Currently the UK and the US let their prisoners be sent to countries with lax ideas on interogation so that confessions can be gained from them. The CIA calls this ‘extraordinary rendition’ and in the UK it is termed a ‘friendly liaison’ with a foreign country.
So, in our names, in the War On Terror, what is being done? What do these polite terms ‘extraordinary rendition’ and ‘friendly liaison’ mean?
It means the woman who was raped with a broken bottle in both vagina and anus, and who died after ten days of agony. It means the old man suspended by wrist shackles from the ceiling while his children were beaten to a pulp before his eyes. It means the man whose fingernails were pulled before his face was beaten and he was immersed to his armpits in boiling liquid.
It means the 18-year-old whose knees and elbows were smashed, his hand immersed in boiling liquid until the skin came away and the flesh started to peel from the bone, before the back of his skull was stove in.
These are all real cases from the Uzbek security services which we viewed as friendly liaison, and from which we obtained regular intelligence, in the Uzbek case via the CIA.
A month ago, that liaison relationship was stopped – not by us, but by the Uzbeks. But as Manningham-Buller sets out, we continue to maintain our position as customer to torturers in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and many other places. The key point is that none of the these Uzbek victims were terrorists at all.
We do not receive torture intelligence from foreign liaison security services sometimes, or by chance. We receive it on a regular basis, through established channels.
So who is telling us this? The British ambassador to Uzbekistan between 2002-2004. Do you feel sick yet? Do you feel safer knowing that these things are being done in our names, to supposedly protect us? Do you believe that in those circumstances that there is anything that you wouldn’t say just for a moment’s rest, or even a quick death? This price is too high.
I think that every generation has their shame, and this may well be ours.