Is It Torture Now? ISIS Apparently A Fan Of CIA's Waterboarding Techniques

from the what-moral-high-ground? dept

Among the many, many, many problems with running a torture program (beyond being morally problematic and with no history of effectiveness) is the fact that it makes it easier for others to justify torture programs as well. It's now come out that ISIS has been waterboarding prisoners, including reporter James Foley whom they recently beheaded. Waterboarding, of course, was one of the CIA's favorite torture techniques. And, of course, people had warned for years that having the CIA waterboard people would only encourage others to use the technique against Americans. Hell, even Senator Dianne Feinstein condemned waterboarding a few years ago, because it would lead others to do it against the US:
Waterboarding dates to the Spanish Inquisition and has been a favorite of dictators through the ages, including Pol Pot and the regime in Burma. Its practice is designed to nearly drown a subject and make them think they're going to die.

Torture - including waterboarding - is immoral and illegal. It violates U.S. and international law and the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering. Condoning torture opens the door for our enemies to do the same to captured American troops in the future.
Of course, beheading people is even worse that waterboarding them, and that seems to be the "defense" that administration officials are using to downplay the discovery of ISIS waterboarding techniques. "Hey, at least it's not as bad as beheading" is hardly a compelling response to finding out that ISIS is using CIA and DOJ-approved torture techniques.
The FBI, which is investigating Foley’s death and the abduction of Americans in Syria, declined to comment. The CIA had no official comment.

“ISIL is a group that routinely crucifies and beheads people,” a U.S. official, using one of the acronyms for the militant group. “To suggest that there is any correlation between ISIL’s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”
Yes, it's true that ISIS seems to have little concern about what techniques it's using, but to argue that the CIA's prolific use of torture and waterboarding has had no impact on how groups treat captured Americans seems like a stretch. At the very least, it takes away any chance of a moral high ground to argue about the specific techniques being used, and at worst contributes to the reasons why these groups feel justified in what they're doing.

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  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:03pm

    Silence and deflection

    The FBI, which is investigating Foley’s death and the abduction of Americans in Syria, declined to comment. The CIA had no official comment.

    Silence and deflection are pretty much the only possible response the USG has available at this point on the subject.

    Condemn ISIS or other groups for torturing prisoners, and the question immediately brought up is 'So why was it acceptable when the USG did it?', and no politician or nation likes to have their hypocrisy made so very public like that.

    Condone it on the other hand, and they'll have publicly admitted that the USG sees nothing wrong with with torturing prisoners, which isn't likely to go over very well both in-country and abroad, and immediately opens up, even more so than currently, the possibility that any american, soldier or civilian, that gets captured will be tortured.

    The repercussions of the CIA and WH's actions here are going to be felt for decades to come, but the most obvious result is already plain to see: The USG can no longer object to the torture of prisoners without their hypocrisy on the subject immediately made clear, so instead, they respond with silence, looking the other way while it goes on, and giving tacit approval of it in the process.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 1:35am

    Yeah, reciprocity's a bitch!

    Ok, the CIA didn't behead anybody, but they've killed quite a few with their drone-bombs etc. Not exactly a pretty sight either!

     

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  3.  
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    David, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 2:26am

    Re:

    You cannot really compare the cruelty of a beheading with begin torn into shreds by freedom-loving drone shrapnel.

    The latter is remote-controlled and saves the killers from direct contact with the victims.

    Now if ISIS were civilized, they'd use some guillotine device at least. Of course, a beheading is unusual cruel as compared to being battered into pieces, so perhaps they can replace the blade of the guillotine with some large boulders crushing the victim to pieces in order to approach American standards of humanity.

    Dropping boulders could also have the beneficial effect of killing a few bystanders, thus sending out a message that it is a bad idea to stay in the vicinity of bad people.

    I am sure that there are some other measures one can take in order to emulate the high American moral standards even when using medieval weapons.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 2:27am

    Re: Silence and deflection

    Unfortunately for the US, during a relative short period of endless anger, the Bush Whitehouse approved and used a number of techniques which are really not the US style. Those methods were not justified (or perhaps were), we will never really know that for sure.

    However, comparing it to a group who takes civilians and members of the media hostage, demands high ransoms, tortures them, and in the end kills them in a brutal method for public display is pretty much a big reach.

    The repercussions of the CIA and WH's actions here are going to be felt for decades to come

    Agreed. But publicly flogging them for it (especially considering that those who authorized and actually did the dirty work are long gone) doesn't really go very far towards fixing the problem. It just puts people on the defensive (again) and does nothing to move forward.

     

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  5.  
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    Major, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:08am

    Legal Inquisition ?

    Well..
    Do the spanish still hold the copyright on that technique ?
    If so, there might be an easy way to make the CIA stop :p

     

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  6.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:24am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    But publicly flogging them for it (especially considering that those who authorized and actually did the dirty work are long gone) doesn't really go very far towards fixing the problem.

    Actually this is a very US centric opinion, since in the eyes of the rest of the world calling the US out for there torture actions is very much a good thing.

    I'm yet to see a statute of limitations on torture ANYWHERE other than probably the USA (good to keep yourselves covered hey) so stating that these people are 'long gone' is basically saying that you will not allow hem to be fully accountable for their actions. This is the epitome of hypocrisy.

     

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    David, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:29am

    Re: Legal Inquisition ?

    The torture methods of the Spanish Inquisition precede Mickey Mouse, so they are not covered by copyright. As long as you steer clear of Steamboat Willying them, your methods will be blessed by the U.S. government.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:45am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    However, comparing it to a group who takes civilians and members of the media hostage, demands high ransoms, tortures them, and in the end kills them in a brutal method for public display is pretty much a big reach.

    There is also Gitmo and extraordinary rendition, so it is not that big a reach. The US is leading by example, there are no rules when protecting your own interests.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:05am

    for a supposed democratic country and the one that the world is supposed to look to for leadership and justice, the USA is pretty disgraceful as a role model with a piss poor record on both counts!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:11am

    Re: Re: Legal Inquisition ?

    That depends entirely on how many wespons of the Spanish Inquisition you're using, though. Are you just using fear and surprise?

     

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    Michael, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:38am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    the Bush Whitehouse approved and used a number of techniques which are really not the US style

    The CIA and the Obama White House have classified parts of the recent "torture report" because national security could be compromised if the techniques used were exposed. The only way that makes any sense is if they are still using the secret techniques. It appears that waterboarding has become EXACTLY the US style.

    But publicly flogging them for it (especially considering that those who authorized and actually did the dirty work are long gone) doesn't really go very far towards fixing the problem

    I would argue that it is the only way to fix the problem. What else works? The CIA gets to redact the very report that condemns their behavior. People torture in secret hoping it will not get out and assume there will be no negative results for them. Making it very clear when those results impact US citizens is very important.

     

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  12.  
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    Michael, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:40am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.


    The US, apparently, does not measure up.

     

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    ethorad (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:40am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    The first step to fixing the problem, is to admit there is a problem. And so far the USG has yet to make that step.

    Until they do, the rest of the world will keep organising an intervention.

     

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  14.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:40am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    So it would be not that bad to behead prisoners if the terrorists were doing worse? Sound reasoning. Waterboarding is as bad as beheading and I'd argue it may be worse because beheading ends the suffering because it results in death while torture in general has long lasting damage if the tortured lives.

    Those methods were not justified (or perhaps were)

    You are a disgusting, rotten piece of trash just for considering that such methods might have been justified or would be justified in any case.

    But publicly flogging them for it (especially considering that those who authorized and actually did the dirty work are long gone) doesn't really go very far towards fixing the problem.

    Yeah, let it fall into oblivion, it's no big deal, right? We should forget Nazi Germany happened too. Give me a break. These things must have a lot of light shone on them to be thoroughly exposed so measures will be adopted to prevent them from happening again.

    It just puts people on the defensive (again) and does nothing to move forward.

    Your trolling does that. Or maybe not, maybe you are being serious which is even worse.

     

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    ethorad (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Legal Inquisition ?

    in a ruthlessly efficient manner?

     

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  16.  
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    Charles (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:42am

    Hypocrisy

    “ISIL is a group that routinely crucifies and beheads people,” a U.S. official, using one of the acronyms for the militant group. “To suggest that there is any correlation between ISIL’s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”

    Hypocrisy, thy name is USG.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:45am

    Heh, some civilians ask me why I visit site named Techdirt...
    This article is good way to answer =)

     

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  18.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    So begins the horrific slide to torture becoming common practice, and much like weapons of war being given to police, so to shall the right to force a confession by any means necessary...

     

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  19.  
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    mac insand (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    I didn't expect the Spanish inquisition.

     

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  20.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    You are a disgusting, rotten piece of trash just for considering that such methods might have been justified or would be justified in any case.

    Thanks for the personal attack. You are so sweet! You and I personally were not there, and we do not know the circumstances under which much of this happened. While I seriously doubt that any of it was justified, I don't close the door to it, because perhaps those doing it felt that it was incredibly justified, an expedient way to save American lives.

    It's often the same excuse used by the worst of the worst in history, and I am not condoning it. I am only leaving open the possiblity that it was truly needed to save a whole lot of people (at least in their minds).

    let it fall into oblivion, it's no big deal, right?

    Nope. If you are going to punish people for something, punish those who did it.

    We should forget Nazi Germany happened too

    Didn't take you long to go there, congrats on going full troll.

     

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  21.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    "However, comparing it to a group who takes civilians and members of the media hostage, demands high ransoms, tortures them, and in the end kills them in a brutal method for public display is pretty much a big reach."

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree w/Whatever. The difference is in the purpose. Let's make this clear: waterboarding IS torture, should NEVER have been done, and was wrong. However, it must be true that those in the employ of the CIA and the drone strikes are not and did not commit brutality with the primary goal of dehumanizing and enemy and publicly attempting to strike fear in the them with their brutality.

    Both are wrong, but there CAN be such a thing as different degrees of wrong and evil. The United States, much maligned and assumed to be able to shift the world with the flick of its finger, isn't even close to the level of evil that ISIS is.

    What's interesting is whether or not the US will learn this lesson: when you torture, you forfeit the right to complain about those same torture techniques being used on our soldiers/citizens.

     

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  22.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Thanks for getting my point. :)

    Both are wrong, but they just don't scale against each other.

     

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  23.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    You and I personally were not there, and we do not know the circumstances under which much of this happened.

    Not to speak for another, but I think his point is that there are no circumstances that have plausibly ever been offered by anyone that could possibly justify torture. Even if you think the ticking time bomb justifies it - and I don't - there was never any such scenario. And no, guessing that it's possible there could be an attack coming isn't it.

     

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  24.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    THIS.

    What's required is a firm stance: not only do we not torture under ANY condition, we also don't skirt the line of torture, or come close enough that a reasonable argument could even be made that we are torturing, ever.

     

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  25.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Amen brother. There are better means. And sometimes the means is a military approach as you noted a while ago (though we slightly disagree on when the military intervention is needed).

     

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  26.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    It's often the same excuse used by the worst of the worst in history, and I am not condoning it. I am only leaving open the possiblity that it was truly needed to save a whole lot of people (at least in their minds).

    The possibility must not be left open at all. End of the story. My reaction might have been quite harsh on you but that's precisely what I think of people who even consider any kind of torture to be a valid method under any circumstance.


    Nope. If you are going to punish people for something, punish those who did it.


    For punishment to take place sometimes you need a lot of exposure. "Flogging" them if you are using it as in lashing out is totally justified and needed for things to change. Took years of outrage, outcry for the Dictatorship crimes to be actually judged and punished here.

    Didn't take you long to go there, congrats on going full troll.

    It was hyperbolic indeed but that's exactly what you are suggesting.

     

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  27.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    While I agree that there may be degrees of evil we should not be making such comparison in the first place. Just because a small extremist group does worse it does not make our own acts less serious. In fact, it's double damning that the torture came from a country that supposedly is at a higher "moral ground".

    This ISIS bullshitters are being "flogged" for their actions alike and should pay for their crimes, it's not like the US has the exclusivity. But it does have a ton of added responsibility BECAUSE it's not a small extremist group from whom we expect such absurds to some degree.

     

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  28.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    The possibility must not be left open at all. End of the story.

    It's your opinion, and you are welcome to it. I am a bit more reasonable, understanding that reasonable men (and women) sometimes do unreasonable things for very good and even what they think are noble reasons. 20/20 hindsight is something we may have the benefit of in judging the situation, but they don't have that luxury at the time.

    Took years of outrage, outcry for the Dictatorship crimes to be actually judged and punished here.

    That is a problem of your country and the system that existed, not one that the US has much of a problem with. What the US considers "secret" would be considered extremely open in almost every other country in the world. Trying to measure the US experience by how things went with your dictatorship isn't exactly a fair measurement.

    It was hyperbolic indeed

    Glad you see it, so now you can apologize for going full troll and suggesting that waterboarding some terrorists is anything like having millions of my people exterminated like vermin. You disgust me.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:13am

    ISIS Is Probably The former blackwater in disquise

     

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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    20/20 hindsight is something we may have the benefit of in judging the situation, but they don't have that luxury at the time.

    That's the point! If the rule is "we don't torture anyone, ever, no matter what" then we don't need hindsight. Everyone knows the answer is always no. If the rule is "we'll torture people if we think it's really necessary" then that guarantees we'll end up torturing some folks.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Legal Inquisition ?

    The full inventory will become apparent when we start to see the DOD selling used torture equipment to local LEO's.

    I wonder if they will lose these as well?

     

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  32.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:23am

    Re: Hypocrisy

    “To suggest that there is any correlation between ISIL’s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”

    In other words, questioning our actions helps the terrorists.

     

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  33.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    If the rule is "we don't torture anyone, ever, no matter what" then we don't need hindsight.

    Their answer would be "we didn't think it was torture at the time". That's the main point. At that time, it was considered mostly an expedient way to get the "truth". Now we recognize it for what it is and are repulsed by it.

     

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    ethorad (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Plus it's stretching the definition of "long gone" when a lot of the key players are still active, having just changed jobs. It's not like they're hiding in exile somewhere, or died decades ago.

     

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  35.  
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    ethorad (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    There are different degrees of wrong and evil, but the difference lies in the action not the objective.

    The end doesn't justify the means, so whether you are doing it under the belief that it will help protect your nation, or to strike terror in your enemies doesn't matter. If the action is the same it is just as good or evil no matter why you are doing it.

    To quote Christopher Dawson:
    As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy

    Note that I'm not saying that the US is as evil as ISIS - ISIS has done many things more evil than waterboarding. However the US cannot claim that their use of torture was acceptable because they did it for noble reasons. After all I'm sure ISIS believe they are torturing people for a noble reason.

     

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  36.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    "approved and used a number of techniques which are really not the US style."

    Not is the US style? What an odd way to say "torture".

    "publicly flogging them for it (especially considering that those who authorized and actually did the dirty work are long gone) doesn't really go very far towards fixing the problem"

    It's part of fixing the problem. It does at least a couple of things: it demonstrates to the world that there are people in the US who actually take these crimes seriously and helps to socially ostracize the behavior to hopefully discourage it in the future.

    That those who ordered or did the acts aren't still there is unfortunate, but doesn't mean we have to let it go. Letting it go means it will happen again.

     

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    zip, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:14am

    prosecutions in US courts?

    If waterboarding of Americans gets fashionable, it will be interesting to see if the US government decides to prosecute these foreigners for doing something that no American ever got in trouble for doing.

    The trials would certainly be interesting, presumably with the defense prohibited from ever uttering the word "Guantanimo."

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:17am

    Whatever man.

    Every time I read a mini-debate between Whatever and Ninja it goes like this.

    Whatever: {Present authoritarian viewpoints, utilize mental gymnastics to justify said authoritarian viewpoints.}
    Ninja: {Destroy Whatever's argument using point by point anaylsis and basic logic.}
    Whatever: {Respond to Ninja with point-by-point rebuttal, end up presenting even more irrationally autoritarian viewpoints.}
    Ninja: {Takes Whatever's troll bait and loses his shit a little bit. Presents final logical conclusion where Whatever's points are basically destroyed.}
    Whatever: {Accuse anyone who disagrees with his love of authority of being a troll.}

     

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  39.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Their answer would be "we didn't think it was torture at the time".

    Sure, but that doesn't mean it's an honest answer. Waterboarding had been recognized as torture before; it's not as though this was a new thing.

    Now we recognize it for what it is and are repulsed by it.

    Except for the people who are still trying to make sure nobody gets punished for it. You don't see people like ex CIA chiefs saying anything like "that was horrible and I wish we had never done it".

     

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  40.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    "Their answer would be "we didn't think it was torture at the time"."

    And they'd be straight-up lying when they said this. The US has, in prior conflicts, called many of the exact same techniques we used "torture" when it was done to US soldiers and civilians. Now suddenly they don't think it's torture anymore? Bullshit.

    Everyone involved knew damn well they were torturing people.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:44am

    Wait, really?

    I just need to check something here - is anyone *seriously* thinking that ISIS wouldn't be beheading/executing/stoning/amputating/crucifying/etc. people if America HADN'T waterboarded 3 guys* years ago? That somehow we opened the floodgates and now their sub-human behavior is our fault?

    *officially in US custody that is - the ones held in less "civilized" countries may have been too - but not *by* the CIA, rather *for* the CIA.

    Or is this just another way for people to beat up on America using moral equivalency?

    I'm certainly not one to make apologies for government overreach - neither the Bush administration nor the current one have been taking the rule of law too seriously IMO - but really, you just can't compare a bunch of 6th century barbarians to the CIA in any meaningful way. I think this article jumps the shark a bit by trying to do so.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:46am

    Re:

    Ok, the CIA didn't behead anybody, but they've killed quite a few with their drone-bombs etc.


    Neither is particularity to be desired but the only thing I can come up with about murdering your enemies is that with the beheading at least the family has a body to bury.

    As far as the hypocrisy goes, this had already been showing up with the Secretary of State demanding China cease spying. We've no longer the basis for being world cop as the government is just as corrupt globally as it is domestically.

     

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  43.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    "The end doesn't justify the means, so whether you are doing it under the belief that it will help protect your nation, or to strike terror in your enemies doesn't matter. If the action is the same it is just as good or evil no matter why you are doing it."

    That isn't what I'm arguing. I'm arguing that the circumstances and goal of an action can justify that action. I would have thought that was self evidently true....

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:04am

    Re: Whatever man.

    You missed Ninja pretty much disagreeing just to disagree. He's taken PaulT's position as my troll this week. His point by point analysis generally is full of crap, and his basic logic seems to be "our dictators did it, so there!".

    He trolls really hard, and generally loses his sh-t when I point it out. Today he went way over the line, trying to equate waterboarding a few terrorists with trying to exterminate jews. Not acceptable, no matter what the topic.

     

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    AnonyBabs, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Bullshit. They knew full well it was torture. They may have couched in "gentler" terms, but they knew exactly what they were doing. But it was okay because "we're the good guys."

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Irving, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Waaayy too late for that stance; that horse has long since left the barn and lived a long and profitable life.

     

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  47.  
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    ethorad (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    But isn't arguing that the goal of an action can justify the action the same as claiming the end justifies the means?

    To quote Wikipedia:
    In an extreme form, the idea of consequentialism is commonly encapsulated in the English saying, "the ends justify the means", meaning that if a goal is morally important enough, any method of achieving it is acceptable

    From your comment, with reference to US and ISIS waterboarding, you state that "The difference is in the purpose" and "those in the employ of the CIA and the drone strikes are not and did not commit brutality with the primary goal of dehumanizing and enemy and publicly attempting to strike fear in the them with their brutality"

    To me this reads that there is a difference in the evilness of waterboarding depending on the purpose - and therefore that the ends can justify the means?

     

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  48.  
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    Mark Pugner (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:24am

    Fattening

    This is so delicious it's got to be fattening!

     

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  49.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Whatever man.

    " Today he went way over the line, trying to equate waterboarding a few terrorists with trying to exterminate jews."

    Be fair. He did no such thing. He was arguing that that we shouldn't just let bad behavior go. He used the Nazis as a comparison of how there are things we shouldn't just let go. It was extreme, emotionally charged, rhetoric, but certainly not equating waterboarding with the holocaust.

     

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  50.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Whatever man.

    You missed Ninja pretty much disagreeing just to disagree.

    Funny, that's my impression of your behavior.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:52am

    Taking bets that the CIA is STILL helping ISIS with money and military and tactical planning in the hopes of 'somehow' installing a US-friendly government....

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    So the intended goal of an action can justify the action?

    Hitler wanted a pure and strong 'master race' therefore by your logic, despite the murder and torture of tens of millions of people, because he had a 'good' goal in mind then everything is A-OK?

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    If you examine some of the reasons why the Nazis tortured prisoners, they are even "better" than ours.

    - Their country was on the verge of annihilation
    - Thousands upon thousands were screaming and dying in Allied bomb raids
    - Captured prisoners might hold vital information to the war effort

    So what's our excuse, "we really, really needed torture" this time?

     

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  54.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    "To me this reads that there is a difference in the evilness of waterboarding depending on the purpose - and therefore that the ends can justify the means?"

    If you think about it really hard for just a moment, you'll realize I'm arguing that the GENESIS justifies the means, not the end result.

    And you already know this to be true. It's the reason we don't jail a housewife who shot her husband to keep him from killing their mutual child. It's the reason we allow for a self defense justification in murder trials. It's the reason why launching a war on Nazi Germany prior to that country attacking us wasn't considered an aggressive war without justification.

    Come on now, guys, let's not all get silly. We all agree that torture is wrong, but let's not pretend like the stance of the United States and the stance of ISIS and the way we prosecute one another are equal, because they ain't even close...

     

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  55.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    You consider Hitler's intentions to be "good"? Interesting....

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:33am

    People torture other people for different reasons:

    1. for information
    2. because they enjoy inflicting pain
    3. to instill fear
    4. all of the above

    I think you can assume that the CIA was doing so for reason 1, with perhaps some of the people actually carrying out the torture for reasons 1 and 2.

    ISIS is doing it for reasons 2 and 3.

    Moral relativism aside, there *is* a difference between DOING evil and BEING evil.

     

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  57.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    This is EXACTLY about what happened during WW2 with Nazi Germany, then straight afterwards with the Nuremburg Trials then has continued to be an ongoing hunt for War criminals that were active within WW2 and in other actions (sometimes police actions by the USA).

    This is NOT about trolling but instead the USA stating that they can do whatever the fuck they want to anyone because well.. FUCK YOU! but anyone else has to kowtow to their line of hypocritical bullshit unethical reasoning.

    I'm certain ninja wasn't stating they were Nazi's... though I will state unequivocally that they are VERY MUCH like how the Nazi's justified there atrocities to the world afterwards.

    If it quacks like a duck... etc etc.. and at the moment how the USA is treating the rest of the world... well I'm hearing a lot of quacking from you and others justifying your actions and the actions of those YOU ARE ALL protecting.

    Remember harbouring a criminal (esp extreme crimes like torture etc) is also an offense!

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:54am

    Re: Wait, really?

    This. People make it sound like if it weren't for the big mean U.S., Islamic militants wouldn't behead anybody or be violent at all, and would just give tea and cookies to all the other religions in their regions... I think ISIS probably specifically waterboards their captives as a middle finger to the U.S., but they WOULD be brutally torturing and murdering people somehow, some way, no matter what. They're playing a propaganda game too.

     

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  59.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Bullshit!

    Here this might show you WHY torture is still classified as a wrong and the SAME wrong as what ISIS is doing.

    In fact one could argue that a beheading is an act of murder and is permanent. Whereas torture is an ongoing pain and emotional distress that will last with the person for the rest of their natural life.

    Personally in the wider scheme of Evils torture is probably worse and the World agrees!

    Here's the "Combating Torture - A Manual for Judges and Prosecutors" link and points 5.4 - 5.5 & 5.16 - 5.19 are extremely relevant to this.
    https://www.essex.ac.uk/combatingtorturehandbook/manual/5_content.htm

    any action of wrong needs to be instantly prosecuted if known and those alleged to of done so brought to be tried for those crimes. This is what 'whatever' doesn't understand and thinks well "they are not doing it anymore why does anyone care" and you are supporting.

     

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  60.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Whatever man.

    Who said anything about exterminating Jews?? I seems to recall only Nazi Germany was mentioned. NOTHING about the Jews.

    Oh wait.. YOU assumed!!! though Nuremberg WAS NOT ONLY about the Jewish Atrocities but about all of Nazi Germany's war crimes.

     

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  61.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    "This is NOT about trolling but instead the USA stating that they can do whatever the fuck they want to anyone because well.. FUCK YOU! but anyone else has to kowtow to their line of hypocritical bullshit unethical reasoning."

    That is self-evidently not what the US does as a matter of foreign policy. You may not like all US actions, hell, I don't like all of them either, but claiming that our foreign policy is conducted without restraint is silly.

     

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  62.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    This is what 'whatever' doesn't understand and thinks well "they are not doing it anymore why does anyone care" and you are supporting.

    I'm not sure he doesn't understand it. He just always supports authority. Kind of like kenichi tenaka, but more coherent.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Well, to use your logic, couldn't you define beheading as torture as well? The person isn't dead when the caveman starts sawing his head off, so you should rather be comparing:

    beheading - the manual removal of the head with an edged weapon, carried out on a live victim and resulting in death, and

    waterboarding - the simulated drowning process carried out with a bucket and towel, carried out on a live victim who remains alive afterwards.

    If you can't see the difference between these two acts and prefer to see waterboarding as the greater evil, I guess you could ask one of the guys that got waterboarded which he would prefer. I'd say you could ask one of ISIS's victim's as well, but... yeah, they're all dead.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Socrates, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Yes

    US government officials worrying that terrorists might stoop down to their level on torture ... should be telling.

     

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  65.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Wait, really?

    I don't believe anyone is saying that, rather, people are pointing out that the CIA and USG cannot honestly condemn it when ISIS, or other groups, torture prisoners, because the USG ordered and carried out the torture of prisoners itself, and isn't interested in the slightest in punishing and holding accountable those involved in it.

    The USG, due to it's previous and current actions, can no longer condemn torture of prisoners without exposing it's hypocrisy on the subject, that is what people are pointing out.

    *officially in US custody that is - the ones held in less "civilized" countries may have been too - but not *by* the CIA, rather *for* the CIA.

    I'm not even sure why you bothered to include this bit honestly, whether the CIA is torturing people themselves, or handing people over to be tortured, they are still responsible for what happens.

     

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  66.  
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    John85851 (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 4:21pm

    Use the nuclear option

    As long as we're making comparisons, at least it's not as bad as dropping a nuclear bomb on them.
    Oh wait, we did that also.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 7:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    "We killed Whatever. We didn't think it was torture at the time!"

    "Well, it's what he would have wanted."

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 11:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    No, he is saying that Hitler considered his own intentions to be good. This is why allowing any form of justification for an otherwise banned action is always dangerous, people can always justify why it is OK for them to do it, but not for others to do it.

     

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  69.  
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    Orion, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 4:24am

    What the CIA doesn't want the public reflecting on is how they created Al Queda out of the hujahideen and subsequently created ISIS, via a massive covert program of torture of Saddam's loyalists and other "insurgents" fighting against the illegal US occupation. They opened black sites around the world to practice more extreme versions of torture and trauma they'd been using for decades under MKULTRA and similar programs, and in doing so spawned a violent ideology of terror and murder, all for the ends of expanding the military-industrial complex's endless wars and profits, and preventing local control over critical oil pipelines and fields. They trained the organizers of ISIS on purpose, to be the terrorists they are, and they funded the organization in another covert op.

    ISIS is now declaring war on the Western world, using CIA torture techniques and murdering hundreds, threatening credible terrorist actions in Europe and the US, and has revealed the failed state building in Iraq that the US wasted a trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives on for much of the last decade.

    Mission Accomplished, my ass.

     

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  70.  
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    GEMont (profile), Aug 30th, 2014 @ 2:49pm

    December 7th is my birthday!!!

    Thank you Orion, for that excellent recap.

    Personally, I thinks its far more likely that the reason ISIS is using the CIA's patented torture methods, is simply because its the CIA that's currently teaching them how to best scare the hell out of people.

    Already its been shown that as much as 20% of ISIS's membership is made up of masked British citizens, who were recently threatened with the loss of those citizenships by the British government for being ISIS members.

    How easily it would be for the CIA, (along with Special Ops forces, like the British Special Ops teams caught wearing Afghani Terrorist garb in Afghanistan), to once again, train another terrorist organization like Al Queda in the use of CIA terror methods, when everyone conveniently wears masks.

    As I said before, you're all being Pearl Harbored again.

     

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  71.  
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    GEMont (profile), Aug 30th, 2014 @ 3:24pm

    Re:

    Beheading an enemy is always done for display.

    It is specifically used, NOT so much for punishing the victim - as its most often a quick death - but to scare the witnesses.

    Most forms of public execution are designed to frighten the witnesses into obedience or compliance, or in this case, simply to frighten them into renewing their support for the multi-billion dollar a year Anti-Terrorist Businesses and Tax Fed Government Operations in the US and Britain.

    The CIA - when not masquerading as the enemy - has likely never used beheading as a means of murder, because they work in secret and do not display their actions. Such displays are always reserved for false flag operations such as this, where the CIA poses as the enemy.

    However, to believe that the CIA has not committed multiple and mass murder in a variety of other fashions, is a fool's dream.

    ---

     

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  72.  
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    GEMont (profile), Aug 30th, 2014 @ 7:59pm

    Re:

    Likely no more than about 10 to 15% are Black Water Mercs.

    They're damned expensive.

    Besides, with 25% Brit SpecOps and probably no more than 25% Yank SpecOps, you have to leave room for some real middle eastern type folks, so you can have a good photo-op where at least one or two dudes have their obviously middle eastern features prominently exposed for the western media.

    You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but with Hollywood special effects, a few billion tax-payer dollars, and total control of the Truth-Free Press, you can fool all of the people, all of the time, for a while.

    As long as you have a string of manufactured crisis ready in the wings, "a while" is all you normally need for any single scam to do its work and keep the money rolling in.
    ---

     

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  73.  
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    Antsan (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 1:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    "Their answer would be "we didn't think it was torture at the time"."

    I don't know about American law, but here in Germany we have a legal principle that says that you are not exempt to the law only because you are ignorant of it. I think this should apply in this situation.

     

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  74.  
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    Antsan (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 1:34am

    Re:

    Part of the problem is assuming that others are supposed to look to the US "for leadership and justice". This kind of attitude is so far removed from reality I don't even know where to begin.
    If any countries at all might ever be eligible for this kind of role (which I do not believe) it might be those with high social equality and all around happiness of citizens, so one might want to look to Scandinavia instead.
    But they've got really high taxes and social welfare there and those are totally evil, right?

     

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  75.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    I don't know about American law, but here in Germany we have a legal principle that says that you are not exempt to the law only because you are ignorant of it.

    We have that too, but it only applies to the common folk.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Orion, Aug 31st, 2014 @ 5:29pm

    Re: December 7th is my birthday!!!

    GEMont I agree -- this all has the CIA's fingerprints all over it. The experts at creating terror. Al-Baghdadi himself was rendered and held prisoner for several years. I don't think that's a coincidence.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2014 @ 10:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Those methods were not justified (or perhaps were)

    You are a disgusting, rotten piece of trash just for considering that such methods might have been justified or would be justified in any case.

    That's a bit strong.

    I can see situations where torture would be justified.

    e.g. a super-villain type plot:
    Fusion bomb planted in under Manhattan, all the bridges and roads cut such that it'd take days if not weeks to evacuate. Bomb has 2-hours left on the countdown timer. Person who planted the bomb/knows the secret-code to deactivate it. That person in custody/caught by the James Bond style spy. Need to get the code NOW. Torture-away (if no better options known).

    What I'm against is institutionalized torture. Even the concept of legal torture is repulsive to me. In the example outlined above, the torture actions would still be illegal. If they worked and the torturer survives (i.e. torture where the bomb is so if it goes off torturee and torturer goes up with it) then the torturer should still be arrested and charged with torture. If their actions were justified (which in my mind in that sort of situation they would be), then there are many alternatives to 'save' our hero:
    1) jury finds our hero innocent;
    2) jury finds hero guilty, judge gives suspended sentence (or limits to days served or something) due to extenuating circumstances;
    3) jury finds guilty, President pardon's the hero.

    I mean, it should remain illegal, and if the ends justify the means, then they'll get pardoned. Therefore torture is still illegal, but in the super-duper rare OMG we need the answer NOW type situation, it could be forgiven afterwards - easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

    This way torture would not be routine, as if it's NOT justified, it's used in in a non-WMD-type millions gonna die type situation , then prosecution, sentencing, jail, key throwing-awayness.

     

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  78.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 10:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    Those methods were not justified (or perhaps were)

    You are a disgusting, rotten piece of trash just for considering that such methods might have been justified or would be justified in any case.


    That's a bit strong.

    I can see situations where torture would be justified.

    e.g. a super-villain type plot:
    Fusion bomb planted in under Manhattan, all the bridges and roads cut such that it'd take days if not weeks to evacuate. Bomb has 2-hours left on the countdown timer. Person who planted the bomb/knows the secret-code to deactivate it. That person in custody/caught by the James Bond style spy. Need to get the code NOW. Torture-away (if no better options known).

    What I'm against is institutionalized torture. Even the concept of legal torture is repulsive to me. In the example outlined above, the torture actions would still be illegal. If they worked and the torturer survives (i.e. torture where the bomb is so if it goes off torturee and torturer goes up with it) then the torturer should still be arrested and charged with torture. If their actions were justified (which in my mind in that sort of situation they would be), then there are many alternatives to 'save' our hero:
    1) jury finds our hero innocent;
    2) jury finds hero guilty, judge gives suspended sentence (or limits to days served or something) due to extenuating circumstances;
    3) jury finds guilty, President pardon's the hero.

    I mean, it should remain illegal, and if the ends justify the means, then they'll get pardoned. Therefore torture is still illegal, but in the super-duper rare OMG we need the answer NOW type situation, it could be forgiven afterwards - easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

    This way torture would not be routine, as if it's NOT justified in a non-WMD-type situation, then prosecution, sentencing, jail, key throwing-awayness.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2014 @ 4:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Silence and deflection

    That is a problem of your country and the system that existed, not one that the US has much of a problem with. What the US considers "secret" would be considered extremely open in almost every other country in the world. Trying to measure the US experience by how things went with your dictatorship isn't exactly a fair measurement.


    So when will the US indict (let alone convict*) anyone for their involvement in unlawful imprisonment, torture, war crimes, etc?

    When will the US hand over the people responsible for extraordinary rendition, and the relevant evidence, for trial in the country where the offences took place?

    When will the US accept the jurisdiction of the ICC?

    * Yes, I know that you can't guarantee a conviction of anyone in particular, but the crimes occurred so there are guilty parties, and the evidence is there to convict someone even if only for destruction of evidence. In any case senior officials have admitted what they ordered done, and since 1945 it has been accepted that ordering war crimes is itself a war crime.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2014 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re:

    It would be easier to recruit some local nut-jobs, or even foreign nut-jobs (after all, the FBi has form in that regard, and ISIS haven't gone full retard which suggests that British agents aren't running it).

    That's why I don't believe any of the "Feds did 9/11" conspiracy theories - if they didn't care about killing thousands of their own people, they really don't have any sane reason to care about a controlled demolition, they just have to run the attack as they said it happened except with UBL's messenger actually being a government agent, and some convenient inside information about security vulnerabilities.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2014 @ 5:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Whatever man.

    Indeed, only about half the concentration camp victims were Jewish or Jewish mischlinge, and even more people were killed by other war crimes and crimes against humanity (even if you don't count those killed by anything the allies were also doing).

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2014 @ 3:12pm

    Only one way to fix hypcroisy

    Clearly in order to be able to condemn torture without being flaming hypocrites what is needed is a massive purge of everyone torturer and everyone in the administration who approved it. Ship them off en-mass to the Hague for crimes against humanity or sentence them with such harshness that further trials would forever be redundant.

     

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  83.  
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    GEMont (profile), Sep 7th, 2014 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: December 7th is my birthday!!!

    The last political coincidence occurred in the year 28 BC, when the horse a Mongolian prince was about to mount, mounted the prince.

    Since then, orchestration has been the keyword of all government functions.

    Yes it bears a striking resemblance to all the other false flag operations undertaken by the CIA. They are not really all that imaginative and re-use any process that has worked in the past.

    I mean seriously, the NSA has been spying on the Whole World, but somehow just happened to not know anything about ISIS until after it was fully operational, completely equipped with the best weapons and tech, and actively mobile.

    I'd believe the story about the Horse and the Prince before I'd swallow that line of BS.

     

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  84.  
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    GEMont (profile), Sep 7th, 2014 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Only one way to fix hypcroisy

    "...sentence them with such harshness..."

    Methinks you might have to first hire some people and form something you might call... oh, lets see, a Justice Department, or something like that. You know - a group of employees of the America People who uphold laws by punishing wrong-doers.

    Can't get very far without something like that in place first.

     

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  85.  
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    GEMont (profile), Sep 7th, 2014 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Its called plausible denial.

    Look it up.

    While the fascists masquerading as your government don't really give a shit about how the people they rob feel about them, they do care about continuing to milk the sheep until the sheep are absolutely dry and empty.

    That's why they manufactured the cover up.

    That's why they shipped all the Nano-Thermite molten steel girders to China before anyone could examine them.

    To keep people like you shopping and going to work and paying your taxes and casting your votes and generally remaining good little sheep who "...don't believe any of the 'Feds did 9/11' conspiracy theories.".

    You see, plausible denial works really well. It gives those too frightened by obvious reality, a secondary "plausible" reality they can choose to believe in instead, as long as they thereafter ignore and discount all contrary evidence.

    Like so many others who simply could not sleep at night knowing their lives were in the hands of insanely greedy assholes, who could not give a shit about anyone other than themselves, you fell for it hook line and taxes, simply because you're still afraid to accept the truth staring you in the face.

    You prefer the pretty lie to the ugly truth.

    You're not alone at least. In fact, you are among the majority of US citizens, although probably not the majority of world citizens.

    Sadly, nothing short of a baton to the skull, unlawful incarceration and torture, will ever shake a belief forged from fear and faith.

    ---

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2014 @ 9:19am

    Ridiculous to think Isis will listen to morals. Do what needs to be done to these cowards

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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