A new report says the US government under George W. Bush had urged Tony Blair’s government in UK to construct facilities in Diego Garcia like the US has at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The report which is still being prepared by the US Senate on Bush-era torture and rendition programs during the US so-called war on terror would further implicate the UK government, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Britain could have had its own Guantanamo Bay, according to classified documents detailing discussions between the US and Tony Blair’s government.
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The prison, which could have been built in the British territory of Diego Garcia, would have hold up 500 detainees.
Meanwhile, in 2011, the paper says, top secret files showed that Libyan fighter Abdel-Hakim Belhadj and his wife, Fatima, were subject to extraordinary rendition in 2004, with Diego Garcia being listed on the CIA’s flight plan of the operation.
“Did UK officials know about this? Did they have to know, given all the high-level conversations about whether a more permanent prison on island was feasible, and then hide behind a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy?” said Cori Crider, strategic director at legal charity Reprieve, a human rights NGO currently providing legal assistance to Belhadj.
In fact, the paper quotes a British military officer at Diego Garcia as saying that a US command center in Japan made the request to the then government for facilities like what the US has at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But, Adam Peters, told The Telegraph that the request was dismissed almost immediately due to its high cost.
According to the report the prison would have had the capacity to hold up to 500 detainees and would have been allowed to be operating beyond international law’s normal parameters.