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How did Bush-era torture policies affect our allies in the war on terror? Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former director of MI5, made stinging remarks yesterday suggesting that the torture dilemma in which British intelligence is now enmeshed is an American product.
The Independent reports:
During a lecture given at a meeting in the House of Lords, Dame Eliza said the British government had made an official complaint to Washington over the abuse of detainees. But no futher details have emerged on either side of the Atlantic of when this complaint was made, or what form it took.
In her speech, highly critical of the US’s conduct during the war on terror, the former secret service chief implied that the leadership in Washington was inspired by watching the TV espionage thriller 24. She said: “Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld certainly watched 24″. Dame Eliza said: “The Americans were very keen that people like us did not discover what they were doing.” She insisted that she had been unaware of what was going on until her retirement in 2007. One of her retrospective discoveries was the interrogation method used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. When she asked her subordinates why the senior al-Qa’ida member was offering so much information, they told her he was “very proud of his achievements when questioned”. She added: “It wasn’t actually until after I retired that I read that he had been water-boarded 160 times.”
Dame Eliza stated publicly what a number of figures in the British establishment have been saying off the record for some time. But it will do little to dispel the current controversy swirling around British intelligence and its proximity to torture. In America, the issue has been put on the shelf. But in Britain, a criminal investigation seems in immediate prospect.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”