Times writer persuades Barack Obama to ban torture

It seems that Times writer Ben Macintyre can claim a small part in persuading US president Barack Obama to outlaw torture.

It turns out that when the US president referred to an article revealing that Winston Churchill had outlawed the torture of German prisoners during World War Two – he was indirectly referencing a piece written by Macintyre three years ago about British wartime interrogator Colonel Robin “Tin-Eye” Stephens.

Macintyre writes today: “In two small steps, through the magical Chinese whispers of the internet, a three-year-old article and a hirtherto obscure British intelligence officer had morphed suddenly into US government policy.

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