New calls for UK inquiry into secret CIA flights 1


By Ben Russell in The Independent

Ministers are facing fresh pressure for an independent inquiry into claims that Britain has been involved in secret CIA torture flights.

Tony Baldry, the chairman of the Commons International Development Committee, called on the Foreign Office to demand answers from the US about claims that British airports had been used as stop-off points for flights transporting terror suspects to countries across the world.

He told a parliamentary debate that so-called extraordinary rendition was “well documented… There is compelling testimony from people who claim to have been shipped abroad by the US and tortured. The UK government shows no inclination to investigate reports of US aircraft using UK airports or airspace for rendition purposes.”


He said an independent inquiry should held to find out what steps had been taken to prevent future use of British airports and airspace for the practice.

Ian Pearson, a Foreign Office minister, insisted there was no evidence that British airports had been used for rendition flights since 1997. He said: “We have addressed this issue with the US government. We have made clear to them that we expect them to seek permission to render detainees via British airspace.”

Ministers are facing fresh pressure for an independent inquiry into claims that Britain has been involved in secret CIA torture flights.

Tony Baldry, the chairman of the Commons International Development Committee, called on the Foreign Office to demand answers from the US about claims that British airports had been used as stop-off points for flights transporting terror suspects to countries across the world.

He told a parliamentary debate that so-called extraordinary rendition was “well documented… There is compelling testimony from people who claim to have been shipped abroad by the US and tortured. The UK government shows no inclination to investigate reports of US aircraft using UK airports or airspace for rendition purposes.”

He said an independent inquiry should held to find out what steps had been taken to prevent future use of British airports and airspace for the practice.

Ian Pearson, a Foreign Office minister, insisted there was no evidence that British airports had been used for rendition flights since 1997. He said: “We have addressed this issue with the US government. We have made clear to them that we expect them to seek permission to render detainees via British airspace.”


One thought on “New calls for UK inquiry into secret CIA flights

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Pearson's comments amount to an acceptance that such flights do take place – and that the FO has told the USA to seek permission to use UK airspace. So this a Ministerial acknowledgement of an unquestioning and tacit acceptance of an abhorrent practice.

    Three questions arise from the Minister's response: a)does the Government support such practices or condemn them, b)when was this 'request' passed to the USA and, c)how many times has the USA (subsequently) sought permission to tranport its prisoners through our airspace, no doubt to certain torture and maybe death?

    As to the Minister's assertion that 'no evidence exists' this is simply sidestepping reality. If the Minister or any of his colleagues were in the slightest troubled by the prospect of such ghastly, unethical and inhumane process they would have immediately instituted throrough enquiries. Their disgusting inaction speaks volumes as to their probity and personal morality.

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