Stealing a Country – Torture and Murder by the British Army in Oman

“The detainee who was interrogated for 32 hours only had his session stopped because he was assessed “as being so mentally retarded there was no point in questioning him further.”

We have written previously about the use of torture interrogation techniques by the British Army in Ireland however last month DECLASSIFIED UK published a document which revealed that more extreme torture was applied in Oman and the Gulf States in the late 60s and these led to their use in Ireland.

Declassified says:

“These marathon interrogation sessions in Oman might never have come to light had similar techniques not been used in Northern Ireland two months later.

“In August 1971, the British army launched Operation Demetrius. Hundreds of people were arrested and imprisoned without trial on the suspicion that they supported the IRA, a militant group fighting to end British control of Northern Ireland.

“Among those interned, 14 were selected for “deep interrogation”. They were taken to a secret location and subjected to what became known as the five techniques.”

The torture sessions in Oman were extreme Declassified says:

“The quad (four detainees) were interrogated for up to 59 hours in sessions which spanned 7 days. They were hooded for 30 hours on average, 15 hours of which they were “subjected to sound” from loud, incessant generators.

“The hooding and sound techniques “took place only immediately prior to or during breaks in the questioning phase”. When not being questioned, the men were detained in isolation in the “very grim conditions” of the notorious cells at Bait-al-Falaj, a military headquarters near Muscat.”

The UK knew the methods used in Muscat and Oman were bad because when the revelations from Ireland exposed this shabby and brutal aspect of British army intelligence operations:

“The British army’s intelligence corps, which taught soldiers the interrogation techniques, was prepared to mention this “historical narrative” to Parker’s inquiry – but its commandant drew the line at one location: “Oman is such a special case that it should NOT be covered.”

The shocking cynicism is illustrated by the fact they described torture periods in Ireland as ‘more favourable than Oman:

“In a handwritten note, a British official commented that “total interrogation times in Northern Ireland compare favourably [to Oman] – only four cases out of 14 exceeded 20 hours.”

However the brutal lengths experienced by a single individual in either Ireland or Oman is illustrated by this section:

“The longest use of the interrogation techniques on any detainee in Northern Ireland was around 56 hours, compared to a maximum of 84 hours in Oman.”

In the course of installing their puppet securing the Straits of Hormuz and effectively ‘stealing a country’ the British waged war on many resistance groups but there actions against Shihuh tribesmen of the Musandam peninsula is the main focus of the article which documents some of those murdered. Regular British forces members of the SAS and the British Intelligence Corps were involved in the torture and killings.

Those who perpetrated these acts have never been brought to justice although they are undoubtedly war criminals. Many records were subsequently destroyed:

“The cover up went further. Audio tapes recording the interrogations in Oman were kept by the UK military’s Joint Services Interrogation Wing until at least 1977, when the MOD asked the Foreign Office if there was any objection to the evidence being destroyed.”

However some records have survived in the National archives detailing the interrogators. Declassified concludes by pointing out that new legislation by the Johnson government will let living perpetrators of these crimes off the hook:

“The Shihuh, however, continue to languish in obscurity. And a new law passed by Boris Johnson’s government this year will make it harder for them to ever obtain justice. The Overseas Operations Act introduced a time limit on compensation claims against the MOD, requiring them to be lodged within six years of an incident. This effectively gives the British military immunity for historic abuses abroad like Operation Intradon.

“The MOD did not respond to a request for comment”

Link to the full article here:
https://declassifieduk.org/stealing-a-nation-musandam…/

Bernard Moffatt
pp Celtic League Military Monitoring (26th November 2021)

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