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Germany uses foreign torture intel, report says
Photo: DPA

Germany uses foreign torture intel, report says

Published: 29 Jun 2010 08:01 GMT+02:00

The use by three heavyweight European powers of information from secret services in countries that routinely rely on torture was damaging the reputation of the entire European Union, said the rights group.

"Berlin, Paris and London should be working to eradicate torture, not relying on foreign torture intelligence," said Judith Sunderland, Western Europe researcher for HRW.

"Taking information from torturers is illegal and just plain wrong."

The report, entitled "No Questions Asked: Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture," found that , "The actual practices of these leading EU states contradict the EU's anti-torture guidelines, which make eradicating torture and ill-treatment a priority in its relations with other countries.”

The use of such intelligence obtained under questionable circumstances "damages the credibility of the European Union," added HRW.

Intelligence services in the three countries lack detailed instructions on how to assess and respond to information from countries that torture, said the rights group.

Torture-tainted information has been used in criminal proceedings in France and Germany, despite domestic and international rules banning the use of such evidence in proceedings, said HRW.

"France, Germany, and the UK can engage in necessary intelligence cooperation without undermining the global torture ban," said the rights group.

"To do so, they must make genuine inquiries of countries that provide information to determine whether torture was used to obtain it."

Your comments about this article

11:01 June 29, 2010 by snorge
Oh yeah, I forgot that terrorists always have diarreah of the mouth whenever they get caught!

Go ahead and play nice Europeans, then when your soldiers get their butt kicked or civiliand get blown up in your cities, who are you going to blame?
11:43 June 29, 2010 by hkypuck
It would be interesting to see what HRW has to say about some of these terrorist groups. When militant group Muntada al-Ansar captured 26-yr-old American construction engineer Nick Berg and chopped off his head, I wounder if they were worried about the HRW's bad rating.

Something tells me that those maniacs don't just come clean with valuable info when asked polietly.

However, in the movie Resevoir Dogs, Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn) says

"You beat on this (guy) enough, he'll tell you he started the Chicago fire. That don't necessarily make it so!"

I do think there is some truth to that.
13:40 June 29, 2010 by Prufrock2010
This is an interesting topic, one that has already been debated and litigated to death in the US. I can't wait for the right wingers around here to start channeling their inner Dick Cheneys to extol the virtues of torture while regurgitating the definitively repudiated canard that torture yields accurate, actionable intelligence. That should be a hoot.

I'm also interested in reading their comments on how the countries named in the article are not bound by the Geneva Conventions' prohibition of torture. I suspect their arguments will be a creative as they will be inflammatory.

May you live in interesting times.
14:16 June 29, 2010 by NYsteve
I was a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps for 8 years...got out in 1984. We were taught to uphold the Geneva Convention because otherwise your own countryman, if caught, could expect like treatment..........that was then........the terrorists groups operating now never signed the Geneva Convention. I personally don't believe in torture, water-boarding, etc that the Bush "trio" (Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld) brought to the table......this is a very difficult debate......like hkypuck said above....you beat someone enough, they will admit to anything....and THAT info could be more damaging and harmful......
17:23 June 29, 2010 by Eagle1
Ok, clueless liberals, here's how this works:

99.99% of the time, no form of torture is necessary to get the info. that the good guys need.

.01 % of the time, some form of torture is necessary to crack an idiot who would rather kill 200 innocent kids than provide any information. If it didn't work, no one would use it.

Get out of your playpens and into the real world. These fundamentalist Muslim nuts are coming to spread their fundamentalism, regardless of whether you have soldiers overseas or not. You can either use every tool available to you to defeat them, or you can play the moral dummy and risk watching the next hijacked airplane land in the Marienplatz. Your choice.
17:45 June 29, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
This is idiotic. We use research data from the suffering to create medical treatments, too. We study gunshot victims, we study the effects of chemical weapons, and we'll certainly use information gathered from a bio-weapons attack, if one should occur. The idea that information is 'tainted' because it was generated by unlawfulness is complete non-sense.
19:01 June 29, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Jack Bauer lives! Keep 'em coming, please.
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