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Britain’s Diego Garcia may be site of second Guantanamo-style camp

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Zach McAuliffe
Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

According to a report from the Telegraph, the U.S. government may be trying to close Guantanamo Bay, but a second prison camp could be under investigation in the British territory of Diego Garcia.

The small island territory in the Indian Ocean has been discussed in the past by the U.S. government as a possible location for a prison camp.  According to AntiWar, these plans have been talked about since as early as 2002, but Britain rejected the plan set forth by the Bush administration that year.

According to RT though, lawyers, human rights activists, and others are calling for an investigation into Britain’s possible complacency towards torture and whether the British government “turned a blind-eye” to abuses which took place on a black site on Diego Garcia.

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Another accusation raised by the report is whether or not the island was used for rendition flights for Al-Qaeda members and other people accused of terrorists activities.

The Senate was scheduled to release a report last week detailing the torture and rendition programs during the Bush administration.  Release of the report was blocked though as Democrats were critical of the amount of censorship put on the report.  Democrats have also vowed to fight the redactions made by the CIA and at least partially restore the document.

Michael Blyth, a former Royal Marine and head of security on Diego Garcia, told the Telegraph he was asked in 2001, after 9/11, whether or not the island could house hundreds of prisoners from the Middle-East, specifically Afghanistan.

There was a discussion of whether or not Diego Garcia would be good as a transitory point for up to 500 prisoners of war coming out of Afghanistan,” Blyth said. 

All requests to use the island were officially denied by the British government, but there is still evidence pointing to the use of Diego Garcia to some extent for CIA purposes.  One case in particular surrounds the Libyan Islamist, Abdel-Hakim Belhadj and his pregnant wife Fatima.

A 2011 collection of secret files revealed Diego Garcia was on the CIA flight plan for Belhadj, who is currently involved in a case where he is accusing the British government of unlawfully torturing him.  It is unclear though why the plane carrying Belhadj was scheduled to make a stop at Diego Garcia.

“We didn’t really inspect everything because they were military transports,” said Blyth.  “But certainly if it happened it was done with a very light touch, because otherwise we would have noticed lots of people milling around.”

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