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(Note: Soames was quick to condemn the Daily Mirror for the alleged torture photos but there are other issues involved here)

Dear Mr Soames,

It has been reported in the New York Times that prisoners have been tortured by the United States authorities and the report has been repeated by the world's media.

This is not a case of a dubious photograph in a newspaper; nor is it a case of the work of a few "rogue elements." The report makes it clear that this is the specific torture of terrorist suspects authorised at the highest level by the  Justice Department and the CIA. The complaints have not come from left-wing extremists or Guardian readers but from the FBI.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, thought to have helped plan 9/11 terror attacks, was strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown; that and other techniques were authorized by set of secret rules for interrogation of high-level Qaeda prisoners that were endorsed by Justice Dept and CIA; rules  first adopted by Bush administration after 9/11 for handling detainees and may have helped establish new understanding throughout government that officials would have greater freedom to deal harshly with detainees; methods used by CIA are so severe that senior officials of Federal Bureau of Investigation directed its agents to stay out of interviews for fear of being compromised in future criminal cases. (New York Times summary)

I have three questions for you.

1) Are you proud to be associated with this use of torture, a torture method copied directly from the Gestapo?

2) Do you consider that a confession extracted by these methods should be used to condemn a suspect?

3) If you do not support these methods, do you intend to speak out against them.

Yours faithfully

Derek McMillan

Well we shall see what the result of this letter (which was written to publicise the issue as much as to influence Mr Soames!) might be :)

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