Master’s Degree: Teaching Torture as a Western Value

Chris Floyd's picture

In a recent London Review of Books article detailing the abysmal horrors of Egypt’s prison system — a multi-circled hell with visible and invisible layers, all of them wretched, some of them unspeakably so — Tom Stevenson noted, in passing, this piece of historical context:

“The prison system in Egypt is the legacy of a long period of British control, followed by the successive autocracies of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. It was in a British prison during the Second World War that some of the torture techniques now employed by Egyptian intelligence were refined. The Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre was annexed to a British army camp in the Cairo suburb of Maadi. The camp had a cinema, boxing ring and ice-cream parlour for the soldiers, but a few hundred metres away British interrogators were experimenting on as many as sixty prisoners at a time, attempting to induce hallucinations with thyroxine, or trying to break them psychologically by forcing them to dig their own graves.”

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