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UK Accused of 'Censoring' Torture Report to Hide Own Role in Secret Renditions

Legal charity reprieve says British government is seeking to conceal information about its complicity in CIA black sites.

Reprieve hold protest against US torture in London in April 2008. (Photo: Val Kerry / Flickr CC)

The British government is being accused of pushing to "censor" the U.S. Senate report on CIA torture to hide its own role in unlawful secret renditions.

Due to be partially declassified in the coming days, the report is said to be the most comprehensive account of the U.S. government's post 9/11 torture and unlawful detention of people in secret prisons across the globe.

Former British Foreign Secretary William Hague admitted to the legal charity Reprieve that the U.K. government has been engaged in discussions with the U.S. about the information that will be revealed in the report, in what Reprieve charges is a bid to conceal information about British complicity.

“We have made representations to seek assurance that ordinary procedures for clearance of UK material will be followed in the event that UK material provide [sic] to the Senate Committee were to be disclosed,” Hague wrote in a letter to Reprieve, according to a statement released by the charity on Sunday. 

“This shows that the UK Government is attempting to censor the US Senate’s torture report," said Reprieve Director Cori Crider. "In plain English, it is a request to the US to keep Britain’s role in rendition out of the public domain."

The Senate report contains evidence that Diego Garcia—an atoll in the Indian Ocean to which the British government lays claim—was used by the CIA for black sites with the "full cooperation" of the British government, according to anonymous officials who viewed the full report, Al Jazeera America reports. 

The report may also contain information about joint U.S. and U.K. rendition and torture of Gaddafi opponents in Libyan prisons in 2004, according to Reprieve.

The U.K. government would not be alone in attempting to block the report's findings from the public. The CIA and other U.S. government agencies have fiercely opposed the public release of the report, and CIA chief John Brennan recently admitted the agency spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee conducting the investigation.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, President Obama acknowledged, "We tortured some folks."

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