21:29 GMT06 June 2020
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    UK intelligence officers watched prisoners being tortured and were actively involved in the rendition of terrorist suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, according to a report by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC). Kaleem Abu Taymiyyah, the spokesperson for CAGE* NGO, discussed the issue with Sputnik.

    Sputnik: The reports published on Thursday amount to one of the most damning indictments of UK intelligence, revealing links to torture and rendition were much more widespread than previously reported… How significant is this report?

    Kaleem Abu Taymiyyah: This is a hugely damning report. Even those who are on the inside of the game were shocked at the extent and depth of which the UK government has been involved. [The organization] CAGE has been calling for 12 years, saying that these actions have been going on. We have worked on many cases where torture have been outsourced to countries like Morocco and by the Americans where the British were clearly involved and complicit and everybody told us, including Jack Straw, that we were barking up the wrong tree that it was conspiracy theories. These were the exact words that Jack Straw used – ‘this is a conspiracy theory’ and now we find that he knew all along that the British were involved and it was actually much worse than we thought it was all along.

    READ MORE: UK Intel Aware of US Torturing Prisoners After 9/11 — Report

    Sputnik: In this report the ISC have found a catalogue of instances where UK intelligence officers knew of – and even supplied questions to – interrogations that could be classed as ‘torture’. In some cases money even changed hands to pay for renditions. These are crimes, where the individuals should be brought to justice – essentially will this report bring the guilty to justice?

    Kaleem Abu Taymiyyah: Unfortunately, due to the nature of exceptionalism that applies to countries in the West, as much as we call for and hang our hat on accountability, the chances of actually seeing anyone step into a courtroom on the basis of this report are beyond minimal, in my opinion. If you look to just a few years in the CIA torture report, the president of the US stood and said to the whole world, nonchalantly, we may have tortured some folk, but we are looking forwards not backwards. They took no one to court and took no action against anyone. Britain has an opportunity here to prove that the rule of law and standing against torture, not just slogans, not just words; they have the ability to bring some people to justice – possibly [former] Home Secretary, Jack Straw, who lied to the public and has constantly been involved in this process at a deep deep level. We’ll see if this happens.

    READ MORE: UK High Court Could Open Up Blair to Prosecution Over Iraq War

    Sputnik: In January 2018, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep the prison camp open indefinitely, marking a continuation of aggressive US domestic policy and the western prison industrial complex that has been operating for decades. Essentially what do groups and individuals need to do to ensure these violations can no longer continue in the future?

    Kaleem Abu Taymiyyah: At the moment it seems the position that we’re in is one purely of watchdog and reporting on and speaking out about them and raising awareness. To be honest, keeping our head about when everybody said ‘oh you’re exaggerating it – it’s not as bad as you say it is’, well it was as bad as we said it was in Guantanamo Bay, it was as bad as we said it was in blacksite prisons. What we need to do is stop living in an imaginary day dream world where Britain and America can do no wrong and start living up to the slogans we like to live by where we say the rule law and the stance against justice matters. The international criminal court needs to take action and do more than just convict tin pot dictators in Africa and start stepping up to the obligations and the roles that they were created to do – which is ensuring any world leaders who were involved in criminal activities are held to account.

    *CAGE advocates for due process, the rule of law and an end to the injustices of the War on Terror

    The views and opinions expressed by Kaleem Abu Taymiyyah are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    torture, 9/11, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United States, Britain
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