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Intelligence and Controversial British Interrogation Techniques: the Northern Ireland Case, 1971–2

Samantha Newbery
Irish Studies in International Affairs
Vol. 20 (2009), pp. 103-119
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25735153
Page Count: 17
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Intelligence and Controversial British Interrogation Techniques: the Northern Ireland Case, 1971–2
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Abstract

This paper focuses on the controversial British interrogation techniques known as the 'five techniques', which were used as aids to interrogation in Northern Ireland in the autumn of 1971. Its central argument is that despite the widespread backlash against the use of the 'five techniques' in Northern Ireland, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Britain continued to support their use because of their benefits to intelligence-gathering. By examining the written histories of the 'five techniques' commissioned by the MoD and the course of MoD-led debates on the purposes of the techniques, we can gain an insight into official attitudes towards past and future uses of the techniques. Bolstered by evidence on the quantity and quality of the intelligence these techniques produced in the Northern Ireland case, this study contributes to debates on the relationship between intelligence-gathering and interrogation methods that can be described as ill-treatment or torture.

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