'Nobody is talking': "This month, British readers get the chance to study in full the catalogue of leaked memos and government investigations which track the evolution of the White House's torture policy from 9/11 to Afghanistan, Guantánamo and Iraq, with the publication here of Torture and Truth by the US journalist Mark Danner, and The Torture Papers, edited by two US lawyers, Karen Greenberg and Joshua Dratel.Read the article for an account of the horrific acts perpetrated in your name.
The story that emerges from the assembled documents is of a group of lawyers, bureaucrats, politicians and soldiers convinced not only of the rightness of their cause but of the unprecedented danger posed by the terrorists.
Had they made the same arguments, Britain's second-world-war spy interrogators would have had a stronger case for using whatever methods they felt necessary to extract information from secret agents.... London and other British cities had barely begun to recover from a Nazi bombing campaign that had killed 42,000 civilians and destroyed 130,000 houses. Britain's merchant fleet was losing 50 ships a month. Most of Europe was under fascist rule and millions of civilians were being slaughtered and enslaved. Britons did not know they would win the war.
Reading through the transcripts and letters relating to... interrogation in the Public Records Office at Kew, the modern reader awaits the moment the MI5 men would talk about hooding [a suspect], stripping him naked, handcuffing him till his hands went numb, beating him up, subjecting him to extremes of cold and heat, menacing him with guard dogs, sodomising him or pretending to drown him with wet towels.
They did none of these things.
Violence towards the prisoner, or humiliation of the kind practised in Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, was ruled out. 'Never strike a man,' wrote Robin 'Tin-Eye' Stephens, the monocled commander of Camp 020, in his secret advice to interrogators. 'For one thing it is the act of a coward. For another, it is unintelligent, for the spy will give an answer to please, an answer to escape punishment. And having given a false answer, all else depends upon the false premise'"
4 years ago