH spies tolerated "inexcusable" treatment of prisoners held by the US after 9/11, a report says.

There was no suggestion they deliberately overlooked mistreatment or physically mistreated detainees held during the War on Terror.

But they knew early on that such mistreatment was happening, the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee said.

It found British spies participated in 2,000 to 3,000 interrogations held by the US in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq from 2002, the year after the terror attack in the US.

In 198 cases they received intelligence obtained from detainees they knew or suspected had been mistreated. In 232 cases they continued to supply questions or intelligence to allies after they knew or suspected mistreatment.

It is not known what they may have witnessed or suspected. But after the 2001 terror attack in the US, CIA interrogators used techniques such as waterboarding, loud noise and sleep deprivation to get prisoners to talk.

It was "beyond doubt" that Britain knew about US practices, and "more could have been done" by spies and Tony Blair's government to stop it. The report added: "It is difficult to comprehend how those at the top of the office did not recognise the pattern of mistreatment by the US."

There were three cases where MI5 or MI6 offered money to a foreign agency to conduct an extraordinary rendition of suspects to countries where they would have feared being tortured.

UK agencies suggested, planned or agreed to 28 rendition operations, provided intelligence to enable a further 22 and failed to take action to prevent 23 more, the report said.

Committee chairman Dominic Grieve said: "In our view the UK tolerated actions, and took others, that we regard as inexcusable."

But he added: 'smoking gun' to indicate the agencies deliberately overlooked reports mistreatment and rendition [They] were partner with limited influence, and concerned upset their US counterparts e the junior h influncerned not to in case they lost access to intelligence from detainees that might be vital in preventing an attack on the UK."

Col Richard Kemp, ex-adviser to the British government on terrorism, said: "This intelligence has saved lives."

Theresa May welcomed the report, saying: "With the benefit of hindsight, it's clear UK personnel were working within a new and challenging operating environment for which, in some cases,not prepared."

Mr Grieve acknowledged the the agencies were under. He said: "We don't seek officers acting under immense pressure." The ISC reviewed 40,000 documents interviewed former and three ex-officials.



WATERBOARDING A protester shows the torture technique that was used by the CIA

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 29, 2018
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