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US allegedly using torture to interrogate terrorism suspects

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Preacherman, Jan 4, 2003.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    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.
     
  2. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    This is disturbing.
     
  3. WonderNine

    WonderNine member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2003
  4. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    If they're foreign nationals who are prisoners of the military, I won't lose sleep.
     
  5. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    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:
     
  6. Tady45

    Tady45 Member

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    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
     
  7. QuickDraw

    QuickDraw Member

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    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
     
  8. ZekeLuvs1911

    ZekeLuvs1911 Member

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    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.
     
  9. Maestro

    Maestro Member

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    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?
     
  10. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    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.
     
  11. 2dogs

    2dogs Member

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    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.
     
  12. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    I am torn between the moral high ground we should take and the needs of realpolitik..need to chew on this one some more...
     
  13. Ian

    Ian Member

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    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. :(
     
  14. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Putting on the pragmatic roman helmet...

    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.
     
  15. Scott Evans

    Scott Evans Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  16. pax

    pax Member

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    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
     
  17. Ian

    Ian Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2003
  18. pax

    pax Member

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    :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.
    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?
     
  19. Scott Evans

    Scott Evans Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  20. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    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?
     
  21. Ian

    Ian Member

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    This seems an awful lot like torture to me:

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

    Maestro Member

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    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:
     
  23. Ian

    Ian Member

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    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.
     
  24. Butch

    Butch Member

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    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:
     
  25. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2003
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