Meeting at British embassy in US raises questions about repeated denials by MI5 and MI6 of connivance in torture
Jack Straw, who told MPs in 2005 there was 'simply no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition'. Photograph: David Gadd/Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd
22 October 2012 - Within days of the 9/11 attacks on the US, the CIA told British intelligence officers of its plans to abduct al-Qaida suspects and fly them to secret prisons where they would be systematically abused.
The meeting, at the British embassy in Washington, is disclosed in a forthcoming book by the Guardian journalist Ian Cobain. It raises serious questions about repeated claims by senior MI5 and MI6 officers that they were slow to appreciate the US response to the attacks, and never connived in torture.
The meeting signalled to British officials that the US was preparing to embark on a global kidnapping programme which became known as extraordinary rendition. Cobain reveals that at the end of a three-hour presentation by Cofer Black, President George Bush's top counter-terrorist adviser, Mark Allen – his opposite number in MI6 – commented that it all sounded "rather bloodcurdling".
A few weeks later, in early October 2001, at a secret meeting at Nato headquarters in Brussels, US officials drew up a list of "necessary measures to increase security", Cobain discloses. They included flights to and from secret prisons in Asia, Africa, and throughout Europe. "Quietly, Britain pledged logistics support for the rendition programme, which resulted in the CIA's Gulfstream V and other jets becoming frequent visitors to British airports en route to the agency's secret prisons," writes Cobain. read more>>>
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