Strict UK rules constrain the questioning of terror suspects – so please don’t shout or throw insults

Sorry, but we haven't trained the dog to bark quietly yet.

Sorry, but we haven’t trained the dog to muffle his snarling yet.

Dunno why the bloody Brits don’t just wave a flag of surrender and tell the world’s terrorists to come and take over the country.

Alf makes this observation on learning that British soldiers have “lost their capability” to interrogate terrorist insurgents because of strict new rules on questioning.

He would be inclined to slap these suspects around a bit and maybe stick a knee into their goolies.

But nah. This isn’t cricket, old boy.

Hollering “howzat” would not be permitted within earshot of a terrorist suspect because the rules are seriously restrictive. They …

* Ban shouting in captives’ ears. Yep. Seriously.

* They prevent military intelligence officers from banging their fists on tables or walls,

* And they ban the use of “insulting words” when interrogating a suspect.

 

The rules are detailed in court papers obtained by The Telegraph.

The newspaper tells us:

The regulations replaced a previous policy that had to be withdrawn after a series of legal challenges and the death in custody of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi detainee in Basra.

But there is growing disquiet within the ranks that the latest guidelines, officially called Challenge Direct, are so stringent that it makes interrogation pointless.

There is also concern that the rules can be so easily breached — especially given the pressure under which soldiers are operating — that military personnel will be left exposed to legal claims and possible disciplinary action.

Obviously we will have to put our faith in God saving our Queen – unless we can persuade her to come and live here –  because the bloody British Army is being nobbled.

The Telegraph recalls the global condemnation last week when a Senate report in the United States disclosed how the CIA had systematically tortured detainees in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

The sort of things the Yanks got up to – which included ramming food up detainees’ bottoms – is not British.

But the British rules show a serious lack of inclination to get real.

British military chiefs,with bloody good reason, say they fear the restrictions on Army interrogators are hindering the gathering of information.

They say interrogations can be vital in thwarting future terrorist attacks and in combating insurgents in hostile environments.

The Telegraph has talked with a Colonel Tim Collins, reported to have made a celebrated eve-of-battle speech during the Iraq war, who now runs a private security company with expertise in intelligence gathering. He said:

“Since I was serving, the rules on interrogations have been tightened up because of the lawyers. We [the military] are no longer able to carry out tactical questioning.

“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. That in itself brings risks to the lives of the people we deploy.

“These insurgents are not nice people. These are criminals. They behead people; they keep sex slaves. They are not normal people.”

The Telegraph has also chatted with Lord West, the former First Sea Lord and national security adviser, said:

“We have gone too far in letting people take us to court.

“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.”

In an interview with The Telegraph, Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, has voiced his concern about the legal scrutiny on British troops.

He says he is gravely concerned about the rising cost of legal cases “that turn out to be completely spurious”.

He added: “What’s important for us is to understand the legal scrutiny that we are under all the time now, the cases that are being brought sometimes spuriously by law firms representing people who claim they were wrongly detained.

“Our Armed Forces are under a huge degree of scrutiny.” He said he feared this could inhibit commanders in the field in future.

Alf discerns a strong whiff of legality gone made in all this.

There’s an account in the Telegraph of lots of legal howz-yer-father after the Brits became outraged over the death this Mousa feller, an innocent Iraqi civilian who was beaten to death while in British custody in Basra in 2003.

An inquiry into his death was published in 2011. It disclosed  he had been subjected to sustained and gratuitous beatings by soldiers from 1st Battalion the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.

But to cut to the chase, a Court of Appeal ruling has disclosed how the approved interrogation technique works and when it can be applied. It also highlighted a series of breaches.

One source said: “This ruling shows just what a nightmare it now is for interrogation teams. Interrogators have been left wondering if it’s worth the bother.”

The previous policy — known as “Harsh” — gave soldiers the right to “shout as loud as possible [with] uncontrolled fury” at a captive. It also permitted soldiers to show “psychotic tendencies”, and aim “personal abuse” at a captive who could be “taunted and goaded”.

The Challenge Direct technique reined in those excesses and allows shouting for only a few seconds at a time — the actual length is redacted for security reasons in the ruling — under strict regulation which is designed only to gain a captive’s attention.

The judgment discloses that under the new policy interrogation “must not be insulting” and that a “captured person’s attributes must not be ridiculed”. The policy adds that “the questioner must not touch the captured person” and “must not shout into the subject’s ear”.

The MoD has paid out millions of pounds in compensation and costs to hundreds of Iraqis who grumbled about being illegally detained and tortured by British forces.

The payouts followed legal rulings that abuse cases can be brought in Britain.

The bloody ingrates should be only too delighted they were not captured by ISIS, in which case they would have been beheaded and incapable of suing anybody.

 

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