Blair knew of secret policy on terror interrogations

June 18th, 2009 - 1:59 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 18 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was aware of the existence of a secret interrogation policy which effectively led to British citizens, and others, being tortured during counter-terrorism investigations, the Guardian reveals.

The policy, devised in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, offered ­guidance to MI5 and MI6 officers ­questioning detainees in Afghanistan whom they knew were being mistreated by the US military.

British intelligence officers were given written instructions that they could not “be seen to condone” torture and that they must not “engage in any activity yourself that involves inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners”.

But they were also told they were not under any obligation to intervene to prevent detainees from being mistreated.

The policy was set out in written instructions sent to MI5 and MI6 officers in January 2002, which told them they might consider complaining to US officials about the mistreatment of detainees “if circumstances allow”.

Blair indicated his awareness of the existence of the policy in the middle of 2004, a few weeks after publication of photographs depicting the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

It was around this time, David ­Miliband, the foreign secretary, told MPs on Tuesday, that the policy was changed, becoming more “comprehensive and formal”.

The Guardian has learned from a reliable source that MI5 officers are now instructed that if a detainee tells them that he or she is being tortured they should never return to question that person. (ANI)

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