The sad tale of tolerating torture that hangs over us today

Ian Cobain a  senior reporter on the Guardian is on Radio 4’s Start the Week ( listen on  BBCiPlayer or RadioPlayer after 10 a.m. or the repeat at 2100 live tonight).  I strongly recommend a listen. The author of Cruel Britannia: a secret history of British torture, he gives a calm and convincing account of how torture techniques were introduced in the colonies after WW2 and applied at the beginning of internment in Northern Ireland in 1971. . Cobain is also following collusion cases like Loughinisland

So far , so far not news. But two points are very striking. One that Cobain is discussing the story matter of factly and without challenge on air with David Anderson QC the government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. Anderson doesn’t demur for a second but gives assurances that nothing of the sort goes on these days in the Antrim interrogation centre.. Anderson also refers to  “whole  teams “ looking at historic cases “ despite the records in some cases not being what they should be”  Anderson also “very much hopes” that the Gibson inquiry into MI5 and MI6 collusion in torture and rendition  after 9/11 will be resumed.

There is some understanding, though not approval of how the authorities tolerated extreme measures in desperation  at the state of chaos in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s.

But the story of torture is not buried in 1970s history. The temptation to believe  that” torture works” persisted into the present century.  For Cobain explains that while the Heath government  ordered an end to  “ill treatment” techniques when the Irish government brought  the case against the British government  before the ECHR, the orders were not implemented and were applied in Iraq.

The broad tale is yet another argument for   the MoD and security services to ease their disclosure restrictions and for the British government to fess up about the use of such techniques and their acquiesence in rendition.  But this is highly unlikely for as long as the  9/11 and 7/7 jihad agenda exists.

Northern Ireland will have to wait a long time for disclosure, it seems , unless the de Silva inquiry finds a way.

, , , , ,

  • Covenanter

    tapacall,

    Surely if those RUC officers have not been convicted in a court of law they are innocent? That is the argument that you have put forward for Finucane.

  • Covenanter

    Oh and the Guardian is very often stupid by the way.

  • tacapall

    “Surely if those RUC officers have not been convicted in a court of law they are innocent”

    A former RUC ‘whistleblower’ has criticised a decision not to prosecute 20 policemen and soldiers who had previously been identified by Sir John Stevens as having been involved in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

    Earlier this week the Public Prosecution Service announced that it would not prosecute the 20 security force members identified in evidence gathered by the Stevens inquiry team.

    That evidence included collusion in the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane and Protestant teenager Adam Lambert and the RUC decision to hand over weapons to a UDA gang, which were subsequently used in the murder of six people in gun attacks on a west Belfast bar and a south Belfast bookmakers.

    The PPS said it had been unable to identify the senior officers who had approved the decision to give the weapons back to the UDA.

    The failure to prosecute any security force member was last night (Tuesday) criticised by one of the most successful detectives of the Troubles.

    Your clutching at straws to equate innuendo with fact.

  • Covenanter

    “The Historical Enquiry Team calls the practice a “risky enterprise”, adding: “Such operations would have required both the authority of a senior police officer and a recovery plan, generally short-term and, where possible, supported by the security forces within a short period of time.

    “Clearly in this case, there was a significant failure and the repercussions were tragic and devastating.””

    tapacall,

    So the HET found that there was a failure by the police rather than any deliberate collusion. That explains why they weren’t charged with any offence.

  • tacapall

    http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/irish_news/arts2007/jun27_whistleblower_call_prosecutions.php

    RUC whistleblower calls for collusion prosecutions

    If they were unable to identify those police officers involved in terrorist murder how was Stevens able to identify 20.

  • Covenanter

    “Earlier this week the Public Prosecution Service announced that it would not prosecute the 20 security force members identified in evidence gathered by the Stevens inquiry team.”

    Yet more evidence that they were innocent. The evidence wouldn’t stand up just as it wouldn’t stand up against Finucane.

    I am confused as to why you are using different standards in these cases?

  • Covenanter

    “If they were unable to identify those police officers involved in terrorist murder how was Stevens able to identify 20.”

    What police officers involved in terrorist murder?

  • tacapall

    “If they were unable to identify those police officers involved in terrorist murder how was Stevens able to identify 20.”

    “Sir John Stevens was the most senior police officer in the whole of Britain and he believed he had provided the PPS with enough evidence to prove that these people were involved in collusion.

    “The PPS is expecting victims’ families to believe they could not identify the senior police officers who allowed guns to be handed back to the UDA.

    “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out who gave the orders to give these weapons back to the UDA.”

  • andnowwhat

    Finucane this and Finucane that but it is when one adds the assassination of Rosemary Nelson to the mix that all the dirty muck thrown an Pat blows away as dust in the wind.

    Even if Pat was in the provos, which we have no idea f he was or was not, n the light of the Nelson assassination, we can make a fairer assessment at the reason for Pat’s assassination. They were killed for their success. I’m sure Pascal O’ Hare may have been considered at some point too.

  • tacapall

    “What police officers involved in terrorist murder”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20019914

    Theresa May promises crackdown on gun middle men

    “Ms May told the BBC those supplying guns were “as guilty” as those using them as the impact was just as deadly”

  • changeisneeded

    So loyalists on here think

    Torture is fine
    Internment is fine
    Guilty until proven innocent, fine
    Targeted based on rumour, fine

    You are really really nasty pieces of work..
    Keep it up , so the world what scum we have to put up with..

  • changeisneeded

    “so the world can see”

  • andnowwhat

    Just to paraphrase. re my last comment: to assassinate one successful solicitor is passable. To assassinate 2 is plainly obvious.

    Are we to assume that the ‘any taig will do’ brigade gave so much thought, acted with so much direction?

  • Toastedpuffin

    anw:

    You are aware there was ten years between the murders you refer to?

    There were but seven years between the murders of Edgar Graham and Ian Gow, solicitors who were considerably more successful than either Finucane or Nelson. Can’t wait to hear your theories there…

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    andnowwhat:
    Just to paraphrase. re my last comment: to assassinate one successful solicitor is passable. To assassinate 2 is plainly obvious.

    Are we to assume that the ‘any taig will do’ brigade gave so much thought, acted with so much direction?

    .
    And you have proof that the same people were responsible for both executions?

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Toastedpuffin:
    There were but seven years between the murders of Edgar Graham and Ian Gow, solicitors who were considerably more successful than either Finucane or Nelson. Can’t wait to hear your theories there…

    .
    Ah… but… they weren’t ‘human rights lawyers’ so their murders aren’t as important….

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Inglewood, Lurgan (where David Black’s killers’ getaway car was found burnt out) is less than 400 metres from the family home of convicted criminal Colin Duffy.

    A five minute walk at most.

  • tacapall

    “Inglewood, Lurgan (where David Black’s killers’ getaway car was found burnt out) is less than 400 metres from the family home of convicted criminal Colin Duffy.

    A five minute walk at most”

    Convicted of what sheriff ? Is it round up the usual suspects time, will your buddies in the UVF be attempting to murder him again or just get some random UVF man to commit perjury and pretend he was an eyewitness.

  • Tomas Gorman

    Maybe this (now well and truly derailed) thread should have its title changed to

    “The joyous tale of celbrating state torture and paramilitary executions of troublesome lawyers that we smugly gloat about on political discussion fora.”

  • Alias

    “Has that man of integrity Ronnie Flanagan committed suicide yet ?”

    Wrong Chief Constable, so a wasted attempt at character assassination on your part. It was Sir Jack Hermon who made the remark about Finucane being a PIRA legal stooge.

  • tacapall

    “so a wasted attempt at character assassination on your part.”

    Alias it was you you made the character assassination on Patrick Finucane without any evidence other than innuendo but as for Ronnie Flanagan well the shame of knowing about the Omagh bombing before it was planted should haunt him to his grave.

  • UserAinm

    DDB’s original comment re Pat Finucane has gone now, I can only assume his card(s) will follow otherwise it would appear that he can say pretty much whatever he pleases on here without censure.

    If I may quote DDB himself:

    “I’ve no problem giving and taking it but at least have the decency to apply your rules to ALL posters.”

  • tacapall

    DDB is Winkie User like all loyalists they get special treatment.

  • Alias

    “Alias it was you you made the character assassination on Patrick Finucane without any evidence other than innuendo…”

    Err, I did no such thing. I was very careful to point out the difference between assumption and proof. And I believe it was you who sidetracked the discussion from the Shinners’ torture unit (the ISU) to Mr Finucane.

  • Submariner

    Guys quit feeding the troll. Covenanter is the banned poster Lodger ignore him.

  • tacapall

    Ah yes Alias assuming someone was in the IRA because of his social background is not the same as alleging someone was in the IRA becuse of his social background, thats a very thin line your balancing your act on.

    The thread is about Cruel Britannia: a secret history of British torture not the British controlled shinners torture unit (ISU)

  • UserAinm

    Tacapall

    I reckon the moderation is fairly even handed overall its just with this guy there seems to be a weird blind spot. Removing his comment isn’t, in my opinion, enough to get the message across that there are standards expected here and rules and policies are meant to exist to ensure these standards.

    Otherwise should we all feel free to sling mud at the dead?

    As far as him being Winkie goes it had crossed my mind but I follow Winkie on twitter and their styles seem different. Could just be different mediums though. Winkie in fairness would probably give as good as he got on here without crossing the line as much as DDB.

    I noticed that Winkie’s twitter handle is ‘propatriaeamore’ which is an incorrect spelling of ‘pro patria mori’ (to die for your country) or ‘the old lie’ as Wilfred Owen called it, but I’m sure a history buff such as Winkie knows this already. I’m sure he can also appreciate the irony here.

    Like Inigo Montoya said:

    “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means”.

  • carl marks

    Dont Drink Bleach
    And you have proof that the same people were responsible for both executions?

    executions? Don’t you just love how bigots love to dress up the disgusting crimes of terrorists with legal sounding words?
    How many times have we heard some loyalist fellow traveller using them, the most disgusting is perhaps when they call the cowardly scum who carry out the murders of people who are defenceless soldiers. At the ASDA shrine to a double killer who murdered two workmates after luring them to a card game we seen cards claiming that this piece of shit was a soldier.
    One wonders what real soldiers think when someone compares these scumbags to them.

  • Covenanter

    “Err, I did no such thing. I was very careful to point out the difference between assumption and proof. And I believe it was you who sidetracked the discussion from the Shinners’ torture unit (the ISU) to Mr Finucane.”

    Alias,

    That has been happening throughout this thread. A poster will say one thing and a republican poster will then pop up and answer him as if he had just said something completely different. Along then will come yet another republican poster to say how disgusted he is at what the original poster had said (despite him not actually saying it), and occasionally another republican will pop up with a few well placed lies.

    It is either a deliberate tactic to derail the discussion, or they are genuinely incapable of understading what is being said. I suspect the former.

  • carl marks

    Covenanter (profile)
    2 November 2012 at 6:22 pm

    “Err, I did no such thing. I was very careful to point out the difference between assumption and proof. And I believe it was you who sidetracked the discussion from the Shinners’ torture unit (the ISU) to Mr Finucane.”

    Alias,

    That has been happening throughout this thread. A poster will say one thing and a republican poster will then pop up and answer him as if he had just said something completely different. Along then will come yet another republican poster to say how disgusted he is at what the original poster had said (despite him not actually saying it), and occasionally another republican will pop up with a few well placed lies.

    It is either a deliberate tactic to derail the discussion, or they are genuinely incapable of understading what is being said. I suspect the former.”

    Or perhaps you say something realise that you’re not with your taig hating mates in the pub, when it is pointed out what nonsense you have spouted and try to pretend you meant something else. Problem is you can use semantics to cover your ass so many times.

  • tacapall

    “Lodger the topic is Cruel Britannia: a secret history of British torture, Cobain is also following collusion cases like Loughinisland”

    Patrick Finucane was murdered by the British government using loyalist terrorists, no derailing, you just cant accept the fact that its the truth.

    Assuming in ones mind Patrick Finucane was an IRA man no longer is assuming once ones thoughts are made public – Its alleging.

  • galloglaigh

    Mick

    And again, not a dickie bird.

    I don’t want to, nor am I trying to annoy you, but I’ve been singled out on a number of occasions, while black carded users continue to wind people up unabated. Some of the comments here are beyond contempt…

  • Covenanter

    And yet when it is pointed out that republican posters are misrepresenting what has been said, and expressing anger abut things which have not been said etc, they simply continue to do so in the hope that somehow no one will notice.

  • Alias

    “That has been happening throughout this thread. A poster will say one thing and a republican poster will then pop up and answer him as if he had just said something completely different. Along then will come yet another republican poster to say how disgusted he is at what the original poster had said (despite him not actually saying it), and occasionally another republican will pop up with a few well placed lies.

    It is either a deliberate tactic to derail the discussion, or they are genuinely incapable of understading what is being said. I suspect the former.”

    That’s a fine articulation of a keen observation. But where you suspect the former, I suspect the latter.

    It isn’t so much a case of not being capable of understanding what was actually said as it is a transparent case of projecting into the text a meaning that is consistent with the type of poster that they assume you to be, and then responding to what they think you wanted to say or what you really meant but for whatever reason (which is also assumed) you were unable to actually say.

    I don’t bother correcting that dismal practice as a rule except, perhaps, for Taca (who thinks I am a unionist). You’re assumed to be a loyalist so naturally you’re the ghost of Lennie Murphy…

    If you at, for example, the poster who thinks it’s just awful to cast aspersions and who then promptly casts aspersions on those who cast aspersions, you quickly realise that the anger isn’t really sourced from objection to the practice of casting aspersions but from an imperative to defend his particular tribe from aspersions. That’s always going to be a feature of debating with tribal members, but a charming feature of Slugger nonetheless…

  • Alias

    Incidentally, I think the best ‘understanding’ of my politics came from a ‘review’ of regular Slugger posters on p.ie. I was described as hardline republican who types tons of boring shite that was obviously composed by Connolly House.

    He got the middle part right, anyway…

  • galloglaigh

    So………

    If I want to change my username, should I seek a Red Card? Maybe next time I’ll come back as a butterfly?

  • galloglaigh

    *Black Card!

  • Covenanter

    “the poster who thinks it’s just awful to cast aspersions and who then promptly casts aspersions on those who cast aspersions, you quickly realise that the anger isn’t really sourced from objection to the practice of casting aspersions but from an imperative to defend his particular tribe from aspersions.”

    That is one of the more laughable tactics.