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  #41  
Old April 26th, 2009, 11:38 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

The point is, Blair is defending a position that Obama would claim he is against. Call him a bureaucrat if you wish, but he is still the Intelligence Chief, and he is a military man. He is a Rear Admiral! It's not like he is some guy who used to be Secretary of Agriculture and is now Director of the CIA.


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  #42  
Old April 26th, 2009, 11:40 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wab View Post
Dennis Blair is a bureaucrat, not a professional intelligence officer. Plus his action in Indonesia are nothing to be proud of.
What Dennis Blair really said:

Intelligence Chief Says Methods Hurt U.S.

Blair released a statement in which he clearly stated that there is no way of knowing whether means, other than torture, would have obtained the same info. He also said, emphatically, that the damage done to the U.S. by using torture "far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."


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  #43  
Old April 26th, 2009, 11:43 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voldemorts8thHorcrux View Post
All that stuff about tasers remind me of something. Exactly what is the point of a taser? I can understand it as an alternative to guns because generally i guess they are less lethal, but after that to be used to make someone do someething, threat of gunshot wounds is still pretty convincing
I think, generally, they're meant to be used to incapacitate someone who's posing a threat, without actually shooting them. The problem with guns is that if you have to follow through with the threat, you could potentially cause death or serious injury. With tasers, there's certainly still a big risk, but when used properly it's not as risky.

However, it can be dangerous (and cruel) when tasers are used too quickly or too liberally. Aside from the aspect of causing someone unnecessary suffering, you can't know if a suspect has a health condition that would make tasering them particularly dangerous. It should still be a last resort, and police still need to be careful about using force.


  #44  
Old April 26th, 2009, 11:44 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Originally Posted by rigdoctorbri View Post
Besides, some of these people would much rather die, so threatening them with a gun is ineffective. But, to repeatedly zap them in the nads with 600 cold cranking amps...? Even the toughest 72-virgin-seekers will give up eventually!
I don't think we really need to get so graphic in here. I don't know about everyone else, but personally, I could have done without that mental image.


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  #45  
Old April 26th, 2009, 11:46 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Originally Posted by Pox Voldius View Post
I don't think we really need to get so graphic in here. I don't know about everyone else, but personally, I could have done without that mental image.
Agreed. Also, no videos please. Before anyone tries to post any.


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  #46  
Old April 26th, 2009, 11:55 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Originally Posted by Pox Voldius View Post
I don't think we really need to get so graphic in here. I don't know about everyone else, but personally, I could have done without that mental image.
Also, some of us may have some personal ties to this issue, and may be sensitive.

I have a relative who was imprisoned and tortured when she lived in a communist country. I've never met her, but when I was a child, I managed to hear what happened to her, and it horrified me. I would rather not make light of what people go through.


  #47  
Old April 27th, 2009, 12:09 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

Hey, you want to talk about how effective torture is, then, I am sorry, but to get the picture a graphic one must be painted. It is a torture technique used by many across the globe, and, frankly, I would give up my own mother if someone was going to use it on me.

If this is too much for you folks to handle, then I suggest closing this thread. There is no way we can debate the merits or drawbacks to torture if we only talk about the Sunday School versions. If we do that, then the only ones who will win this debate will be those opposed to torture, because they won't be faced with what really happens, and won't be forced to argue it.

I will not change my opinions on it, nor will iI sugar-coat the facts that torture like what I mentioned happen, nor that they are effective. The only way I will change my opinions is if the facts are laid out, they are debated, and I feel the opposing arguments win.


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  #48  
Old April 27th, 2009, 12:15 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

Fair enough. I am emphatically unwilling to brush this debate off as a mere "policy difference," to coin Karl Rove's phrase. This is no policy difference. This is an abomination.


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  #49  
Old April 27th, 2009, 12:31 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Originally Posted by rigdoctorbri View Post

I will not change my opinions on it, nor will iI sugar-coat the facts that torture like what I mentioned happen, nor that they are effective. The only way I will change my opinions is if the facts are laid out, they are debated, and I feel the opposing arguments win.
Personally I think the larger debate is whether torture is right or wrong, not if it's effective or not. Of course torturing information out of people has an effect, but it still doesn't mean its the right thing to do.


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Old April 27th, 2009, 12:34 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Originally Posted by Lord Godric View Post
Personally I think the larger debate is whether torture is right or wrong, not if it's effective or not. Of course torturing information out of people has an effect, but it still doesn't mean its the right thing to do.
And whether the information that comes out of it is any good.

And I don't believe it is. Nor will I believe that worse torture would produce better information. History has already shown us that people will give false testimonies just to make their own pain and suffering stop.


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  #51  
Old April 27th, 2009, 12:34 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

Quote:
If this is too much for you folks to handle, then I suggest closing this thread. There is no way we can debate the merits or drawbacks to torture if we only talk about the Sunday School versions. If we do that, then the only ones who will win this debate will be those opposed to torture, because they won't be faced with what really happens, and won't be forced to argue it.
I'm not going to close this thread. The rules are clear, and any questions should be directed to mods privately via owl. We can have an intellectual conversation about this, and I've included restrictions which hurt people on both sides in part to allow the discussion to continue on an intellectual level.


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  #52  
Old April 27th, 2009, 12:59 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Originally Posted by Lord Godric View Post
Personally I think the larger debate is whether torture is right or wrong, not if it's effective or not. Of course torturing information out of people has an effect, but it still doesn't mean its the right thing to do.
well, its kind of a "For the Greater Good" kinda situation. I can't completely justify some things, but there is still justification. for example with the taser with someone who doesn't care about dying. If that person isn't afraid of a gun and just ends up trying to shoot a lot of people in the vicinity, taser, sure. I will never be able to fully agree with torture but i don't think that it can be completely unallowed


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  #53  
Old April 27th, 2009, 1:55 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

What do you folks think of the rising chatter about impeaching Judge Bybee? For those of you who don't know who Bybee is, or what I'm talking about, the man was one of three Bush administration officials who authored the so-called "torture memos" released a week or so ago. Bush nominated Bybee for a lifetime seat on the bench with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the largest appellate court in the country. The Senate confirmed him with a lot of questions unaddressed. He's still there.

From Wikipedia:

Wikipedia Bio, Jay BybeeDuring Bybee's tenure, the Central Intelligence Agency requested legal advice on detainee interrogation. That request was routed to the OLC by then White House General Counsel Alberto Gonzalez. At issue were "the standards of conduct under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment as implemented by Sections 2340-2340A of title 18 of the United States Code ... in the context of the conduct of interrogations outside of the United States".[10] The OLC drafted a memo in response to the CIA request. That response has come to be known as the Bybee memo.

On March 2, 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice publicly released a January 15, 2009, internal memorandum repudiating a number of legal memoranda which had been written by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2001 and 2003 regarding the war on terror.[11] Three of the rescinded memoranda were signed by Bybee, whose legal reasoning was harshly criticized by Acting Assistant Attorney General Steven G. Bradbury in the internal memorandum.[12]

On April 16, 2009, President Barack Obama released an internal memorandum signed by Bybee during his tenure at OLC addressed to CIA General Counsel John Rizzo and dated August 1, 2002. Among other things, this memorandum concluded that waterboarding did not meet the legal definition of torture under 18 U.S.C. 2340–2340A.


There's a growing uproar on the left to impeach him based on those memos.

Ben Smith, PoliticoPodesta becomes one of the most prominent Democrats to push for Bybee’s impeachment. The former Clinton chief of staff runs the influential Center for American Progress, and is close to the Obama administration. Obama has left open the door to prosecutions of the authors of the memos that authorized harsh interrogation techniques, even as the president has tried to tamp down calls for a congressional commission to investigate the matter.

The move suggests that the administration sees this as a way to take a specific and concrete action without opening the door to either a truth commission or prosecution of former Bush officials. It's also a middle road that's unlikely to appease either side.

Conyers last week announced that he would hold hearings on the memo writers, and told Huffington Post that while some of the authors were engaged in honest analysis, others were law breakers. He did not specify names, but warned, "We're coming after these guys."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said last week that "the decent and honorable thing for him to do would be to resign," but didn't respond to follow-up question about impeaching Bybee. In his letter, Podesta said that Bybee "stonewalled" a Senate committee about his role in the terror memos during his confirmation hearing for the lifetime federal judgeship, and some Democrats say he wouldn't have been confirmed if the full story had been known.


Podesta letter: Impeach Bybee


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Last edited by purplehawk; April 27th, 2009 at 1:59 am.
  #54  
Old April 27th, 2009, 2:28 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Originally Posted by chparadise View Post
I'm not going to close this thread. The rules are clear, and any questions should be directed to mods privately via owl. We can have an intellectual conversation about this, and I've included restrictions which hurt people on both sides in part to allow the discussion to continue on an intellectual level.
Then you have just lost a skilled debater in this thread, who is able to see both sides to the argument. Sorry, but you have tied my hands by not allowing the populous to discuss all aspects of government endorsed torture.

Farewell.

You need not suspend me for 14 days. I am placing myself on self-imposed exile from this thread.


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  #55  
Old April 27th, 2009, 4:02 am
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Re: Torture in today's world

I've always been simultaneously annoyed and proud of my ability to see both sides of an argument since it gets confusing but this is one of I'd few topics hat I'm relatively one sided About this matter. In more actionous scenarios, like tasering someone instead of killing, sure, but in most circumstances, there are better alternatives


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  #56  
Old April 27th, 2009, 2:49 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

Just passing through...

Couple of points I read earlier:

CIA Official: No Proof Harsh Techniques Stopped Terror Attacks

The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.
That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks.


CIA Reportedly Declined to Closely Evaluate Harsh Interrogations

The CIA used an arsenal of severe interrogation techniques on imprisoned Al Qaeda suspects for nearly seven years without seeking a rigorous assessment of whether the methods were effective or necessary, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

"Nobody with expertise or experience in interrogation ever took a rigorous, systematic review of the various techniques - enhanced or otherwise - to see what resulted in the best information," said a senior U.S. intelligence official involved in overseeing the interrogation program.
As a result, there was never a determination of "what you could do without the use of enhanced techniques," said the official, who like others described internal discussions on condition of anonymity.


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  #57  
Old April 27th, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

I don't believe a single person posting on this forum would go along with the torture like we saw in Germany or Vietnam. What we are debating is when does trying to obtain information from a person become torture. Some seem to believe causing the slightest discomfort is torture. Some seem to think the correctness of it depends on if good information is received. Some may want the government to have a free hand in doing about anything. I certainly don't trust our government to have a free hand in anything and that pertains to not only this topic but others going on as well. I also don't believe the correctness of the action depends on the result. That leaves the main problem as coming up with a definition of what is torture. Another question would be how do we obtain information? These guys aren't going to send us a monthly newsletter just to keep us informed of their plans to destroy America? We can take some high road until there's no road left to take. The last thing we need is some witch hunt, using hindsight, to obtain revenge on folks that are on our side.


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  #58  
Old April 27th, 2009, 5:57 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

We've long been a signator to "what constitutes torture." And we sat by idly in rankest partisanship and allowed the Bush-Cheney junta to blow that understanding all to hell and back. We don't need another Clinton-style parsing of words, although I'm willing to grant you that's precisely what the Bybee-Yoo-Bradberry memos have done.

Torture does terrible things to the person being tortured. It does terrible things to those who emply the tactics on others, as well. Witness John McCain:

McCain arguing for Clinton's impeachment 1999"But we are not asked to judge the President's character flaws. We are asked to judge whether the President, who swore an oath to faithfully execute his office, deliberately subverted--for whatever purpose--the rule of law."


McCain in October 2007"Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot."


And now this from McCain, April 26, 2009"We've got to move on."


The best quote from McCain's appearance on "Face the Nation" was this one:

McCainSchieffer asked if Jay Bybee, one of the authors of the memos, should be impeached or asked to resign. Bybee is now a federal judge.

"Well, resignation would be a decision he would have to make on his own," McCain said. "But he falls into the same category as everybody else, as far as giving very bad advice and misinterpreting fundamentally what the United States is all about, much less things like the Geneva Conventions. Under President Reagan, we signed an agreement against torture. We were in violation of that."
Emphasis mine.


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Last edited by purplehawk; April 27th, 2009 at 8:34 pm.
  #59  
Old April 27th, 2009, 7:34 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Originally Posted by Pox Voldius View Post
And whether the information that comes out of it is any good.

And I don't believe it is. Nor will I believe that worse torture would produce better information. History has already shown us that people will give false testimonies just to make their own pain and suffering stop.
Exactly the point I wanted to make.
I also think it varies on the person - some people will give up the truth under moderate discomfort, other's have stronger wills. "Light" torture - or even simply discomfort, depending on your definition, I suppose - might actually get you real information, but strong torture is worthless, IMO.
The thing is, you don't know at which point you're getting truth and at which point you're just getting what you want to hear because the interrogated can't take it anymore. People have very varied pain thresholds.
The Witch trials of medieval times are a great example of the faux results torture can produce.

Actually, I wonder if the reverse environment wouldn't work better for getting information.
Give interogatees some kind of super happy drugs - make them so comfortable and happy, so full of love and puppies, they'd share anything they know with you, spill their guts. It becomes a reward system, in fact - the more they talk, the more the get to take the happy drugs and to feel good and talk more.
It bears research, anyway. One possible caveat - I'm sure causing addiction - and that's only if the drugs did that - some would still constitute "torture" to some people. Another caveat of addiction is the same as torture - interogatees might invent information just to get to take the drug again. So pretty clearly, it can't be addictive, or used to the point of addiction.

Besides that though, I just sorta doubt the people we have in gitmo - generally the worst of the worst of mankind - have anywhere near the level of "love" inside them to make this possible with ANY kind of drug..
But it's worth a shot.


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  #60  
Old April 27th, 2009, 7:53 pm
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Re: Torture in today's world

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Actually, I wonder if the reverse environment wouldn't work better for getting information.
Give interogatees some kind of super happy drugs - make them so comfortable and happy, so full of love and puppies, they'd share anything they know with you, spill their guts. It becomes a reward system, in fact - the more they talk, the more the get to take the happy drugs and to feel good and talk more.
It bears research, anyway. One possible caveat - I'm sure causing addiction - and that's only if the drugs did that - some would still constitute "torture" to some people. Another caveat of addiction is the same as torture - interogatees might invent information just to get to take the drug again. So pretty clearly, it can't be addictive, or used to the point of addiction.
An interesting idea, though it does remind me somewhat of JKR's description of how Harry felt under the Imperius Curse...

But still better than torture, IMO.


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