Britain, spreading freedom across the world (via the Daily Mail):
The Mail on Sunday can today reveal devastating new claims of abuse by British soldiers carried out at a secret network of illegal prisons in the Iraqi desert.
One innocent civilian victim is said to have died after being assaulted aboard an RAF helicopter, while others were hooded, stripped and beaten at a camp set up at a remote phosphate mine deep in the desert.
The whereabouts of a separate group of 64 Iraqi men who were spirited away on two RAF Chinooks to a ‘black site’ prison, located at an oil pipeline pumping station, remain unknown.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of these alleged abuses, which appear to have been flagrant breaches of international law, is that this secret network is claimed to have been sanctioned by senior Ministry of Defence lawyers.
Yet the top British Army lawyer on the ground in Iraq – who was supposed to be responsible for all aspects of prisoner detention – remained completely unaware of it.
Meanwhile, the Government last week introduced its new secrecy law in Parliament, which, if enacted, would mean details of the emerging scandal would be hidden for ever.
The role of both the soldiers and the lawyers in the alleged prisoner abuse will come under the spotlight tomorrow, when the first stage of a legal action on behalf of some of the victims is launched.
If the Justice and Security Bill becomes law, Ministers will be able to demand secret hearings, and to prevent the victims from ever seeing evidence about their claims.