Anorak | Everything the CIA knows about torture it learned in Northern Ireland

Everything the CIA knows about torture it learned in Northern Ireland

by | 11th, December 2014

A British soldier in Belfast, Northern Ireland stands outside a new all weather shelter in October 1969. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)


Patrick Corrigan links the CIA torture units to the British Army in Northern Ireland. The British taught the American all they know about “enhancned interview techniques”.

In August 1971 the UK authorities arrested and interned hundreds of men in Northern Ireland. Fourteen of them were selected for “special treatment” torture in a specially-built interrogation centre at a British Army camp. The men were subjected to the soon-to-be infamous five techniques of hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation of food and water combined with brutal beatings & death threats.

Allegations soon emerged of abuse. Amnesty International sent its first ever research mission to the UK to investigate, interviewing the men and finding some of them to still be black and blue with bruises.

In it’s October 30 1971 report , Amnesty found a “prima facie case of brutality and torture”.


irish torture


In 1976, the European Commission on Human Rights found that the UK had tortured the men, but the UK appealed the decision claiming that the techniques used had no long-term impact.

The appeal succeeded and in 1978 the European Court of Human Rights  found that the interrogation amounted to “inhuman and degrading treatment” but not torture.

The difference was subsequently seized upon by those who wanted to use similar

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