Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

cphite
Posts: 1155
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:27 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby cphite » Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:34 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Honestly I think it's time to bring international charges against Bush and other senior members of his administration or the CIA.


Charge them with what, exactly? We now have an official report - compiled by opponents of the Bush administration - that show that the White House was kept in the dark about what was happening. You aren't questioning the official report, are you?

Because if the president knew, despite the official report saying otherwise, then that means that other people may have known... for example, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence might have known what was happening, and said or did nothing to stop it. You know, the people who wrote the official report...

That won't put them in jail, since the US is too corrupt to ever arrest them.


For what? What actual crimes can they be proven to have committed?

You are missing the most important part of being a successful politician: the covering of ones own ass. It trumps any and all differences on policy.

There are a lot of people who, for example, make the argument that killing and maiming innocent civilians via drone strikes, especially in places where we aren't technically at war, is a war crime. Do you really think that the current administration wants a precedent set where a former president or his team members are arrested and tried for war crimes after the fact? Because, I can assure you, if Bush were to go to jail for his role in torture, there would be a whole lot of people asking "Hey, if water-boarding and sleep deprivation and pasta-sauce enemas were enough to send Bush to jail... what do we do with the guy who was in charge when all these women and children were killed?"

But it would at least stop them from traveling abroad. And if they have any foreign assets we could liquidate them.


Again, you have to ask yourself... do folks like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and the like really want to see leaders of major world powers subjected to arrest, prosecution, and actual punishment for stuff they've done while in office?

For heaven sake, they can't even get anything meaningful to stick on guys like Kim Jong-un even with all the death camps and whatnot.

elasto
Posts: 3102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby elasto » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:46 am UTC

Has anyone else linked McCain's statement on all this? I think it's worth reading - if for no other reason than that it's so obviously even-handed and beyond party politics, which is so refreshing in this day and age.

A couple of selected quotes:

Senator John McCain wrote:“I have long believed some of these practices amounted to torture, as a reasonable person would define it, especially, but not only the practice of waterboarding, which is a mock execution and an exquisite form of torture. Its use was shameful and unnecessary; and, contrary to assertions made by some of its defenders and as the Committee’s report makes clear, it produced little useful intelligence to help us track down the perpetrators of 9/11 or prevent new attacks and atrocities.

“I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I know they will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe it will stop their suffering. Most of all, I know the use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights, which are protected by international conventions the U.S. not only joined, but for the most part authored.

“But in the end, torture’s failure to serve its intended purpose isn’t the main reason to oppose its use. I have often said, and will always maintain, that this question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world.

“We have made our way in this often dangerous and cruel world, not by just strictly pursuing our geopolitical interests, but by exemplifying our political values, and influencing other nations to embrace them. When we fight to defend our security we fight also for an idea, not for a tribe or a twisted interpretation of an ancient religion or for a king, but for an idea that all men are endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights. How much safer the world would be if all nations believed the same. How much more dangerous it can become when we forget it ourselves even momentarily.

“Our enemies act without conscience. We must not. This executive summary of the Committee’s report makes clear that acting without conscience isn’t necessary, it isn’t even helpful, in winning this strange and long war we’re fighting. We should be grateful to have that truth affirmed.

“Now, let us reassert the contrary proposition: that is it essential to our success in this war that we ask those who fight it for us to remember at all times that they are defending a sacred ideal of how nations should be governed and conduct their relations with others – even our enemies.

“Those of us who give them this duty are obliged by history, by our nation’s highest ideals and the many terrible sacrifices made to protect them, by our respect for human dignity to make clear we need not risk our national honor to prevail in this or any war. We need only remember in the worst of times, through the chaos and terror of war, when facing cruelty, suffering and loss, that we are always Americans, and different, stronger, and better than those who would destroy us.


link to speech


(Spoiler for a total derail about McCain)
Spoiler:
I often wonder if McCain would have made a more effective president than Obama. Not because his politics more closely aligns with mine than Obama's - it doesn't. But I think the Republicans would not have become so extremist and obstructionist - strategies that largely successfully derailed the more progressive things Obama tried to achieve.

Assuming McCain would have been a fairly centrist leader he might have actually achieved more progressively than Obama has.



---

And now contrast McCain's views with Cheney's...

Image

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 5804
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:03 am UTC

McCain only believes that because he's been tortured himself when we was a POW. Funny how a bit of reality and experience colors your beliefs. I should dig up the Daily Show clip (or was it colbert report?) of various conservatives with outlandish views...except in their area of expertise they are reasonable people.

User avatar
WibblyWobbly
Can't Get No
Posts: 506
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:03 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby WibblyWobbly » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:35 am UTC

Didn't Christopher Hitchens have a reversal of opinion on "enhanced interrogation methods" after being waterboarded (mildly) for a story? Makes one wish at times that you could force key members of government to undergo such procedures prior to their use to gain the perspective someone like McCain achieved at terrible cost.

elasto
Posts: 3102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby elasto » Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:23 am UTC

sardia wrote:McCain only believes that because he's been tortured himself when we was a POW.

Indeed. But that doesn't mean his opinion should carry less weight than someone like Cheney's. It should carry more.

(I know you wouldn't disagree with that. Just pointing it out for the benefit of others.)

WibblyWobbly wrote:Didn't Christopher Hitchens have a reversal of opinion on "enhanced interrogation methods" after being waterboarded (mildly) for a story?


Indeed. He voluntarily subjected himself to a filmed demonstration of waterboarding in 2008, an experience which he recounted in Vanity Fair.

Wikipedia wrote:He was bound on a horizontal board with a black mask over his face. A group of men said to be highly trained in this tactic, who demanded anonymity, carried out the torture.

Hitchens was strapped to the board at the chest and feet, face up, and unable to move. Metal objects were placed in each of his hands, which he can drop if feeling "unbearable stress." The interrogator placed a towel over Hitchens' face, and poured water on it.

After 16 seconds, Hitchens threw the metal objects to the floor and the torturers pulled the mask from his face, allowing him to breathe.

In his article on the topic, he stated "Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture."


Even more significantly, Hitchens also stated that he suffered ongoing psychological effects from the ordeal.

Now recall that waterboarding was carried out hundreds of times and for far longer than 16 seconds...

From the Vanity Fair article, Hitchens went on to outline the main arguments against the US waterboarding prisoners:

Hitchens in Vanity Fair wrote:Against it, however, I call as my main witness Mr. Malcolm Nance.

Mr. Nance is not what you call a bleeding heart. In fact, speaking of the coronary area, he has said that, in battlefield conditions, he “would personally cut bin Laden’s heart out with a plastic M.R.E. spoon.”

He was to the fore on September 11, 2001, dealing with the burning nightmare in the debris of the Pentagon. He has been involved with the sere program since 1997. He speaks Arabic and has been on al-Qaeda’s tail since the early 1990s. His most recent book, The Terrorists of Iraq, is a highly potent analysis both of the jihadist threat in Mesopotamia and of the ways in which we have made its life easier.

I passed one of the most dramatic evenings of my life listening to his cold but enraged denunciation of the adoption of waterboarding by the United States. The argument goes like this:

1. Waterboarding is a deliberate torture technique and has been prosecuted as such by our judicial arm when perpetrated by others.

2. If we allow it and justify it, we cannot complain if it is employed in the future by other regimes on captive U.S. citizens. It is a method of putting American prisoners in harm’s way.

3. It may be a means of extracting information, but it is also a means of extracting junk information. (Mr. Nance told me that he had heard of someone’s being compelled to confess that he was a hermaphrodite. I later had an awful twinge while wondering if I myself could have been “dunked” this far.) To put it briefly, even the C.I.A. sources for the Washington Post story on waterboarding conceded that the information they got out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was “not all of it reliable.” Just put a pencil line under that last phrase, or commit it to memory.

4. It opens a door that cannot be closed. Once you have posed the notorious “ticking bomb” question, and once you assume that you are in the right, what will you not do? Waterboarding not getting results fast enough? The terrorist’s clock still ticking? Well, then, bring on the thumbscrews and the pincers and the electrodes and the rack.


Just to emphasize that third point (as if it really needs more examples...)

Wikipedia wrote:One of Abu Zubaydah's FBI interrogators, Ali Soufan, wrote a book about his experiences. He later testified to Congress that Zubaydah was producing useful information in response to conventional interrogation methods, including the names of Sheikh Mohammed and Jose Padilla. He stopped providing accurate information in response to harsh techniques.

Soufan, one of the FBI's most successful interrogators, explained, "When they are in pain, people will say anything to get the pain to stop. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them. That means the information you're getting is useless."


(Note that Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded and that's what's being referred to here.)

Mambrino
Posts: 388
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:45 pm UTC
Location: No we don't have polar bears. Except in zoos.

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Mambrino » Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:58 am UTC

cphite wrote:
But it would at least stop them from traveling abroad. And if they have any foreign assets we could liquidate them.


Again, you have to ask yourself... do folks like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and the like really want to see leaders of major world powers subjected to arrest, prosecution, and actual punishment for stuff they've done while in office?

For heaven sake, they can't even get anything meaningful to stick on guys like Kim Jong-un even with all the death camps and whatnot.


I think your point about the interests of the POTUSes is valid, as well as the interests of the other major world powers.

But what about small, insignificant countries like those that make most of EU or South America? Okay, France, UK and even Belgium have skeletons in their closets, but we have some precedents (ofc they're mostly ex-leaders who lost wars). Nevertheless, is Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un the exact persons the leader of the free world would like to associate with (and not the actual free world)?

Of course I'm daydreaming and being blindly idealistic. But I think Diadem was too.

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5651
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Angua » Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:53 am UTC

That's a great speech.
elasto wrote:

(Spoiler for a total derail about McCain)
Spoiler:
I often wonder if McCain would have made a more effective president than Obama. Not because his politics more closely aligns with mine than Obama's - it doesn't. But I think the Republicans would not have become so extremist and obstructionist - strategies that largely successfully derailed the more progressive things Obama tried to achieve.

Assuming McCain would have been a fairly centrist leader he might have actually achieved more progressively than Obama has.



Spoiler:
It's sad that the Republicans have done so well in obstructing anything Obama and the democrats try to do. What we need is for them to lose the next election, because hopefully *fingers crossed* it will break them of this notion that being obstructive is at all helpful to their cause.

Also, let's not forget that McCain would have had Palin for VP!
'Look, sir, I know Angua. She's not the useless type. She doesn't stand there and scream helplessly. She makes other people do that.'
GNU Terry Pratchett

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby leady » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:12 am UTC

If you are the president of the US and someone suggests "enhanced interogation techniques" and you don't respond with "so you are going to torture it out of them" then I have no idea how you got there. Cheney is just confirming this view - he just doesn't personal take issue with it

On a personal note - if a terrorist group had just murdered 5000 people in the UK and MI6 asked me as prime minister whether I'd authorise "enhanced interogation techniques" I'm not sure what I'd say. I would certainly also use the words "no paper trail" and "get caught, get burned" though...

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 8728
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:40 pm UTC

Have we considered the possibility that the CIA knows torture is ineffective but does it anyway, with the INTENT of creating more terrorists so that it 'needs' more budget and power?

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 5804
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:42 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Have we considered the possibility that the CIA knows torture is ineffective but does it anyway, with the INTENT of creating more terrorists so that it 'needs' more budget and power?

I thought it was the combo of fear, revenge, and TV torture smothered with incompetence

Chen
Posts: 5266
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Chen » Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:00 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Have we considered the possibility that the CIA knows torture is ineffective but does it anyway, with the INTENT of creating more terrorists so that it 'needs' more budget and power?

I thought it was the combo of fear, revenge, and TV torture smothered with incompetence


Yeah I'm going with those over the previous more conspiracy theory related ones.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 8728
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:47 pm UTC

So enough incompetence that the CIA used up enough political capital to found a small country, created a massive paper trail that provides enough kindling to burn down the pyramids, wasted more money than an entire navy of drunken sailors, and gave their officers enough leeway and rope to hang an army, for something that has been proven ineffective time and again.

I'm not sure whether the incompetence or the conspiracy theory is scarier.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 5804
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:23 pm UTC

What you really should be afraid of is torture is now a partisan issue. Remember that antiobama wave? We elected these naive conservatives who are perfectly OK with what we did. And because they're naive, they can be far crueler than the movie esque bad guys. The link I posted earlier shows support for torture climbing entirely due to republicans.
And don't think libertarians are gonna save the day, we saw what happened when rand paul got popular. Caved right away.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 8728
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:25 pm UTC

Ok yeah that is scarier than massive incompetence.

mattertoenergy
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:33 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby mattertoenergy » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:22 pm UTC

I usually don't post, but this report, I don't know, I feel I have to post something.

I am ashamed to be a citizen of the United States right now. I've felt sorry for the stupid actions my country at times and felt my leaders made bad choices. But never before have I felt ashamed for my citizenship. I didn't vote for the administration that enacted the torture (and it is torture, none of this enhanced interrogation nonsense), but I feel like it is my responsibility in some fashion. These actions do not uphold the ideals that this country claims to uphold, and ideals which we often times use as a basis for criticizing other countries.

I think that this also ends any notion of "American Exceptionalism", at least for me (although I've doubted this for a while). We are not the city on the hill, or some special grand experiment showing the heights of human achievement. We're just another nation squabbling in the mud of this little speck in space with other nations. Of course we have commentators explains how the release of this report somehow demonstrates the exceptional nature of our country, that no other country would examine itself in this fashion. Yet, have we really done something special here? Other countries have done worse things and they've had to confront those demons and they talk about it in a far more open fashion. Us? We have had this single report, and that will disappear from the public eye soon enough. The national media cares more about the latest super storm and the local media in my town is spending all their time covering a controversy over our college football coach. This report is largely forgotten already.

There is also one other thing that really worries me, the number of people who think torture is okay. We think this is okay now, and not just because some people have an incorrect view that torture works, some people (in comments and letters I have seen) have a far worse opinion. They want vengeance. They want to see the terrorists or whoever else the CIA picks up to feel the pain they felt. I wished we were beyond that as a people.

I'm sorry for any rambling, but I just wanted to express my shame, and to say, for what it is worth, that I'm sorry.

User avatar
mathmannix
Posts: 1401
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:12 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby mathmannix » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:32 pm UTC

If torture isn't giving us effective results, then we're obviously not doing it right. But that doesn't mean it's not an effective method, and we should give up on the whole notion of torture. Some things have to be done for the greater good - that's why we have war, where we kill other people. We're not an evil country because we go to war and kill our enemies, or even civilians such as in Hiroshima, in order to make the world a better place. We do it for the right reasons, and that's why we're a good country.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

User avatar
PolakoVoador
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:11 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby PolakoVoador » Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:50 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:If torture isn't giving us effective results, then we're obviously not doing it right. But that doesn't mean it's not an effective method, and we should give up on the whole notion of torture. Some things have to be done for the greater good - that's why we have war, where we kill other people. We're not an evil country because we go to war and kill our enemies, or even civilians such as in Hiroshima, in order to make the world a better place. We do it for the right reasons, and that's why we're a good country.


Not sure if sarcastic or not.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7300
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Zamfir » Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:20 pm UTC

If torture isn't giving us effective results, then we're obviously not doing it right. But that doesn't mean it's not an effective method, and we should give up on the whole notion of torture. Some things have to be done for the greater good - that's why we have war, where we kill other people.


George Orwell wrote: The formula usually employed is “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” And if one replies, “Yes, but where is the omelette?”, the answer is likely to be: “Oh well, you can’t expect everything to happen all in a moment.”

Mambrino
Posts: 388
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:45 pm UTC
Location: No we don't have polar bears. Except in zoos.

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Mambrino » Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:32 pm UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:
mathmannix wrote:If torture isn't giving us effective results, then we're obviously not doing it right. But that doesn't mean it's not an effective method, and we should give up on the whole notion of torture. Some things have to be done for the greater good - that's why we have war, where we kill other people. We're not an evil country because we go to war and kill our enemies, or even civilians such as in Hiroshima, in order to make the world a better place. We do it for the right reasons, and that's why we're a good country.


Not sure if sarcastic trolling or not.


That would be my take on it.

If you're being serious: The reasons don't count. The most horrendous crimes done in the human history have been done in name of perfect utopias and paradise, and done by people being sure it being the best reason there ever could be and that's why they were the good guys.

Some could even dispute that the notion that US is making a world better place, but I won't start argument on that (because it's very difficult to measure whether the positive stuff outweighs the morally questionable and outright horrible stuff). However, it certainly could be much, much better at it if it would not act like any other empire willing to do about anything to further its cause at the expense of others.

The formula usually employed is “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” And if one replies, “Yes, but where is the omelette?”, the answer is likely to be: “Oh well, you can’t expect everything to happen all in a moment.”


Rather, the omelette was never intended to be eaten by the eggs. Or even the chicken.

elasto
Posts: 3102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby elasto » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:57 am UTC

Heh. Cheney doubles-down on his position: Not only is torture justified but the torture of innocent people is justified:

BBC wrote:How does he [Cheney] define torture?

"Torture to me … is an American citizen on his cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York," he replied.

Did he have a problem with the "involuntary rectal feeding" of some detainees, as detailed in the Senate report?

"What was done here apparently certainly was not one of the techniques that was approved," he said. "I believe it was done for medical reasons." (That contention is disputed by the report and medical experts.)

Was he concerned by the report's findings that up to 25% of detainees were innocents captured as a result of mistaken identity and that one such man, Gul Rahman, froze to death after being doused with water and chained to a wall?

"The problem I have was with all of the folks that we did release that end up back on the battlefield," he said. "I'm more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that in fact were innocent."

And in case that wasn't clear enough, he added: "I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective. And our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and it is to avoid another attack against the United States."

Mr Cheney's remarks were greeted with equal parts outrage and bitter resignation on the part of many liberal commentators.

"An innocent man died," writes MSNBC's Steven Benen. "For Cheney, there is no remorse, no reflection, no acknowledgement of an obvious tragedy. Rather, there is an immediate shift to others he wishes he could have imprisoned longer."

Mr Cheney is fine with the ends justifying the means, he says, "just so long as Cheney is the one dictating both the means and the ends".

Benen also warns that it's too easy to write Mr Cheney off as a retired politician who no longer has influence in the Washington corridors of power: "Most of the contemporary Republican Party not only agrees with Cheney, but GOP policymakers literally welcome Cheney to Capitol Hill to help offer guidance to Republican lawmakers on matters of national security," he writes.

Mr Cheney's views shouldn't be surprising, writes Salon's Heather Digby Parton, since it's all part of the "1% doctrine" the vice-president laid out more than a decade ago: "If even a 1% chance existed that we might suffer an attack," she says, "we had to do whatever was in our capability, including torture, to stop it."

According to blogger Andrew Sullivan, Mr Cheney's answer reveal that his interrogation programme was motivated less by the desire to prevent another attack as it was by rage and revenge: "It was torture designed to be as brutal to terror suspects as 19 men on 9/11 were to Americans," he writes. "Tit-for-tat. Our torture in return for their torture; their innocent victims in return for ours. It was a programme that has no place in a civilised society."

The former vice-president is a "sociopath", Sullivan says, who "needs to be brought to justice".

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson, on the other hand, lauds Mr Cheney as "one of the few men publicly pushing back against the Democrats". His views may be unpopular, he writes for RedState, but his cause is just.

"Because of Dick Cheney, George W Bush and many nameless men and women, the Democrats and their friends in the media get to morally preen because they are alive and might not be had Dick Cheney, George W Bush and these nameless men and women not done what needed doing," he says.

Others on the right weren't as enthusiastic as Erickson, however.

"Whatever you think of Cheney's general approach to torture, the indifference to the innocents caught in the machine seemed callous to me," tweeted the National Review's Charles CW Cooke.

In his 1765 Commentaries on the Laws of England, jurist William Blackstone wrote: "It is better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

This ratio, commonly called Blackstone's Formulation, drew from the Old Testament and has been a bedrock principle of Western jurisprudence, having been cited repeatedly by US Supreme Court justices.

Mr Cheney may or may not believe this formulation applies to US citizens, but when it comes to foreign detainees, it appears he takes a decidedly different view.


I really have to echo what Mambrino said; If there's just one sentence that sums up why this whole thing is so dangerous and wrong it's this: "Mr Cheney is fine with the ends justifying the means - just so long as Cheney is the one dictating both the means and the ends."

Once you go down that road you literally are using justifications no different to AQ and ISIS.

link

User avatar
mathmannix
Posts: 1401
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:12 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby mathmannix » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:40 pm UTC

I am not a troll. If it would have stopped 9/11, I would deem it justified to bring a known bad guy in, castrate him, cut the fingers off his children in front of him, whatever it takes to get information and save thousands of lives.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

Prefanity
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:28 am UTC
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Prefanity » Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:33 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:I am not a troll.


Of course not.

Chen
Posts: 5266
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Chen » Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:49 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:I am not a troll. If it would have stopped 9/11, I would deem it justified to bring a known bad guy in, castrate him, cut the fingers off his children in front of him, whatever it takes to get information and save thousands of lives.


Giving you the benefit of the doubt on the troll part (a stretch perhaps...), at what point does it become unacceptable? If torturing 1000 people saves 1001 people is it ok?

Forget the fact that the torture apparently didn't give good results because people tend to say anything to get torture to stop. So in addition to the above question, how accurate does the torture obtained information need to be for it to be ok? Imagine the information obtained via torture is good 20% of the time, but misleading the other 80% of the time. Is it actually useful in that case? It could in fact be MORE detrimental since you're wasting resources on bad leads 4 out of 5 times. Even from a strict utilitarian point of view, it's hard to justify something that isn't effective.

User avatar
mathmannix
Posts: 1401
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:12 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby mathmannix » Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:36 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
mathmannix wrote:I am not a troll. If it would have stopped 9/11, I would deem it justified to bring a known bad guy in, castrate him, cut the fingers off his children in front of him, whatever it takes to get information and save thousands of lives.


Giving you the benefit of the doubt on the troll part (a stretch perhaps...), at what point does it become unacceptable? If torturing 1000 people saves 1001 people is it ok?

Forget the fact that the torture apparently didn't give good results because people tend to say anything to get torture to stop. So in addition to the above question, how accurate does the torture obtained information need to be for it to be ok? Imagine the information obtained via torture is good 20% of the time, but misleading the other 80% of the time. Is it actually useful in that case? It could in fact be MORE detrimental since you're wasting resources on bad leads 4 out of 5 times. Even from a strict utilitarian point of view, it's hard to justify something that isn't effective.


This important thing is that I'm not talking about torturing innocent people (because obviously, if they were innocent, then they wouldn't be involved, and either wouldn't have any information at all, or else they would willingly come forward with the information if they knew they would be protected). Innocent people don't need to be tortured. I am talking about a hypothetical situation such as, if the CIA (or whoever) had located and apprehended someone known to be at least partially responsible for an earlier attack, such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing or the USS Cole bombing, someone whose life was already forfeit as a terrorist, and could have gained information to prevent 9/11. So yes, torturing and/or executing 1000 guilty people to save 1001 innocent people, or even 1 innocent person, is justifiable.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

User avatar
Sizik
Posts: 1154
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:48 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Sizik » Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:46 pm UTC

And if your information is wrong and 1 of those 1000 "guilty" people is in fact innocent?
gmalivuk wrote:
King Author wrote:If space (rather, distance) is an illusion, it'd be possible for one meta-me to experience both body's sensory inputs.
Yes. And if wishes were horses, wishing wells would fill up very quickly with drowned horses.

User avatar
mathmannix
Posts: 1401
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:12 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby mathmannix » Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:01 pm UTC

Sizik wrote:And if your information is wrong and 1 of those 1000 "guilty" people is in fact innocent?

That would be very sad, obviously. I suppose in that case, it would be an even exchange, one innocent person killed to save one innocent person, a net even. But I was speaking hypothetically from the assumption that they are all guilty.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

Chen
Posts: 5266
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Chen » Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:06 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:This important thing is that I'm not talking about torturing innocent people (because obviously, if they were innocent, then they wouldn't be involved, and either wouldn't have any information at all, or else they would willingly come forward with the information if they knew they would be protected). Innocent people don't need to be tortured. I am talking about a hypothetical situation such as, if the CIA (or whoever) had located and apprehended someone known to be at least partially responsible for an earlier attack, such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing or the USS Cole bombing, someone whose life was already forfeit as a terrorist, and could have gained information to prevent 9/11. So yes, torturing and/or executing 1000 guilty people to save 1001 innocent people, or even 1 innocent person, is justifiable.


I didn't say anything about innocent or guilty people. I just said people since we clearly have no foolproof way of determining someone's guilt or innocence. We are pretty good at it, but there's the possibility that some of the people you may be willing to torture are in fact innocent. So that needs to be taken into account as well.

You also didn't address the whole fact that torture doesn't seem to work very well and may in fact provide information that will put you in a worse state than you were in before (in addition to any blowback from the torture).

The purely hypothetical case is uninteresting to discuss. If you somehow magically KNOW someone is guilty and KNOW they will provide reliable information if tortured, it then just becomes "do the ends justify the means". From a utilitarian perspective, this doesn't require much deep thought because of the certainties involved in it. Reality is not like that though.

elasto
Posts: 3102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby elasto » Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:12 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:I am not a troll. If it would have stopped 9/11, I would deem it justified to bring a known bad guy in, castrate him, cut the fingers off his children in front of him, whatever it takes to get information and save thousands of lives.


Three counter-arguments to that:

(1) The report stated that torture gave no novel information that ordinary interrogation failed to elicit

(2) Even if castration and mutilation of his children stopped this attack, do you not think a 'hydra-like' effect would be likely where many people would be outraged by your evil and sign up for the cause? (This is the core problem with Israel's punitive approach to Palestine as well as with US drone attacks that take out many innocents for every bad guy.)

(2a) This is doubly true given that, in the real world, there is a genuine risk of your 'known bad guy' turning out to in fact be innocent...

(3) It is virtually identical to IS/AQ philosophy and that should give you serious pause for thought. Pakistani terrorists have today killed more than a hundred school children of army personnel on the basis that those army personnel were targeting their families in anti-terror raids.

Once you cross the line of nothing being off-limits to protect your own then you are on the path to destruction.

---

mathmanix wrote:This important thing is that I'm not talking about torturing innocent people (because obviously, if they were innocent, then they wouldn't be involved, and either wouldn't have any information at all, or else they would willingly come forward with the information if they knew they would be protected).


Um. You are coming across as very naive here. The report said that around 25% of those tortured were innocent.

Let's think about how it typically came about:

The US gets bad intel that a person is a terrorist. That would come about because, for example, the US offered bounties for people turning in terrorists, so people would just report their enemies.

They'd send in a snatch squad and then begin the torture process (because there is no point doing a normal interview because the terrorist is just going to lie, right? AND TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! There might be another 9/11 planned for RIGHT NOW!)

So guess what very quickly happens: The person admits they are a terrorist! And so the torture stops because now the person is 'cooperating'...

The typical procedure for a new inmate as far as I can tell was this:
- They'd undergo immediate sensory deprivation (eyes, ears, hands covered) followed by sensory overload (painfully loud noise on a short loop, dogs barking, repeated slapping to the point of drawing blood and being thrown against walls etc.)
- They'd undergo stress positions and sleep deprivation (chained naked with muscles painfully tensed for up to 180 hours)
- Lucky winners would undergo total loss of bodily autonomy (they'd be forced to wet and shit themselves and wouldn't even have the choice of when and what to eat because it'd be fed rectally (not that that actually provides any nutrition...))

And if you were especially lucky you'd get even more 'enhanced' interrogation and be waterboarded and the like.

How much of that do you honestly think you could personally endure before you'd (incorrectly) admit your captors were right and that you were indeed a terrorist? And so next time you 'stop cooperating' and start claiming your innocence again, well now your captors are certain you are lying and so have even less ethical qualms about upping the torture methods...

(Ended up an overly verbose post and others have stated my points more succinctly but I've written it now so might as well submit it...)

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7300
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Zamfir » Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:49 pm UTC

Why talk about hypotheticals? There was an actual torture program. People want to discuss hypotheticals to avoid talking about reality. The program didn't torture 1 innocent person to save a thousand. It didn't even try to determine the innocence of the victims, or the effectiveness of the program. They tortured people because they could.

Which should surprise absolutely no one. Real-life torture programs are always sordid affairs run by disgusting people with dubious aims and standards, and never like those hypotheticals where upstanding moral people sadly have to torture the bad guy to save a million cute children with their favourite Labrador puppies from the ticking time bomb.

If you build a secret prison to torture your enemies, the people in charge will have the ethical standards you expect from people running secret torture prisons. It part of the deal. Listen to Dick Cheney. Does that sound like a guy who hesitatingly supported torture because the lives saved outweighed the sad consequences? Of course not. He sounds like a guy who is quite OK with torturing people regardless of their innocence, because it makes him feel important and powerful.

Chen
Posts: 5266
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Chen » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:43 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:If you build a secret prison to torture your enemies, the people in charge will have the ethical standards you expect from people running secret torture prisons. It part of the deal. Listen to Dick Cheney. Does that sound like a guy who hesitatingly supported torture because the lives saved outweighed the sad consequences? Of course not. He sounds like a guy who is quite OK with torturing people regardless of their innocence, because it makes him feel important and powerful.


I think it's more the blinding patriotism. I could see him legitimately believing this was for the greater good of the USA. And pretty much fuck whoever else we hurt, they're not as important.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 8728
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:48 pm UTC

In which case he's wrong. This has harmed the US far more than it has helped. I have yet to see how in ANY way it helped. So no, fuck Cheney, fuck him with pasta sauce.

Chen
Posts: 5266
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Chen » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:51 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:In which case he's wrong. This has harmed the US far more than it has helped. I have yet to see how in ANY way it helped. So no, fuck Cheney, fuck him with pasta sauce.


Not contesting that. He doesn't seem to have backed up anything he's been saying about how it helped more than it hurt. I'm just saying I suspect its not just a personal power trip with him (although I'm sure there's at least some part of it that is).

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 8728
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:08 pm UTC

But he hasn't even backed up that it helped at all. This isn't a case of, stealing from OotS, 'you can't make an omelette without mercilessly crushing dozens of eggs beneath your boot and disemboweling the chickens that laid them as a warning to others'. Stealing from Zamfir/Orwell, where is the omelette?

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 5804
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby sardia » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:19 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:In which case he's wrong. This has harmed the US far more than it has helped. I have yet to see how in ANY way it helped. So no, fuck Cheney, fuck him with pasta sauce.

To him, it would be an unapproved but acceptable form of enhanced interrogation ... So long as you don't do it to him.

User avatar
PolakoVoador
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:11 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby PolakoVoador » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:25 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But he hasn't even backed up that it helped at all. This isn't a case of, stealing from OotS, 'you can't make an omelette without mercilessly crushing dozens of eggs beneath your boot and disemboweling the chickens that laid them as a warning to others'. Stealing from Zamfir/Orwell, where is the omelette?


Being rectally feeded to the last unpatriotic smartass that asked this question. Are we clear?

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7300
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Zamfir » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:32 pm UTC

I think it's more the blinding patriotism. I could see him legitimately believing this was for the greater good of the USA.

I'm just saying I suspect its not just a personal power trip with him (although I'm sure there's at least some part of it that is).

Those are not separate categories. There is hardly a greater personal power trip than believing that you are making the bold decisions that save the country. Especially if those decisions involve doing bad things to people, because then you are making the great hard choices that the little people can't handle.

The important part here is that the people involved, from the top down, were sure not trying to minimise the evil. That's the problem with those thought experiments. They suggest that the people involved are honestly trying to find the best balance between hard choices, though perhaps with mistakes, or a different value system. That they honestly though imperfectly tried to find the best path.

But people like doing bad things because they are bad. Not despite being bad, but because they are bad. And torture really, really brings out that tendency. It's not an accidental problem of particularly bad torture programs. It's pretty much baked in to the concept.

morriswalters
Posts: 6898
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby morriswalters » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:09 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Also, good news. Americans are becoming more accepting of torture. Mostly due to republicans.
http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/sena ... c-opinion/
Article notes that the trend line is more important as the wording can influence result.
I wouldn't want you to lean on the Republicans too hard on this one, they had lots of fellow travelers, including a lot of Democrats, if not by what they did, then by what they didn't do. And this isn't a particularly new phenomena.
Zamfir wrote:There is hardly a greater personal power trip than believing that you are making the bold decisions that save the country. Especially if those decisions involve doing bad things to people, because then you are making the great hard choices that the little people can't handle.
This is particularly human failing, and unfortunately it is also sometimes true. It is exactly what we pay our leaders to do. The problem is knowing in advance when it isn't. Intelligence agencies fall into this trap by default. They are paid to believe that what they are doing is important to their particular country. But the rot seems to have started in the realm of people who didn't have to get their hands dirty, Cheney are you listening? Ideology and a twisted world view drove it, that and a constant beating of the fear drum. And it is still working as we speak.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5649
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby Diadem » Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:45 pm UTC

Chen wrote:I didn't say anything about innocent or guilty people. I just said people since we clearly have no foolproof way of determining someone's guilt or innocence. We are pretty good at it, but there's the possibility that some of the people you may be willing to torture are in fact innocent. So that needs to be taken into account as well.

26 of the 119 people tortured were proven to be innocent. It seems likely that at least some of the others were innocent as well. So the CIA is only 'pretty good' at determining innocence if you use the Meatloaf criterium of 'two out of three ain't bad'.

mathmannix wrote:I am not a troll. If it would have stopped 9/11, I would deem it justified to bring a known bad guy in, castrate him, cut the fingers off his children in front of him, whatever it takes to get information and save thousands of lives.

So you're willing to kill innocent people for the greater good. Okay. Got it. Just one question though: What exactly is the difference between you and the 9/11 hijackers? They too were killing innocents for the greater good.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

mat.tia
Posts: 90
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:06 am UTC
Location: Torino

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby mat.tia » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:19 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
mathmannix wrote:I am not a troll. If it would have stopped 9/11, I would deem it justified to bring a known bad guy in, castrate him, cut the fingers off his children in front of him, whatever it takes to get information and save thousands of lives.

So you're willing to kill innocent people for the greater good. Okay. Got it. Just one question though: What exactly is the difference between you and the 9/11 hijackers? They too were killing innocents for the greater good.

Image

User avatar
mathmannix
Posts: 1401
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:12 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Washington Post: US senate report of CIA interrogation

Postby mathmannix » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:13 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:So you're willing to kill innocent people for the greater good. Okay. Got it. Just one question though: What exactly is the difference between you and the 9/11 hijackers? They too were killing innocents for the greater good.

Umm... they're wrong and I'm America is right. Huge difference.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Liri and 16 guests