§ 10. Mr. Robin F. Cook
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many selected Service personnel have undergone voluntary torture as part of their training at the latest convenient date for which figures are available.
§ Mr. Cook
I accept that answer, but does my hon. Friend accept that a number of Service men are being invited to undergo aids to interrogation which include the techniques of hooding, wall-standing, the use of a noise-making machine, restricted diets and deprivation of sleep? Does he accept that many hon. Members are gravely disturbed to discover that such techniques, which have been withdrawn from service in Northern Ireland, are still being used, albeit on volunteer Service men? What possible evaluation can he offer to suggest that experience of such exercises is likely to increase the resistance of Service men to these aids to interrogation by an enemy who is doing it for real?
§ Mr. Rodgers
I agree with my hon. Friend that these are difficult and sensitive questions which must be most carefully considered, particularly by Ministers. That is what is being done. As my hon. Friend fairly mentioned, all who are involved in training to resist these methods are volunteers. My own view is that in the last resort a man should have the freedom to choose how to resist those who might seek to take away his larger freedoms.
§ Sir David Renton
If the need for such training should arise, would it not be much simpler to ask volunteers to listen to the Budget Statement?