17 APRIL 2004, Page 29

The fruits of torture

From Oliver Miles Sir: 'None of us,' writes Brendan O'Neill ('Some luvvies will believe anything', 3 April), 'knows for certain what goes on inside . . . Guantanamo Bay.'

Brendan O'Neill quotes prisoners, but the Washington Post, in an article published on Boxing Day 2002 by Bob Woodward and others, quoted guards. The details of the allegations were disgusting, from prisoners blindfolded and thrown into walls,

bound in painful positions, subjected to loud noises and deprived of sleep, to handing prisoners without legal process to foreign security services known for using brutal means. 'We don't kick the [expletive] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the [expletive] out of them,' said a guard. According to a 'former CIA inspector general', the presumably eponymous Fred Hitz, 'we don't do torture, and we can't countenance torture in terms of we can't know of it [sic]'. But if a country offers information gleaned from interrogations, 'we can use the fruits of it'.

The whole was well summed up to the Post by one US official: 'If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job.' Oliver Miles