It was July 2005 and Jack Straw was in combative mood. During a parliamentary debate, the then foreign secretary insisted that there was no need for a judicial inquiry into the UK’s role in extraordinary rendition – “unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States”.
But the publication last week of a long-awaited US Senate intelligence report has raised fresh questions about what the UK knew about the CIA’s torture programme – and in particular the role played by an obscure overseas British territory.
Al-Jazeera reported earlier in the year that the committee had seen evidence that Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian Ocean, had been used for extraordinary rendition “with the full cooperation” of the UK. But when the heavily redacted report was published, it made no mention of Diego Garcia, raising questions about whether references to it had been removed at the request of the UK.