Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Fourth Report

2  The ongoing threat from terrorism

Continuing International Threat

7. In response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the USA and its allies adopted a policy of targeting al Qaeda's senior leadership, infrastructure and funding networks. Speaking in October 2005, US President George Bush outlined some of the successes of this campaign:

8. The White House responded to an audio message by Osama bin Laden broadcast by al Jazeera satellite television station on 23 April 2006 by saying: "The al Qaeda leadership is on the run and under a lot of pressure. We are continuing to take the fight to the enemy abroad, and making it difficult for them to plan and plot against America. We are on the advance, they are on the run, and we will not let up...We will prevail. It's important that we continue to use every tool at our disposal as we take the fight to the enemy."[3] More recently, President Bush described the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq, as a severe blow to al Qaeda.[4]

9. Paul Wilkinson, Professor of International Relations and Chair of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews, wrote to us about the impact of the international 'war against terrorism':

    Al Qaeda's core leadership, communication and training capabilities suffered major disruption and damage when the Taleban regime in Afghanistan, which had provided Al Qaeda with safe haven, was overthrown in autumn 2001. Since 9/11, 15 leading Al Qaeda militants have been captured or killed, and over 3,000 suspected Al Qaeda followers have been arrested or detained. Moreover, millions of pounds of Al Qaeda assets have been frozen in the banking system.[5]

A letter believed to be from Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to Zarqawi, suggests that al Qaeda has indeed felt the impact of this campaign. In the letter, Zawahiri says that al Qaeda has lost many of its key leaders and is virtually resigned to defeat in Afghanistan. He also says that its lines of communication and funding have been severely disrupted and makes a plea for financial support.[6]

10. However, despite the claimed successes of the campaign, international terrorists nevertheless clearly retain the capacity to strike across the world. Professor Wilkinson wrote to us about the enduring threat:

    In attack after attack Al Qaeda's network of networks has proved its ability to deploy large numbers of operatives and to recruit more than sufficient new members to replace those lost by capture and death in suicide bombing or in armed confrontations with security forces… There is no evidence that the movement is unable to obtain the funds and explosives it needs to carry out major coordinated mass-killing suicide bombing attacks.[7]

In fact, there is broad consensus that al Qaeda continues to represent the most dangerous terrorist threat ever posed by a non-state actor. With a presence in over 60 countries, it is al Qaeda's explicit commitment to mass killing that makes it so dangerous. Professor Wilkinson, told us about this:

    I think we must not underestimate the sheer ruthlessness and brutality of this movement. It is still acting on the decree, the fatwa that was issued by bin Laden in February 1988 in which all Muslims were urged to kill Americans and their allies, including civilians, whenever and wherever possible… Fortunately they have not succeeded in doing anything as ambitious or as deadly as the 9/11 attacks, although they certainly have plotted to undertake more deadly attacks. In some cases those conspiracies have been thwarted. In some cases we believe the plans may still exist, they just have not been implemented, and it is a worry that they may still try to implement them.[8]

11. On 24 October 2005, the then Foreign Secretary also highlighted the brutality of the threat posed by al Qaeda when he described to us the indiscriminate nature of terrorist attacks and the fact that they "really do not mind who they kill provided they kill somebody in the name of a totally perverted ideology. It is a further illustration of the evil which we are dealing with."[9]

12. While agreeing about the extreme danger posed by al Qaeda, Peter Taylor, of BBC Panorama, also warned against the tendency of attributing every terrorist incident to al Qaeda: "there is a danger of putting the al Qaeda stamp on everything that happens—sometimes it is justified, sometimes it is not—nevertheless, the threat that these new kind of cells that subscribe to the same philosophy as al Qaeda and bin Laden are extremely dangerous and I think the evidence speaks for itself."[10]

13. Indeed, the evidence does speak for itself. There has been no let up in terrorist attacks across the world since our predecessor Committee's last Report in this inquiry.[11] Since that Report, terrorism has hit at the heart of the United Kingdom. On 7 July 2005, four suicide bombers from a home-grown group inspired by al Qaeda struck in central London, killing 52 people and injuring hundreds.[12] The report into the attacks by the Intelligence and Security Committee found that two of the bombers spent time in Pakistan: "It has not yet been established who they met in Pakistan, but it is assessed as likely that they had some contact with Al Qaida figures."[13] The degree of al Qaeda involvement remains under investigation:[14] "The extent to which the 7 July attacks were externally planned, directed or controlled by contacts in Pakistan or elsewhere remains unclear. The Agencies believe that some form of operational training is likely to have taken place while Khan and Tanweer were in Pakistan. Contacts in the run-up to the attacks suggest they may have had advice or direction from individuals there. Claims in the media that a 'mastermind' left the UK the day before the attacks reflect one strand of an investigation that was subsequently discounted by the intelligence and security Agencies."[15] Two weeks after the 7 July attacks, on 21 July, four would-be-bombers targeted London's transport system once again; none of their devices exploded.

14. Elsewhere, on 23 July 2005, two car bombs and a bomb placed in a suitcase in the Egyptian tourist resort of Sharm el Sheikh killed at least 88 people, including 11 British tourists.[16] The region was targeted once again on 24 April 2006, when a series of explosions in the Egyptian seaside resort of Dahab killed at least 23 people and injured more than 60.[17] The Egyptian authorities have blamed the attacks on local groups 'inspired' by international extremist ideology. Tourists were once again the target on 1 October 2005, when three suicide bombers killed at least 23 people and injured around 150 people in Bali, Indonesia.[18] On 9 November 2005, a triple bomb attack in Amman in Jordan left at least 56 dead and around 100 injured.[19] Meanwhile, the insurgency in Iraq continues to blaze, with a rising death toll, and the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated, with an increase in the number of terrorist attacks and evidence that the Taliban is regrouping. We discuss both countries in greater detail later in this Report.

15. We conclude that despite a number of successes targeting the leadership and infrastructure of al Qaeda, the danger of international terrorism, whether from al Qaeda or other related groups, has not diminished and may well have increased. Al Qaeda continues to pose an extremely serious and brutal threat to the United Kingdom and its interests.

Developments in al Qaeda

16. The international 'war against terrorism' has had a marked impact on al Qaeda. Peter Taylor told us about this:

17. This shift has implications for international efforts to tackle terrorism. Professor Wilkinson and Peter Taylor both told us about this: "it does make it far more difficult for the intelligence services and the whole intelligence community of the coalition against terrorism to track down cells and to identify new networks as they are created, but it is even more complex than that."[21] Moreover, its diffuse structure gives al Qaeda "the flexibility and resilience to adapt and sustain its global jihad in spite of the many severe blows the movement has suffered."[22]

18. Our witnesses were all deeply concerned about the boost that the war in Iraq has given to al Qaeda. Peter Taylor told us about this: "they manipulate the situation in Iraq… They use the situation there to recruit, to propagandise, to fund raise, to train and also to plan and operate." [23] Jack Straw concurred on this point, telling us: "It is self-evidently the truth that al Qaeda et cetera are exploiting what is going on in Iraq."[24] The situation in Iraq is a gift to al Qaeda in terms of propaganda. Peter Taylor told us that recorded attacks and beheadings in Iraq are "one of the most powerful recruiting tools that they have".[25] Indeed, Peter Taylor told us that by going into Iraq, "what we have done is fanned the flames of terrorism rather than subdue them."[26]

19. Professor Wilkinson wrote to us about the importance of al Qaeda's experience in Iraq in terms of training:

    By far the more important capability for carrying out local attacks is the availability of expertise, especially in bomb making, operational planning and tactics. The Al Qaeda network's supply of well-trained and experienced terrorist operatives has been enormously increased as a result of the field experience provided in the Iraq conflict. Foreign terrorists who have been involved with the Al Qaeda Jihad in Mesopotamia led by the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are now able to return to their countries of origin, including the EU member states, battle hardened and with skills acquired and honed in Iraq. It is also noteworthy that in recent weeks we have seen tactics methods copied from the terrorist campaign in Iraq being used in Afghanistan by Taleban and Al Qaeda-linked groups and their Afghan warlord allies to attack.[27]

20. Despite this rather gloomy picture, our witnesses gave us some cause for optimism. There has been some evidence of strategic and ideological divisions within the broad al Qaeda movement. This has been precipitated by the targeting of Muslims in suicide attacks in Iraq and elsewhere. A letter believed to be from Zawahiri to Zarqawi warns that insurgents' tactics, notably the killing of hostages and bombings of mosques, may alienate the wider Muslim population.[28] Professor Wilkinson told us about this:

    I do not think all the networking arrangements necessarily favour the al Qaeda movement, because when you have a movement which is constituted of a network of networks worldwide there are bound to be some that begin to differ from the core leadership in its strategy and tactics, and we are beginning to see that. We see it in the communication that was intercepted between Zawahiri and Zarqawi… [W]here one sees a schism, where you see people with some political criticisms of a leadership, that is a hopeful sign because the history of terrorism shows that when they start to quarrel with each other that is the beginning of their decline.[29]

21. We conclude that the dispersal and fragmentation of al Qaeda into more autonomous local cells mainly linked together by a common ideology will make it more difficult to tackle the threat of international terrorism. We further conclude that the situation in Iraq has provided both a powerful source of propaganda for Islamist extremists and also a crucial training ground for international terrorists associated with al Qaeda.

Public diplomacy and human rights

22. Professor Wilkinson wrote to us about some of the successes and failures of the international community's counter-terrorism policy. He highlighted the importance of international cooperation, despite the deep divisions that were caused by the war in Iraq. Professor Wilkinson also emphasised the success that EU member states have had in "using their criminal justice systems to try persons suspected of involvement in al Qaeda linked terrorism" as well as "the un-dramatic but vital work of capacity building in the developing countries, for example the assistance programme of the FCO in disseminating expertise in anti-terrorism law, policing and intelligence work and the work of the international agencies such as ICAO, IATA and ACI in enhancing aviation security and of IMO in maritime security." He also noted the progress that has been made on counter-terrorism cooperation in Europe "for example through the Europe Arrest Warrant mechanism, and the enhanced intelligence sharing and judicial cooperation procedures through EUROPOL, SITCEN, and EUROJUST."[30]

23. However, our witnesses argued that al Qaeda is doing rather better than the international community when it comes to public diplomacy. Peter Taylor has looked in some detail at al Qaeda's use of the internet as a propaganda tool. In one of his Panorama programmes, Taylor noted that: "al Qaeda has changed, the internet has given it wings… al Qaeda has become a global brand, driven by the power of the worldwide web."[31] Professor Wilkinson also wrote to us about the importance that al Qaeda attaches to propaganda: "Al Qaeda videotapes and websites demonstrate the great importance they attach to propaganda. Recently they have expanded into broadcasting their own news programme called Voice of the Caliphate which attempts to use world events to put over their movement's perverted doctrines."[32]

24. The conduct of the international community's foreign policy, and the exploitation of perceived injustices in this policy, are central to al Qaeda's propaganda. Key international conflicts such as those between Israel and the Palestinians and between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, and the situation in Iraq, are fed into this propaganda. Peter Taylor told us about the role that such conflicts play in recruitment: "potential recruits are identified at radical mosques but the actual indoctrination—the showing of videos, of Palestine, of Chechnya, of Kashmir and increasingly of Iraq—is done privately in apartments, flats, etc, afterwards."[33]

25. This point is illustrated by bin Laden's audio message, broadcast on 23 April 2006.[34] This message accused the West of waging a war against Islam and sought to identify with the Palestinian cause, which resonates strongly with Muslims across the world. Bin Laden said: "Our countries are burning, our homes are being shelled and our peoples are being killed and nobody cares about us. An example of the blatant attacks on our beliefs, our brothers and our countries is what your ally, Israel, did in terms of storming and demolishing Jericho Prison with the collusion of America and Britain." He expanded to cover other perceived injustices of the West's foreign policy: "An example of ridiculing people and holding them in contempt is that your aircraft and tanks are destroying houses over the heads of our kinfolk and children in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Pakistan… They are determined to continue with their Crusader campaigns against our nation, to occupy our countries, to plunder our resources, and to enslave us." Bin Laden also asserted that the role of al Qaeda is to defend Muslims across the world "Our aim is clear: that is, defending Islam, its people, and land."

26. There is a clear recognition of the need for the international 'war against terrorism' to be multi-faceted. In October 2005, the then Foreign Secretary told us that in addition to the security focussed aspects of counter terrorism policy, the United Kingdom and its allies are:

    [S]eeking to deal with the causes of terrorism, for example, in the work we have done over many years to support the Middle East Peace Process, the very active engagement of the United States and United Kingdom Governments, Colin Powell, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, myself in the Peace Process in respect of Kashmir, many other theatres, and the work which we and the UK Government are doing both with the Home Office and the Foreign Office to improve understanding of Islam and to give those who are of the Islamic faith greater confidence to stand up against these evil people; all of that is the only strategy that is sensible to follow.[35]

27. While Jack Straw told us that he thought "We would be naive if we thought if we eliminated those problems, this infection will go",[36] he also said that "if we want to engage the minds of people in the Islamic world we need to see better progress, for example on the Middle East Peace Process."[37] Asked whether the United Kingdom is doing enough to counter terrorist propaganda, the former Foreign Secretary told us: "I think we can never do enough to counter the propaganda, it is a most extraordinary moral relativism. We have to counter it and we have to say there are some absolutes in our society."[38] However, Jack Straw also noted the work that is being done in this area, for example the FCO's Engaging with the Islamic World Programme.[39]

28. During a visit to Indonesia in March 2006, Prime Minister Tony Blair emphasised the need for greater understanding between people of different faiths, adding that "within that greater understanding we've got a chance of resolving the conflicts that there are in the world."[40] There have also been efforts to communicate better with the Muslim community worldwide. For example, 'British Muslims', a recent publication by the British Council, seeks to inform the dialogue between communities.[41] However, all of our witnesses were clear in their opinion that the United Kingdom and its allies should be doing far more in this area. Professor Wilkinson told us:

    I think we are failing on this particular score. The Americans are only spending, we discovered, 3 per cent of their entire defence budget on public diplomacy on information. If you compare that with the Cold War years where information was so important—it ultimately helped us to end the Cold War—I think it is absolutely incompetent of us not to be doing more to use all the channels of communication that are open to us. We have the people with the language expertise, we have the media technology, but we are not making enough use of it, in my view, and I think that is a big failing: because as long as those ideas are unanswered, we are really creating new generations of suicide bombers while we are busy trying to unravel the existing networks and new ones are emerging… [I]f only we had invested the effort, and I think it is not too late. We should be doing far more of that. The money we spent on it would be chicken feed compared to the sort of money that is being spent on the deployment of our forces and the expensive technology that that requires.[42]

29. Peter Taylor told us about the role that the BBC could play in this area:

    The BBC Arabic Service, which is in the planning, will not be a propaganda vehicle. That is not the BBC's job. We are not in the business of propaganda. What it will do, I am sure, is present an alternative or a different perspective on events to that propounded by an Al Jazeera, which has been phenomenally successful. You go into any Arab cafe in America or anywhere and they are not watching BBC World, they are watching Al Jazeera; so I think the advent of a BBC Arabic service will go some way towards correcting the perceptions, but I stress, it will not be a propaganda vehicle, it will be a sort of corrective, if you like.[43]

30. We conclude that propaganda is one of the major tools in al Qaeda's arsenal. We further conclude that progress towards resolving key international conflicts would go some way to removing widespread feelings of injustice in the Muslim world that feed into the causes of and support for terrorism. Although the United Kingdom and its allies recognise this, and are working to resolve these conflicts, they are putting insufficient effort and funding into countering terrorist propaganda. Much greater effort needs to be made to communicate effectively with the Arab and Islamic world in order to bridge the gulf of mistrust that feeds into international terrorism. We recommend that the Government continue to engage with Muslim leaders and clerics who speak out against distorted and extremist versions of their faith. We commend the Government's Engaging with the Islamic World Programme as well as the decision to set up an Arabic BBC World Service television station, but note that it will initially broadcast for only 12 hours a day and be much less generously funded than al Jazeera, which is heavily subsidised by the government of Qatar. We conclude that much more could be done. We recommend that the Government set out in its response to this Report what plans it has to expand its work in this field. We also recommend that the BBC World Service carry out an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of this expenditure.

31. Professor Wilkinson wrote to us about the impact of international policy on human rights:

    There has been a tragic failure to wage the battle of ideas against the extremists who preach hatred and incite people to commit terrorism. All democratic governments, including our own have a special responsibility to actively promote democratic values, the rule of law and human rights… Action counts far more than words in the difficult world of upholding democratic values and human rights. If the behaviour of democratic states flatly contradicts our stated values we lose our credibility in the battle of ideas worldwide.[44]

Two areas of policy with regard to the international 'war against terrorism' have caused particular concern vis a vis human rights: Guantánamo Bay and extraordinary rendition.


32. The US government has claimed that the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, which has been used to hold suspected al Qaeda terrorists since shortly after the attacks of 11 September 2001, plays a key role in the 'war against terrorism'. However, its existence has been extremely controversial, especially among human rights groups, many of which have condemned what they believe are extralegal detentions at the camp. Current criticism centres on the continuing detention of about 500 people, including nine individuals previously resident in the United Kingdom and one Australian citizen currently seeking British citizenship, and allegations of abuses committed at the Guantánamo Bay prison complex. The USA has made moves recently to release 140 of the detainees; in April 2006, the Pentagon announced that 141 detainees could no longer be classified as enemy combatants and would be freed.[45] Positively, it has also now released the names of all those held at the camp.

33. Amnesty International has attacked the system of detentions, saying:

    The detention camp at the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba has become a symbol of the US administration's refusal to put human rights and the rule of law at the heart of its response to the atrocities of 11 September 2001. Hundreds of people of around 35 different nationalities remain held in effect in a legal black hole, many without access to any court, legal counsel or family visits. As evidence of torture and widespread cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment mounts, it is more urgent than ever that the US Government bring the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and any other facilities it is operating outside the USA into full compliance with international law and standards. The only alternative is to close them down.[46]

34. We asked Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for evidence that torture is being used at Guantánamo Bay. Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, told us: "I think we have very strong accounts, particularly from young men from Tipton, who documented on their return to the UK what had happened to them, of being kept awake, of loud music, of threats being made to them, of being held and interrogated endlessly day after day… I think that amounts to torture."[47] Ms Allen went on to say: "I think if you hold people incommunicado and you interrogate them endlessly day upon day, that you have extremes of temperature that are used, that you do not allow them any contact with their families, that you have loud noise playing continuously, that you threaten people in terms of their lives and their well-being, I think that adds up to torture."[48] Steve Crawshaw, London Director at Human Rights Watch gave his perspective:

    I think it is important to remember that torture is not just applying electrodes to the testicles… to put it this way, a number of the techniques that have been used have led to both self-incriminating evidence which was completely false—in other words the pressures were great enough that they confessed to things which they had not done and provably had not done—you know, having been together with Osama bin Laden at a particular time when demonstrably, and as, indeed, the British authorities later confirmed, they had actually been somewhere else. Those kinds of pressures are banned for the same reasons… [N]ot everybody has been tortured at Guantánamo. That is not the suggestion. Some people have got off relatively lightly and others have not.[49]

35. In April 2006, Professor Philippe Sands QC told us his views on Guantánamo Bay:

    I think Guantánamo should be closed down tomorrow. Guantánamo is terribly undermining of a legitimate effort to protect against a serious threat and it is being used mainly as an indication of the values that our societies purport to hold dear not being followed when their vital interests are at stake, and I think it has been terribly undermining in that sense. I recall here a statement made by the great American diplomat, George Kennan, who wrote a famous telex in 1947 from Moscow, where he was posted for the State Department, on the emergent Soviet threat, and he ended that telex by saying, "The greatest threat that can befall us as a nation is to become like those who seek to destroy us."[50]

The recent suicide of three detainees at Guantánamo Bay has reinvigorated calls for the camp to be closed down.

36. Professor Sands told us that in his view there were only two categories into which those detained at Guantánamo might fall and that they should either be treated as Prisoners of War or as Criminals. He said that there is no third category of Illegal Combatants as the US asserts. The US view is that they are not Prisoners of War and they cannot all be treated as criminals and prosecuted with due process for practical as well as legal reasons. The USA therefore argues that there is a third category of Illegal Combatants into which those detained at Guantánamo fall and that they are entitled to detain them.

37. The USA denies allegations that it is mistreating detainees and argues that Guantánamo Bay is an important tool in the 'war against terrorism'. Speaking at Chatham House in February 2006, John Bellinger, Legal Adviser to the US Department of State, outlined the US position:

    [W]e believe we have been and still are engaged in an international armed conflict with al Qaida. They have attacked our embassies, our military vessels and military bases, our capital city, and our financial center. On September 11, they killed nearly three thousand people, including 67 British nationals. The UN Security Council has reaffirmed our right of self-defense in relation to their attacks, which were planned and launched from abroad, in resolution 1373. In the context of this conflict, we believe that the appropriate legal framework for the detention and transfer of al Qaeda is the international law of war. While domestic criminal law has been used in the past to deal with terrorism, we believe that traditional systems of criminal justice, which were designed for different needs, do not adequately address the threat posed by this enemy, which continues to plan and launch attacks of a magnitude and sophistication previously achievable only by organized states.[51]

Mr Bellinger went on to set out the USA's position on torture:

    "In its activities relating to detainees, the United States Government complies with its Constitution, its laws, and its treaty obligations. We have made clear our position on torture: U.S. criminal law and treaty obligations prohibit torture, and United States policy is not to engage or condone torture anywhere… Where there have been cases of unlawful treatment of detainees, the U.S. has vigorously investigated and, where the facts have warranted it, prosecuted and punished those responsible."

38. During her visit to Blackburn on 1 April 2006, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spelled out the difficulties that the USA faces over what to do with suspects captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere. She also reiterated the point that Guantánamo Bay is a US response to the very real threat posed by international terrorism:

    [W]e have to recognize that Guantanamo is there for a reason. It's there because we captured people on battlefields, particularly in Afghanistan but sometimes, frankly, on the battlefields of our own democratic societies, who were either plotting or planning or actively engaged in terrorist activities. And we have released hundreds of people from Guantanamo. It is not as if everybody who was in Guantanamo on October 1st, 2001 or January 1st, 2002 is still in Guantanamo. We have gone out of our way to try to release people. We've released British citizens back to Great Britain. We've done that with many different countries. But there are some people who cannot either be safely be released to their countries or certainly safely released, and there are people for whom the value of the information that they have is still relevant to the fight against terror.[52]

39. The British Government has been criticised for its reticence to criticise loudly the Guantánamo Bay camp. In evidence to this Committee, Human Rights Watch said: "the UK government chooses to praise the US government even while it remains in blatant defiance of international law. As far as we are aware, the British government has not expressed its concerns about the US failure to provide the conditions in which rapporteurs can do their work. Instead, it has publicly 'welcomed' the alleged 'engagement', which has so far proved worthless."[53] For its part, Amnesty International has described the United Kingdom's role on Guantánamo as "lamentable and not improving" since "we have moved from commenting…on Guantánamo to an attempt to offer an explanation as to why Guantánamo might be necessary."[54]

40. The last Report in this inquiry called on the Government to make strong representations about the complex. The Government responded by saying that the US authorities were familiar with the British position.[55] In a previous Human Rights Report, we noted the oppressive conditions and mistreatment at Guantánamo Bay and the USA's strong denial of mistreatment at the facility as well as its determination to continue to hold detainees there. The Report also noted criticisms of the Government's failure to engage seriously with the USA on these points as well as calls by international human rights groups for the Government to take a more publicly critical stance. Ian Pearson, the then Minister for Human Rights, was quick to reject these suggestions, telling the Committee: "We made clear to the US authorities on many occasions and at every level that we regard the circumstances under which detainees are held in Guantánamo Bay as unacceptable, and the US Government knows our view on this."[56] Notwithstanding the Minister's comments, we concluded that the continued use of Guantánamo Bay as a detention centre outside all legal regimes diminishes the USA's moral authority and is a hindrance to the effective pursuit of the 'war against terrorism'. We recommended that the Government make "loud and public" its objections to such a prison regime.[57]

41. The Committee's concerns were echoed by a UN report released in February 2006, which called for the closure of Guantánamo Bay as soon as possible. Among its conclusions, the Report says:

    Terrorism suspects should be detained in accordance with criminal procedure that respects the safeguards enshrined in relevant international law. Accordingly, the United States Government should either expeditiously bring all Guantánamo Bay detainees to trial, in compliance with articles 9(3) and 14 of ICCPR, or release them without further delay. Consideration should also be given to trying suspected terrorists before a competent international tribunal.[58]

The White House dismissed the report as "a discredit to the UN", because investigators did not travel to the camp. "[The Unedited Report] selectively includes only those factual assertions needed to support those conclusions and ignores other facts that would undermine those conclusions. As a result we categorically object to most of the Unedited Report's content and conclusions as largely without merit and not based clearly in the facts."[59] In response, the investigators said they rejected an offer to go to the prison complex because they would not have been allowed to meet the prisoners.[60]

42. Recently, the British Government has edged towards a more critical public stance on Guantánamo Bay. In the wake of the UN report, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said that he would prefer to see the camp closed.[61] The Prime Minister, who had previously referred to the prison complex as an "anomaly" that should be dealt with "sooner or later", went further when he said on 17 March 2006 that it would be better if it were closed.[62] We asked the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw about Guantánamo Bay just two days before this, and he told us:

    On Guantánamo Bay…it is an anomaly which, as the Prime Minister said, will come to an end and should come to an end sooner or later, we all hope sooner. The American Government is aware of that and it is working on it, but again I simply, at the risk of repetition, say that they have practical problems. On the issue of damage to the United States' reputation, I think views vary but it is just worth bearing in mind that the September 11 terrorist atrocities actually happened and they were not caused by the CIA or Mossad but by al Qaeda.[63]

43. He went on to explain that the USA's attempts to close Guantánamo Bay had slowed because:

    [T]he problem they face is what to do with these individuals, which countries they go back to. In the case of British citizens, it would be straightforward, we would have them back here. I was able to negotiate that, and that has been true for citizens of a number of other countries, but their concern is that quite a number of these are Afghans. Do they go back to Afghanistan? Some are Pakistanis. Do they go back to other countries? In what circumstances can they transfer them? There is a process taking place.[64]

Notwithstanding the practical difficulties of closing the camp, the right to a free and fair trial is enshrined in international instruments to which the USA and United Kingdom are party, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

44. We also asked Mr Straw why the Government had not made loud and public its opposition to the prison regime, and he said:

    I talk about the issue quite regularly to my American counterparts. They are also well aware of opinion around the world and in the United States on it, but they have just got practical problems they have got to deal with, and if we were in that situation we would have a practical problem, too. I do just say that if September 11 had happened in this country rather than the United States, it would have changed our politics and security parameters just as it has changed the Americans. It just would have done.[65]

In its response to our annual Report on Human Rights, the FCO went further than in previous exchanges with the Committee when it stated that the Government:

    has made clear publicly that it regards the circumstances under which detainees continue to be held in Guantanamo as unacceptable. The United States Government knows our views. As the Prime Minister said on 16 March 2006, it would be better if Guantanamo were closed. We will continue to raise our concerns about Guantanamo Bay and work with the US authorities to resolve outstanding issues.[66]

45. We note that in a speech to the Royal United Services Institute the Attorney-General described not just the circumstances but the very existence of the camp at Guantánamo as "unacceptable", although he was careful to say that this was his personal opinion.[67] He called for the camp to be closed down:

    Not only would it, in my personal opinion, be right to close Guantanamo as a matter of principle, I believe it would also help to remove what has become a symbol to many—right or wrong—of injustice. The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol.[68]

On 15 June 2006, during a debate on the Committee's Report on Human Rights, Minister for Trade and Human Rights Ian McCartney told the House:

    We have long made it clear that we regard the circumstances under which detainees continue to be held at Guantánamo Bay as unacceptable. The US Government know our views, which we have reiterated to them. As the Prime Minister has said, it would be better if Guantánamo were closed. We have also heard the public remarks of the Attorney-General and the Lord Chancellor. We raise those concerns in our regular discussions on detainee-related issues with the US Government. I give my hon. Friends the commitment that we will continue to do so.[69]

Pressed by the Chairman on whether Guantánamo Bay is unacceptable and should be closed, the Minister added: "Yes, that is what has been said. Furthermore, that is what I believe." On 19 May 2006, the UN Committee against Torture added its voice to those calling for the closure of the camp.

46. We acknowledge that there is a problem of what to do with some of the detainees at Guantánamo and that those detained include some very dangerous terrorists. We also conclude that the continuing existence of Guantánamo diminishes US moral authority and adds to the list of grievances against the US. We further conclude that detentions without either national or international authority work against British as well as US interests and hinder the effective pursuit of the 'war against terrorism'. We conclude that those who can be reasonably safely released should be released, those who can be prosecuted as criminals should be prosecuted and that as many others as possible should be returned to their countries of citizenship. We commend the British Government for its policy of urging the US government to move towards closing Guantánamo.


47. Over the past year, there has been considerable speculation over whether, as part of its efforts in the 'war against terrorism', the USA is making use of the practice of extraordinary rendition.[70] This is a procedure whereby criminal suspects are sent to other countries for interrogation that may involve the use of torture by the recipient state. Detainees have no access to lawyers and details of their detention may not be passed to the relevant consulates. The alleged destinations may include Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan. Accusations have also emerged that the USA has sent or rendered terrorist suspects to a system of prisons (known to the CIA as "black sites") across Eastern Europe, possibly in Poland and Romania, and also in Asia. Although there is firm evidence that flights have taken place, there is no firm evidence of the transfer of individuals or the application of torture. Much of the debate on this subject is based on journalism.

48. The US government has denied the use of torture as part of the process of rendition. In response to a letter written by the then Foreign Secretary on behalf of the United Kingdom as President of the EU, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said on 5 December 2005:

    Rendition is a vital tool in combating trans-national terrorism. Its use is not unique to the United States, or to the current administration…[However] the United States does not permit, tolerate or condone torture under any circumstances.
  • The United States has respected—and will continue to respect—the sovereignty of other countries.
  • The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation under torture.
  • The United States does not use the airspace or the airports of any country for the purpose of transporting a detainee to a country where he or she will be tortured.
  • The United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone, to a country when we believe he will be tortured. Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred people will not be tortured.[71]

49. These comments prompted discussion about differences between the interpretations of what constitutes torture in the USA and United Kingdom. We asked Jack Straw about this. He wrote to us, saying:

    First of all, it is important to note that the US Detainee Treatment Act, enacted on 30 December 2005, provides that no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the US Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment… On the question of definitions, the United Kingdom understands the term "torture" to have the meaning set out in Article 1 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Article 1 CAT defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering whether physical or mental is intentionally inflicted...". It does not, however, give specific examples of what constitutes torture. The understanding of the definition of torture made by the US on ratifying CAT specifies the meaning of "mental pain or suffering" in more detail than Article 1 CAT. The UK made no reservations or understandings on ratification and has not adopted a formal definition of what constitutes mental pain or suffering for the purposes of Article 1. Section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 provides that a public official commits torture if he intentionally inflicts severe pain or suffering on another in the performance of his duties, and does not define "severe pain or suffering".[72]

50. The campaign group Reprieve has outlined allegations of British involvement in the rendition of Bisher al Rawi and Jamil El-Banna, who were detained in the Gambia and then sent to a prison in Kabul and Bagram airbase in Afghanistan for interrogation, before their transfer to Guantánamo Bay. Commenting on the case, Reprieve wrote:

    "There is developing evidence of (1) British governmental involvement in the men's seizure and rendition, (2) British assurances that the men could safely go to the Gambia to set up a mobile peanut-processing plant, (3) telegrams that indicate direct British involvement in their seizure once they arrived, (4) the identity of the CIA plane that was used to render them, and (5) the failure to assist them despite the fact that they worked to help British intelligence."[73]

In addition, Reprieve outlined the case of Binyam Mohammed Al-Habashi, who underwent torture and interrogation in Morocco after his detention in Pakistan; some information may have come from British intelligence sources.[74] We asked the former Foreign Secretary about the al-Habashi case, but he refused to answer our questions, saying that he considered the issue a matter for the Intelligence and Security Committee.[75]

51. On 15 June 2006, during a debate on the Committee's Report on Human Rights, Minister for Trade and Human Rights Ian McCartney commented on these cases: "In the cases of el-Banna and el-Rawi, we did not request the detention, and we played no role in their transfer to Afghanistan and Guantánamo. Benyam Mohammed Al Habashi was interviewed once by a member of the security services in Karachi in 2002, but the security services had no role in his capture or transfer from Pakistan."[76]

52. The Foreign Affairs Committee has a long-standing interest in the question of extraordinary rendition. The last Report in this inquiry concluded: "If the Government believes that extraordinary rendition is a valid tool in the war against terrorism, it should say so openly and transparently so that it may be held accountable."[77] Our recent Human Rights Report also discussed the issue. We noted that a range of investigations into extraordinary rendition and black sites had been launched across Europe, including one by the Council of Europe and at a judicial level in Germany, Italy and Spain. In June 2006, the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights released a draft report. This claimed that 14 European states have colluded with the CIA in its pursuit of extraordinary rendition and that there is evidence to support suspicions that secret prisons are or were located in Poland and Romania.[78] Washington rejected the report, saying that it contained nothing new and was full of allegations but "thin on facts".[79]

53. The Government has denied any role in the process of extraordinary rendition, and said in its response to our last report on the Foreign Policy Aspects of the War against Terrorism that its "policy is not to deport or extradite any person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that the person will be subject to torture…The British Government is not aware of the use of its territory or airspace for the purposes of 'extraordinary rendition'."[80] The then Foreign Secretary told the Committee on 24 October 2005 that its position in respect of extraordinary rendition:

    has not changed. We are not aware of the use of our territory or air space for the purpose of extraordinary rendition. We have not received any requests or granted any permissions for use of UK territory or air space for such purposes. It is perfectly possible that there have been two hundred movements of United States aircraft in and out of the United Kingdom and I would have thought it was many more; but that is because we have a number of US air force bases here, which, under the Visiting Forces Act and other arrangements they are entitled to use under certain conditions.[81]

54. Jack Straw did undertake to conduct research to establish if the USA had made any requests for renditions through British airspace, and on 12 December 2005 issued a written answer stating that research by Government officials had failed to identify any occasion since 11 September 2001 when the USA had requested permission for a rendition from or through the United Kingdom.[82] Both the British and US governments have categorically denied directly to the Committee that the USA has used British airspace or airports for the purposes of extraordinary rendition since 11 September 2001.

55. In March 2006 Alistair Darling, then Secretary of State for Transport and Adam Ingram, Minister of State (Armed Forces) at the Ministry of Defence admitted that six CIA planes linked to rendition had passed through the United Kingdom.[83] We asked Jack Straw about this on 17 March 2006, and he told us:

    I have not got the answer in front of me from Adam Ingram, but it did not add a scintilla of evidence in support of the claim that there had been secret CIA flights coming through here with prisoners on them about whom we knew nothing. Not a scintilla…It does not follow for a second that because there are flights here with CIA aeroplanes that on those aeroplanes, in breach of undertakings given by successive American administrations, there were people being rendered through UK air space or territory without our agreement…if there had been people rendered in this way, I think it is a fair bet that somebody would have spotted this, somebody on the ground, or somebody would have told somebody. No one has come forward, nobody at all.[84]

Nevertheless, the Government adhered to its position in its response to our annual Report on Human Rights, stating that it has not approved any renditions, that it has made clear to the USA that renditions through British or Overseas Territory airspace require its permission, and that it is co-operating fully with the investigation by the Council of Europe.[85]

56. In December 2005 Jack Straw told us that allegations in the media of mistreatment of detainees in Greece by the British intelligence services were "in the realms of the fantastic."[86] When subsequent press reports appeared to cast more light on these allegations and threw doubt on the former Foreign Secretary's comments, we wrote to him requesting fuller answers. His response stated:

    You have made a number of inaccurate assertions about "what did or did not happen in the presence of British officials in Greece" last year… I am not going to give details of operations nor of contacts with liaison services, all of which take place within authority provided by Parliament…You make a serious unqualified further allegation that, "not for the first time," your Committee "has been told, at best, only part of the truth." Since you have been categorical in this claim, please let me know the details of the occasions when I have told your Committee "at best only part of the truth. You also say that the Committee's questions on extraordinary rendition over the last year "have not been taken seriously." What justification do you have for saying this? It is completely untrue. I have, as I always do with your Committee's and any other Parliamentary colleagues' questions, gone to great lengths to deal with the matter very seriously.[87]

The Chairman of the Committee responded:

    You also ask me to justify the Committee's view that its questions on rendition have not been taken seriously. There is nothing new in this. You will recall that in a Report at the end of the last Parliament, the Committee concluded that "the Government has failed to deal with questions about extraordinary rendition with the transparency and accountability required on so serious an issue" and called on it to "end its policy of obfuscation." The comment was justified at the time and in the Committee's view it remains justified. This view has been reinforced by the recent development which has seen the FCO providing quite full answers to opposition party spokesmen—fuller, certainly, that those it has provided to the Committee. Welcome though these fuller statements are, we fail to see why they could not have been made in response to the Committee's questions. A particular case in point is the admission to William Hague in your letter of 6 February that an approach was made by the US authorities in connection with the rendition of a detainee in 2004.[88]

57. This exchange of letters underlines the unwillingness of the Government to engage with the Committee on this issue in a transparent manner. Although the then Foreign Secretary issued a statement on extraordinary rendition on 20 January 2006, this was in response to a leaked document that appeared to demonstrate the Government's determination to limit debate on rendition, not the Committee's inquiries. In that statement, Jack Straw said again that the United Kingdom had no knowledge of the transfer of people through British airspace for the purposes of extraordinary rendition, and that the FCO had completed a search for requests from the USA.

58. We conclude that there has been a lot of speculation about the possible use of rendition to countries where torture can take place, so called "Black Sites" and the complicity of the British Government, all of which would be very serious matters, but that there has been no hard evidence of the truth of any of these allegations. The British and US governments have categorically denied that either UK airspace, or airports have been used by the US government for rendition or extraordinary rendition since 11 September 2001. We reiterate our strong view that the Government must deal with extraordinary rendition in a transparent manner with timely answers to questions from this Committee. We conclude that it is regrettable that far more detailed information has been given in parliamentary answers to opposition party spokesmen than has been given in response to questions from this Committee.


59. Previous Reports in this inquiry have considered in some detail international law in the context of the 'war against terrorism'. Our predecessor Committee noted in July 2004 that concern about the spread of WMD is putting pressure on the existing framework of international law. "In particular, the limits to timely warning of an imminent WMD strike have raised doubts about the efficacy of classical interpretations of the doctrine of self-defence, and some states have proposed changing the existing legal framework in response."[89]

60. The Committee set out the three bases for the use of force by states:

    The United Nations Charter outlaws the use of force with only two established exceptions: individual or collective self-defence in response to an armed attack (Article 51), and action authorised by the UN Security Council as a collective response to a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression (Chapter VII). In addition, some have argued that there exists a right to use force to protect against a massive violation of fundamental human rights (humanitarian intervention).[90]

The Committee also set out comments by the Prime Minister in March 2004 that have been interpreted by some to suggest that he questions the adequacy of international law on the use of force and hinting at his support for a reappraisal of anticipatory self-defence and the existing order of international law.[91]

61. The Committee asked the Government about its position towards reform of international law in this area. It also looked forward with interest to the conclusions of the Panel of eminent Persons examining the case for reform in the UN and concluded that "a doctrine of humanitarian intervention appears to be emerging, but that its application in the context of the war against terrorism raises difficult questions of interpretation and embodies significant risk." In its response to that Report, the Government told the Committee: "The Government supports the work of the Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. We hope that it will provide concrete recommendations for improving the UN's response to the full range of threats to international peace and security."[92] In the area of humanitarian intervention, the Government told us:

    "there are occasions when it is right to intervene militarily in response to large-scale humanitarian crises. The Security Council has been increasingly willing to take this view in particular situations… There have been a number of attempts to establish international consensus on guidelines or criteria to be used in deciding when military action is justified… The Government hopes that the High Level Panel established by the Secretary-General will make recommendations in this area."

62. When he appeared before us as a witness in April 2006, Professor Philippe Sands QC said this about the existing framework of international law:

    [C]oming back to the fundamental question: are the rules adequate to deal with the threats that we now face? My view is that they are adequate, that if the State finds itself in a situation in which a malign organisation, al Qaeda or some other entity, is assembling weapons of mass destruction, it does not have to wait until the Security Council has authorised the use of force; if it is threatened by the actual use of force it is entitled to use force in self-defence. So those rules remain adequate to deal with a changed situation. So it is the positive side of the rather amorphous nature of international law rules that they are sufficiently ambiguous to evolve with time to take into account new situations. They are not set in stone.[93]

At the same time, Professor Sands cautioned against unilateral efforts to alter the international legal framework: "[I]n a complex globalising world we have an interest in a rules-based system setting forth minimum standards of behaviour. If you start unilaterally tinkering with the rules and getting rid of the ones that you do not like others will do the same thing in relation to the rules that they do not like."[94]

63. On the question of humanitarian intervention, Professor Sands told us about the limited reforms endorsed by the UN General Summit in September 2005. These reforms did not go as far as the recommendations of the High Level Panel:

    [U]ltimately the changes which were adopted were regrettably very limited and I think insufficient to apply the changes that the Secretary General's high level panel required, particularly, for example, in relation to the question of a state's responsibility to protect. What do you do when a massive and fundamental violation of human rights is taking place in another country, do you stand by and do nothing at all? The high level panel came up with reasonably specific rules to try to move the UN rules along a little bit and State said, "No, we are not having that, we are basically satisfied with the rules as they are."[95]

64. On the subject of humanitarian intervention, the UN Summit's outcome document says:

    Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means. We accept that responsibility and will act in accordance with it. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability.

    The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In this context, we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. We stress the need for the General Assembly to continue consideration of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and its implications, bearing in mind the principles of the Charter and international law. We also intend to commit ourselves, as necessary and appropriate, to helping States build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assisting those which are under stress before crises and conflicts break out.[96]

65. Professor Sands wrote to us about this. Commenting on the various reform proposals, he told us that they

    "indicate a move towards a right to use military force to protect fundamental human rights. However, the conditions under which such force could be used, if at all, remain unclear, and a number of important states remain opposed to this development. In my view the recent conflict in Iraq has tended to undermine developments in this direction, since it has supported doubters who are concerned about motive and possible abuse."[97]

66. We conclude that despite the reforms adopted by the 2005 UN General Summit, there remain uncertainties over the international legal framework for humanitarian intervention. We recommend that the Government set out in its response to this Report what steps it is taking to establish a consensus on whether and when intervention on humanitarian grounds is permissible.

2   Remarks by President Bush, National Endowment for Democracy, Washington D.C., 6 October 2005 Back

3   Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan, 23 April 2006 Back

4   "Zarqawi killed in Iraq air raid", BBC News Online, 8 June 2006, Back

5   Ev 1 Back

6   "US 'intercepts al-Qaeda letter''', BBC News Online, 7 October 2005, Back

7   Ev 2 Back

8   Q 8 [Professor Wilkinson] Back

9   Q 56 Back

10   Q 1 [Mr Taylor] Back

11   Foreign Affairs Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2004-05, Foreign Policy Aspects of the War against Terrorism, HC 36-I Back

12   Home Office, Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005, 11 May 2006, HC 1087. This report found that: "55. There is as yet no firm evidence to corroborate this claim or the nature of Al Qaida support, if there was any. But, the target and mode of attack of the 7 July bombings are typical of Al Qaida and those inspired by its ideologies." Back

13   Intelligence and Security Committee, Report into the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005, Cm 6785, May 2006, para 37 Back

14   Ibid, para 40 Back

15   Ibid, para 38 Back

16   "Toll climbs in Egyptian attacks", BBC News Online, 23 July 2005, Back

17   "Explosions at Egyptian Red Sea resort kill at least 23", Financial Times, 25 April 2006 Back

18   "Bali bombs death toll rises to 23", BBC News Online, 8 October 2005, Back

19   "'Al-Qaeda' claims Jordan attacks", BBC News Online, 10 November 2005, Back

20   Q 1 [Mr Taylor] Back

21   Q 1 [Professor Wilkinson] and Q 13 [Mr Taylor] Back

22   Ev 1 Back

23   Q 14 [Mr Taylor] Back

24   Q 65 Back

25   Q 14 [Mr Taylor] Back

26   Q 17 [Mr Taylor] Back

27   Ev 2 Back

28   "US 'intercepts al-Qaeda letter''', BBC News Online, 7 October 2005, Back

29   Qq 2, 8 [Professor Wilkinson] Back

30   Ev 3 Back

31   The New Al Qaeda, Part One Back

32   Ev 1 Back

33   Q 1 [Mr Taylor] Back

34   "'Bin Laden' accuses West-excerpts", BBC News Online, 23 April 2006, Back

35   Q 56 Back

36   Q 57 Back

37   Q 58 Back

38   Q 57 Back

39   Q 58 Back

40   "Blair vows to boost defence ties with Jakarta", Financial Times, 31 March 2006 Back

41   The British Council, British Muslims: Media Guide, 2006 Back

42   Q 15 [Professor Wilkinson] Back

43   Q 15 [Mr Taylor] Back

44   Ev 4 Back

45   "Pentagon plan to free 140 from Guantanamo", The Guardian, 26 April 2006 Back

46   Amnesty International, Guantánamo Bay: A Human Rights Scandal, available at: Back

47   Foreign Affairs Committee, First Report of Session 2005-05, Human Rights Annual Report 2005, HC 574, Ev 31-32 Back

48   HC (2005-06) 574, Ev 32 Back

49   Ibid Back

50   Q 314 Back

51   Remarks by John Bellinger, at Chatham House, 9 February 2006, available at: Back

52   Remarks with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw at Blackburn Town Hall, 1 April 2006 Back

53   HC (2005-06) 574, Ev 27 Back

54   HC (2005-06) 574, Q 6 Back

55   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sixth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2004-05; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6590, June 2005 Back

56   HC (2005-06) 574, para 38 Back

57   Ibid, para 39 Back

58   United Nations Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, 15 February 2006 Back

59   Situation of Detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Joint Report of the Five Holders of Mandates of Special Procedures of the Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/2006/120, 15 February 2006, para 3. Annex: Letter dated 31 January 2006 addressed to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, by the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva. Back

60   "Annan backs UN Guantánamo demand", BBC News Online, 17 February 2006, Back

61   "Pressure on Blair over Guantánamo", BBC News Online, 17 February 2006, Back

62   "Pressure on Blair over Guantánamo", BBC News Online, 17 February 2006,; see also HC Deb, 17 May 2006, col 993 Back

63   Q 237 Back

64   Q 235 Back

65   Q 236 Back

66   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, First Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2005-06; Annual Report on Human Rights 2005; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6774, May 2006 Back

67   For the full text of Lord Goldsmith's speech, see: Back

68   Ibid Back

69   HC deb, 15 June 2006, cols 353-4 WH Back

70   'Rendition' is the practice of transferring detainees to other countries; 'extraordinary rendition' is the practice of transferring detainees to countries where torture may be used in interrogation. Back

71   Remarks by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, 5 December 2005 Back

72   Ev 145 Back

73   Ev 151 Back

74   Ev 156 Back

75   Ev 145 Back

76   HC Deb 15 June 2006, col 352WH Back

77   HC (2004-05) 36-I, para 98 Back

78   Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states, Draft Report, 7 June 2006 Back

79   "Secret CIA jail claims rejected", BBC News Online, 7 June 2006, Back

80   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Sixth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2004-05; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6590, June 2005 Back

81   Q 105 Back

82   HC Deb, 12 December 2005, col 1643W Back

83   "Darling admits 73 visits by US rendition planes", The Herald, 18 March 2006 Back

84   Q 233 Back

85   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, First Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2005-06; Annual Report on Human Rights 2005; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6774, May 2006 Back

86   HC (2005-06) 574, para 49 Back

87   HC (2005-06) 574, Ev 75 Back

88   HC (2005-06) 574, Ev 75-76 Back

89   HC (2003-04) 441-I, para 400 Back

90   Ibid, para 406 Back

91   Ibid, paras 402-433 Back

92   Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Seventh Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee; Session 2003-04; Foreign Policy Aspects of the War against Terrorism; Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 6340, September 2004 Back

93   Q 310 Back

94   Q 301 Back

95   Q 309 Back

96   "2005 World Summit Outcome", General Assembly Sixtieth Session Agenda items 46 and 120, A/RES/60/1, 24 October 2005 Back

97   Ev 100 Back

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