New questions for British government as suggested use of ‘truth serum’ in CIA torture programme is revealed

November 14, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 14, 2018

A newly-released report, which reveals that the US considered using ‘truth serum’ in the CIA’s torture programme, raises fresh questions about British involvement in torture and rendition.

The report, written by a CIA medical officer, was released on Tuesday under Judge’s orders to the American Civil Liberties Union. Among other details, it reveals that the interrogators considered using drugs that would act as a ‘truth serum’ on detainees being tortured in CIA black sites.

Although the report suggests that the use of ‘truth serums’ was not authorised by the Department of Justice, it has been widely documented that the US used unauthorised torture techniques as part of its interrogation programme. Detainees at Guantanamo Bay were administered the anti-malarial drug mefloquine reportedly with the intention of influencing their psychological state.

Earlier this year, Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee revealed further details about the extent of UK involvement in the CIA’s torture and rendition programme. The Government placed significant limits on the ISC’s investigations, refusing them access to witnesses present at the time. The British government has since faced increasing pressure to hold an independent judge-led inquiry in order for the British public to know the true extent of UK involvement in techniques like these.

In light of Tuesday’s report, Reprieve is asking that the UK government answer the following questions:

  1. Did the UK know about the suggested use of ‘truth serum’ in the torture of detainees at the time?
  2. Was any form of ‘truth serum’ used on British detainees?
  3. In what instances did the UK feed questions into interrogations in which these and other similar techniques were used?
  4. Were other similar torture techniques used during this time that have yet to be revealed?

Commenting, Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve, said: “Truth serum, waterboarding, coffins…who knows what else will emerge from this dark period? Nearly twenty years later gruesome new details about the torture and rendition programme continue to trickle out. While the US judiciary is pushing for transparency, the UK government is busy trying to do the exact opposite. The British public deserve to know what their Government did in their name – and the only way to achieve this is a full independent inquiry.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. For more information, please contact Reprieve’s Press Office: clemency.wells@reprieve.org.uk // +44 (0) 207 553 8166