Mar 17 2011
Scottish Government under attack for backing firm which carried out interrogation at Abu Ghraib
I am receiving an increasing number of enquiries from constituents in Scotland who are concerned about participating in the coming census and population survey on 27 March 2011.
The Scottish Government has gone ahead with awarding an £18.5 million contract, to carry out the Scottish Census, to a wholly- owned subsidiary, CACI (UK), of a US based company accused of torturing prisoners in notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Abu Ghraib shot to prominence in the media in the autumn of 2003 when pictures revealing abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoner were flashed around the globe. There was immediate and universal condemnation of these actions.
CACI (UK)’s parent company CACI International was one of two private US security companies employed at Abu Ghraib to carry out interrogation for the US military.
It has emerged that although one third of CACI staff at Abu Ghraib had never received any military interrogation training,prisoners allege that CACI interrogators used dogs to terrify prisoners and encouraged the military to abuse prisoners.
All the money that CACI (UK) makes from carrying out the Scottish Census belongs to CACI International.
The shameful thing is that the Scottish SNP Government knew about this back in 2008 before they awarded the contract.
Writing in The Herald on 26 July 2008 Neil Mackay said:
‘Granting CACI (UK) – a subsidiary of the firm accused of torture – the £18.5 million contract has not only badly wounded the SNP government’s claims of being more ethical than Labour and putting human rights at the top of its agenda, but has also led to fears personal data on millions of Scots collected by the company might be sifted by the US government…’
So the concern is not only that the Scottish Government is employing a company accused of human rights abuses but there is also a danger that all the information gathered by CACI in the Scottish Census could be sifted by the CIA or US Federal Authorities under the Patriot Act.
We have already raised concern in the European Parliament that the SWIFT agreement on security with the US Government allowed their federal agencies access to private bank details of customers in Scotland and elsewhere in the European Union (EU). That agreement had to be modified after the action by the European Parliament to protect constituents’ private data.
It is even more shocking that the Scottish Government has gone along with its deal with a US company when EU Procurement rules give the Scottish Government discretion to exclude a contractor that ‘…has been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the contracting authorities can demonstrate.’
Many of my constituents are now saying that given all these details they do not know if they can comply with the demand to fill out the forthcoming census.
I will be asking the European Commission to look into this matter.