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Controversial British techniques

Interrogation, Intelligence and Security examines the origins and effects of a group of controversial interrogation techniques often described as torture, known as the ‘five techniques’. Focusing on the colony of Aden at a time when British rule was being challenged by nationalist insurgents (1963-67), on the height of ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland (1971) and the conflict in Iraq (2003), the book explores the use of hooding to restrict vision, white noise, stress positions, limited sleep and a limited diet. Through its in-depth analysis the book reveals how British forces came to use such controversial methods in counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism and internal security contexts. In Aden and Northern Ireland the techniques were a part of policy, used because of the British military’s belief – a belief adopted by members of government – that the techniques would increase the amount and quality of intelligence obtained during interrogation. In Iraq the techniques were used for a much more complex set of factors that can be categorised into facilitating and motivating factors. The book finds that while it is likely that some intelligence was produced from these interrogations, the techniques had widespread and long-lasting negative effects that should be taken into account when judging whether these and similar techniques can be justified.

security forces were exposed to the ‘five techniques’ and interrogated. In this, the first of three chapters on the ‘five techniques’ and Northern Ireland, the granting of approval for the use of the techniques is addressed. The type and nature of the preparations made for using these techniques in Northern Ireland shows that they were expected to produce valuable intelligence. These preparations took

in Interrogation, intelligence and security

The use of the ‘five techniques’ to aid interrogation during the years of the Aden Emergency is the subject of this and the following chapter. Aden is the first use of the ‘five techniques’ to be analysed in depth because it was the first that received sustained retrospective attention from the government. As a result of this, written records were created that allow

in Interrogation, intelligence and security
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Results and reactions

The range of results and reactions prompted by the use of the ‘five techniques’ in Aden are the subject of this chapter. There is sufficient available evidence to be able to comment on how successful the techniques were in eliciting intelligence from the people interrogated this way. This is not the only respect in which the success of controversial interrogation techniques

in Interrogation, intelligence and security
Banning the ‘five techniques’

disappointment. It was closely followed by the Parker Inquiry, which focused on interrogation. The resulting Parker Report was to feed into the government’s March 1972 decision to ban the ‘five techniques’ from all future use by British personnel. Parallel to the Parker Committee’s investigations, discussions involving the Ministry of Defence, Intelligence Co-ordinator and Secretary of the JIC took place. Their

in Interrogation, intelligence and security

It is possible, though challenging, to comment on what intelligence, if any, was collected from the fourteen detainees interrogated using the ‘five techniques’ at the Ballykelly ‘Special Interrogation Centre’. Comments on the intelligence yield will be put in context by identifying the basis on which these individuals were selected and what intelligence it was hoped would

in Interrogation, intelligence and security

Of the three addressed in this book, the Iraq case is the best known because of the recent press coverage it has received. Reports of the commissioning, hearings and conclusion of the Baha Mousa Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of one of the detainees interrogated in this episode were accompanied by a photograph of Baha Mousa with his family, the post-mortem photograph of

in Interrogation, intelligence and security

The reoccurrence of the ‘five techniques’ in 2003 had an impact on security and on the detainees who experienced them. Beyond this, its impact consisted of a series of changes to training and written guidance governing interrogation and prisoner handling across the British military. The Baha Mousa Inquiry is examined here, not only because it was itself a response to the

in Interrogation, intelligence and security
Exploring the Orissan princely states

6 Interrogating stereotypes: exploring the Orissan princely states This chapter examines the historical basis of labels attributed to the andharua mulakas (the ‘dark zones’) of Orissa and focuses on seven princely states. While popular memory remembers the people in the princely states as garhjatias (people who lived in garhs or forts) who accepted and tolerated their despotic chiefs and were Dhenkanalias (a disparaging term for the people of the state of Dhenkanal), it needs to be probed further whether the terror struck by these despots has any empirical

in South Asia from the margins
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The importance of intelligence in counter-insurgency has long been recognised and is not disputed. 1 In Aden, in Northern Ireland, and in Western counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations carried out since 9/11, the expected and proclaimed value of interrogation as a source of intelligence has been emphasised by the military, civilian intelligence personnel and policy-makers. These first

in Interrogation, intelligence and security