US allegedly using torture to interrogate terrorism suspects


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Preacherman
January 4, 2003, 02:29 AM
From the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia (http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2002/12/26/1040511135568.htm):

US turns to torture to crack prisoners of war

Date: December 27 2002

By Dana Priest and Barton Gellman

Deep inside the forbidden zone at the United States-occupied Bagram air base in Afghanistan are a cluster of metal shipping containers protected by a triple layer of concertina wire.

The containers hold the most valuable prizes in the US-led war in Afghanistan - suspected al-Qaeda operatives and Taliban commanders.

Those who refuse to co-operate inside the secret CIA interrogation centre are sometimes kept standing or kneeling for hours, in black hoods or spray-painted goggles, intelligence specialists familiar with CIA interrogation methods say.

At times they are held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights - subject to what are known as "stress and duress" techniques.

Those who co-operate are rewarded by interrogators whose methods include feigned friendship, respect, cultural sensitivity and, in some cases, money. The most hardened cases are turned over - "rendered", in official parlance - to foreign intelligence services whose practice of torture has been documented by the US Government and human rights organisations.

US officials have said little publicly about interrogation methods, but interviews with former intelligence officials and 10 current national security officials, some of whom have seen the handling of prisoners, provide insight into how the US Government is conducting this part of the war. The picture that emerges is of a brass-knuckled quest for information, often in concert with allies of dubious human-rights reputation, in which the traditional lines between right and wrong, legal and inhumane, are evolving and blurred.

While the US Government publicly denounces the use of torture, all of the national security officials interviewed defended the use of violence against captives as "just and necessary", and they were confident the American public would back their view. The CIA, which has responsibility for interrogations, declined to comment.

"If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job," said one official who has supervised the capture and transfer of accused terrorists. "I don't think we want to be promoting a view of zero tolerance on this."

The off-limits patch of ground at Bagram is one of a number of secret overseas detention centres where US due process does not apply. Another is Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean that the US leases from Britain.

In other cases, usually involving lower-level captives, the CIA hands them to foreign intelligence services, notably those of Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, with a list of questions the agency wants answered.

These "extraordinary renditions" are done without resort to legal process and usually involve countries with security services known for using brutal means.

According to one official who has been directly involved in transferring captives the understanding is: "We don't kick the [expletive] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the [expletive] out of them."

Nearly 3000 suspected al-Qaeda members and their supporters have been detained worldwide since September11, 2001. Some officials estimated that fewer than 100 captives have been transferred to third countries. But thousands have been arrested and held with US assistance in countries known for brutal treatment of prisoners, the officials said.

At a joint hearing of the House and Senate intelligence committees in September, Cofer Black, then head of the CIA Counterterrorist Centre, spoke cryptically about the agency's new forms of "operational flexibility" in dealing with suspected terrorists. "All you need to know is that there was a before 9/11, and there was an after 9/11," Mr Black said. "After 9/11 the gloves come off."

__________

I have to admit that if this is true, it would worry me very much... If we stoop to the methods of the terrorists, we surely make ourselves their moral equivalent? Wrong is wrong, no matter who commits that wrong. However, I'm sure many will disagree with this perspective.

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SkunkApe
January 4, 2003, 04:17 AM
This is disturbing.

WonderNine
January 4, 2003, 05:27 AM
Hmm, sounds like WWII U.S. P.O.W.'s being held in Japanese prisoner camps made to stand at attention for 78 hours without sleep. The ends rarely justifies the means. Isn't this the kind of treatment that U.S. soldiers past and present have fought and died to prevent? What's next, chopping the suspected Al Qaida's heads off with a samarai sword? We are above this!

Of course, I take the source in account....but still this is disturbing.

4v50 Gary
January 4, 2003, 12:47 PM
If they're foreign nationals who are prisoners of the military, I won't lose sleep.

Gordon
January 4, 2003, 12:58 PM
Isnt this the 21st century? Cant we just give them drugs and electronically eaves drop in their head? Even if we found out where somebody was I am sure a "cease fire" would be declared to let them get away as we did in for Bin Ladin.:fire:

Tady45
January 4, 2003, 01:24 PM
We are about to destroy a country because our current President has been hearing for 12 years that his father "should have finished the job." Kicking a little terrorist a.. after they have demonstrated their ability to kill innocent women and children is small potatoes...


Larry

QuickDraw
January 4, 2003, 01:56 PM
Unfortunately,the best source of intel is from human intel.All
the sattelites,computers,smart bombs,decoder rings,007 stuff,
are great,but don't tell the whole story.
If we could figure out a way to get information without hurting
anybody,we probably wouldn't have war!

QuickDraw

ZekeLuvs1911
January 4, 2003, 04:17 PM
Hmmmm. This is a tough one. I believe that we all should treat each other with dignity even if they are the enemy.......yet I believe we must take steps to protect ourselves and others. Does 2 wrongs make a right? Let me dwell on this topic for abit.

Maestro
January 4, 2003, 04:45 PM
What would you guys think if you looked inside a barbed wire fence at your enemies and knew that within their minds was information to possibly save innocent lives?And possible information to help apprehend or kill people who had a hand in 9/11?And you had it in your power to possibly extract that information?
I am not making excuses for those doing such things and think it wrong.However,I am not foolish enough to not realize the situation those protecting us are in and can see why some would resort to such things.
Take it in another direction.Why not just kill them all?We know that if they live and are released we will face most of them again another day.They have no feeling for women and children except their own.If they kill ours it is acceptable to them and their faith.If we kill theirs we are scum of the earth and deserve "Holy War."They have placed themselves in harms way to do us harm.Do they not deserve harm in return?Torture?Why just feed them and keep them alive then?Because we are Christian?Torture for tortures sake is evil.Righteous indignation and wrath have their place.To leave them alone to possibly harm an innocent child or woman at a future date...is this not a sin and evil also?

SkunkApe
January 4, 2003, 04:54 PM
I am deeply disturbed that so many of you would even consider that the torture of prisoners in an acceptable practice.

If we've reached the point where Americans believe that torturing helpless people is acceptable, we've got got something much worse to worry about than our Second Amendment rights.

Do read that people that I previously considered to be of a common mind with me condone this type of activity is downright scary.

2dogs
January 4, 2003, 05:17 PM
Do I think it's right to torture people- no.

Do I think it is right to kill innocent civilians intentionally- no.

Do I think that enemy combatants/ soldiers should be treated the same way we would expect our prisoners of war to be treated- yes the Geneva Convention should apply- if and when those soldiers agree to the accepted rules and conduct of war. If they want barbarism, I say give them what they want- nobody forced them to attack us.

Wildalaska
January 4, 2003, 05:56 PM
I am torn between the moral high ground we should take and the needs of realpolitik..need to chew on this one some more...

Ian
January 4, 2003, 06:13 PM
How can you guys possibly encourage or even condone torture of prisoners?

#1) These prisoners are not the people who flew planes into buildings on 9/11. The individuals who did that are all dead, killed in the aircraft they hijacked. The individuals who planned the operation and gave the orders are few in number, and almost certainly in hiding. These prisoners are nothing but foot soldiers, called upon to defend their country against invading US troops. Hell, I'd wager that more than a few of them did the exact same thing in the 80s, defending their country from invading Russians.

#2) Call me an old-fashioned romantic, but the good guys do NOT torture people!! Even if their prisoners have useful information. That's why they are the good guys. If the US has stooped so low as to torture prisoners, then we have absolutely no moral superiority over the Afghans (or anyone else, for that matter). Every one of those POWs is a human, and the only thing that makes America different from communist China is that we claim to recognize that all human beings have basic natural rights. Just because these particular humans are ":cuss: ragheads" who live on the other side of the planet and whose bosses ordered the killing of some American civilians does not change the fact that they are humans.

I am disgusted that any American would find this behavior acceptable. Shame on you. :(

4v50 Gary
January 4, 2003, 06:17 PM
While I would agree with the moral argument that torture is bad, this is a war and not one that we asked for either. The terrorist wage war not only against our military but with 9/11, against our civilians and guess what, they want to hit us again. That our intelligence has been working has helped kept most of their activities overseas. If we have to torture some prisoners to save American lives or the lives of our allies and lives of innocent muslims, then it's the lesser of two evils. To me, one American life is worth more than the lives of a thousand terrorists.

Scott Evans
January 4, 2003, 06:31 PM
There is quite a difference between torture and discomfort as there is between pain and injury. If not Marine Corps Boot Camp would also be torture. A prerequisite to the application of genuine torture is the predetermination to inflect injury. This is NOT what is happening under US military command to those prisoners. They may very well be undergoing a regiment of calculated physical and mental discomfort with the end goal being the gathering of intelligence. Such however; is not immoral but rather, under the current circumstances prudent. Now I would in no way advocate that we surrender the moral high ground or that that we act other then honorably; though this must be achieved with our eye clearly fixed on our duty and the accomplishment of the mission at hand. The soldier or Marine in the field rates the consideration that a captured enemy will be methodically interrogated and yes; even made uncomfortable, so as to insure that we extract the most complete information. To do less is to increase the risk and to prolong the task that those who have gone in our stead must endure. With this in mind I am stunned that any would worry as to the comfort or to the quality of days spent by those who hijack plane loads of innocents and fly them into buildings, or strap bombs on to their own bodies and detonate themselves in the mist of the largest crowd that they can find, or that have declared that it is there sworn duty before there god to eradicate us completely from the face of the earth by any and every means available. So be careful in all this not to be persuaded by those who think we have other alternatives then to be at war with this real and deadly threat. They would twist you and your thinking as to the priorities of your concern.

pax
January 4, 2003, 06:33 PM
What would you guys think if you looked inside a barbed wire fence at your enemies and knew that within their minds was information to possibly save innocent lives?And possible information to help apprehend or kill people who had a hand in 9/11?And you had it in your power to possibly extract that information?
10Bears, I would say that the possible good of extracting information to save lives does not outweigh the definite evil of torturing people who may not even know the information you want! -- because the good, no matter how good it is, is only a possibility, whereas the evil is definite, concrete, and undeniable.

I would also say that any government which begins torturing its enemies, shortly thereafter begins expanding the definition of 'enemies' to include anyone who speaks out against such atrocities.

One of the signs of a tyrannical government is a gov't which condones torture of prisoners. Another is if the gov't doesn't follow its own rules and disregards its own charter of existence. What we have here is a clear instance of both.

<heavy sarcasm> But don't worry ... I'm sure everyone involved has good intentions. </heavy sarcasm>

pax

It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the People against the dangers of good intentions. -- Senator Daniel Webster, New Hampshire

Ian
January 4, 2003, 06:37 PM
So, Scott and Gary, do all our principles go right out the window as soon as they aren't optimal? What do we have principles for if we're going to abandon them the instant that they might be a hindrance? If that's the case, then we have no real principles to begin with.

Have you ever read The Gulag Archipelago? I think you underestimate what torture can involve.

pax
January 4, 2003, 06:39 PM
There is quite a difference between torture and discomfort as there is between pain and injury. If not Marine Corps Boot Camp would also be torture.
:fire:

Boot Camp is voluntary. The people involved can quit at any time, though not without consequences for violating a contract which they signed under no duress whatsoever.
A prerequisite to the application of genuine torture is the predetermination to inflect injury.
Ahh, so if we could just invent a machine which inflicted 'discomfort' but did not actually injure anyone, then we wouldn't be torturing them. Got it ... would that be similar to the administration of electric shocks to various tender parts of the body of our POWs in Viet Nam? No actual injury was inflicted, merely a bit of discomfort.

Btw, that word "discomfort." It's a lovely word. When I was in labor with my 11-pound second baby and writhing in pain, the nurse was heard commenting to my father, "she's in a little bit of discomfort." I'm sure it seemed so to her, as she wasn't the one experiencing it.

pax

Where do you stand on Bill of Rights enforcement?

Scott Evans
January 4, 2003, 06:43 PM
Ian

That is not what I said.

You are simply falling to the liberals game of semantics. You are allowing interrogation tactics that are NOT torture to be defined as such.

Double Naught Spy
January 4, 2003, 06:51 PM
War is very ugly and it reduces many down to the most common of human behaviors. Contrary to all the rules and regulations of fighting a proper war and dealing with prisoners, just how many people really follow all the rules? Every country violates said rules. That is no shock at all. We may be Americans and think we are fighting the righteous fight (and maybe we are), but when it comes to saving lives, who do you think the soldiers and interogators are interested in saving, American lives or the lives of our enemies?

Ian
January 4, 2003, 06:58 PM
This seems an awful lot like torture to me:

At times they are held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights - subject to what are known as "stress and duress" techniques.

It doesn't involve any permanent physical damage, but torture doesn't need to.

Maestro
January 4, 2003, 07:06 PM
Why do we keep them?Let's just let all of them go,feed'em a good meal,bath and all that...so long....we'll see you next time.
Moslem says,
Not to worry.Americans are very,very civilized.If captured no repercusions.Place to sleep,food to eat,out of rain and wind.Bless be allah!We kill them left and right but they treat us in a civil manner.When they capture you?Five months ago huh?You look like you doing o.k. for last 5 months.Hey listen,if we get outta here we can try to kill some more.Not to worry!Civilized people these Americans.If not get out that o.k. too.Food,bed,outa rain and weather.Praise be to allah!
:banghead:

Ian
January 4, 2003, 07:12 PM
Giving civilized care to prisoners is one of the requirements of being a civilized nation. Yes, it's a burden. Yes, it may seem unfair to care for enemies better than they would care for us. But that's what separates a civilized nation from a barbaric one.

Butch
January 4, 2003, 07:37 PM
Let's see , we feed their kid during the war, we are helping rebuild their country, we are feeding their families now.
Don't see the prob, just tell us what we want to know & they don't hurt anymore. Right!:banghead:

SkunkApe
January 4, 2003, 07:40 PM
Ian, thank goodness for your response here. I completely flabbergasted over the posts condoning torure of prisoners. I'd always thought of Second Amendment defenders as decent, principled, moral people. These responses sound more like they come from the testosterone-fueled violence lovers that our opponents make us out to be.

Ian is right. The good guys don't torture people. Our moral superiority is what makes us the good guys.

Preacherman, when I read your original post, I thought it strange that you thought many would disagree with your objection to torture. I now see that your prediction was correct. I feel like I just woke up from a dream, and I'm confused.

Americans supporting torture? Shame on you all. I'm embarassed to be assosciated with people who hold that opinion.

Drjones
January 4, 2003, 09:40 PM
Not that it bothers me about what actually happens to such filth, but it is the mere principal: If we torture people, we are no better than terrorists or anyone else.

That said, I do not think we are "torturing" people. I read that we do use interrogation methods such as sleep deprivation, exposure to elements, etc. which are NOT torture. It is uncomfortable, but that is the point.

I also read that we have handed some of them over to governments and other organizations that DO in fact torture them.

2dogs
January 4, 2003, 09:53 PM
I would say that the possible good of extracting information to save lives does not outweigh the definite evil of torturing people

pax

I think I understand your position on morality here- but this is war. Is it less harmful or moral to machine gun, burn, drop daisy cutter bombs on the enemy than to make him uncomfortable?

Again, it seems that the enemy we are fighting set the ground rules with their barbarous acts, and these prisoners while possibly being innocent of actually taking part did help make it possible for the perpatrators to commit the acts.

As I said before- if they want to treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention, let them fight the war as soldiers under the Geneva Convention and they will get all of the comforts afforded to real POW's.

Gordon
January 4, 2003, 09:54 PM
I was an army interogator for a while over in RVN. I always called them in their own tongue "comrade", intimated that we were all in this great struggle to liberate the oppressed together. Gave them blankets food and cigs unless they had a real hateful glint in their eye. Then they would sit tied up , blindfolded for a while till the glint faded and offered the same kindness ect. The worst threat was handing them over to Vietnamese(shudder). I see nothing has changed media branding US as butchers while butchers are "freedom fighters". Also guys, to get the "mayflower patch" when I got it in 66 you got the living crap tortured out of you by Hawaains down in Pananma. I'm talking slapped, shocked and put in two welded 55 gallon drums filled with cold water up to your nose and Hawaains who laughed squirted your nose between questions. We were (rightly) informed this werent nothing like enemy would do to us (ship us to Russia and North Korea for experiments) . Its allways the same; bleeding hearts let the enemy carve up their prisoners en mass and we make ours a little uncomfortable without ACLU representation and they wail away. When you hear for a fact that we are giving alqueida LSD and burying them up to head in a pig sty then come tell me "we are tortureing prisoners". I think Muslim law says amputate and gouge out eyes Nicht Wahr?:neener:

Seeker
January 4, 2003, 10:02 PM
If they're foreign nationals who are prisoners of the military, I won't lose sleep. ...becuase as they are less than human and therefore don't deserve basic human rights? Or because yoo don't mind if they treat our POWs the same way?

The US shouldn't beinvolved in torturing prisoners. Nor should we be "rendering" POWs to foreign intel services for 'questioning" that is slimy, weaslly and reeks of 'probable deniability' BS. If our Intel types want to torture prisoners (which is completely wrong) then they should do it themselves and have the spine to say they did it rather than passing it off to some third world lackey.

nualle
January 4, 2003, 11:01 PM
From Dr. Neil C. Livingstone back in a 1984 issue of the "Air and Space Power Chronicles".
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1984/mar-apr/livingstone.html
Any knowledgeable police or military official knows that torture is not an effective interrogation technique; more sophisticated methods exist today--methods not involving barbarity or defilement of human beings.
He's now C/B of GlobalOptions, Inc. His bio is here:
http://www.globalops.com/management_team.html
and will support his qualification to make the above statement.

The Realpolitik of torture is that it is ineffective at eliciting accurate new information. What it is good at is brutalizing an already-conquered enemy. The end result of that cannot help us... it either weakens (sometimes completely) the tortured person's capacity to be useful to his own community when he's returned to it or it hardens his resolve to be our enemy.

Torture is wrong because it's wrong.
It's also self-defeating, and so stupid. It is an emotional indulgence that only an overwhelmingly strong bully can afford.

I worry that we have commanders in the field who are ordering or condoning torture and soldiers who are committing it. How do you think those people will act when they retire, maybe to become LEOs?

prhm
January 4, 2003, 11:08 PM
I have to admit that even though in my mind I know and believe that torture is wrong, deep down in my heart I dont really feel any remorse for them.

Like the first post said" There was a before 9/11 and an after 9/11". I know that war doesnt make it right and they shouldnt be tortured, but deep down don't some of you that are speaking out against this feel the same?

TexasVet
January 4, 2003, 11:24 PM
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At times they are held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights - subject to what are known as "stress and duress" techniques.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


If you think this is torture then you're a naive, uneducated sheep. This describes trying to sleep in a university dorm on a weekend. Torture is VERY easy to identify. It's when the subject is black and blue, with both eyes blackened and swollen shut, a broken bone or two, and testicles the size of grapefruit.
Welcome to the blinded by propaganda, liberal, alternate reality. Get a real life.

Zander
January 4, 2003, 11:40 PM
This is disturbing.Hmmm...wouldn't this depend on the whether the "report" is accurate or not?

Dennis
January 4, 2003, 11:49 PM
Torture is wrong. Period.

In my mind's eye (if you will), I can hear the bodies hitting the cement...people jumping from the World Trade Center.

In my mind's eye (if you will), I hear little children asking why Mommy or Daddy "got killed."

In my mind's eye (if you will), I see the construction worker who helped rebuild that portion of the Pentagon where his son was killed.

I picture parents reassuring their children that everything will be all right--just before their airliner becomes a fireball in a building or a remote field in Pennsylvania.

Torture is wrong.

But I can't forget the innocent people who died, or those who killed them, and the organization the killers currently operate and support.

And I think of how I would use all the force at my disposal (as required) to stop someone from torturing to death my wife, my daughters, my granddaughters, or any member of my family.

And I think of what I would be willing to do to prevent that from continuing.

What I would do, personally, to another individual, to prevent an event similar to (or worse than) 9/11 is not fit for this forum. But I would get the information I need to ensure my family and, by extension, my countrymen would not experience 9/11 ever again.

http://www.politicsandprotest.org/

http://911digitalarchive.org/

http://www.september11news.com/

Go to your favorite search engine and remember what happened.

Never forget those who were killed.
Never forgive those responsible.

Turning the other cheek is not the correct response to deadly force. David didn't sing "Kumbaya" to Goliath and Joshua did not play quiet symphonies at Jericho.

Torture is wrong; but if we are safe, it is only because a few hard people are doing terrible things to secure our safety. If securing that safety is unpalatable to you, suggest another practical method of securing that safety or join the ranks of those who would rather be raped than protected by someone with a gun.

QuickDraw
January 5, 2003, 12:01 AM
With all the scrutiny the Armed Forces are under,why haven't we

seen any "torture victims".

It would seem to be in the Armed Forces best interests to keep

this rumor alive,it would scare the heck out of the bad guys.

Didn't the ACLU,UN, go over there and make sure those guys got

prayer mats,proper religious food etc.Aren't they "monitoring"

these prisoners?:rolleyes:

Sadly, when the bullets start flying,the rule book goes out the window.

QuickDraw

rick_reno
January 5, 2003, 12:07 AM
My only regret in dealing with these "people" is we can only kill them once. They can torture them all they want, and then hand them over to others who can do it with "cultural sensitivity" - I don't care what happens to them.

SkunkApe
January 5, 2003, 01:09 AM
Hmmm...wouldn't this depend on the whether the "report" is accurate or not?

-Zander

The answer is yes.

Ian
January 5, 2003, 01:54 AM
2dogs - Is it less harmful or moral to machine gun, burn, drop daisy cutter bombs on the enemy than to make him uncomfortable?
When one is machine gunning, burning, and bombing the enemy, it is because you are on a battlefield and the enemy is fighting back. Once you take a soldier prisoner, the situation changes dramatically. Call me a naive romantic, but a prisoner is a guest (albeit not a particularly willing guest) and should be treated as such. That's the burden of being civilized.

TexasVet - If you think this is torture then you're a naive, uneducated sheep. This describes trying to sleep in a university dorm on a weekend. Torture is VERY easy to identify.
Naive, perhaps. Uneducated sheep? I do object to that. I've read Solzhenitsyn's descriptions of Russian tortures (and their effects), and these sound an awful lot like them. I've also slept through many a weekend in university dormitories, and while I can see how you would draw the similarities, they are nowhere near the same situations.


In my mind's eye (if you will), I can hear the bodies hitting the cement...people jumping from the World Trade Center.
You know what, Dennis? So do I. Do you think that any of us are going to forget and ignore those victims? No! For Life's sake, I think of those victims and I'm sickened and horrified and angered by what America has done in their memory. We've abandoned the entire idea of human rights, both at home and overseas, in favor of a barbaric bloodlust. "Justice? Nobility? We don't need that sentimental tripe, let's just torture the ragheads. If we kill enough of them, everything will be better, and nobody will dare mess with us again, eh?"

All 9/11 seems to have done is drive us even further from the ideals that the country was founded upon.

SkunkApe
January 5, 2003, 02:41 AM
Well said, Ian.

Byron Quick
January 5, 2003, 03:22 AM
Folks, I'm an easy going type...I'm willing to play by YOUR rules in whatever game we play. And, if you're supercivilized, I will be supercivilized, also. On the other hand, if your side routinely skins POWS or some such...well-I won't go out of my way to torture you fellows...I'll be much too busy killing you- root and branch. Surrender? You guys should have thought about such civilized behavior before adopting savagery.


I don't define sleep deprivation and such as torture. Maybe you do. OK, we disagree.

Tell you what, though, if some of the extremists start doing to American soldiers what they once did to Russian soldiers...I would toss regiments of them out of helicopters to gain the intelligence to rescue ONE American soldier. Wouldn't be happy about it. Wouldn't be proud of it. Probably have nightmares forever. Might suicide later. Wouldn't hesitate.

ZekeLuvs1911
January 5, 2003, 04:42 AM
All 9/11 seems to have done is drive us even further from the ideals that the country was founded upon.

It is with a very heavy heart that I must say that I agree with this statement. My family immigrated to this country back in 1975 when I was 5 years old. I've served 5 yrs in the USAF and did my very best to be a good citizen. What bothers me is how fast and easily "Americans" are willing to give up their freedoms when the going gets tough. I think most Americans need to go live in another country for a year and follow their rules in that country to appreciate how lucky they are to be in the good ole US of A!

Lord Grey Boots
January 5, 2003, 05:00 AM
There is big difference between some discomfort and torture.

Folks seem to be taking the news article as fact, instead of the conjecture that it is.

Making prisoners wear blind folds isn't sensory deprivation.

Making prisoners wear earmuffs while on a transport plane isn't sensory deprivation.

Holding prisoners in the only thing available as secure holding facility (a shipping container) isn't torture.

Ask the media to back up their conjecture with some facts please, before we all go nuts.

Or does everyone believe the media?

Wildalaska
January 5, 2003, 06:01 AM
I still cant decide how to respond...

I am reminded however of the hostage crisis in Lebanon...

Seems like when the terrs were snatching Americans we sat and took the moral high ground..

A couple of Russians got snatched...the KGB grabbed a few terrorist family members, cut off some apendage and let them go with a warning that more was yo follow unless...

The Russian hostages were released...

Then again, when you peer into the abyss.....

Drjones
January 5, 2003, 08:34 AM
All 9/11 seems to have done is drive us even further from the ideals that the country was founded upon.

Absolutely, without a doubt.

:(

cracked butt
January 5, 2003, 10:16 AM
Let me see, the Taliban... didn't they make their women wear burqas out in public and often beat them to death for doing things we consider normal freedoms...like going for walks without a man to escort them? Didn't they practice the old eye-for-an-eye style of law? Shining a bright light on the faces of these bas@@@@s sounds like alot less hardship than they deserve.

Al-queda... didn't they plot and finace highjacking several of our planes and crash them into heavily populated buildings causing thousands of innocents to be killed? Making them stand on their feet for a few hours doesn't sound too bad for them either. They are not innocent foot soldiers caught up in the moment, but crazed fanatics who want innocent Americans dead.

I won't lose any sleep over any of these methods of information gathering. What's next from the mamby pamby liberals? should we provide these prisoners with weight sets, cable tv, pool tables, and basketball courts?

Tamara
January 5, 2003, 10:39 AM
I question the veracity of the report, for the simple reason that, while interrogators may be using techniques such as sleep deprivation and "carrot-on-a-stick" rewards to gain information, anybody with two brain cells to rub together knows that if you smack somebody around enough, he'll confess to sinking the Lusitania, but that don't necessarily make it so.

Sean Smith
January 5, 2003, 11:10 AM
What Tamara said.

We are talking about a newspaper report by people with no reason to know what they are talking about, and everyone is in a moralistic uproar.

Rule Zero of intelligence is Consider The Source. Australian sand-hippie yellow journalism doesn't get me agitated.

I was actually a military intelligence officer, and even graduated from the counter-intelligence course. Not to tell you I'm some 007 tough guy (no homicidal supermodels for me :( ), but I actually do know a little about the theory behind getting information from people.

Torture is pretty much worthless as a practical tool for getting information. Or should I say, good information... even the threat of torture will make most people babble any kind of nonsense to make it stop. The NVA used all kinds of torture on people and didn't get jack squat for credible, usable info. And they didn't expect it. Torture victims tell you what they think you want to hear, not what is real.

Drugs, at least most drugs I heard of, had the same problem for different reasons. Inhibition-lowering intoxicants might make somebody "drop their guard" and tell the truth, or they might make them tell outrageous lies and exaggerations, or just babble nonsense. This is more likely than torture by a long shot, however.

Most good questioning works in the opposite way, by making the interrogator the solution, rather than the problem, in the subject's life, so to speak. The mere condition of being a prisoner typically creates enough stress to work with, especially the growing of hopeless feelings and fear over time.

SkunkApe
January 5, 2003, 11:49 AM
For all of you debating the definition of torture, take a look at what the Geneva convention has to say:

"No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

Furthermore, prisoners are not required to provide any information to their captors other than name, rank, and serial number:

"Every prisoner of war, when questioned on the subject, is bound to give only his surname, first names and rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or failing this, equivalent information."

And we can't just transfer the bad guys to someone else to do our dirty work:

"Prisoners of war may only be transferred by the Detaining Power to a Power which is a party to the Convention and after the Detaining Power has satisfied itself of the willingness and ability of such transferee Power to apply the Convention."

Afghanistan is a signatory of the Geneva convention.

Geneva convention text quotes were taken from this site:

http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/91.htm

cracked butt
January 5, 2003, 11:57 AM
Here's a twist... We never declared war on Afghanistan, only on terrorism. :scrutiny:

JPM70535
January 5, 2003, 12:11 PM
While I do not condone torture of POWs, I find notjing wrong with causing them a little discomfort such as sleep deprivation if that would lead to the access of info. of a nature to save American lives.

Let me pose a scenario to those of you who vehemently oppose the use of less than honorable methods of questioning.

A BG has kidnapped your (choose one) husband, wife, child, or parent. The BG has buried themalive with life support sufficient for 12 hours. His demands are impossible to meet ( and if met there is no guarantee of the safe return of the hostage) The BGs accomplice is captured and knows the location of the buried hostage. There are 4 hours of life support left.

You choose the method of interrogation, its your kin.

SkunkApe
January 5, 2003, 12:32 PM
JPM70535,

There are principles that are worth more than individual human lives. The ability to remain true to those principles in times of personal distress is what separates civilized humans from barbarians.

How about this one: You have a device that allows you to see into the future. You know that several years from now, a previously law-abiding citizen is going to flip out and murder your loved ones. You are the deciding vote on your state legislature that would ratify a constitutional amendment to ban all privatey held firearms. How do you vote?

RikWriter
January 5, 2003, 12:43 PM
1. I don't believe the article about such things as US troops tying the prisoners in painful positions and such.
2. I DO believe we turn terrorists over to other nations and turn a blind eye to how they get information from them.
3. I have no problem with #2.

JPM70535
January 5, 2003, 12:54 PM
Skunk Ape

The two scenarios are not the same. As to your posed question, I think the solution from my perspective would be to track down this potential murderer and render him incapable of carrying out his future crimes.

You still did not respond to my scenario regarding your kin. Would you just let them die?????

Derek Zeanah
January 5, 2003, 12:58 PM
A BG has kidnapped your (choose one) husband, wife, child, or parent. The BG has buried themalive with life support sufficient for 12 hours. His demands are impossible to meet ( and if met there is no guarantee of the safe return of the hostage) The BGs accomplice is captured and knows the location of the buried hostage. There are 4 hours of life support left. You know, you can always come up with a scenario that's so far out as to be less likely than being struck with a meteor. It's a really poor way to discuss policy issues, though. What we're discussing here is whether it's acceptable for the United States to maintain a policy that involves torture of prisonors of war, "enemy combatants" (including those who are US citizens), collaborators, etc.

Your comment doesn't shed much light on the issue.

OF
January 5, 2003, 01:16 PM
Would I let them die? No. I would use any and all means necessary to get the information. If torture was a viable means to that end (which it may or may not be), then I would inflict it myself without mercy.

But I will never give the police, military or gov't my leave to do the same. What is moral for the individual, and what is moral for the gov't are not the same thing. The answer to your scenario does not bear on the question here.

- Gabe

OF
January 5, 2003, 01:31 PM
As for the article, is it true? I don't know, until I do it's just hypothetical. But the issue it raises is still worth exploring.

1. Torture is an ineffective means of extracting information so, from a technical aspect, this whole issue should be put to rest on that basis alone,

2. An American gov't that grows to look upon torture as a viable method (to demoralize, or what have you) in it's toolbox is a far greater potential danger to civilization than islamic militants.

We are not the Taliban or the Viet Cong. What difference does it make how they treated their people, or what they did to our prisoners? I am not interested in tit-for-tat BS. I am interested in total crushing victory. Torture does nothing to help secure that victory, its intelligence gathering potential is zero and its dangers are great and real.

While I would not lose sleep over the thought that Al Qaida slime were living the rest of their extremely short lives in agonizing pain, I would lose sleep knowing that it was our gov't doing the inflicting. I would also be buying some battle rifles and stocking up on ammo. We need to be focused on removing the threat, not inflicting pain. Remember, to defensively remove the threat is the only moral use of force.

- Gabe

SkunkApe
January 5, 2003, 01:32 PM
Derek Zeanah,

I posted my theoretical scenario in response to JPM70535's scenario. I was trying to show two things:

1) You can always make up some far-fetched situation to challenge a man's principles.

2) There are some situations in which one must make a personal sacrifice to uphold the principles of a civilized society.

JPM70535,

To make my answer to your question more clear:

My principles forbid the torture of helpless prisoners. This is an absolute for me. I consider it to be completely wrong, regardless of the circumstances.

Edit - Oops, sorry Derek. I thought you were attacking MY ridiculous scenario, not JPM70535's.

SkunkApe
January 5, 2003, 01:33 PM
2. An American gov't that grows to look upon torture as a viable method (to demoralize, or what have you) in it's toolbox is a far greater potential danger to civilization than islamic militants. -GRD

GRD, I couldn't agree more.

rick_reno
January 5, 2003, 01:35 PM
Skunkape posted "How about this one: You have a device that allows you to see into the future. You know that several years from now, a previously law-abiding citizen is going to flip out and murder your loved ones. You are the deciding vote on your state legislature that would ratify a constitutional amendment to ban all privatey held firearms. How do you vote?"

Vote? I wouldn't waste my time voting - I'd be out looking for a 2nd job so I could purchase more life insurance policies.

matis
January 5, 2003, 02:27 PM
let's make this personal (as in reality all situations are). I have a teenage daughter. Although my cosmology is secular, the best words I know to describe my joy in her existence and in my unbelievable priviledge in being her father, is to tell people that she is my gift from G-d. You THRers with children will probably understand what I mean

Now let us imagine that she was kidnapped, G-d forbid. (yes I know it sounds confused --- and who knows, maybe I am confused, but that is another, even longer story) and her captors were threatening to hurt her or worse. And I managed to get my hands on one of the kidnappers and he knows where they're keeping her but refuses to say where.

To save my child, would I torture him? You BET I WOULD!

If he ignored my warnings, I would, ...hmm, ...how about chopping off a finger to get his attention. Good chance he'd tell me then, wouldn't he? But if not, I'd have NO compunction in doing to him WHATEVER IT TOOK, barring -- actualy, ... I can't thnk of anything I wouldn't do! He chose to commit the crime and he has the power to save my daughter. The KIDNAPPER chooses what I'll do to him. And you guys who believe in G-d... well I trust that HE made me this way -- capable of such hatred, so that I can do what is necessary to rescue my child.

Does that make me a barbarian? No. What it makes me is someone who contains, among many others, a barbarian and even worse, if necessary! What do you thinkwe are, anyway??? And why do the Torah and the other scriptures contain so many proscriptions? Isn't it because we NEED them? We need the commandments so that we can learn to master ourselves, so that we can at least approach some semblance of a civiled condition. And as a secular man who misspent his youth as a "compassionate" liberal, I must say that once I began looking, I have never found greater wisdom than in Torah. Western civilization rests upon it and upon it's offspring daughter, Christianity. And as it says in Ecclesiastes (sp?), "...there... is a time to every purpose under heaven." So I believe that there is even a time for doing whatever it takes to save one's child. Isn't that why we say Molon Labe?

One reason that liberals make me sick, is that they always grab the high ground and preach to the rest of us, all the while grossly unaware of who and what we all are. Or maybe they have an inkling, and it terrifes them, so they want a tyrannical government to force us to be good. Have you spotted the error in their logic? And completely overlooking, of course, that morality and compassion cannot be enforced, but can only be the product of our will, of our FREE choice.

I consider myself decent and civilized, more or less. But I didn't get there by myself, or by subscribing to the philosophy ",,, if it feels good, do it." or, "...just go with the flow....eh, can I have another hit, man?"

I've done all that. And it is good, indeed you must trust yourself. But only after you've actually met and made peace with who your self is.

Remember, guys 'n gals, principals (principles?) ARE important. But every civilian on 9/11 and every one of our soldiers, is somebody's daughter, son, father, mother, sister or brother.

We must be very careful what powers we entrust to our (swollen and run-away) government. And especially so with a power as dangerous as torture. Nevertheless, I say, "... do whatever it takes!" Those who haven't come to terms with the barbarian in themselves are themselves the most dangerous. And as it says in Talmud, "Those who are kind to the cruel will end by being cruel to the kind."


Boy Preacherman! You chose a hot one this time. And you sure got me going, didn't you?

Do you suppose an atheist could get hired as a preacher if I brought my own soapbox??!

Matis

;)

Chris Rhines
January 5, 2003, 02:42 PM
People who inflict pain or physical damage outside the realm of self-defense are evil, and should be treated as such. People who turn others over to those who would inflict pain are no better.

- Chris

4v50 Gary
January 5, 2003, 03:10 PM
I look at it pragmatically. If they won't sing the first time, drug 'em. If they still won't sing, use the Russian Conveyor Belt (I've only heard of it failing once). If that doesn't work and torture is the only way to extract information that will save American lives, so be it. Not my first choice, but I won't hold it against the CIA or any other American who uses it as a last resort. I don't think the dignity of any of our enemies is worth losing any American lives over. Willing cooperation is best, but unwilling cooperation is acceptable. It's war guys and ugly things happen during war and the sooner we finish it, the better for everyone.

pax
January 5, 2003, 10:22 PM
Tyrannical government is always more deadly, and more to be feared, than terrorists or terrorism.

Keep pushing our government toward tyranny, people. I don't think you'll like what you get ...

pax

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. – H.L. Mencken

Gordon
January 5, 2003, 11:31 PM
To those who WOULD BE buying assault rifle and ammo: you mean you haven't yet? The ex Intell officer told ALL on this thread allready : torture doesn't work .They knew this in Nam and I am sure they KNOW it now. I think a little torture would work on criminals though. I think all the baby murderers would tell all the first shock. So would the burglars. I dont think gun owners would though as they have a cause and can tell disinformation that cant be substantiated just like soldiers. Amen to the Torah my brother.:cool:

TexasVet
January 5, 2003, 11:53 PM
after all the hand wringing and sheep bleating, is the fact that this stuff does not meet the definition of torture in anybody's book except the liberals. I refuse to accept new Orwellian definitions of common English language words. Propaganda is still defined as lies, no matter who puts it out, even the (gag) U.N. or the Geneva Conference.
Ask any former POW if they would consider this type of treatment as torture and you will be either laughed at or spit upon. (Except maybe McCain, he seems to buy any new age liberal crock set in front of him.)

Gordon
January 6, 2003, 12:07 AM
Right on brother!:neener:

pax
January 6, 2003, 12:33 AM
TexasVet,

My sig du jour uses the same logic as your post.

pax

This was perfectly true, and a very respectable view widely held by right-thinking people, who are largely recognizable as being right-thinking people by the mere fact that they hold this view. -- Douglas Adams

SkunkApe
January 6, 2003, 01:33 PM
TexasVet,

"the fact that this stuff does not meet the definition of torture in anybody's book except the liberals" -TexasVet

Being "held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep" sounds very much to me like the infamous Vietnamese "rope trick". I'd definately call that torture. The technique where prisoners are "kept standing or kneeling for hours" was also used to to torture Americans in Viet Nam. Do you suspect the prisoners voluntarily agree to stand for hours? In Viet Nam, prisoners were beaten with rifle butts if they wavered from the proscribed position. Both of these techiniques (as well as the others listed) are known established methods of torture, and have been reported by servicemen such as James Stockdale and John McCain, Robbie Risner, and others.

Also, I think you'd be pretty hard pressed to describe me a "liberal".

Regarding "new Orwellian definitions of common English language words"; the Geneva Convention is not new, dating from 1949. As I posted earlier, those rules require POW's to provide only name, rank, ands serial number. It is completely wrong and illegal to use ANY forceful means in an attempt to extract information beyond those things, whether it meets your personal definition of "torture" or not.

You might try to find other ways of arguing your positions than using "liberal" as an insult, and threating people with spittle.

Soap
January 6, 2003, 02:08 PM
Frodo and Samwise didn't torture Gollum...but Sauron did...

Oleg Volk
January 6, 2003, 02:21 PM
I have no problem with the ethics of torture by an individual, though I question its utility. Person inflicting the pain is entirely responsible, just as a person committing homicide is responsible and must prove that the use of force was lawful. Delegating that responsibility to the government is, in theory, possible...in practice, you will find that dissidents will get tortured more readily than enemy combatants, and that opposing forces would fight to the death rather than surrender. It is counter-productive to use torture as a state policy, in my opinion.

CMichael
January 6, 2003, 02:23 PM
I shed no tears for Al Qaida operatives that are caught.

What they try and do is attack civilians. By international law they are unlawful combatants. As such they are not subject to the safeguards given to prisoners of war.

If they get information that will help the US evade a terrorist attack it was worth it.

If they were a force that targeted military targets I would feel differently. However, since their aim is to kill the weakest and fight with no morals they should be treated the same way.

Michael

SkunkApe
January 6, 2003, 02:56 PM
The Penatagon and the financial center of the United States aren't military targets?

What are military targets, then? A baby food factory, perhaps? Or maybe the cities of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki?

CMichael
January 6, 2003, 03:00 PM
That is correct. The world trade centers were not military targets.

CMichael
January 6, 2003, 03:05 PM
Here is a definition of what an unlawful combatant is.

http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/oped/eastman/02/moral.html

pax
January 6, 2003, 03:35 PM
The chief financial center and the center of military operations are indeed legitimate military targets ... in a war.

And of course there is a long human history of declaring war via sudden attack. (Remember Pearl Harbor?)

That said, SkunkApe -- "they did it, too!" doesn't prove your point. It only illustrates hypocrisy at work (which has a usefulness of its own).

pax

This government holds the view that any general bombing of an extensive area wherein there resides a large population engaged in peaceful pursuits is unwarranted and contrary to the principles of law and humanity. -- U. S. government, 1937, responding to the Japanese bombing of Nanking

CMichael
January 6, 2003, 04:29 PM
So blowing up a pizza store is now a legitimate military target because it's a business? That is rediculous.

So what if business was conducted in the WTC. The people inside the building were all civilians.

Just because finances are conducted in a building doesn't make it a military target :rolleyes:

CMichael
January 6, 2003, 04:31 PM
I wanted to add that I guess according to you blowing up a bus station would be a chief transportation target and therefore a legitimate military target, right?

Zander
January 6, 2003, 05:49 PM
Do you think that any of us are going to forget and ignore those victims? No! -- IanYes! For some, it is a dim memory. For others who still remember, it is not associated with our current war.

SkunkApe
January 6, 2003, 06:08 PM
Cmichael, of course the World trade center was a military target. In times of war, The United States and almost every other country of modern times has attacked targets to damage the economy of the enemy. What better place to damage the economy than the stock exchange? Factories, power generating facilities, transportation lines, and food production areas have long been wartime targets, and they are not typically manned by military personel.

As far as the deliberate widespread slaughter of civilians for the purpose of demoralizing the general populace, I think you'll find the first large-scale use of this strategy was the United States' fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany during World War II. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki also resulted in horrific civilian losses.

Mind you, I'm not saying I disagree with these strategies, I simply pointing out that attacks on non-military targets or personnel are very common during war. If you think the United States only bombs soldiers or military bases, you are historically naive and woefully ignorant of recent events.

Ian
January 6, 2003, 06:54 PM
It doesn't matter if the WTC was a military target (though I'm inclined to say that it couldn't possibly be one). The captured individual Afghanis in question are not the same individuals who performed those terrorist attacks. Whether we had a war on our hands before we landed troops in Afghanistan is irrelevant, because we most assurredly made it a war with those landings. Thanks to that, captured fighters over there are absolutely legitimate prisoners of war.

TexasVet - I accept the possibility that this news report has exaggerated the facts, and that prisoners might not be tortured. However, there seem to be plenty of people here who condone and encourage torture of these prisoners. The major point (IMO) is not whether torture is happening, but whether torture is justifiable.

4v50 Gary
January 6, 2003, 07:26 PM
To Al Qaeda a military target is anywhere where there's an American. It can be an office tower, pizza parlor, gas station, stadium, church, shopping mall, zoos, museums, school yard or anywhere else where an American is. If they can cause enough panic to disrupt our society, they win a minor victory. Terrorists look for easy targets. Don't count on them taking out Fort Knox. Too tough. Expect it where they can get easily get high casualties & plenty of publicity (good for their morale). In a terrorist war, it isn't about killing soldiers, destroying the other guy's army and seizing their capital. It's about killing civilians and destroying the home front. When the "shield" fails, so doth the sword.

TexasVet
January 7, 2003, 02:46 AM
In Viet Nam, prisoners were beaten with rifle butts if they wavered from the proscribed position
--------------------------------------------------------

And where did you see anything about Al Quieda prisoners being beaten with rifle butts?? Oh, you were just adding some sideways references apropo of nothing to make the unmakeable torture connection.
Posts like this DO make me think of you as a liberal. So does quoting McCain as a source for anything.

------------------------------------------
the Geneva Convention is not new, dating from 1949.
-------------------------------------------

"When" doesn't change the facts either.

SkunkApe
January 7, 2003, 09:20 AM
TexasVet, you seem well-intentioned but logically-challenged. The article Preacherman posted stated that prisoners were being "kept standing or kneeling for hours". I doubt the prisoners volunatarily submitted to this. To make a man do something uncomfortable, you must threaten him with something more uncomfortable if he doesn't comply. The article doesn't tell what this something was. I pointed out that the method used in Vietnam, to force compliance with standing, was beatings with rifle butts.

Assuming the article is true, how do you think the prisoners were kept standing or kneeling for hours? Perhaps the gaurds bribed them with candy bars.

And I fail to see the connection between Senator McCain's political beliefs and his reports of torture in Viet Nam. Are you saying liberals don't get tortured? Or when I'm arguing a point, I should ignore the experiences of people with political beliefs different than mine?

Scott Evans
January 7, 2003, 09:48 AM
Ian,

The major point (IMO) is not whether torture is happening, but whether torture is justifiable.

Whether torture is IS happening or not IS the topic of the thread! See title above:” US allegedly using torture to interrogate terrorism suspects “. Whether the article posted in the beginning of this thread is credible or not IS the point!


From the article:
While the US Government publicly denounces the use of torture, all of the national security officials interviewed defended the use of violence against captives as "just and necessary", and they were confident the American public would back their view. The CIA, which has responsibility for interrogations, declined to comment.

What national security officials? Who are they, what is there positions; and of course, how about their names?

Further from the article:
"If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job," said one official who has supervised the capture and transfer of accused terrorists. "I don't think we want to be promoting a view of zero tolerance on this."

Again WHO???

The article is not credible, no source is given. It is simply a means to facilitate the anti-American agenda of the author … and you’re buying it.

AGAIN … nothing in the article is credible !

As I put forth in my first post … torture is NOT what is happening to those prisoners. Keeping people awake for long periods and isolated in a small room with little or no furniture is not torture.

Torture is violence against captives; such is not condoned or practiced by our military.

Now show that its is or end this discussion.

Scott Evans
January 7, 2003, 09:58 AM
This thread is not firearms related; the article that the discussion is based on in not credible (i.e. gives no sources). Further the topic has wandered from “is or is not torture happening to US captives?” to “is torture justified?” All this is bad for THR. Thread closed.

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