No evidence of direct UK involvement in US renditions: UK intelligence panel

[JURIST] The UK Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) [official website] reported Wednesday that it has found no evidence of direct British involvement [report, PDF; press release, PDF] in the operation of extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] flights through UK airspace and said that the United States' lack of regard for UK concerns in the "war on terror" has had "serious implication for the working of the relationship between the US and UK intelligence and security agencies." The committee found that there had been "inadvertent" UK assistance in one rendition case, and recommended that ministerial approval be required in the future for British assistance to US rendition. The panel also suggested a complete ban on British assistance in renditions that may involve incarceration in secret detention facilities:

procedures and safeguards have now been formalised and we believe that, in most circumstances, they provide a reasonable level of confidence for the future. We have however recommended that they are strengthened in two areas. First, where despite the use of caveats and assurances there remains a real possibility that sharing intelligence with foreign liaison services might result in torture or mistreatment, current procedure requires that the case is referred to senior management or Ministers for consideration of the risks involved – we recommend that Ministerial approval should be sought in all such cases. Secondly, the Committee considers that "secret detention", without legal or other representation, is of itself mistreatment. Therefore, where there is a real possibility of "Rendition to Detention" to a secret facility, even if it would be for a limited time, we consider that approval must never be given.
In response [PDF text] to allegations that US intelligence services used information provided by the UK, the British government said that most US violations of agreements between the two countries were not foreseeable by UK services given their longstanding working relationship and that the government will henceforth seek US assurances regarding the proper treatment of detainees.

In June, German prosecutors said they plan to seek the extradition [JURIST report] of 13 CIA agents responsible for the allegedly 2003 kidnapping and extraordinary rendition of German national Khalid El-Masri [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive]. Human rights groups say that the United States hold at least 39 "ghost detainees" [report, PDF; JURIST report] in secret detention facilities [JURIST news archive]. BBC News has more.

 

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