Sunday 13 July 2014

More questions surface over the use of Diego Garcia atoll for secret CIA flights to 'black sites'

Diego Garcia, a British overseas territory leased as a military base to the US since 1966, may as well be on the moon for all it means to most Britons. But each month fresh evidence emerges of the key role the Indian Ocean atoll played in extraordinary rendition, the ghosting of terrorist suspects to CIA interrogation black sites around the world.

The toxic question for the government is to what extent it knew the practice was happening. The answer has ramifications not just for the UK's relationship with the US but also the future of its nuclear weapons programme.

For years Foreign Office ministers have stonewalled questions about Diego Garcia, in particular what records they have of flights in and out of the atoll. In 2008, Margaret Beckett, then foreign secretary, said that "the record-keeping was not all that marvellous, frankly. It was very difficult for the government to answer questions."

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