Interrogation, intelligence and security

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.

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