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January 07, 2005

Comments

Don't we have public executions in the US? I seem to remember Timothy McVeigh on TV. I'm not a huge fan of the death penalty, but it seems to me like the crucial distinction here is that the US has an independent judiciary and a just legal system generally, whereas Iran does not and executes people for having sex or being baha'i or being a dissident. Then there is the whole cruel and unusual thing. But the publicness of the executions isn't really the issue here -- it's everything else.

I am saddened that we seem to share at least some of the same methods, if not the same motivations.

But we don't and therein lies the problem with your comment.

whereas Iran does not and executes people for having sex

No praktike, the Iranian fascists try to execute people who don't have sex with certain people (yes, it really sick inside Iran). Then see Pasdaran and understand they (the Pasdaran) are a law in and unto themselves, just to put the picture into an overall perspective.

Jes, when you want to truely discuss the bigger picture, more than happy to oblige.


TtWD:

I'm sorry, I'm just not getting your point here, beyond IRAN IS BAD. OK. I get it. No arguments here.

So?

Iran tortures people to oppress them. Army Interrogators in the USA argue that torturing people does not help us get any additional information out of them, and in fact gets us worse information, thus harming our tropps with inaccurate intelligence. Since the only use for which torture actually works is the threatening and oppression of the populace in a totalitarian regime, why would you be willing to grant the your government permission to use it in any circumstances?

As for conflating "aggressive interrogation techniques" with torture, I would point out, again, that the line is already clearly drawn in FM 34-52. I'm fine sticking with the line where it's drawn, as are the people who would get their hands dirty if the line were changed. Why do you think we need to change the line? If you don't think we need to change the line, to reiterate, what the hell is your point?

Jes, when you want to truely discuss the bigger picture, more than happy to oblige.

Well, there is a debate challenge floating around here somewhere. But I guess that's too narrow for a renaissance guy like Timmy. Torture can't be limited to a single country or a single time, he strides across the landscape to talk about torture in Iran, China, under Castro, under Stalin. Idi Amin Dada, I imagine, is just around the corner.

I suggest we just thank him for his insights and move on, If some of the more honest commentators (who are more than welcome to police their own) wish to pick up something that he throws out, then we can have a discussion, but as it is, he's just pulling people's chains.

What is cool about Moe is that we both miss him, Timmy.

Jes, when you want to truely discuss the bigger picture, more than happy to oblige.

In the end, we're all dead.

That's the biggest picture there is.

And with this picture, you may now justify anything at all.

I suspect LJ is right, but I'll give it one more shot.

I said: I am saddened that we seem to share at least some of the same methods, if not the same motivations.

Timmy said: But we don't and therein lies the problem with your comment.

So I'm confused. Which is it that "we don't"? Use the same methods of torture, have the same motivations, or both?

I'll grant you (sort of) the motivations argument. I'm sure our use of torture is more noble than the Iranian's which seems to be used on clearly innocent people, whereas we at least think that we are using it against "terrorists".

But, if you are arguing the methods point, then which of the methods that the Iranians are using don't we also use? The article I linked shows sensory deprivation, threats of more or worse, and withholding of medical attention. We reputedly are doing the first and second. I think there have been reported cases of the third, but I think these have been mostly related to the early periods of detention, and we seem to attend to the medical needs of our long term detainees. We have also been accused of doing things which go beyond what Human Rights Watch reports that the Iranians have done, although perhaps their report is not complete. If you want to make this point, then please do so, but provide some relevant information.

So LJ, you missed this memo, which summarizes the position.

I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world because, among other reasons, Al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva. Of course, our values as a Nation...call for us to treat detainees humanely, including those who are not legally entitled to such treatment...As a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.

Just looking to expand your horizons, the truth is always such good medicine. Someday you will view the world as a whole and we can have a good conversation.

243, the article you linked to failed to mention the Iranian SS, the biggest part of the Iranian equation of terror in their own homeland.

Timmy: 243, the article you linked to failed to mention the Iranian SS, the biggest part of the Iranian equation of terror in their own homeland.

Hey, the article you linked doesn't mention torture either. Terror is not per se torture, however thank you for conceding the methods argument.

Timmy, don't look now, but you dropped your moral compass somewhere.

Naw, I'm just of the opinion that terrorists are not covered by the Geneva Convention.
This is not a bad summary of my position. You ought to read it Praktike.

243, the Pasdaran practice of torture is just part of their SOP.

Thanks, Timmy for your insights. I appreciate that it only took you 14 posts to provide that first link. Though I am confused when you say:

So LJ, you missed this memo, which summarizes the position

means that this is the only position possible or your position. I appreciate that on your _very_next_ post, you link to MacDonald's essay and identify it as your position. Given that Abu Grahib was 'Gitmo-ized', I am assuming that your position for the actions there is basically the same and you believe that all those people (including women and children) were following the same AQ SOP when being questioned and saying that they didn't know.

Also, given that McDonald says
The most controversial technique approved was “mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger, and light pushing,” to be reserved only for a “very small percentage of the most uncooperative detainees” believed to possess critical intelligence.
and
So what were these cruel and degrading practices? For one, providing a detainee an incentive for cooperation—such as a cigarette or, especially favored in Cuba, a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich or a Twinkie unless specifically approved by the secretary of defense.
I have to assume that you believe that this is the extent of the practices. Thanks, knowing that makes me more secure in my recommendations on how to deal with you. The Truth is good medicine.

More insight LJ, simply reflecting my long held position on terrorists and the Geneva Convention.

For nearly three years, the Bush Administration has been harshly criticized by various media and legal elites for its interpretation of the Geneva Convention and its legal conclusion that al Qaeda fighters are not POWs and thus not entitled to the privileges afforded to POWs by that convention – despite overwhelming legal evidence and international scholarly support favoring the Bush interpretation.

Yet, at today’s confirmation hearing for Judge Alberto Gonzales, both of the two legal experts called by Senator Leahy to testify against Judge Gonzales conceded that al Qaeda fighters are indeed not POWs. Due to the extensive questioning of Judge Gonzales, the two legal experts did not begin their testimony until very late in the afternoon.

Following that testimony, Senator Cornyn asked the two professors: if someone is determined to be an al Qaeda fighter, “would they be entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention?”

Dean Harold Koh gave a somewhat wordy response that eventually concluded with this clear, unequivocal statement: “they are not POWs.” Following Dean Koh’s response, Dean John Hutson said: “I take the same view.”

To be sure, Deans Koh and Hutson vociferously disagree with other aspects of the Administration’s war on terrorism policies and legal positions. But this concession – by Senator Leahy’s two legal experts no less – that Geneva POW privileges and protections DO NOT APPLY to al Qaeda fighters constitutes a remarkable and important concession. Unfortunately, this concession could be missed by the general public, however, due to the lateness in the day of the questioning by Senator Cornyn.

And thus the saga continues.

I have to assume that you believe that this is the extent of the practices

If you are going to cut and paste, at the very least read the whole article. The following is the interrogators most powerful tool.

Uncertainty is an interrogator’s most powerful ally; exploited wisely, it can lead the detainee to believe that the interrogator is in total control and holds the key to his future.

Naw, I'm just of the opinion that terrorists are not covered by the Geneva Convention.

What about people we imprison with benefit of charge or trial on suspicion of terrorism?

Timmy--that is not a new concession. I have never heard an expert dispute it. The question is whether the convention applies in Iraq and to Taliban fighters, and whether the detainees are Al Qaeda, Taliban or civilians. The Geneva Convention requires that there be a hearing by an independent tribunal if there is a doubt as to a detainee's status. Until this hearing occurs the detainee is supposed to be treated as if he is a POW.

Some people dispute this, but that is and always has been the mainstream liberal position. It has been my position for as long as I've had a position.

One more thing Timmy--this:

"none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world"

is not the same thing as this:

"Geneva POW privileges and protections DO NOT APPLY to al Qaeda fighters"

Do you see the difference?

Thanks Timmy for your insights. Perhaps some others might pick up your point about total control.

All this dancing around over which types of prisoners are considered POWS and, if not, which laws (if any) regulate the way they're treated, misses what I still consider the main issue: the efficacy of torture as a means of gaining information to prevent a terrorist attack.

I've asked, repeatedly, for an advocate of torture to give a verifiable instance of when torture succeeded in preventing a terrorist attack.

No one has done so.

What they've said, instead, is that they neither know nor care if torture produces useful information. (Just as they neither know nor care if the prisoners being tortured are, in fact, suspected terrorists.)

The only conclusion I can draw from the torture advocates' refusal to address the ostensible reason for torturing people is that the ostensible reason is, indeed, irrelevant.

The correllary conclusion I draw from that is that torture advocates believe torture is a legitimate expression of anger and hatred, and/or a show of power for power's sake, and is justifiable on those grounds alone.

(Just as they neither know nor care if the prisoners being tortured are, in fact, suspected terrorists.)

Now, now CaseyL, that's not altogether fair. I'm sure that they "know" they are terrorists, because if they were picked up, if they weren't guilty of one thing, they must have been guilty of another. That hazy figure over there, could it be, perhaps, the ghost of Ed Meese?

I've asked, repeatedly, for an advocate of torture to give a verifiable instance of when torture succeeded in preventing a terrorist attack.

Playing the part of devil's advocate above, I made the point that during the Algerian War, it is generally accepted in the histories I have read that torture was effective as a means of extracting information. I haven't read anything that disputes this, but let's take it as a given for the sake of argument. How would this change your stance towards torture if it was true?

Well, arguing with you as a devil's advocate, I would point out that if we look at the 'big picture', we can see that it did not work because Algeria is no longer a colony of France. But I'm just one of those liberals overly parsing these techniques and therefore am not concerned with the big picture (or so I'm told)

felixrayman:

A cited instance would not change my mind about torture. It was a challenge to the torture advocates, pure and simple.

"Torture as efficacious way of getting information that could prevent a terrorist attack" is the reason they offer for its legitimacy, so it seems reasonable to say "OK, show me an instance."

Without an instance, without proof, the fig leaf of justifiable tactic is gone, which then begs the question of why torture advocates think torture is OK.

For the record, I don't particularly mind the use of drugs that make a suspect more likely to talk and tell the truth - precisely because drugs don't involve agony, rape, maiming, possible death, and so on. IIRC, sodium pentothal is no longer considered useful; I thought it had been replaced by drugs that cause euphoria and, well, chattiness.

I was amazed, frankly, to find out that use of drugs is no longer considered an legitimate interrogation technique - though I don't know if that's because drugs are considered 'mental torture' or because they don't work, either.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone knows anything about veridicals.

Well, arguing with you as a devil's advocate, I would point out that if we look at the 'big picture', we can see that it did not work because Algeria is no longer a colony of France.

But that was not because torture did not work...if torture was involved in the outcome at all, it was that the French public was outraged by the accounts of torture, leading to a lack of support among the public for the war in Algeria.

So if the relevant authorities in the US have been reading their history, they would know that in order to be able to use torture as a weapon, they will need a first-rate propaganda effort in order to teach the public that torture is acceptable under certain circumstances (or that torture is not torture).

Reading some of the above, I think they either have done or could do that job quite easily.

So if the relevant authorities in the US have been reading their history, they would know that in order to be able to use torture as a weapon, they will need a first-rate propaganda effort in order to teach the public that torture is acceptable under certain circumstances (or that torture is not torture).

Yes, it's interesting the lurching back and forth on this. From the link Timmy thoughtfully provided,(and I should apologize for complaining about his lack of linking, he provided the same very same link to Edward earlier in the thread, so I will assume that he missed the opportunity to suggest that I improve my clicking ability and thank him for that)the underlying notion is that the ability to strongly interrogate was hampered by idiotic rules about process (like getting Rummy to approve whether a Cadbury's could be offered to an interogee (is that a word?) (as a side note, I am amazed that no one in the army has ever seen those cop shows where they get the confession out of the guy.)

On the other hand, there seems to be a groundswell of noting that it was Clinton who approved of rendition so he started us down the slippery slope. I suppose the question becomes who are they trying to propagandize, the Muslim world or the US?

[T]here seems to be a groundswell of noting that it was Clinton who approved of rendition so he started us down the slippery slope.

Oh, fer chrissakes: Blaming Bill yet again? Why don't the righties just start a church and outright worship the man?

Felixrayman:
Playing the part of devil's advocate above, I made the point that during the Algerian War, it is generally accepted in the histories I have read that torture was effective as a means of extracting information. I haven't read anything that disputes this, but let's take it as a given for the sake of argument.

This piece in salon (daypass after viewing ad) goes in more detail and concludes differently:

"What made the difference for the French in Algiers was not torture, but the accurate intelligence obtained through public cooperation and informants.

In fact, no rank-and-file soldier has related a tale of how he personally, through timely interrogation, produced decisive information that stopped a ticking bomb. "As the pain of interrogation began," observed torturer Jean-Pierre Vittori, "they talked abundantly, citing the names of the dead or militants on the run, indicating locations of old hiding places in which we didn't find anything but some documents without interest." Detainees also provided names of their enemies -- true information, but without utility to the French.

Torture forced "loyal" Algerians to cooperate, but after the battle, they either ended their loyalty to France or were assassinated. Torture forced a politics of extremes, destroying the middle that had cooperated with the French. In the end, there was no alternative to the FLN. As Paul Teitgin, the police prefect of Algiers, remarked, "Massu won the Battle of Algiers, but that meant losing the war."

You skip over the part in that article where they claim, "Here were professional torturers who produced consistently reliable information in a short time".

But that is not my point. Suppose the claim is true - that torture is an efficient tool for extracting information from enemies. If you believed this to be true, would it change your mind about torture? Let's consider the corner case - suppose that torture is 100% effective at extracting all militarily useful information from suspects. Would you support its use in that case?

Oh, fer chrissakes: Blaming Bill yet again? Why don't the righties just start a church and outright worship the man?

Hmmm, the Church of the Eternal Scapegoat?

Just so I'm not accused of simply making stuff up, here is Ledeen
I doubt anyone in this administration — which, remember, already retreated from its earlier positions on interrogation methods permitted against captured terrorist suspects — is going to point out that the most controversial and ethically questionable method of all was developed during the Clinton administration in direct response to orders that came directly from the White House. "Rendition" was a Clinton creation, and was approved by Clinton's lawyers, with no apparent cries of pain either from the Justice Department or from anyone in Congressional "oversight" committees. Gonzales might quietly make that point if anyone yells at him. It won't register with the Democrats, but it might help the public understand the real world a little better.

So this asserts that rather than having their hands tied, they were just following in the footsteps of the Clinton and the Dems. Now, Katherine has pointed out that rendition is not just a Republican thing, but this is pretty slippery.

Also, Ledeen suggests (I can't really say 'gives') some examples of successful torture.
But there are phases of gray in between the blackness of torture and the whiteness of gentle inquiry, and many of the gray methods have been effective. So say experts from, say, the Chicago police force in the glory days, or the British questioners of the IRA over the years, or the Spanish judges who have dealt with ETA, or the Israelis who interrogate Arab terrorists.

I toss that out for anyone who is searching for examples of successful torture, with my compliments. I look forward to the countless examples of how our world was made better through torture.

I've been trying to find an article I read about a Israeli interrogator saying that the problem is that severe interrogation has to go hand in hand with good information and gave the example (I think) that Israeli forces have 1 person on the ground working the intelligence beat for every 100 people, which the Americans have 1 for every 1,000. Does that observation sound familiar to anyone?

I don't know if this was missed or judged to be not important, but a poster named Detlef in an earlier thread posted a link to Fistful of Euros post, an example of a kidnapper who claimed that the boy he kidnapped was still alive, but refused to tell police where he was kept (he was lying, the boy was dead). If you missed it, take a look, some interesting things there.

The Geneva Convention requires that there be a hearing by an independent tribunal if there is a doubt as to a detainee's status.

Very good Katherine (and you are the first to make that point in this go around)so the question revolves around doubt and I suspect who should decide. I suspect we will differ in whom the decision maker(s) should be.

So let me summarize.

-Terrorists are not POWs

-Interrogation methods -- which are not allowed in interrogation of suspects in domestic criminal proceedings -- are perfectly permissible in dealing with terrorists.

-U.S. law defines torture as an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering, other than the pain or suffering that is incidental to lawful sanctions. Further, that the prohibition of severe mental pain or suffering includes only those practices that impose mental damage that extends for a prolonged period.

Katherine, I'm more than happy to pursue a discussion on the above issues further. I believe it is my second or third in narrowing the discussion to the critical issues involved.

second or third effort

Katherine, if my request is to unwieldly, a different tact would be to discuss what protections you want to give to the terrorists. That is, it is very easy to pick and choose but difficult to detail the rights you wish to afford terrorists.

Let me note, that Felix as devil's advocate, wanted to establish similar parameters to my 8:46 post for a discussion.

Timmy, what I think you're saying at [January 9, 2005 08:46 AM] is "It is acceptable to torture terrorists".
Would that be a fair statement of your position?

Some googling to give 2 links to consider Felixrayman's work as devil's advocate, specifically about Gen. Paul Aussaresses' memoir, available in English as The Battle of the Casbah

This link points out one of the problems with adopting a policy of torture that the French seemed to have, which is that they had to execute those who they tortured
"Those we brought to Tourelles [a torture center run by the French army's intelligence service] were sufficiently implicated in terrorist activity that there was no way we were going to release them alive. On busy days, when all the regiments were overwhelmed with prisoners, they would send me everybody they had no time to interrogate. At Tourelles, as at the regimental headquarters, torture was always used if a prisoner refused to talk....When the suspects had talked and seemed to have nothing more to say...my men would take a batch of them out in the bush, 20 kilometers or so from Algiers, shoot them down with a machine-gun burst, then bury them."

An Adam Shatz article from the NY Review of Books. I thought the following was interesting
lghilahriz did not hesitate to name the officers in attendance during her ordeal, most notably Jacques Massu, the head of the 10th division of paratroopers and a trusted ally of De Gaulle. Her charges provoked an uproar. A distinguished ninety-four-year- old retired general, Massu has long acknowledged the use of torture by the French army, and his reply to lghilahriz was remarkably temperate...."Torture," he told Le Monde, "isn't indispensable in times of war, and one can very well do without it. When l look back on Algeria, it saddens me... One could have done things differently."

The article gives some background to the conflict, so I'm wondering if it is an appropriate example. From the article
In Philippeville and in other cities throughout the Constantine province, Algerians brandishing knives descended on people in their cars, killing seventy-one Europeans and fifty-two Muslim "traitors."...But the cruel repression that followed Philippeville only stiffened Algerian résistance, following a pattern established by earlier French reprisals. Aussaresses and his men arrested one hundred suspects and shot them on the spot. By the end of the week, well over a thousand Algerians, mostly civilians, lay dead, marking what Frantz Fanon later called "the point of no return."

The French-Algerian war began early in the morning of November 1, 1954, when the FLN led a series of assaults that killed nine people, and ended on March 19, 1962, with the signing of the Évian Accords between France and the Provisional Government of the Republic of Algeria (GPRA), the FLN's government-in-exile. Even by the bloody standards of colonial war-fare, the war was astonishingly brutal. About 300,000 Algerians died, and hundreds of thousands were tortured. More than two million Algerian civilians were forcibly relocated, many of them concentrated in "accommodation centers" surrounded by barbed wire. The French "pacification" campaign resulted in the destruction of 8,000 villages. Approximately 24,000 French soldiers never returned home, and several thousand French Algerians were killed in acts of terrorism. When the war was over, the FLN slaughtered tens of thousands of harkis, Algerian soldiers who fought in mobile auxiliary units alongside the French. (Harka means "mobile" in Arabic.)

The article's conclusion mirrors mine, which is
Was torture effective? As Branche and Thenault both acknowledge, torture enabled the French to gather information about future terrorist strikes and to destroy the infrastructure of terror in Algiers. General Aussaresses is not wrong to claim that he won the "battle of the Casbah" precisely by abandoning any pretense of legal norms in dealing with the FLN. But to present the battle as a triumph of counterinsurgency betrays a remarkable lack of historical perspective. Torture not only failed to repress the yearnings for independence among Algerians; it increased popular support for the FLN, contributing to the transformation of a small vanguard into a revolutionary party with mass support, and rendering impossible the emergence of the interlocuteur valable with which the French government claimed to be seeking a dialogue. Indeed. France's tactics helped the FLN to win over Algerian moderates like Ferhat Abbas, who became the president of the FLN 's government-in-exile.

When I lived in France and taught at a lycee, I remember the students making jokes about Mitterand and 'la bicyclette' which was a reference to torturing Algerians using electricity (it was 86 when the conservatives were about to take back parliament), but I didn't realize the human cost. On this background (100 summarily shot as punishment?!), I wonder if torture worked only because the French authorities had levels above torture to turn to.

Interrogation methods -- which are not allowed in interrogation of suspects in domestic criminal proceedings -- are perfectly permissible in dealing with terrorists.

Cite?

There's additional confusion here in that "terrorists" can be both in the US and its territories (G-bay) or outside them (Abu Ghraib). Are tehre differences in what is allowed based on that as well?

This is so much worse than a slippery slope when you realise some eager beaver Prosecutors are now charging drug dealers and gang members with "terrorism" charges. Doe that then mean they're allowed to be tortured too?

Abu Ghraib had actually nothing to do with terrorists or Baathists. Edward, once you understand that, you can move on to the issues at hand. BTA, you misconstrue the Patriot Act with the subject at hand, so maybe my optimism is misplaced.

Cite?

"It is acceptable to torture terrorists".

Well Jes, no, with the caveat, what do you consider "torture"? This simply reflects that I'm of the opinion that "torture" doesn't work whereas "agressive interogation" may work from time to time.

So Jes and Edward, what protections you want to give to the terrorists just a different tact to the overall conversation.

Well Jes, no, with the caveat, what do you consider "torture"?
Anything disallowed in the Army Field Manual on interrogation.

Well Jes, no, with the caveat, what do you consider "torture"?

I'll go with McDuff's definition.

So Jes and Edward, what protections you want to give to the terrorists just a different tact to the overall conversation.

Say rather a complete redefinition of it. We are talking about whether or not torture is ever acceptable. You want to talk about "giving protections to the terrorists"? Find a more appropriate thread.

Edward a suggest read

McDuff, I was thinking more in line with those techniques we don't allow in the training of our own servicemen and women.

Find a more appropriate thread.

So Jes, you really don't want to discuss the issue at the end of the day.

Jes, just a reminder here are the issues.

-Terrorists are not POWs

-Interrogation methods -- which are not allowed in interrogation of suspects in domestic criminal proceedings -- are perfectly permissible in dealing with terrorists.

-U.S. law defines torture as an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering, other than the pain or suffering that is incidental to lawful sanctions. Further, that the prohibition of severe mental pain or suffering includes only those practices that impose mental damage that extends for a prolonged period.

Just in case you change your mind.

Katherine @ 5:10am, January 9th: The Geneva Convention requires that there be a hearing by an independent tribunal if there is a doubt as to a detainee's status.

Timmy @ 1:46pm, January 9th: Very good Katherine (and you are the first to make that point in this go around)

Jonas Cord @ 2:08pm, January 7th (13th post in this thread): The heart of my disagreement with administration policy was the fact that they did not convene tribunals to make sure they had actual Al-Queda or Taliban members on their hands.

You're not much for reading, are you Timmy?

On which note:

Jes, just a reminder here are the issues.

You're wrong: those aren't the issues. Which you'd know if you'd been reading people's responses. But hey, thanks for playing.

You're not much for reading, are you Timmy?

I missed the context with respect to the Geneva Convention.

And you missed this.

Very good Katherine (and you are the first to make that point in this go around)so the question revolves around doubt and I suspect who should decide. I suspect we will differ in whom the decision maker(s) should be.

Who should decide, in a war setting, a Tribunal hardly. Here is the policy in general.

I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world because, among other reasons, Al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva.

Interrogation methods -- which are not allowed in interrogation of suspects in domestic criminal proceedings -- are perfectly permissible in dealing with terrorists.

But Timmy, the Heather MacDonald link you gave that you said was your position claims that the US couldn't do things that could be done to suspects in domestic criminal proceedings, if the stories that one sees on true crime dramas are any guide. What specific interrogation methods are you talking about?

Just for reference, the AFM on Interrogation is here

I would also suggest that MacDonald's article you cited is inaccurate, given the fact that the manual authorizes the following:

Depending on the situation, circumstances, and any requests the source may have made, the following can also be used to develop rapport:

* Offering realistic incentives: such as immediate (coffee, cigarettes, and so forth), short?term (a meal, shower, send a letter home, and so forth), and long?term (repatriation, political asylum, and so forth).

While the MacDonald article says
So what were these cruel and degrading practices? For one, providing a detainee an incentive for cooperation—such as a cigarette or, especially favored in Cuba, a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich or a Twinkie unless specifically approved by the secretary of defense.

Also the MacDonald article cites the Mackey book you recommdned to Edward and says
Army doctrine gives interrogators 16 “approaches” to induce prisoners of war to divulge critical information. Sporting names like “Pride and Ego Down” and “Fear Up Harsh,” these approaches aim to exploit a detainee’s self-love, allegiance to or resentment of comrades, or sense of futility. Applied in the right combination, they will work on nearly everyone, the intelligence soldiers had learned in their training.

While the AFM has this
The number of approaches used is limited only by the interrogator's imagination and skill. Almost any ruse or deception is usable as long as the provisions of the Geneva Conventions are not violated. The Geneva Conventions do not permit an interrogator to pass himself off as a medic, chaplain, or as a member of the Red Cross (Red Crescent or Red Lion). To every approach technique, there are literally hundreds of possible variations, each of which can be developed for a specific situation or source. The variations are limited only by the interrogator's personality, experience, ingenuity, and imagination.

As I'm sure you are familiar with both the AFM (This is AFM 34-52, which, according to this CSM article has not been superceded)and the McDonald article, can you explain the discrepancy?

MacDonald's article you cited is inaccurate, given the fact that the manual authorizes

Is it and how do you know? Apparently, you've missed all the players, State, FBI, CIA, IRC and others, who are not constrained by the manual, but who have critiqued the situation.

Now the techniques we use to train our own soldiers should not be constituted as torture per se and be acceptable in the interrogation of terrorists. You should understand the logic.

Oh, and Timmy,
from what I am reading in the Mackey book, I think you are misrepresenting what he says. For example, on page 44, he says

American training was clinical, performed almost in the abstract. Even the Gulf War was rarely mentioned, though some of the instructors had just returned form that campaign. We trainees were taught how to break prisoners...a typically given all of twenty or so minutes to accomplish the task before it was on to the next thing. The thinking at Huachuca [training facility for interrogators] was that 95 percent of the prisoners would break on the direct approach, and if one wouldn't, there would be a thousand other Iron Curtain comrades behind him with essentially the same information. So instead of working on approaches, far more time was spent rehearsing clunky Cold War questions to ask an already cooperating prisoner.

The next two pages is spent singing the praises of the British approach to interrogation, which eschews physical coercion. This experience led Mackey to urge every interrogator in his unit to be sent to train in it.

Oh, and Timmy,
from what I am reading in the Mackey book, I think you are misrepresenting what he says. For example, on page 44, he says

Actually, I haven't represented anything from Mackey. I just thought Eddie should expand his horizons by reading it, moving from post war Europe to the Middle East.

I've only suggested that the methods that we use to train our own servicemen shouldn't constitute torture in the following context.

-U.S. law defines torture as an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering, other than the pain or suffering that is incidental to lawful sanctions. Further, that the prohibition of severe mental pain or suffering includes only those practices that impose mental damage that extends for a prolonged period.

I don't know if the MacDonald article is inaccurate, I merely suggested it. Why would you make such an elision in what I wrote when anyone could look at it and see you doing it?

At any rate, are you arguing that the CIA, State, IRC were able to force the Army interrogators to stop fully utilizing the techniques given in the Army Field Manual? From the discussions of at least these three people who have been released from Gitmo, this is apparently not true. In fact, Mackey, in the chapter For me, The war is over, relates the following:

Their work was textbook. The interrogators had mapped out detailed translator scheduls and questioning plans. They used other detainees in the cages to spread rumors that unsettled the prisoners, planing information that Iranians and Afghans long their countries' common border were selling out the Arabs. Finally, one of them broke, the Mauritius man with the fair skin and funny lips. Using information garnered from that interrogation, Davis broke a second prisoner with a We Know All approach. A third surrendered upon learning that two of his comrades had capitulated.

Contrary to McDonald (and your) assertion, approaches were used and they did work. Did you really read the book you recommended?

I did. But while it may have influenced my thinking, my position on the parameters of "agressive interrogation" and the methods used, rely on the techniques used to train our own servicemen and women, as it provides a "safe harbour" (certainly the DoD isn't torturing its own members) while using aggresive methods.

Are you of the opinion that the following is torture.

Their work was textbook. The interrogators had mapped out detailed translator scheduls and questioning plans. They used other detainees in the cages to spread rumors that unsettled the prisoners, planing information that Iranians and Afghans long their countries' common border were selling out the Arabs. Finally, one of them broke, the Mauritius man with the fair skin and funny lips. Using information garnered from that interrogation, Davis broke a second prisoner with a We Know All approach. A third surrendered upon learning that two of his comrades had capitulated.

I'm just curious.

Timmy: rely on the techniques used to train our own servicemen and women

So, it's okay to use the methods used to train US servicemen/servicewomen about torture, because somehow this doesn't count as "torture"?

I'm not following your logic. (Unless you're talking about something else completely. Are you? What "methods" did you have in mind?)


Jes, what is your definition of torture, I given you the current definition, you seem to have something else in mind, so what is it.

And yes, I would be of the opinion that our training techniques (used on our own servicemen and woman) don't constitute torture.

Timmy, are you even slightly interested in gaining information from prisoners, or are you all about using torture to 'show them we hate them and we have total control of them' ?

Timmy: And yes, I would be of the opinion that our training techniques (used on our own servicemen and woman) don't constitute torture.

What training methods? Did you have something else in mind than the training methods used to acquaint US servicemen/women with torture?

Timmy, are you even slightly interested in gaining information from prisoners

Absolutely gaining information is the first priority. The second priority is not allowing the terrorist to back to his or her previous past time.

Jes, you keep confusing torture with "aggressive interrogation", do you understand the difference?

Timmy, do you want to answer my question? Do you have in mind the training methods used to acquaint US servicemen/women with torture, when you assert that "our training techniques (used on our own servicemen and woman) don't constitute torture".

Timmy: Further, that the prohibition of severe mental pain or suffering includes only those practices that impose mental damage that extends for a prolonged period.

link [I]t has left its impression on me: I feel terrified sometimes and see terrible nightmares. I dream I am in prison and then I shout and I wake up, and perspiration is running from my back. Therefore, I visit a psychiatrist and take medicines, which is very expensive and I cannot afford it.

Mohammad Taher, told Amnesty International that he had suffered mentally from this detention and that he was having difficulty remembering things, while another Afghan former detainee, Abdur Rahim, has stated that mental health problems experienced since his release from Guantanamo mean that he “cannot talk to people for a long period of time.” Tarek Dergoul, one of the Britons released from Guantanamo, told the Observer newspaper: “I get migraines, I’m depressed and I suffer from memory loss. There’s stuff that happened, embedded in my head, that I can’t remember.”

...

I woke up last night when I heard the keys of someone returning to their hotel room. I woke up in a fright and thought one of the guards was coming to put on my chains. I then realized that the light in the room was on. When locked up in our cages, the lights were on as well, and I thought to myself: ‘You can sleep in the dark now’—and I switched it off.

Don't know what is meant by prolonged, but these likely qualify. However the good news is that our interrogation techniques seem to have been remarkably successful in proving

link This individual has been determined to pose no threat to the United States Military or its interests in Afghanistan or Pakistan. There are no charges from the United States pending this individual. This individual has been repatriated into the lawful custody of the Pakistani government. The United States government intends that this person be fully rejoined with his family.

It should be noted that these statements came from low value and presumably innocent "terrorists" that we weren't torturing.

Timmy, do you want to answer my question?

I can't because you haven't defined torture.

I can't because you haven't defined torture.

Why would that prevent you from answering a question about which set of training methods for US servicemen/women you're thinking of? You presumably know which set of training methods you were thinking of.

Timmy, stop begging the question.

You've made it abundantly clear torture bothers you not one whit, that you approve of its use, and you don't much care whether it reveals useful information or not, and whether the prisoners being tortured are terrorists or not.

Don't get me wrong: your postings are invaluable. I have no doubt that your attitude is, as you've indicated elsewhere, that of "many Americans," and your take on the matter is probably that of the Bush Admin as well.

You've made it abundantly clear torture bothers you not one whit, that you approve of its use, and you don't much care whether it reveals useful information or not, and whether the prisoners being tortured are terrorists or not.

Actually, I don't approve of its use and care very much that the proper use of aggresive interrogation reveals useful information. But I don't confuse aggresive interrogation with torture, which I believe separates me from the other commentors here. And I have never been of the opinion that terrorists were covered under the Geneva Convention.

And I have never been of the opinion that terrorists were covered under the Geneva Convention.

What guidelines, if any, would you advocate for the interrogation of terrorists, and what process would you use to define someone as a "terrorist" though?

What guidelines, well any interrogation vehicle which isn't torture.

What process, well it depends on the situation, but as an example, a Syrian found in a bomb factory in say Iraq would be a terrorist.

Timmy, do you want to answer my question? Do you have in mind the training methods used to acquaint US servicemen/women with torture, when you assert that "our training techniques (used on our own servicemen and woman) don't constitute torture".

Jes, as torture is illegal, the techniques (employed) pre se can't be.

Jes, as torture is illegal, the techniques (employed) per se can't be.

Jes, as torture is illegal, the techniques (employed) per se can't be.

O.M.F.G.

What process, well it depends on the situation, but as an example, a Syrian found in a bomb factory in say Iraq would be a terrorist.

One step away from moral oblivion.

Jes, as torture is illegal, the techniques (employed) per se can't be.

And there's the step.

Wish I could say I hadn't seen this coming. As it stands, well, this conversation has achieved its apotheosis and has thus ceased to have any utility. Thanks to all (Jes, Jadegold, Katherine, CaseyL, 243, Edward) who've made this possible.

Anarch, for a conversation to have utility it has to have a purpose. Your purpose apparently, all "aggressive interogation" is torture and terrorists either you want them treated as POWS or you want a judicial proceeding to make the determination if an individual is a terrorist (before what I'm not sure of).

Shorter, the war on terror is a police action, a 9/10 mindset.

Shorter, the war on terror is a police action, a 9/10 mindset.

And yours is that the war on terror is a license for, well, anything. A fascist mindset.

No Anarch the fascists are on your side, the Baathist and the Pasdaran.

I haven't been called a fascist in such a long time, thanks for the reminder.

Timmy
I've shown you that Mackey book contradicts MacDonald's article. Either you are purposely pretending you don't understand or, more sadly, you really think that there is no difference.

But while it may have influenced my thinking, my position on the parameters of "agressive interrogation" and the methods used, rely on the techniques used to train our own servicemen and women, as it provides a "safe harbour" (certainly the DoD isn't torturing its own members) while using aggresive methods.

You know, for SEAL training, they put candidates in full combat gear, truss them up, strap on a back pack filled with weights, and put them in a pool. The candidates then have to kick off the floor of the pool so as to catch a breath and have to keep this up for an hour. Those that panic, fail.

These are the kinds of methods that are used to train our troops. Do they form a 'safe harbor' for things that we can do to people who we have captured and 'think' are terrorists?

You quote precisely the same paragraph that I quote (which makes me think that you don't actually read responses) and ask
Are you of the opinion that the following is torture.

You've demanded that we make the distinction that we are talking about (alleged) 'terrorists' (so as to try and get Abu Ghrahib out of the picture, I would suggest). So no, I do not think that what Mackey describes doing is 'torture' and what's more, I don't think anyone else does because there was no uproar when his book came out and he wasn't brought up on charges. But I notice you have reverted to form and are trying to misdirect the conversation. So I thank you for your insights and look forward to having a real exchange that would illuminate these issues.

Fascism: 1. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

2. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
***********************************************************************************

Admittedly, this defintion does not include "Advocates torture for its own sake." Nomally we'd just call such a person a sadist and be done with it.

But 'sadist' refers mostly to private appetites, not to getting one's nationalistic jollies from advocating the torture of people from other nations.*

Moreover, most sadists don't feel self-righteous about their sadism, nor do they contend that purposeless torture is patriotic and opposing it unpatriotic, nor do they contend that purposeless torture enhances a nation's strength, resolve and power.

It's that 'torture = national (triumph of the) will' that puts the fascist gloss on ordinary sadism.

But if 'fascism' is too deeply distressing a word to its closet adherents, perhaps a new term is called for.

I'm thinking of a small yet dangerous man who ruled a powerful nation; a man whose own appetite for depravity was reflected in the appointments he made to high office. He was known to watch torture sessions with great delight, and particularly liked watching people die. He was very popular with the people of his nation, too; because they, like he, felt vicariously strengthened by other peoples' suffering.

I therefore offer 'Caligulism' as a new name for people who are offended by the word 'fascist' even as they advocate fascistic policies.


*Timothy McVeigh wasn't tortured. Nor did the RW commentariat demand that everyone he was ever known to have associated with, however casually, be rounded up, tortured, imprisoned without charges or recourse to counsel, and held for the rest of their natural lives.

I've shown you that Mackey book contradicts MacDonald's article

Does it, I believe they are on different time lines, the here and now versus history.

You've demanded that we make the distinction that we are talking about (alleged) 'terrorists' (so as to try and get Abu Ghrahib out of the picture, I would suggest).

Actually, by definition Abu Ghrahib housed Iraqis, except for the "wood house" and Iraqis by definition couldn't be treated at terrorists and yes, you can blaem the WH for this.

But I notice you have reverted to form and are trying to misdirect the conversation. So I thank you for your insights and look forward to having a real exchange that would illuminate these issues.

Actually what I pointed out, maybe you missed it, is that several US agencies and the IRC were commenting on Gitmo. The IRC believes that indefinite incarceration is deemed as torture. I defined my definition of torture, I missed yours.

Casey, I'm thinking of that small man's sister, Drusilla who countenanced beastiality and incest, rather than offended her brother.

So I'm thinking of those who countenance fascists, terrorists, baathists because they don't want to get their hands dirty, I'm going to refer to them as Drusillies and then give them numbers

Such that CaseyL is Drusillies #1.

I have a serious suggestion. A challenge, different from Von's but quite similar in nature. (If any of the five OW musketeers want to make this in a post that would be just great.)

Since the general response to allegations of torture tends to be, "it depends on what the meaning of 'torture' is," since so many conservative bloggers accuse liberals of "politicizing the issue" instead of having a "serious debate about the hard questions" about what interrogation tactics ought to and ought not to be legal....let's not make blanket assertions about "coercive interrogation" versus "torture". Instead, I would suggest this: let blogs, individual or conservative, take individual paragraphs from the government reports on things that have actually happened or are alleged to have happened to actual suspects and Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram, and elsewhere. And ask two questions:
1. is this torture or not?
2. should it be legal or not?

It will be incredibly time consuming. But I think it would be useful.

I'd offer to do it, but there's a family situation I have to deal with, and a paper draft I have to do, that would make it irresponsible for me to give it this much effort. And I think it may actually be too draining, and too time consuming, for any one person. There's no reason it has to be one person, either; the more the merrier.

What I will do is post a few examples now, to show what I mean.

"individual or conservative"

uh, liberal or conservative.

Onward...

Take Abu Ghraib out of the equation and it would be an interesting exercise.

In a parallel exercise, I would like liberals to detail the process of determining if an individual is a terrorist or not, timing, who decides, parameters et al.

What individuals are protected by Geneva as well as if indefinite incarceration is torture.

I defined my definition of torture, I missed yours.

Sorry, mine is the Army Field Manual 32-54, which I linked to. Yours seems to be any technique that is done on an American soldier (with his or her consent) can be done to anyone who is suspected of being a terrorist (w/o their consent, natch). As the Army keeps these techniques secret so as to increase the anxiety of the future trainees, unless you have experience with it, we can't really discuss it. I recommend you sign up for this and get back to us.

I would note that the Army says that all of it's SERE training conforms to Geneva Prisoner of War conventions, so if you are suggesting that GPW not apply, then you are not using SERE limitations as your guideline. (cf. army regulation 350-50 2-9.5)

I also recommend this paper detailing the technical problems with setting up a workable system that incorporates torture.

But if it is state policy to torture the terrorist, then the policy should be rational and the torture interrogation proceed with a reasonable chance of success.

Terrorists selected for such a role—like most American POWs in North Vietnam—can probably stand up to commonplace tortures from untrained staff for a long time. The use of sophisticated techniques by a trained staff entails the problematic institutional arrangements I have laid out: physician assistance; cutting edge, secret biomedical research for torture techniques unknown to the terrorist organization and tailored to the individual captive for swift effect; well trained torturers, quickly accessible at major locations; pre-arranged permission from the courts because of the urgency; rejection of independent monitoring due to security issues; and so on. These institutional arrangements will have to be in place, with all their unintended and accumulating consequences. Then the terrorists themselves must be detected while letting pass without torture a thousand other criminal suspects or dissidents, that is, avoiding a dragnet interrogation policy.

The moral error in reasoning from in the ticking bomb scenario arises from weighing the harm to the guilty terrorist against the harm to the prospective innocent victims. Instead, the harm to innocent terrorist victims should be weighed against the breakdown of key social institutions and the state-sponsored torture of many innocents. Stated most starkly, the damaging social consequences of a program of torture interrogation evolve from institutional dynamics that are independent of the original moral rationale.

And CaseyL, however apt the Caligula example may be, it simply permits Timmy to howl at how his honor has been besmirched or play tu quoque (I think he goes more for the latter rather than the former. I think his own words indict him well enough.

(N.B. I think it is a distraction to argue whether policies do or do not violate a U.S. law or treaty. Those arguments tend to be either incomplete and misleading, or too boring for words, to non-lawyers. Therefore, when I say an interrogation praction "should be legal", that does not mean it is now illegal. Likewise, when I say it "should be illegal", that does not mean it is currently legal.)

Technique: Holding "Ghost Detainees": This refers to the practice of holding detainees in secret, without giving them serial numbers or reporting their detention to the international red cross.

Highest known order or authorization: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has admitted that he authorized hiding at least one detainee from the Red Cross, and not issuing the prisoner an identification number.

Examples
1. Manadel al-Jamadi

The CIA interrogated and roughed up Iraqi prisoners in a "romper room" where a handcuffed and hooded terror suspect was kicked, slapped and punched shortly before he died last year at the Abu Ghraib prison, a Navy SEAL testified yesterday.

Blood was visible on the hood worn by the prisoner, Manadel al-Jamadi, as he was led into the interrogation room at Baghdad International Airport in November 2003, the Navy commando said at a military pretrial hearing for another SEAL accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners.

Testifying under a grant of immunity, the witness, identified only by his rank as a hospital corpsman, said he kicked al-Jamadi several times, slapped him in the back of the head and punched him. Five or six CIA personnel in the room laid their hands on the prisoner, he said, but he did not provide details.

Sometime later, Al-Jamadi was found dead in a shower room, less than an hour after two CIA personnel brought him into Abu Ghraib as a so-called "ghost detainee," according to Army Maj. Gen. George R. Fay's report on the notorious prison. Such detainees were not listed in the normal roster of military prisoners.

Fay's report said al-Jamadi died of a blot clot in the head likely due to injuries suffered after being detained. The military pathologist's report listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma complicated by hampered breathing.

(source)

2. Two detainees of unknown identity at Bagram Air Base.

According to their accounts, the policy [of holding "ghost detainees"] was developed following the rout of the Taliban and after coalition forces installed their headquarters at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to fight the remnants of the Taliban and to pursue Osama bin Laden. The policy was written in June 2002.

Six months later, two detainees were killed at Bagram. Neither of the detainees appeared to have been given a serial number, making it impossible for the International Committee of the Red Cross to know they existed and request an interview with them.

One died after he was hung by his arms from the ceiling for days. Another was beaten and died of associated injuries. The Army said it's preparing to identify a group of military intelligence officers and military police officers responsible for the abuse.

(source)

3.Syrian Detainee at Abu Ghraib

The ICRC challenged the use of Article 143 in the case of a Syrian detainee who had been interrogated for more than four months.

Viewed as a "special project," the detainee, who was a suspected member of al-Qaida, was kept in a totally dark cell about 2 meters long and 1 meter wide and without a window, latrine, water tap or bedding. A picture of "Gollum," the character from the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, was posted on the door of his cell.

Fay-Jones investigators later uncovered a photograph showing the Syrian detainee kneeling on the floor, with his hands bound behind his back, being confronted by a black military dog.

(source)

4. Hiwa Abdul Rahman Rashul. This man, also nicknamed "Triple X" for some reason, is the one whom Rumsfeld ordered held as a ghost detainee. There are also some reports that Alberto Gonzales was involved in his case:

The origin of the Justice Department memo is directly related to the only publicly acknowledged ghost detainee, Hiwa Abdul Rahman Rashul, nicknamed "Triple X" by CIA and military officials.

Rashul, a suspected member of the Iraqi Al-Ansar terrorist group, was captured by Kurdish soldiers in June or July of 2003 and turned over to the CIA, which whisked him to Afghanistan for interrogation.

In October, White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales asked the Office of Legal Counsel to write an opinion on "protected persons" in Iraq and rule on the status of Rashul, according to another U.S. government official involved in the deliberations.

Goldsmith, then head of the office, ruled that Rashul was a "protected person" under the Fourth Geneva Convention and therefore had to be brought back to Iraq, several intelligence and defense officials said.

The CIA was not happy with the decision, according to two intelligence officials. It promptly brought Rashul back and suspended any other transfers out of the country.

At the same time, when transferring Rashul back to Iraq, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld not to give Rashul a prisoner number and to hide him from International Red Cross officials, according to an account provided by Rumsfeld during a June 17 Pentagon news conference. Rumsfeld complied.

As a "ghost detainee," Rashul became lost in the prison system for seven months...

Rashul, defense and intelligence officials noted, had not once been interrogated since he was returned to Iraq.

(source)

5. 11 High level Al Qaeda suspects held in secret. Human Rights Watch has reported that the following detainees are being held in secret in undisclosed locations:
Ibn al-Shaikh al-Libi
Abu Zubayda
Omar al-Faruq
Abu Zubair al-Haili
Ramzi bin al-Shibh
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
Abdul Rahman Husain al-Nashari
Mustafa al-Hawsawi
Khalid Shaikh Muhammad
Waleed Muhammad bin Attash
Adil al-Jazeeri
Hambali

Human Rights Watch has no first-hand information on the treatment of these detainees, but press accounts have repeatedly cited unnamed government officials acknowledging the torture or mistreatment of some of the detainees.

According to the New York Times, for instance, “C.I.A. interrogators used graduated levels of force [against Khalid Shaikh Muhammad], including a technique known as ‘water boarding,’ in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown.” (Muhammad’s two young sons were also taken into custody and there have been reports that the CIA is holding them as an inducement to make him talk. It was also reported that U.S. officials initially withheld painkillers from Abu Zubayda, who was shot during his capture, as an interrogation device.

(source)

Preliminary Conclusion:
While not torture per se, holding detainees for an extended period without identification clearly creates an unacceptable risk of abuse, torture, and even of death. It should be illegal. All prisoners should receive an identification number immediately, and the Red Cross should be given access to them within a reasonable period. (I don't know exactly how soon is customary or reasonable, but the deadline should be short and it should be specific.)

I can conceive of isolated situations where interrogating a detainee in secret & without Red Cross access for a longer period might be necessary for national security reasons, but the risk of torture seems to be so high that it should be very carefully restricted. Here is an example of how this might be done; I am open to others:

Emergency deviations from this policy should be approved by the President or the Secretary of Defense, in writing, with notification of the detainee's name and location to the chairman and ranking minority member of the intelligence committees of the House and Senate. (This is a common device for ensuring legislative oversight and secrecy at the same time--if it leaks it is very easy to figure out who is responsible.) Interrogation sessions of such detainees should be videotaped and those tapes should be available to the members of Congress. The 4 members of Congress should receive written notification if the detainee is moved or dies in custody.

Katherine : And ask two questions:
1. is this torture or not?
2. should it be legal or not?

Perhaps one should rephrase it to be if this were being done to Americans whether it would be torture/legal?

Also what does the US government consider torture/legal when done by other governments? A useful site for this latter is: Dept. of State's report on human rights by country A sort of highlight of this can be found here, but this is obviously done to make a point, and does not clearly distinguish between torture and lesser forms of abuse.

O-kay. That took longer than I thought, so that'll be the only example from me. But I hope someone else will do this.

"Take Abu Ghraib out of the equation and it would be an interesting exercise."

Why exclude Abu Ghraib?

I think that would be an enormous mistake, as
1) some people have defended at least some of the techniques used at Abu Ghraib. Others have said they were immoral but not as serious as the press made them out to be. (Not only Rush Limbaugh--also at least one Senator, and many staff writers at the National Review if you read the Corner the day of the Gonzales testimony.) Others have said they are "abuse" but not "torture"--and according to the old OLC memo's interpretation some of those techniques would certainly not have been torture.

2) Abu Ghraib is the place that has been most widely (though still far from completely) investigated so it is the best opportunity to see what some of these techniques mean in practice.

3) As Sebastian has often noted, interrogators often go beyond the technqiues explicitly authorized. Excluding the evidence of that will lead us to uninformed decisions. If, e.g., permission to scare prisoners with dogs widened into allowing naked prisoners to be attacked by dogs while many people looked on and one person took pictures--that's clearly relevant for evaluating the extent to which dogs should be used in interrogation at all. It might also illustrate the dangers of giving vague instructions to troops--e.g. telling them to "set the conditions" for interrogation, or that "coercive interrogation is permitted but abuse is not" without specifying what that meant and what was forbidden.

After all, if "a few bad apples" were responsible, they were bad apples confident enough that they wouldn't be caught to pose for pictures. Hopefully the chain of command will never again break down that badly, and there are no other Charles Graners in our armed forces. (Believe me, I am not sympathetic to Graner's "following orders" defense. If you read the reports, he seems like a miserable human being who took active pleasure in what he did.)

But we don't know that for certain.

(and other examples need not be that long & detailed, or even half that detailed. In fact I bet more people would read them if they were shorter.)

Anyone else want to try one?

Timmy: No Anarch the fascists are on your side, the Baathist and the Pasdaran.

Uh, no. Not even close. So wrong that I'm actually laughing at you, which means I guess I owe you some kind of thanks.

I haven't been called a fascist in such a long time, thanks for the reminder.

Based on your remarks in this thread, I'd say it was long overdue.

Katherine
I would also add that if someone wanted to make this a neutral a source as possible, they might add pros and cons. So for Ghost detainees
Pros-damage to terrorist information network is potentially not repaired because the network is not aware of the detainment, detainee considers it a more realistic possibility that he will die and therefore gives up information.
Cons-we would not really know if the damage has been repaired or not, information cannot be adequately checked with other sources because of possibly revealing that the network has been damaged, makes it less likely that non-terrorist contacts would come forward if it is not apparent that the ghost detainee was (and who should be) a high value source. Resistance to torture probably would be increased on the part of the detainee. Protection of information would dictate that no one who had contact with the detainee could be released.

Timmy: In a parallel exercise, I would like liberals to detail the process of determining if an individual is a terrorist or not, timing, who decides, parameters et al.

So far in this thread you've grossly insulted Anarch and CaseyL: I'm not going to bother responding to further questions from you until you've withdrawn your insulting comments to them and apologised.

And yours is that the war on terror is a license for, well, anything. A fascist mindset.

Hold on. TtWD did not say that the WoT is a "license for anything." There's a legitimate debate as to which interrogation techniques are legitimate, and which are not. This is not law enforcemeant; this is war. Miranda rights do not attach, and, outside the U.S. and its justice system, there is no right to remain silent for zealots who take up arms and bombs against a civilian property.

"a civilian property."

Sorry, I meant to write "civilians." And I'm out of time today, so any responses will be sporadic.

Timmy said: [A]s torture is illegal, the techniques (employed) per se can't be.

Purposeless torture, razing entire cities, and now: death squads.

von, what part of 'license for anything' does he have to detail point by point before it becomes clear that's exacty what he means?

There's a legitimate debate as to which interrogation techniques are legitimate, and which are not.

Yes, but that debate has to take place with people who are reasonable informed about what happens and what does not, and what the effects of various techniques are. TtWD apparently believes the McDonald article, which claims that the interrogators were prevented from offering Filet-o-fish sandwiches and Twinkies in exchange for useful information. Yet, from what I read in the Mackey book that McDonald cites in the article (thanks to Amazon, you can actually read a rather large portion of the book if you choose the appropriate search words), nothing like that is mentioned and Mackey discusses the success of some interrogation techniques. Perhaps some references from the book would refute this, so I would welcome those.

Those arguing for a relaxing of the standards have to argue that what is being used now is not successful. If they are mistaken or worse, misleading people to think that they are not successful, then the debate is not legitimate, as far as I can see.

von: There's a legitimate debate as to which interrogation techniques are legitimate, and which are not.

Yes, there is, which is one reason why I'm so irked that this debate hasn't been touched. [See, e.g., McDuff and CaseyL's attempts to identify this supra.] But you're the lawyer, von; what system of juridical thought does the following statement betoken?

"Jes, as torture is illegal, the techniques (employed) per se can't be."

I read that statement something like fifteen times before posting. Simply couldn't believe it. To me, it's nothing more or less than an axiomatic assertion that the US government cannot be guilty of torture because, a priori, the government cannot commit an illegal act while engaged in the ?o? and torture is, by definition, illegal. If that's not one of the core elements of fascism -- and, for that matter, if my description is not an exact paraphrase -- it's close enough to make no difference.

This is not law enforcemeant; this is war.

No; as you yourself said some months ago, it's neither. The true "9/10 mindset" is the attempt to cram this burgeoning ?o? into a preexisting (and, of necessity, ill-fitting) category rather than trying to apprehend it for what it truly is. Part of the problem is that, as a new enterprise*, we need to get our minds around this new conceptual space and deal with the ramifications thereof; part is the Bush Administration's refusal to clarify what, exactly, we're supposed to be doing.

There's certainly a legitimate debate here, von, and one day I hope to see and maybe even participate in it. As long as my interlocutor continues to debate in bad faith, however, this won't be it.

* I still like "Struggle". I still fear the German headlines.

Hold on. TtWD did not say that the WoT is a "license for anything." There's a legitimate debate as to which interrogation techniques are legitimate, and which are not.

Von, you are really wasting your time here. The response, including Katherine's, is that terrorist should be treated likew POWs. No surprise in that stance although it was achieved in a circular process.

All is not lost Drusillies #2 is Anarch.

Jes, is really upset, that he is incapable of answering the question. But overall the exercise was useful.

Von, you are really wasting your time here.

I agree, given that no one has accepted your challenge. Unfortunately for TtwD, I think you weren't challenging Katherine. But he doesn't realize that, because he thinks that anything that he supports has to be aggressive questioning and can't be called torture. In fact, if the US does it, he says it can't be torture because the US doesn't do torture. That's what I call circular.

von

outside the U.S. and its justice system, there is no right to remain silent for zealots who take up arms and bombs against a civilian property

(ignoring the fact that you happily ignored most of Western Europe, Australia, Japan etc there...)

Woulsn't you say, though, that it should be the case that those suspected of terrorist activities should be treated as suspects, rather than terrorists? If not for any reason of respect for human rights, at the very least basic PR concerns should tip the balance.

Indeed, the "it's not law enforcement, it's a war" mantra has been repeated so often I wonder if it hasn't become a point of faith. Iraq is not a traditional, battlefield; soldiers have to fight around civillians whose side they are supposed to be on. It's a nightmare to implement, but that's the job they have to do. I don't see how anything but a "law-enforcement" style approach can possibly hope to work.

I wonder if people have a different idea of what is meant by "law enforcement" than I do, and if that's where the sticking point lies.

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