The Brits well knew that the Bush-Cheney administration was bent on torturing prisoners in Afghanistan and Gitmo and elsewhere. They instructed their soldiers not to do it themselves but to turn a blind eye to the torturing Americans. From today's Guardian:

The policy, devised in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, offered ­guidance to MI5 and MI6 officers ­questioning detainees in Afghanistan whom they knew were being mistreated by the US military. British intelligence officers were given written instructions that they could not "be seen to condone" torture and that they must not "engage in any activity yourself that involves inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners".

But they were also told they were not under any obligation to intervene to prevent detainees from being mistreated. "Given that they are not within our ­custody or control, the law does not require you to intervene to prevent this," the policy said.

This too, of course, is a violation of international law and core British values. This is how the cancer of torture spreads. From Cheney outwards.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.