David Cameron has ordered an unprecedented inquiry into evidence and allegations of British complicity in the torture and abuse of terror suspects. But it also comes with a censure on courts disclosing damning evidence that would 'jeopardise' information sharing with the USA.
The upshot of that second clause is that the six former Guantánamo Bay detainees who are seeking to bring civil action claims against MI5 and MI6 will be offered out of court settlements to keep that information out of court. I expect that any inquiry would be calling on them to give evidence there instead.
Cameron has said that their is no evidence of any British officer being "directly engaged in torture" there were questions to be made "over the degree to which British officers were working with foreign security services who were treating detainees in ways they should not have done". One does wonder what will happen if this inquiry does unearth some evidence that British officers do have a direct involvement in any form of torture.
Earlier this year senior judges had issued a ruling that CIA information showing MI5 involvement in abuse should be disclosed. The USA threatened to withdraw intelligence sharing if that came to be and now Cameron is bolting that door shut, it would seem. In the announcement of the Green Paper that outlines these moves Cameron says it will set out "proposals for how intelligence is treated in the full range of judicial proceedings, including addressing the concerns of our allies".
Surely we also need to address how individuals are treated and address their concerns. I just hope this judicial review will not simply kowtow to the Pentagon but set out the rights of individuals clearly and not wash them under the carpet for the sake of expediency and that special relationship.