British soldiers have been placed in a straightjacket by rules governing interrogation, brought in to stop the avalanche of lawsuits against the taxpayer. A former interogator has told the Sunday Telegraph that one soldier was even investigated for touching a Taliban fighter on the nose with a piece of paper.
The Ministry of Defence has been sued 350 times by Iraqis alone, creating a lucrative revenue stream for already wealthy human rights lawyers. In the case of the Iraqis the public paid out nearly £20m, and cases from other countries have added to this bill.
The former interrogator said: “There was an incident in 2008 when French soldiers were massacred and the bodies of four of them were mutilated. We had two of the suspects in detention and they were brought in for questioning. One of the interrogators touched one of the suspects on the nose with an A4 piece of paper and he was investigated by the special investigation branch for abuse.
“The fact somebody could be investigated for that is to my mind incredible. It was ridiculous. These French soldiers had been horribly mutilated and yet it was the interrogator who was investigated.”
News that the British are now finding it hard to conduct proper interrogations for fear of falling foul of the rules comes just days after the £31m Al-Sweady inquiry ended. The inquiry after a case was brought by the human rights law firm Public Interest Lawyers, representing a group of Iraqi fighters who lied about their treatment at the hands of British soldiers. Despite the lies of their clients all the law firms involved made a fortune in fees.
The soldiers investigated in the inquiry claimed the government is no longer willing to stand up for the armed forces, instead preferring to pander to the human rights lobby. One said: “We have been dragged through five years of hell. That in my view is a betrayal of our service… We did what we had to do as soldiers and we did the right thing. Our families had to put up with these lies.”
The Al-Sweady inquiry did criticise the army for some of its methods. In one case the report claimed a soldier who blew on a detainee’s neck had “invaded his personal space”. In another incident the report said shouting in a detainee’s ear risked bursting his ear drum.
The former interrogator claimed that all of these incidents taken together had made the job impossible. He said: “We once had in for questioning a well-known Taliban fighter. He didn’t say a word; he wouldn’t speak to us and when he eventually did all he would say through the translator was: ‘Your detention policy is toothless’.”
“We would have these suspects in and there we are worried about what the lawyers in Britain are going to say. These are really bad people. They mutilate their victims. They murder women and children and all we can think about is did we shout in their ear and will we get investigated for that? That’s how ridiculous it got.”
As previously reported on Breitbart London, the human rights firms Leigh Day and Co, which regularly sues the Ministry of Defence is a Labour Party contributor. Public Interest Lawyers is headed by Phil Shiner who was involved with a group that campaigned to make war illegal, leading to questions about the motivation for all of his lawsuits.