|The Guardian and Independent today follow the story in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday on the allegations of MI5 coercing Libyan dissidents seeking asylum in the UK into co-operating with Gaddafi’s security agency, or being threatened with deportation.|
These new revelations come on the back of disclosures on MI6’s alleged complicity in the rendition and torture of at least two Libyan nationals, Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Sami al-Saadi, and the ensuing investigation into ministerial involvement in the affair.
From the Guardian:
“The UK's intelligence services have come under renewed pressure with the emergence of a fresh cache of secret documents that suggest MI5 officers forced Libyans seeking asylum in Britain to co-operate with the regime they had fled.
“The role MI6 is said to have played is described in a batch of documents discovered in an abandoned government office in Tripoli last September. The two men have lodged civil claims against MI6 and against Jack Straw, who was foreign secretary at the time.
“Well-placed officials said on Sunday that a key question, and the one that worried them, was how much information MI5 offered Libya about individuals in Britain. That issue is central to investigations now under way into MI5 and MI6 relations with Gaddafi and his security and intelligence agencies, they made clear.
“One Libyan dissident, an accountant living in London, told the Mail he was shocked to discover that a photograph he had had taken when applying for a British passport in 2002 had been passed to the EOS and was among the recovered documents. He says he suspects that a telephone was being monitored, with the result that an associate in Libya was detained, tortured and then held for five years in one of Gaddafi's jails.”
Commenting on the inquiry to be undertaken by the parliamentary Security and Intelligence committee into the claims of alleged impropriety, an editorial in the Independent observes,
“Such an inquiry needs to establish whether the British intelligence services were operating without ministerial approval when they hatched what sound like outrageous bargains with their Libyan counterparts. If they were, they need reorganisation. If not, then a number of former ministers, of whom Mr Straw is only one, should face prosecution.”
The parliamentary inquiry by the SIC into misdemeanours and illegal activity by the security services would do well to include in its remit allegations surfacing closer to home with British Muslims claiming intimidation and harassment by the police and security services to force them into spying on their community.
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