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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ....-.-.-.-.-/-.-.-.-.-/-..-.-..-.-.-/-.-..-..-.-....-...-.-.-. dept.

The LA Times reports on the passing of Jeremiah Denton, the US Navy pilot held by the Viet Cong, who let the world know in a TV interview that POWs were being tortured by blinking out the word "torture" in Morse code. From 1965 to 1973, Denton was held at the "Hanoi Hilton" and several other infamous Vietnamese prisons and was held in isolation for lengthy periods totaling about four years. At points, he was in a pitch-black cell, a cramped hole crawling with rats and roaches. His beatings opened wounds that festered in pools of sewage. Frustrated that Denton would not confess to alleged American war crimes or reveal even basic details of US military operations, jailers subjected him to horrific abuse.

Taking command of fellow POWs he usually could not see, Denton fashioned a secret prison communication system using the sound of coughs, hacks, scratching, spitting and throat-clearing keyed to letters of the alphabet. "When you think you've reached the limit of your endurance, give them harmless and inaccurate information that you can remember, and repeat it if tortured again," he told his men. "We will die before we give them classified military information." Thinking they'd broken him, Denton's captors allowed a Japanese TV reporter to interview him on May 2, 1966. "The blinding floodlights made me blink and suddenly I realized that they were playing right into my hands," he wrote. "I looked directly into the camera and blinked my eyes once, slowly, then three more times, slowly. A dash and three more dashes. A quick blink, slow blink, quick blink." While his impromptu blinks silently told the world that prisoners were being tortured, he was unabashed in the interview, which was later broadcast around the world, in his denial of American wrongdoing. "Whatever the position of my government is, I believe in it yes, sir," said Denton. "I'm a member of that government and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live."

Related Stories

Typing By Slamming Your Laptop Closed. Repeatedly 13 comments

Typing By Slamming Your Laptop Closed. Repeatedly:

Do you sometimes feel that your custom mechanical keyboard is not quite loud enough to proclaim your superior hacking powers? Or do you need a more forceful way shout in all caps at someone who is wrong on the internet? For all this and more, [Jesse Li] has got you covered, with a set of bash scripts that allows you to type by slamming your laptop closed repeatedly, using Morse code.

The scripts are quite simple, and work receiving the lid open/close events from ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface), recording the open and close timestamp and converting the timing to dots and dashes. After slamming to the required rhythm, you keep the lid open to see the character appear.

Yes, I see no practical use for this. Yes, I think it is a neat "hack". Had an itch and scratched it. Any soylentils here done their own Morse transceiver? How about on your smart phone? Transmit by long- or short-press anywhere on the screen for dits and dahs. Receive by phone vibration. Nearly silent communication while never needing to look at the screen!

Previously:
(2020-02-29) Learning Morse Code The Ludwig Koch Way
(2016-06-22) Ham it up! 2016 ARRL Field Day is June 25-26
(2015-02-27) Verizon Issues Furious Response to FCC, in Morse Code, Dated 1934
(2014-05-11) First Covert Communication System with Lasers
(2014-04-03) The POW Who Blinked "Torture" In Morse Code


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1) by Worchaa on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:24PM

    by Worchaa (447) on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:24PM (#25482)

    Dah DiDiDiDit DiDah DahDit DahDiDah DiDiDit DiDiDahDit DahDahDah DiDahDit DahDiDahDah DahDahDah DiDiDah DiDahDit DiDiDit Dit DiDahDit DiDiDiDah DiDit DahDiDahDit Dit

    (Tried to send dots and dashes but the Lameness filter doesn't operate CW apparently)

    Oh, and "from the dept." at the top of the post = BS. That's not Morse Code.

      I simply cannot imagine what those guys went through.

    --
    - Marching Band: It's not just for breakfast anymore.
    • (Score: 1) by WillAdams on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:42PM

      by WillAdams (1424) on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:42PM (#25490)

      Join the U.S. military and take a specialty which requires that one take the S.E.R.E. (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape) course and you'll get the closest analogue the U.S. government can manage.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:46PM (#25493)

      ABC D EFG HIJ . KLM NOP QRS . T U VWX .. YZa b cde f . g hij . klm n .. o . p q r stu . v wxy . z01 2 3 . 4 .. 567 . 8 9 A B . C .. D EFG H I . J KLM . NOP QRS . T . UVW X . Y . Z a b .. c d efg h . i j . k lmn o p . qrs . t . u vwx y .. z 012 . 3 456 7 8 . 9 A B . CDE FGH IJK .. LMN . O P Q R . S T . U V W .. X YZa bcd . e fgh . ijk l mno pqr

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by francois.barbier on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:57PM

      by francois.barbier (651) on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:57PM (#25502)

      Hey! I know this tune!

      I'm blue da ba dee ...

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by LaminatorX on Thursday April 03 2014, @01:00PM

      by LaminatorX (14) <{laminatorx} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday April 03 2014, @01:00PM (#25503)

      I input Morse, but slash seems to have munged it.
      It was supposed to be: "dash dotdotdotdot dot dotdashdot dot / dotdash dotdashdot dot / dotdotdashdot dashdashdash dotdotdash dotdashdot / dotdashdotdot dotdot dashdashdot dotdotdotdot dash dotdotdot"

      --
      Banjo - Fiddle - Tolkien: The Lonely Mountain String Band. lmsb.me [lmsb.me]
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by martyb on Thursday April 03 2014, @01:28PM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 03 2014, @01:28PM (#25509) Journal

        LaminatorX wrote:

        I input Morse, but slash seems to have munged it.
        It was supposed to be: "dash dotdotdotdot dot dotdashdot dot / dotdash dotdashdot dot / dotdotdashdot dashdashdash dotdotdash dotdashdot / dotdashdotdot dotdot dashdashdot dotdotdotdot dash dotdotdot"

        I translates the Morse code to be, "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS".

        I'll leave it to others to explain what that is supposed to mean.

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Soluzar on Thursday April 03 2014, @01:40PM

          by Soluzar (311) on Thursday April 03 2014, @01:40PM (#25524)

          It is a reference to a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode about torture. Specifically one in which Captain Picard is the victim of torture after having been captured behind enemy lines.

          • (Score: 4, Informative) by zocalo on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:17PM

            by zocalo (302) on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:17PM (#25565)
            Which itself was a nod to 1984, where Winston is tortured until he admits that his torturer is holding up five fingers instead of four.
            --
            UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by martyb on Thursday April 03 2014, @01:47PM

          by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 03 2014, @01:47PM (#25533) Journal

          I wrote:

          I'll leave it to others to explain what that is supposed to mean.

          I plead lack of coffee... meaning [wikipedia.org]

          --
          Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 1) by Worchaa on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:15PM

          by Worchaa (447) on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:15PM (#25563)

          I got "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS" as well. Nice ST:TNG ref. Good to know there is more than one King Nerd on Soylent fluent in (Morse) code. Ha !

          Up top, I sent "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE". It's too early in the morning to ask folks to break out their decoder rings.

          --
          - Marching Band: It's not just for breakfast anymore.
    • (Score: 2) by dotdotdot on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:34PM

      by dotdotdot (858) on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:34PM (#25673)

      just call me S

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:40PM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:40PM (#25487) Journal

    It's not torture, it's "enhanced interrogation" and it's all completely legal and ethical and justified by the ends and we have no problem with it whatsoever.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:55PM (#25500)

      Great, great, do you think we could use those enhanced techniques when questioning members of the intelligence community about their programs?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:27PM (#25573)

      It's not torture, it's "enhanced interrogation" and it's all completely legal and ethical and justified by the ends and we have no problem with it whatsoever.

      This should also make it harder for people to morse it out!

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Techwolf on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:28PM

      by Techwolf (87) on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:28PM (#25575)

      Where is the +1 Sad but true mod?

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by hemocyanin on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:06PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:06PM (#25613) Journal

      "Whatever the position of my government is, I believe in it yes, sir," said Denton. "I'm a member of that government and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live."

      This is a guy who would kill innocent people because his government told him to. I wish there was a hell for him to rot in.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by pk on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:46PM

        by pk (2591) on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:46PM (#25645) Homepage

        You're speculating there. By the way, did you not see the part where he was tortured for years?

        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Friday April 04 2014, @02:08AM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Friday April 04 2014, @02:08AM (#25985) Journal

          After bombing villages? Sounds like karma.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04 2014, @03:01AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04 2014, @03:01AM (#26017)

          It is perverse to celebrate people who drop napalm on children. [google.com]

          -- gewg_

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:09PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:09PM (#25618)

      John McCain, a US Senator who knows a thing or two about torture (having been subjected to it while a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam), co-sponsored the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 [pitt.edu]. That passed both houses of the legislature and was signed into law by President *BUSH*. So Congress has made very clear that "enhanced interrogation" shall not continue and the President agreed (at least in principle) to comply. In other words, disgraceful as it was, "enhanced interrogation" is banned by current US law and policy. So to me as a citizen, that's a small comfort, that at least my government no longer claims it is OK (though no comfort at all to the past victims.)

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:55PM

        by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:55PM (#25649) Journal

        > the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005.

        OK, I guess I missed that. Good work Mr McCain.

        Thing is, torture was supposed to be illegal in the US even before that legislation, what with the Geneva Convention and all. Where are the trials and sackings of the guilty politicians, civil servants and other culpable parties?

        Meanwhile, Guantanamo is still open and Bradley Manning's extended spell in solitary occurred well after 2005.

        It seems to me that the administration (be it Bush, Obama or someone else) will always flagrantly ignore things like "human rights" for as long as the population are prepared to ignore it/ eat up the "it's for your own good" and "well Jack Bauer says it's OK" bullshit (i.e. indefinitely). Just search this site for the word "unconstitutional" if you want examples.

        • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Thursday April 03 2014, @06:49PM

          by Sir Garlon (1264) on Thursday April 03 2014, @06:49PM (#25752)

          I fully agree that the United States frequently falls short of its founding ideals and/or common decency. I'm sad to say that this is nothing new, and has been going on since before the US became independent of Britain. The best that we plebs can do is use those First Amendment rights to call attention to the abuses, agitate for reform, and to applaud the occasional positive step.

          --
          [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 2) by combatserver on Thursday April 03 2014, @09:00PM

        by combatserver (38) on Thursday April 03 2014, @09:00PM (#25858)

        "John McCain, a US Senator who knows a thing or two about torture..."

        Apparently, he has a short memory, short enough that he cannot differentiate between good and evil any longer.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/13/mccain-vo tes-against-tort_n_86549.html [huffingtonpost.com]

        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/us/politics/17to rture.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]

        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/0 5/john-mccains-spotty-record-on-torture/238842/ [theatlantic.com]

        --
        I hope I can change this later...
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tibman on Thursday April 03 2014, @05:55PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 03 2014, @05:55PM (#25708)

      I understand you're trying to poke fun at things like gitmo and waterboarding. I get it. But the line has to be drawn somewhere, right? he was in a pitch-black cell, a cramped hole crawling with rats and roaches. His beatings opened wounds that festered in pools of sewage. That is not even in the same realm as gitmo and waterboarding.

      I'm curious what level of detainment for POWs (not civilian combatants) you consider ethical. Same goes for any methods use to extract information (not for creating propaganda).

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by TheloniousToady on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:53PM

    by TheloniousToady (820) on Thursday April 03 2014, @12:53PM (#25498)

    Now I know why the judges blink so much on "American Idol".

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hatta on Thursday April 03 2014, @07:23PM

    by hatta (879) on Thursday April 03 2014, @07:23PM (#25781)

    "Whatever the position of my government is, I believe in it yes, sir," said Denton. "I'm a member of that government and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live."

    This kind of thinking is behind every atrocity in history. Nationalism is every bit as bad, and bad for the same reasons, as racism, sexism, or any other form of bigotry. Critical thinking is a responsibility of every human being. Those who abdicate that responsibility are terrible people.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Foobar Bazbot on Friday April 04 2014, @04:31AM

      by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Friday April 04 2014, @04:31AM (#26034) Journal

      That sort of blind loyalty to anything is absolutely harmful, but I don't consider that statement, made in those circumstances, adequate evidence to conclude that Denton necessarily believed that. (Though you may be drawing from other evidence I missed... I didn't RTFA.)

      Suppose for the sake of argument that he did not believe it, but did believe his country was right about some things (obviously including some justification for the war, else he wouldn't be there). In the face of torture, with the goal of producing propaganda video of US POWs repudiating the US, would he state that position honestly? I don't think it would be unreasonable to forgo an honest statement, which might be misrepresentable for propaganda purposes (if he mentioned any points of disagreement, they could use those out of context), in favor of the simple and defiant statement he made, which not only denies any propaganda value, but also portrays him as an unconvinceable fanatic, which he might hope would discourage further efforts.

      Moreover, even if he truly did believe it, it doesn't follow that he believed it before he was tortured -- while I'm no psychologist, it sounds plausible to me that one might adopt that opinion as a reaction to torture. If so, it seems harsh, though not technically false, to focus on him and call him a "terrible person" because his captors made him a terrible person.