Following the publication of the Executive Summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Feinstein Report), Andrew Tyrie MP and Tony Peto QC call for a similarly thorough inquiry to establish the extent of the UK’s involvement in extraordinary rendition.
Tyrie and Peto outlined the proposed remit of such an inquiry in Neither Just nor Secure, a report published by the Centre for Policy Studies in 2013. The authors suggested that, to operate effectively, a new inquiry must:
- Examine the issue of detainee transfers in Iraq and Afghanistan (i.e., whether anyone captured by the UK had been handed over to the control of the US or another country or transferred out of the country).
- Obtain written certificates signed by Permanent Secretaries to ensure that all relevant information held by government departments had been supplied to it.
- Use a high quality investigation Panel, to include members with an intimate understanding of the security services.
- Have access to non-UK and non-government bodies to obtain information.
- Allow the Inquiry Chairman to decide whether and in what form information is published, subject to a final determination by the Prime Minister.
Without these five essential measures, any further inquiry, such as that being reconstituted by the Intelligence and Security Committee – whether thorough or not – would be vulnerable to the charge that its work was incomplete, or a whitewash.
Andrew Tyrie comments:
“The publication of the Feinstein Report is an achievement for democracy. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It also highlights the UK’s failure adequately to investigate allegations of its own facilitation of rendition – that is, kidnapping suspects and taking them to places where they may be maltreated or tortured. If one of the great Anglo-Saxon democracies can be so open, why can’t another?
Until the scope and limits of the UK’s involvement are fully known, allegations – whether true or not – will continue to erode public confidence in our intelligence and security services. That is not in the public’s interest any more than it is in the security services’ interests. A full and thorough investigation is long overdue. The Intelligence and Security Committee should have got to the bottom of this the first time they examined it, in 2007. The fact that they erroneously concluded that the UK was not involved in kidnap and torture makes it all the more essential that their investigation is comprehensive at their second attempt.
America’s programme, and the UK’s involvement in it, have eroded the credibility of the values that the West seeks to export around the world – values of civil and political liberty. Enormous damage has been done. The Senate Intelligence Committee has done a great service, by taking a crucial step to putting this right. The UK, both government and Parliament, must now do the same.”
Anthony Peto QC comments:
“The use of torture, or the knowing facilitation of torture by our government, is contrary to core British values and undermines our freedom and democracy. The continuing failure of the government effectively and determinedly to get to the bottom of this affair and publish the truth about it amounts to a condoning of these disgusting practices. The American Senate has shown us the way. We must not be left in the shadows. Our government must follow suit – and now.”
- Neither Just nor Secure was published by the Centre for Policy Studies in January 2013. The paper won Prospect magazine’s 2013 Think Tank Publication of the Year Award.
- Andrew Tyrie has been the Conservative Member of Parliament for Chichester since 1997. He is founder of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition.
- Anthony Peto QC is co-Head of Blackstone Chambers, a leading set of Chambers specialising in Commercial law, Public law and Human Rights.
Date Added: Wednesday 12th December 2012