New interrogation techniques being forced on the British Army by “ambulance-chasing lawyers” and “play-it-safe judges” are hampering the business of getting vital intelligence out of terrorist suspects, army chiefs warn.
The astonishing new rules – outlined in court papers obtained by the Telegraph – prevent military intelligence officers from shouting at a terrorist suspect for more than a few seconds, banging their fists on tables or walls and using insulting words, and that “there must be no intimidation of any kind.”
The previous ‘harsh’ policy gave soldiers the right to “shout as loud as possible [with] uncontrolled fury,” as well as aim personal abuse, taunt and goad a captive, and if necessary resort to “psychotic tendencies.”
But the methods had to be scrapped because of a few legal challenges and the death of an innocent Iraqi civilian, Baha Mousa, who had been in the custody of the British Army in Basra.
Army chiefs say the new rules make interrogation almost pointless. It will also be impossible to stick to them and therefore will leave soldiers open to numerous legal challenges and disciplinary action.
Colonel Tim Collins who served in the Iraq war said lawyers have effectively stopped the military from doing their job.
“The effect of the ambulance-chasing lawyers and the play-it-safe judges is that we have got to the point where we have lost our operational capability to do tactical questioning,” he told the Telegraph.
“These insurgents are not nice people. These are criminals. They behead people; they keep sex slaves. They are not normal people.”
Lord West, the former First Sea Lord and national security adviser echoed his words: “While these insurgents are chopping people’s heads off and raping women, the idea they can take us to court because somebody shouted at them is ridiculous.”
Michael Fallon, the defense secretary, in a recent interview with the Telegraph said that British troops are under extraordinary legal scrutiny, and that many of the legal claims they are facing are often “completely spurious.”
One unnamed source told the Telegraph: “This ruling shows just what a nightmare it is now for interrogation teams. Interrogators have been left wondering if it’s worth the bother.”
The concerns of British military chiefs come just days after a damning US Senate report disclosed how the CIA systematically tortured detainees after the September 11 attacks.
British Home Secretary Theresa May held 24 meetings with the US officials who were writing the CIA report.All references to the UK were redacted, leading to obvious accusations that important facts about British involvement and complicity in torture were being covered up in order to save face, something the British government denies.