Files About UK's Role In CIA Renditions 'Accidentally' Destroyed

from the yeah,-right dept

Remember how the tapes of the CIA’s torture campaign were “destroyed” under suspicious circumstances, despite orders not to destroy them? It appears something similar has happened in the UK, where files on the UK’s role in CIA rendition efforts have been “accidentally destroyed.” I’m wondering if anyone can read that claim without rolling their eyes.

When Tyrie asked the Foreign Office (FCO) to explain which government department keeps a list of flights which passed through Diego Garcia from January 2002 to January 2009, FCO minister Mark Simmonds replied: “Records on flight departures and arrivals on Diego Garcia are held by the British Indian Ocean Territory immigration authorities. Daily occurrence logs, which record the flights landing and taking off, cover the period since 2003. Though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage.”

The Foreign Office would not say whether the damaged files were UK or US records, or say where they were located. An FO spokesperson maintained that because the damage “was only recently discovered” it did not know how or when it occurred.

Convenient story. As the report notes, this follows earlier vehement denials from the UK government that Diego Garcia was used for rendition… only to later have to admit that they were lying.

Ministers of successive governments have repeatedly given misleading or incomplete information about the CIA’s use of Diego Garcia. In February 2008, the then foreign secretary, David Miliband, was forced to apologise to MPs and explain that Tony Blair’s “earlier explicit assurances that Diego Garcia had not been used for rendition flights” had not been correct. Miliband said at this point that two rendition flights had landed, but that the detainees on board had not disembarked.

Once again, it appears that the intelligence community is more focused on covering its tracks than on making sure it’s not violating everyone’s rights.

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Comments on “Files About UK's Role In CIA Renditions 'Accidentally' Destroyed”

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Trevor says:


I used to work in business administration, and we used a file destruction service that had two ways of destroying documents: shredding and pulping.

Pulping is basically mixing the documents into a water solution until they are turned into pulp. Clever name, I know.

As is always the case, based on the wording used, he is probably technically right; I’m sure the documents were “water damaged.”

Whoever says:

The winter of 1967 ...

[last lines]
James Hacker: How am I going to explain the missing documents to “The Mail”?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, this is what we normally do in circumstances like these.
James Hacker: [reads memo] This file contains the complete set of papers, except for a number of secret documents, a few others which are part of still active files, some correspondence lost in the floods of 1967…
James Hacker: Was 1967 a particularly bad winter?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, a marvellous winter. We lost no end of embarrassing files.
James Hacker: [reads] Some records which went astray in the move to London and others when the War Office was incorporated in the Ministry of Defence, and the normal withdrawal of papers whose publication could give grounds for an action for libel or breach of confidence or cause embarrassment to friendly governments.
James Hacker: That’s pretty comprehensive. How many does that normally leave for them to look at?
James Hacker: How many does it actually leave? About a hundred?… Fifty?… Ten?… Five?… Four?… Three?… Two?… One?… *Zero?*
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, Minister.

Crazy Canuck says:

Funny how the information these agency keep that they really shouldn’t end up being preserved until the end of time. Yet the documents they are ordered to keep happen to be some of the only documents that actually get destroyed….

I think the moral of the story is that the courts should order the agencies to preserver all the information they have collected, thereby it will all accidentally be destroyed… =P

Kronomex (profile) says:

You can bet that the files were both British and American. The water damage came after the files were chewed up by the dog then set alight by a careless person who spilled petrol on the remains and then dropped a lit match on it after being frightened by a paper clip. Being unable to find a full bucket of water or fire extinguisher said person realised they had a full bladder and peed on the papers thereby causing the the water damage. All rather simple when you think about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Double standard

Yet if we were to have our files get “damage” accidentally prosecutors would be able to instruct the jury to make adverse inference – that is assume the worst about what was in the documents was incontrovertible proof that we’re dirty, dirty scumbags. Yet we don’t see it used in government destruction of evidence cases.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Probably true, but you might be quite shocked at how few people actually pay any attention at all to history.

On the other hand, because history is often written by the victor and the victor is very often the bad guy, it takes a special kind of mind to read between the lines and determine the truth from the BS that is often the sole content of some parts of available history.

For those whose only contact with history is from high school education, utter ignorance of reality might be better than what they walk away with, awareness wise.

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