Lords Debate- foreign intelligence obtained by torture

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jagman, Oct 17, 2005.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Yes but with reservations

  1. Law Lords debating the rights and wrongs of Britain using information gained and passed to us by foreign Police/ Intelligence Agencies which may have been obtained by torture.

    What do Arrse'rs think, right or wrong to use it?

    Personnaly I think any information must be looked at despite it being of questionable source....
  2. Torture is unaccepatable.
    However if the info is know there, then it would be criminal not use it on ethical grounds.
  3. What is torture? I believe that in extreme circumstances of imminent threat torture is justified. Take the 7/7 bombings. Say a suspect was picked up and the authorities knew a bombing was imminent but did not know where or when. Normal interegation is insufficient. Your dilemma is assessing the balance between one mans life (suspect) and the lives of the many innocents.

    Terrorism is not like normal crime. It therefore deserves to be treated differently. We need to provide our police and security forces with the tools to do the job. Sometimes they will get it wrong (if you're a Brazillian) but that is part of the cost/benefit analysis.
  4. Birdie I know that back in Elizabethan times (15-1600s) Torture was permitted, the Authorities applied for a certificate and away they went.
    But just what would you propose for these elightend times.
  5. John,

    Most intelligence is only good for the first 24 hours beyond which events overtake it and it degrades rapidly. I don't doubt that torture represents a moral dilema however extreme circumstances can justify it. Here's a recent example:

    The rescue of the 2 British soldiers in Iraq recently was the result of brilliant and brave action by very quick thinking troops on the ground. I am guessing that a certain amount of encouragement was offerred to the Iraqi police by our lads to cough up the information on who which militia they handed them over to and where they were taken. The troops arrived in the nick of time, as I understand it the 2 captives were about to be topped. My question to you is do you believe the amount of encouragement offerred the Iraqi police was excessive? The Iraqi police do. And do you not think that in this extreme circumstance the end justified the means?

    If you disagree with me I respect your view however I wonder if your view would be different if you had been one of those 2 captives?

  6. Torture.
    KO I would not consider a slap around the earhole or being grabbed and slammed up against a wall and TALK YA CNUT screamed in ya ear as Torture.
    I know the PC crowd would.
    Making holes in one kneecaps with a Black and Decker would be torture as would the whole range of sicko treatments we have all seen in the movies or in the History Channel prog on Torture.
    I always remember the SAS Sgt Maj we had in Brunei saying you must never mistreat prisoners it's counter productive, he was talking about his time in Dofar and the many who came over when Decent treatment of prisoners became known. That was the voice of expireance.
    I do worry about our Yankee friends, yesterday I read the Times, artical by the Islam Captain who was at Gitmo and his description of the prisoners treatment, all counter productive from what I gather.
    Since we first spoke I have seen on BBC TV just what has kicked off this debate.
    Lawyers for say a dozen UK prisoners are claiming that Evidence obtained in Countries where Torture is said to be used must not be allowed in UK courts and Today the matter goes to the Law Lord in House of Lords.
    Allways like a pleasant debate on contensious subjects.
  7. I think you've spotted the critical point John. What constitutes torture?

    When does a slap on the face become a light punch in the face, become a full on beating? in fact less damaging physical abuse is often more frightening so the fear is psychological not physical. I'm not saying the answer is easy by any means but I think it is wrong for any Govt to say torture is unacceptable in any circumstance.
  8. torture! its alright for us to do to them but not them to do to us. I think that just about sums it up.

    Gulf 1, the good Mr McNab and friends, tortured for info about coalition troop movements etc... oooooh very bad.

    Gulf 2 + related events, nasty enemy fighters tortured for info about enemy troop movements etc... hoorah very good.

    same as looting in Baghdad post invasion, very good, these people are taking things they need to make life a little better, let the US troops sit back and watch.
    looting in New Orleans, very bad, these people are taking things that dont belong to them, get US troops to open fire.

    Back to thread!! ethically torture is wrong (arent we all jumping up and down and stamping our feet because Saddam/Pinochet etc used torture to meet their aims?), therefore use of int gained from torture is wrong, but, its been done, cant wind back the clock, might as well use it.
  9. Sorry Filbert that response adds little to the debate. What is your definition of torture? Mine is clearly going to be stronger than say Clare Short's definition. When does interogation cross the line to become torture? Do we treat psycological torture the same as physical torture?

    I go back to my example earlier of the 2 Brit soldiers captured and handed over to militia last month, later rescued by C Coy RRW (Coy named in South Wales Argus). Time was of the essence. Had you been the Coy Comd Filbert I take it you would have stopped short of what the Iraqi's consider excessive force, possibly torture even? Does the end justify the means? What if the rescue had been unsuccessful?

    This is an unpalatable debate because it crosses so many of our normal civilised, cultural and legal rules. But then war and suicide bombers are not normal.
  10. torture or interrogation?
  11. Filbert Fox said:

    I don't understand your response. Could you expand on your question please?
  12. do we as a professional Army who have signed up the Geneva Conventions gain intelligence from torture or interrogation?
  13. There is nothing wrong or illegal about interrogation. It is what Police do every day with criminal suspects. We may be more at ease with the term 'questioning' but it is interrogation never the less. Unless things have changed dramatically since I left HM Forces a short while ago, under the Geneva Conventions we were able to interrogate PW. All PW were only required to respond with the traditional number, rank name, etc however that did not preclude the captors from asking further questions.

    My broader question was focused upon a clearer definition of torture and interrogation and if you like questioning. At what point does questioning become interrogation then become torture? This is a serious question that everyone wants to avoid because it is blooody hard.
  14. exactly, so our forces gain int from interrogation not torture. which is why i asked whether it was interrogation or torture when you were banging on about getting information about were the 2 troops that had been captured were being held.

    We interrogate, which, if youve attended any of the courses at JSIO, would know isnt torture when its done by us.
  15. I understand your cynicism regarding torture/interrogation depending on which side you are on. However i'm trying to progress the discussion on developing clearer guidelines. Maybe we don't really need greater guidelines because all the grey helps hide the fukc ups?