Torture: And Who Are We?

From my Newsweek/Daily Beast coverage today of a major report detailing what happened to 15 Libyan opponents of Col. Gaddafi when they fell into the hands of the CIA:

“One former detainee alleged he was water-boarded while held at a CIA-controlled prison in Afghanistan and another described to HRW undergoing water torture but without a board being used. The testimony contradicts claims by Bush administration officials, who told Congress only three men had ever been water-boarded while in U.S. custody. The two Libyans were not among those named by Michael Hayden to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 5, 2008, raising questions about whether the then CIA director misled Congress or was lied to by his subordinates.”

In the Heat of the Moment

Speaking at Bristol University, MI5 chief Jonathan Evans has raised more questions than he has answered when he says his agency has never condoned torture but had no choice but to use Al-Qaeda-related intelligence generated by partner agencies overseas who did employ torture. Clearly, he is right when he argues that MI5 would have been negligent, if it had not acted on such intelligence, but exactly what did MI5 know about (and when did it know of) the abuses and torture employed by U.S. agencies, for example?

Were British officers ever present when torture was employed? There have been claims they were. And how did MI5 change operational principles when it was clear that the U.S. was employing torture? Evans does not clarify that in his speech. Further, were the British intelligence agencies collusive in renditions?

Full transcript here.