The Torture Speech

Listed under Law Page on 16 October 2009
MI5's chief Jonathan Evans although states that he does not condone torture does condone the use of evidence obtained under torture.
We live in a time which has extremists from all backgrounds living among society and I understand that the security service need to protect us from them. But what i don't understand is the cheif of MI5, making a speech at Bristol University yesterday that he defends the use of evidence obtained under torture. The full speech is available on the MI5 website.

If he really believes that torture is illegal then how can evidence obtained through torture be legal? You can't have one without the other. If you defend evidence obtained through the use of torture then you defend torture as well. Many have questioned the accuracy of the intelligence service after no WMDs were found in Iraq and there are now questions over the recent arrest of severals Pakistani students which were based on e-mail exchanges and photos of landmarks in Manchester that the intelligence services are using evidence to discriminate against individuals from a certain background. I understand that using intelligence to protect society and balancing civil liberties of individuals is challenging and i respect those that carry our their job proportionately and respect the law. But complicity in the abuse of suspects overseas following the 'war on terror', which was illegal in the first place can not be justified as a means to an end. His speech makes a reference to Colonel Robin "Tin Eye" Stephens who was the officer in charge of interrogating foreign prisoners in WWII. Mr Evans says: "Stephens, though an intimidating figure with his glittering monocle, was quite clear that there was to be no physical mistreatment of prisoners. In his view it was the wrong way to proceed – there were better ways of getting to the truth." This is the attitude and approach that we need from our secret service today, they can not forget their own traditions in the face of new adversities which Mr Evans talks about in his speech.

Although co-operating with the US and recognising evidence obtained though torture from Guantanamo Bay and the numerous secret detention centres they operate around the world may have seemed to be the only option available to the secret service at the time. If they had raised concerns to the US and the foreign intelligence sevices that the quality of evidence was likely to be flawed if obtained under torture than the civil court claims and the allegations of colluding would never had arisen.

If Colonel Stephens could appreciate that torture had no place in interrogation then why has that appreciation not continued today?
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