The official line is clear: the UK does not 'participate in, solicit, encourage or condone' torture. And yet, the evidence is irrefutable: when it comes to dealing with potential threats to our national security, the gloves always come off. As the enquiries into the on-going abuse of terror suspects uncover an ever more sinister and unpalatable chain of complicity - going right to the top of government - it is time to re-examine the assumption that the British don't 'do' torture. Drawing on previously unseen official documents, and the accounts of witnesses, victims and experts, prize-winning investigative journalist Ian Cobain looks beyond the cover-ups and the attempts to dismiss brutality as the work of a few rogue interrogators, to reveal a secret and shocking record of torture. From WWII to the War on Terror, via Kenya and Northern Ireland, Cruel Britannia shows how the British have repeatedly and systematically resorted to torture, turning a blind eye where necessary, bending the law where they can, and issuing categorical denials all the while. What emerges is a picture of Britain that challenges our complacency on human rights and exposes the lie behind our reputation for fair play.
Cruel Britannia makes it clear that a culture of secrecy doesn’t just serve to protect the elite but is also the soil in which the worst aspects of humanity can take root and grow. This is a shocking book that deserves a wide readership... Cobain's doggedness in tracking down victims around the globe, in prison or out, trawling through records and finding people who can speak about the unspeakable, is what makes Cruel Britannia so powerful. - Heather Brooke, New Statesman
A well-written, thought-provoking account of some of the darkest corners in recent British history. - Calder Walton, Times Literary Supplement
A persuasive, convincing and invaluable contribution. - Humphrey Hawksley, Global Review
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