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posted by Blackmoore on Tuesday December 09 2014, @11:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the painful-truths dept.

The NYT reports that with the release of the long-awaited Senate report on the use of torture by the United States government — a detailed account that will shed an unsparing light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s darkest practices after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, the US is bracing itself for the risk that it will set off a backlash overseas. Some leading Republican lawmakers have warned against releasing the report, saying that domestic and foreign intelligence reports indicate that a detailed account of the brutal interrogation methods used by the CIA during the George W. Bush administration could incite unrest and violence, even resulting in the deaths of Americans. The White House acknowledged that the report could pose a “greater risk” to American installations and personnel in countries like Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Iraq. But it said that the government had months to plan for the reverberations from its report — indeed, years — and that those risks should not delay the release of the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee. “When would be a good time to release this report?” the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, asked. “It’s difficult to imagine one, particularly given the painful details that will be included.”

Among the administration’s concerns is that terrorist groups will exploit the disclosures in the report for propaganda value. The Islamic State already clads its American hostages in orange jumpsuits, like those worn by prisoners in CIA interrogations. Hostages held by the Islamic State in Syria were subjected to waterboarding, one of the practices used by the CIA to extract information from suspected terrorists. The 480-page document reveals the results of Senate investigation into the CIA's use of torture and other techniques that violate international law against prisoners held on terrorism-related charges. Though many details of the Senate's findings will remain classified – the document is a summary of a 6,000-page report that is not being released – the report is expected to conclude that the methods used by the CIA to interrogate prisoners during the post-9/11 years were more extreme than previously admitted and produced no intelligence that could not have been acquired through legal means.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jackb_guppy on Tuesday December 09 2014, @11:59PM

    by jackb_guppy (3560) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @11:59PM (#124428)

    Well "torture" is a legal definition. We had lawyers who said what we were doing was not torture. (paraphrased)

    That should go down the Nuremberg trials, where many were reported to "just following orders".

    Doing something that is wrong, is doing something that is wrong, period.

    If guys believed what they were doing is right and gives truthful answers, maybe they should try being the subject for 90days. If they after 90 days still say "right and gives truthful answers" then they are right. If at any point they say what they believe is the lie "it is wrong and gets lies", then rest of us are right. Would they do it?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:38AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:38AM (#124543)

      The moment I read about the USA trying to legitimize torture and extrajudicial detention was the moment when I realized democracy there had failed. From then on, it was clear the USA had no moral credibility, and was just another autocratic dictatorship.

      The NSA's activities, TPP, SOPA/PIPA etc in the years following have only served to confirm that view.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 10 2014, @09:34AM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday December 10 2014, @09:34AM (#124590) Homepage
      So you're suggesting waterboarding them until they confess "people will say anything in order to avoid more waterboarding"?

      But if they admit that, then that can't be relied on, as they were only admitting it in order to avoid more waterboarding. So we must fall back onto our prior believe that waterboarding is a valid and viable way of extracting useful information.

      Only the people who survive 90 days insisting "waterboarding is not torture, and only reveals the truth" have a consistent (non-contradictory) stance.

      This is a whole new twist on the liars paradox.

      In the interest of science, I think we should carry it out though. However, to get the maximum from the experiment, it shouldn't be just the grunts who performed the waterboarding who partake, it should be all of the layers of command that approved it too - right to the top. We can then see whether different strata in the chain of command have greater tendencies one way or the other. For science!
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:25PM

      by mojo chan (266) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:25PM (#124695)

      There was a programme on Channel 4 in the UK years ago where they asked some people to undergo US "enhanced interrogation" for a few days. They got a white American guy who was ex army and convinced that torture was necessary, and some Asian males. The American guy didn't last a day before asking to leave, but the Muslim guys managed to stick it out a bit longer.

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:41PM

      by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:41PM (#124751)

      Absolutely - we should throw the book at those individuals who were "just following orders" - allowing such a defense is an invitation to your "troops" to just do what they're told no matter how abhorrent, which is absolutely not something any civilized nation should condone, no matter what the commanders would prefer.

      But we should throw it even harder at the people giving those orders - they should have to serve a similar punishment for *every single instance* in which they gave such orders - including those given after the atrocities were comfortably ensconced in euphemisms an unspoken implications.

    • (Score: 1) by Murdoc on Thursday December 11 2014, @09:11AM

      by Murdoc (2518) on Thursday December 11 2014, @09:11AM (#124992) Homepage

      Wouldn't fly. They don't believe that what they are doing is so black and white, but rather bad, but "for the greater good", which is unfortunately a legitimate reason sometimes (e.g. cutting a person open is usually regarded as bad, but when it is to remove an inflamed appendix it could save their life), so here we enter the huge murky grey area of ethics. And also, they may still not want to confess to it even if they thought it was right because they would likely believe that the public (or whoever) "wouldn't understand".

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Kell on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:01AM

    by Kell (292) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:01AM (#124429)

    You know what's a good way to avoid backlash against the use of brutal torture tactics? Don't use torture! The Americans can't just wring their hands about how they'll be cast in a bad light when they actually did the things that make them look bad. This should be a wake up call to the hawks that the civilised world finds torture repugnant, and that you will be disparaged for it.

    --
    Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:43AM (#124438)

      If you don't get into something, you won't have to get out of something.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by pnkwarhall on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:23AM

      by pnkwarhall (4558) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:23AM (#124450)

      The argument against releasing the report, according to "leading Republican lawmakers", is that making the contents known could incite violence against Americans -- not just cast the country in a bad light. The response from administration officials is that (FTFA) "they do not expect the report [...] to ignite [...] violence."

      This is the sentiment I have a problem with. The response from the administration isn't that the report should be released because "it's the right thing to do" or because they support transparency in government. Instead, the response seems to be that it's "OK" to release because it won't result in any kind of real consequences for the US. This is the kind of thinking I expect from my children -- if I tell Dad the truth, I'll be punished so I should just continue with the lie.

      I expect^H^H^H^H^H desire mature, and more importantly, **moral** thinking from the people chosen to lead and represent me. This is neither. **Consequences are how we learn.**

      --
      Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:56PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:56PM (#124624) Journal

        I expect^H^H^H^H^H desire mature, and more importantly, **moral** thinking from the people chosen to lead and represent me. This is neither. **Consequences are how we learn.**

        Unfortunately, in this case, it's them who should learn; will they ever?

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by pnkwarhall on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:21PM

          by pnkwarhall (4558) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:21PM (#124777)

          I don't think we can fully lay the blame on the politicians. We've got protesters in the streets right now about police brutality and lack of consequences -- I don't remember the same reaction when the torture methods first came to light. As horrible as it sounds, "we the people" ARE responsible for the actions and attitudes of our representatives/leaders.

          I like to bitch (on this site and elsewhere) about the negative influence that corporations have on our society. But it's our society that built and supports the corporate status quo.

          People built the system, and only people can replace it.

          --
          Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
    • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:50AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:50AM (#124462)

      What makes them think it will be well received in the U.S?

      • (Score: 2) by pnkwarhall on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:13PM

        by pnkwarhall (4558) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:13PM (#124770)

        I would say a recent tradition of apathy would lead them to expect a lack of consequences/response in the US -- but the current protest trend has me thinking more positive thoughts about us lately.

        --
        Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:44AM

      by davester666 (155) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:44AM (#124511)

      I'm still surprised McCain wasn't against doing this stuff. Back then he actually sided with Bush on waterboarding and other 'enhanced' interrogation techniques....

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:36PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:36PM (#124667) Journal

        Really? Being a morally compromised individual, as one must be after that many years in the capital of whores, is practically a core job requirement. Lemme see, you were the victim of torture and therefore ought to stand strong and proud against such war crimes? Yeah, nope. You've been inside the Beltway for 40 years, which is enough time to turn even Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed into purveyors of smut.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Gravis on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:03AM

    by Gravis (4596) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:03AM (#124430)

    Some leading Republican lawmakers have warned against releasing the report, saying that domestic and foreign intelligence reports indicate that a detailed account of the brutal interrogation methods used by the CIA during the George W. Bush administration could incite unrest and violence, even resulting in the deaths of Americans.

    ok seriously, if it's that bad then perhaps they should be putting the people involved in jail for you know... torturing people.
    "but it's not really torture"
    if it's not torture then there isn't any reason for people to be upset, right?
     

    so is it torture or not? yeah, didnt think so. -_-
    fucking cowards.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:03AM (#124445)

      You expect better from a country that won't punish it's own murderous cops killing it's own citizens despite video evidence...

      • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:09AM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:09AM (#124473)

        Hey, cops have hard jobs! People in authority shouldn't be responsible for their own actions! Everyone knows that "the land of the free and the home of the brave" is all about blindly trusting the government.

        Now that's personal accountability and small government for you. It seems like most of the people advocating for either of those are actually hardcore authoritarians.

    • (Score: 2) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:05AM

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:05AM (#124446) Journal

      You want to ensure the "deaths of Americans", just stick the Ferguson or NYPD on the case...

      --
      You're betting on the pantomime horse...
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by TheGratefulNet on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:33AM

      by TheGratefulNet (659) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:33AM (#124480)

      there you go - you win the thread.

      what better way to show the world that we were wrong, we know we were wrong - than to jail the ones who APPROVED this. the so-called legal experts should be thrown in jail with no hope of parole.

      SHOW THE WORLD that we can learn from our own mistakes. admit to the mistake. own up to it. then come up with a plan to make sure it never happens again. (hmmm, I seem dangerously close to godwining myself, I think).

      of course, the first rule in politics is: never admit you were wrong.

      what will do? it will show the world NOTHING new about us and they will think badly about us and worse than before. we could take this as an opportunity to FIX things. but I am 100% sure that we won't ;(

      maybe we deserve to be abused world-wide. I took no part in any of this, but I'm ashamed to be an american, when crap like this comes to public view.

      what has been going on the past 10+ yrs has truly made me shameful of my american heritage. and I'm not referring to a dictionary, here.

      --
      "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:21AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:21AM (#124499)

        what better way to show the world that we were wrong, we know we were wrong - than to jail the ones who APPROVED this. the so-called legal experts should be thrown in jail with no hope of parole.

        The only person who will ever go to jail over the CIA's torturing is already in jail - John Kiriakou. [vox.com]

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:41PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:41PM (#124670) Journal

        Yes, and it begs the question, at what point will our government commit to enforcing the law against criminals? Any law? The biggest banks launder billions of dollars for drug cartels. Let off, scot-free. The NSA violates fundamental provisions of our Constitution and lies to Congress about it. Let off, scot-free. Police officers are summarily executing citizens of our country in the streets. Let off, scot-free. The CIA tortures people in contravention of the Geneva Convention, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and our very own Constitution, and they're gonna get off, scot-free too.

        At some point, and I dearly pray it comes soon, the American people will step in, as they must, and hold all them accountable to the maximum extent. Washington D.C. delenda est.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 2) by tomtomtom on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:54PM

        by tomtomtom (340) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:54PM (#124677)

        No, it should 100% not be the legal "experts" that go to jail. It should be the people who did it and the people who approved/ordered it. Those people asked for legal advice. Legal advice can be wrong - you can get a bad lawyer, or run into an area of the law which is uncertain. In those instances, it is not your lawyer who should bear the responsibility - it is you. If you want to avoid the consequences of breaking the law, you err on the side of caution; you ask your lawyers to give you the most conservative interpretation, you ask more than one lawyer, and you use your own common sense as to the intent of the law. If we followed the idea of "prosecute the lawyers" being talked about here in ordinary criminal law, there would be no criminals in jail, only lawyers.

        If the people who relied on faulty legal advice were punished for that mistake, then perhaps next time they won't be so quick to put the legal experts under pressure to give them the answer they want, and will instead ask them for the correct answer and apply their own good judgment. A good rule of thumb is, if you feel the need to ask for legal advice, you're probably on shaky ground already.

        Separately, if the legal experts knowingly gave bad advice, they should be disbarred and perhaps fined. But that shouldn't excuse those who are actually guilty.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:26PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:26PM (#124843)

          I dare say that a lawyer saying "yeah, what you want to do is A-OK with the law" to the question "can I waterboard this dude", has no business being a lawyer.

  • (Score: 1, Redundant) by isostatic on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:45AM

    by isostatic (365) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:45AM (#124440) Journal

    What's the tech angle here?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Tork on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:58AM

      by Tork (3914) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:58AM (#124443)
      Click on the 'about' link.
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 2) by chromas on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:54AM

      by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:54AM (#124466) Journal

      For one thing, the Obama administration was forcing systemd and PulseAudio on suspected ter'rists, while the Bush admin used Norton and Windows Vista. Rumor has it that we're going to fork the CIA. Watch for the Kickstarter.

    • (Score: 2) by arslan on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:54AM

      by arslan (3462) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:54AM (#124467)

      Well it has yet to be released, but I suspect the tech angle is that the torture involves digital content, miley cyrus, google cardboard and an Android phone... go figure

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:01AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:01AM (#124470) Journal

      What's the tech angle here?

      Another obtuse one.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by TheGratefulNet on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:35AM

        by TheGratefulNet (659) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:35AM (#124483)

        a-cute comment like this is why I keep coming back to soylent...

        --
        "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:38AM

          by Tork (3914) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:38AM (#124505)
          I really don't understand why you guys don't realize that you're not funny. It's as plane as day!
          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:18AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:18AM (#124477)

      The name of the blog is Soylentnews and, as such, it's fine for it to cover a wide array of topics.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Silentknyght on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:09AM

    by Silentknyght (1905) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:09AM (#124472)

    I don't know why EVERYONE keeps discussing whether or not any "useful" information was obtained through torture... as if something "useful" was obtained, then the ends justified the means, and everything about the torture was/is suddenly okay. I think the entire discussion about the "usefulness" of the information is a red herring; torture cannot be condoned regardless of the "usefulness" of the information obtained.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:26AM (#124501)

      The reason people talk about it is because there are two distinct arguments regarding torture - the "pro" and the "con."

      (pro) Argument for torture: Torture 'works'
      (con) Argument against torture: Torture is immoral

      The pro-torture people don't care about morality, arguing about morality won't sway them. So if you want to convince that audience, you need to address their argument.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:14AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:14AM (#124506)

        This a thousand times over. Sung by choirs from the roofs of the cities.

        "Argumentation" in dichotomous America, polarized between red team and blue team, usually takes the form of two groups of monkeys screaming about totally different things, usually in two distinct jargons, and wondering why the other side doesn't make sense to them. You can tell which team the monkey belongs to by the words he uses: sustainable = blue, job-creation = red, social justice = blue, personal responsibility = red, etc. They have fractured the English language so that the monkeys don't remember how to talk to each other, just scream and fling feces and bask in the self-righteousness of their screaming feces-flinging. None of either team's monkeys is willing to address the points the other team's monkeys make, because it's about a different thing and in a different jargon.

        That's what's going on with the protests over police brutality: one side wants "justice" (even if there isn't even enough evidence for a trial -- that must be a lie that the unjust tell in order to keep us from getting "justice") while the other sees nothing but the Free Shit Army using a dead hoodlum as an excuse for looting burned-out shops. Neither side sees the other, listens to the other, or would understand what the other side was saying. The torture "debate" goes the same way: one team of monkeys sees religious fanatics under duress getting what they always deserved and maybe giving up some of their secret fanatic plans as an added bonus, while the other team of monkeys thinks that Our Sacred Honor Must Be Upheld and the stain of torture must be brought into the light of day while we ignore the drone wars and the puppet regimes and the interference in other countries' sovereign affairs and all the other dark things we do in the night. And, in the end, we're all still a circus of monkeys fighting a tragicomic battle flinging poo while the tent burns.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:05PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:05PM (#124625) Journal

          personal responsibility = red

          Is this a joke or something? 'cause I don't get how this fits with Republican lawmakers have warned against releasing the report, where's the responsibility factor in that?

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:39PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:39PM (#124669)

            Don't confuse "personal responsibility" with "organizational responsibility" - the authoritarian mindset is heavily biased to support hierarchy. This attitude is rooted in the belief that the organization provides a net good so holding it accountable endangers the net good. This is why all the defense of the torturers is "buck passing" to the diffused responsibility of the organization instead of holding individual torturers accountable - in their worldview it is perfectly OK if the organization has systemic problems as long as all the individuals involved did not act in bad faith (i.e. just following the rules). Here is another example of similar thinking Arizona v Youngblood. [theatlantic.com]

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11 2014, @02:10PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11 2014, @02:10PM (#125048)

            It's what they talk about, not necessarily what they actually believe in or do. The red team uses the language of "personal responsibility" when the blue team uses that of "caring," concepts which are orthogonal but both applied in different senses and ways to the debate over subsidies for the poor (food, housing, etc). Even specifying those subsidies has different language: red team says they're taxpayer-provided subsidies, blue team government-provided.

      • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:22AM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:22AM (#124509)

        The pro-torture people don't care about morality, arguing about morality won't sway them.

        Then they are likely the cause of the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, DUI checkpoints, and numerous other violations of our constitution and our fundamental liberty. In "the land of the free and the home of the brave," freedom should be considered more important than safety. Yet, these people would give up our freedom, constitution, and principles to obtain a feeling of safety.

        I do not quite understand why they don't just move to North Korea.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:10AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:10AM (#124529)

          Then they are likely the cause of the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, DUI checkpoints, and numerous other violations of our constitution and our fundamental liberty.

          Yes, they are, not because they are bad-asses defending us whiney liberals, but because they are cowards. Dick "Dick" Cheney is a coward. He knows that torture works, because it would work him. He knows that we will do whatever the terrorists want us to, if they have the upper hand, so it is important to be more terrorist than the terrorists to keep that from happening, because, OMG, anal hydration? The CIA does this as a "favor" to you? Best comment so far: the people who did this are not Americans. We need to make an example of them.

      • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:41PM

        by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:41PM (#124640)

        (con) Argument against torture: Torture doesn't work, and is immoral

        FTFY.

        --
        "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:41PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:41PM (#124671)

          No, you didn't fix shit. In fact you completely and utterly missed the point. Biggest wooooosh! EVER.

          • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:06PM

            by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:06PM (#124682)

            Really? I think you did.

            So if you want to convince that audience, you need to address their argument.

            The fact that their argument is categorically false... I'd call that one pretty fuckin' addressed argument. Somehow, though, it hasn't stopped the assholes (the ones doing it, nor the ones supporting it), so I think "addressing their argument" didn't accomplish anything.

            --
            "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
            • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:14AM

              by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:14AM (#124957)

              True, torture doesn't work.

              But the single largest problem with it is that the ends don't justify the means. I like to focus on the morality aspect of it because I want to make it clear that even if it did work, I would be 100% opposed to it.

              • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:09PM

                by GeminiDomino (661) on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:09PM (#125097)

                In principle, I agree. But, semi-literate as he came across, the AC did have a valid point in that you can't argue morality with immoral and amoral actors: by "focusing on the morality aspect of it", one makes a fine statement of personal principle while doing absolutely nothing to address the problem.

                --
                "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
                • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday December 12 2014, @05:07AM

                  by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday December 12 2014, @05:07AM (#125377)

                  The problem is that you're arguing with people who have essentially no principles and don't care about inflicting pain upon prisoners to get what they want. I have a feeling they'd be willing to torture people just for the sake of vengeance even if they knew it wouldn't get them any good information.

                  • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Friday December 12 2014, @07:11PM

                    by GeminiDomino (661) on Friday December 12 2014, @07:11PM (#125554)

                    The problem is that you're arguing with people who have essentially no principles and don't care about inflicting pain upon prisoners to get what they want

                    Exactly my point. Taking the principle/moral position with such people is just empty, self-righteous posturing.

                    I have a feeling they'd be willing to torture people just for the sake of vengeance even if they knew it wouldn't get them any good information.

                    And since it doesn't get them any reliable information, it's not unreasonable to conclude that to, in fact, be the case.

                    --
                    "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
                    • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday December 12 2014, @09:19PM

                      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday December 12 2014, @09:19PM (#125595)

                      I'm saying that neither argument will truly work with a majority of them. They just see it as inflicting harm upon Bad People, which they don't care about.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:41PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:41PM (#124791)

        The reason people talk about it is because there are two distinct arguments regarding torture - the "pro" and the "con."

        (pro) Argument for torture: Torture 'works'
        (con) Argument against torture: Torture is immoral

        The pro-torture people don't care about morality, arguing about morality won't sway them. So if you want to convince that audience, you need to address their argument.

        Yes, we have heard this argument at least a dozen times before. This suggests that the pro-torture people aren't really interested in the effectiveness of torture as a means to get information out of an unwilling detainee. The humongous elephant in the room here is that advocates for torture are sadistic people who just plain delight in the pain of others. This is what really needs to be addressed. Until we address that, we will be talking past each other.

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:55AM

      by Tork (3914) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:55AM (#124512)
      Does morality serve you after you've been conquered?
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
      • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:21AM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:21AM (#124535)

        Yes, it does. So much for "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Being free and brave carries risks; accept it, or move to an existing authoritarian hellhole.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:58AM

          by Tork (3914) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:58AM (#124548)

          Yes, it does. So much for "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Being free and brave carries risks; accept it, or move to an existing authoritarian hellhole.

          I'm betting you haven't put a significant amount of time contemplating just how your principles would stack up to need to survive.

          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
          • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:20AM

            by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:20AM (#124553)

            I'm betting you haven't put a significant amount of time contemplating all the people's freedoms you've helped take with your authoritarian attitude. I thank you and your ilk for the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, laws like the Patriot Act, and the numerous other violations of our constitution and fundamental liberties.

            The land of the free and the home of the brave: A land where people bravely surrender their freedoms to the government in exchange for safety so that it can be free to do as it pleases. Well, at least it's better than North Korea!

            • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:53AM

              by Tork (3914) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:53AM (#124559)

              I'm betting you haven't put a significant amount of time contemplating all the people's freedoms you've helped take with your authoritarian attitude.

              That would be a poor bet considering I didn't actually express a view on the matter. What I did do was ask a question that I'd still like an answer to. Even though you didn't bother to ask, I'll volunteer the information that I'm anti-torture, anti-TSA, and anti-Patriot Act. Hopefully that'll spare us another round of your self-righteous horseshit and get us back to discussing a philosophical topic... preferably with practical details and light on the Doctor Who'esque speeches. I like to think of my self as a strong moral character but since my life has never been threatened I don't actually know where I'd go to survive, so I'm curious what happens when that question is seriously considered.

              --
              Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:13PM

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:13PM (#124631) Journal

                and get us back to discussing a philosophical topic...

                Read again the end of Orwel's 1984: the protagonist surrendered his values and survived Miniluv's treatment. Get a refresher on what happens with the survivors, see if you can resonate with the idea.

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
              • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:58PM

                by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:58PM (#124680) Journal

                I like to think of my self as a strong moral character but since my life has never been threatened I don't actually know where I'd go to survive, so I'm curious what happens when that question is seriously considered.

                Is life as a slave worth living? It's a persistent human question. The Roman proverb said, "It is better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand days as a lamb." Through to the present day, many, like me, belong to an organization that emphasizes integrity above life. I can say my actual physical life has never been threatened in such a way, but my professional life has been many times and I have always chosen integrity, though the other path always offered greater material reward. Perhaps I, and they, would react differently in that life-or-death situation. None of us can really know until we're faced with that moment.

                But that is not what we're talking about here. There was never any situation, as in the hypothetical "ticking bomb" scenario, wherein it was a life-or-death decision. We have, and did have, clear codes of conduct and laws that prohibit exactly what the CIA and the government did. They crossed the line of civilized behavior. They did evil. They must pay with their lives. Period.

                Anything else is bullshit.

                --
                Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @10:45AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @10:45AM (#124607)

        Yes. Because it doesn't matter whether you're conquered if it would only change the oppressor.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:45PM

          by Tork (3914) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:45PM (#124857)
          Okay. So what if the opponent maintains a superior position because they have no morals? Hmm I'll phrase it a different way: I don't own a gun. I don't want to own a gun. I don't want to shoot anybody. But if an armed intruder ended up in my house and I managed to get his gun, I cannot say with honesty that I wouldn't at least put some serious consideration into ending that situation once and for all. There's a very good chance I'd fire. Is that an appropriate time to compromise my morals, or is there a point where my own existence is more important? If so, what's the objective way to measure that?
          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
          • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:16AM

            by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:16AM (#124958)

            In such a situation, you did not compromise your morals. You didn't own a gun and didn't want to. You still don't own a gun (it isn't yours), even if you took one from an attacker and used it against them. It's also a simple case of self-defense. Absolutely no morals were compromised.

            • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday December 11 2014, @09:14PM

              by Tork (3914) on Thursday December 11 2014, @09:14PM (#125256)
              That is a good point, thank you.
              --
              Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:36PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @12:36PM (#124622)

        Does morality serve you after you've been conquered?

        You're asking this question of the person being tortured, right? Because I don't see how the US could have claimed they were going to be conquered after 9/11.

        In some cases the US was torturing people who they *thought* *may* have information but had not been justly accused of any crime and had not done anything wrong except being born in a country the US was attacking at the moment. Not that torture is acceptable under any circumstances, but this shows just how readily they were willing to believe their own lies.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:14PM

          by Tork (3914) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:14PM (#124771)
          No. I'm asking where the line is where the end is in sight and you say 'fuck this!' and you take your gloves off.
          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:42PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:42PM (#124853)

            I think the line is well *before* you hit torture...
            If I start torturing you, I have just given you a justification for torturing me. If I am about to be conquered, but before that happens, I decide to start torturing all of your guys I have in my custody. Well, as soon as you find out about that, you're going to retaliate, aren't you?

            Instead, if I show you that I too, am a human being, the effect may very well be that you too will show mercy to me, the conquered one. If you fall in the camp that is convinced that "even if there is a 1% probability of shit going seriously south, then I should act as if that probability is 100%", then I feel sorry for you, and for anyone around you.
            There likely is a 1% probability that your spouse will hit you in the future... better for you to start hitting your spouse before your spouse starts hitting you... right? right????

            Lastly, there is the argument that says "why wouldn't we do it, the other guys are doing it to us too". I find this logic incredibly weak. The majority is hardly ever right (they write the history books, but that doesn't mean they are right). If you are a parent, I'm sure you've heard (one of) your kids use this phrase at some point: "...but all the other kids are doing it". Anyone using said logic should be treated as a kid and be given the same level of responsibility: none! (that and a good whack on the head and talking to)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:33PM (#124848)

        So you're saying that if someone as much as steps on your toes, you are well within your right to nuke them from orbit?
        Is your argument that usage of nuclear weapons is justified for anything at all?

        I'll keep that in mind next time you offend me. Using this logic, I as a conqueror do not have to act morally and can obliterate/destroy you in your entirety.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:37PM

          by Tork (3914) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:37PM (#124850)

          So you're saying that if someone as much as steps on your toes, you are well within your right to nuke them from orbit?

          Nope.

          Is your argument that usage of nuclear weapons is justified for anything at all?

          Nope.

          'll keep that in mind next time you offend me. Using this logic, I as a conqueror do not have to act morally and can obliterate/destroy you in your entirety.

          Kay... just remember that I asked a question, I didn't make an argument.

          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:31AM (#124574)

      So much this.

      We might as well be discussing whether or not "useful" sex comes out of rape. That does not legitimize rape or torture.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gman003 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:09AM

    by gman003 (4155) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:09AM (#124474)

    For the sake of argument, let's assume that torture even works.

    We shouldn't be doing it on a regular basis. We're the good guys, right? Maybe there's some extreme circumstances, but we don't need to be doing it on any sort of large scale, and never if there are other options. I don't think I need to repeat the ethical arguments against torture here, and that we can all agree at least on this.

    For the sake of argument, let's assume there actually are some cases that are desperate enough to justify any means, the "ticking bomb" scenario, as some like to call it.

    Even if you accept both of those assumptions as true, you STILL don't need to make it legal, and in fact you can make a strong case that you should not (even with both of those rather extreme starting points).

    Hypothetical scenario: terrorist has planted a nuke somewhere in NYC, there's five minutes left on the clock and you need to know how to defuse it. You've got the guy, you know 100% that he's the guy, but he's not talking. For this scenario, torture is absolutely illegal, and will get you sent to prison probably for life. Let's also assume that you are reasonably confident that you can get the info out of him with torture, and save tens of millions of lives, and that no other option will work in time.

    Would you do it? I would. I would do it, save everyone, then surrender myself immediately to the courts, take the punishment. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one", even when it's me. Maybe the jury would acquit me, saying that it was justified in that one extreme scenario. Maybe I'd get pardoned - that's what the pardon is for, extreme cases that the laws are not able to cover. Maybe it wouldn't work, and I'd get the death penalty just for trying. There's no way to predict the exceptions, but if the law says "you torture someone, we toss you in jail until you're dead", that's a pretty good average prediction for what would happen to me.

    I'd still do it. And if *I*, a notoriously self-centered bastard, am willing to sacrifice myself that way, I would hope that the people charged with protecting our country would be similarly noble. If it truly is a no-other-option scenario, I hope self-preservation takes a back seat to duty.

    In this case, the blanket no-exceptions laws against torture acts as a high threshold for when it is to be done - only when the person on the ground is willing to go to jail for a very long time for whatever gain they would get. That gives a pretty good guarantee that a) it isn't done except when there is an urgent need, b) it isn't done without a specific purpose, c) it isn't done when other options are available, and d) that the potential gain is greater than the ethical cost of doing it.

    So, even with every assumption stacked towards the side of torture, we find that it still doesn't make sense to have an actual law or policy or ruling allowing it.

    Now, those assumptions are just that - assumptions. Many studies show torture does not yield accurate information, and I have not heard of a scenario that actually happened that would justify it. I think the odds of torture being correctly and successfully used is pretty much astronomical, but I cannot say that it cannot ever happen, and so I made allowances for that. But I cannot and will not attempt to justify it as a regular practice.

    • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:13AM

      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:13AM (#124475)

      Would you do it? I would.

      Then you're worthless and unprincipled. Vanish.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Kell on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:30AM

        by Kell (292) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:30AM (#124479)

        I disagree with your assessment. I believe what he's saying here is that "If it is for whatever constructed reason a desperately urgent thing to do then, regardless of cost to the self, the principled person will do it". If you legalise things, you tacitly condone them. If you have something that is never ever legal and the personal ramifications for doing it are dire, then it will only be done in cases where the externalities will justify it regardless of legality. Would you torture a person to save all of humanity? Of course you would; if you didn't you would be a monster for letting your personal quibbles kill every man woman and child by inaction. That doesn't mean that we should have existing exceptions for those cases, but it anticipates that there is a relief valve in case it ever is somehow truly necessary. Analogously, there is a law against murder, but I will definitely kill someone to save my family laws be damned.

        --
        Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
        • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:17AM

          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:17AM (#124508)

          Would you torture a person to save all of humanity?

          If we needed to torture someone to save all of humanity, humanity wouldn't be worth saving.

          • (Score: 2) by Kell on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:24AM

            by Kell (292) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:24AM (#124537)

            If we needed to torture someone to save all of humanity, humanity wouldn't be worth saving.

            That's a pithy statement, but unfortunately it falls down when you take into account the existence of conflict.
             
            Sometimes people do things that harm one another; they even feel justified in doing them. Civilisation as a whole has asserted that an acceptable level of force may be applied to stop them. How much violence is acceptable depends on context: eg, tasing a violent drunk, shooting an armed intruder, or bombing an enemy state. Torture is likewise a violent method being to extract information with the goal of stopping future harm. What makes torture the subject of debate is that it is being applied against a person who is not a direct physical threat; the harm being prevented is abstract and prospective (and susceptible to extrajudicial abuse). It is a matter of degrees. Consider the alternate case of perjury: a witness is told they must tell the truth about a matter, or else they will be put in jail and held there for some fixed term by guards authorised to use violent force. We don't consider this to be "torture" because of the legal framework involved, but ultimately we are still using threat of force to coerce cooperation, albeit with a minimum amount of violence.
             
            The use of force to minimise harm does not mean that humanity is not worth saving. It only means that conflict still exists in the world - perhaps one day we'll all grow up and violence will not be used to solve disputes. For now, we do not live in that reality.

            --
            Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
            • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:31AM

              by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:31AM (#124540)

              That's a pithy statement, but unfortunately it falls down when you take into account the existence of conflict.

              It doesn't fall down, because it's a value statement. Those are simply my principles. No torture, ever.

              We're talking about capturing someone and then torturing them; anything else is completely offtopic, including shooting armed intruders who themselves are still active threats. So the rest of your reply doesn't interest me in the slightest.

              • (Score: 2) by Kell on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:44AM

                by Kell (292) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:44AM (#124546)

                Well, I'd say it's an absolutist statement wrapped in a conditional: "If we needed to torture someone to save all of humanity, humanity wouldn't be worth saving."
                 
                It boils down to definitions of what is torture and what is need. I've shown that torture lies on a spectrum of violent behaviours that protect civilisation (at the extreme end, I agree), so really we are quibbling about degrees. As such, the range of violent options and degrees of torturousness employed is actually germane - eg, waterboarding for the bomb disarm codes vs singing Broadway tunes obnoxiously to coerce kids to get off my lawn.
                 
                Educate me: how do you discern between what interrogation techniques are and are not torture?

                --
                Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
                • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:03AM

                  by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:03AM (#124549)

                  It boils down to definitions of what is torture and what is need.

                  "need" = required for saving the human race from a hypothetical threat that won't ever exist.

                  I've shown that torture lies on a spectrum of violent behaviours that protect civilisation

                  Yeah, if you define everything as torture.

                  vs singing Broadway tunes obnoxiously to coerce kids to get off my lawn.

                  Unless you captured them and forced them to listen to you, that isn't torture; they could just walk away. I can't think of a scenario where a torture victim isn't restrained at the moment, but almost always, someone being tortured is first captured.

                  Educate me: how do you discern between what interrogation techniques are and are not torture?

                  I can't give you an exact line, but I know that waterboarding and what these fools do is torture.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:21AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:21AM (#124571) Journal

                    "need" = required for saving the human race from a hypothetical threat that won't ever exist.

                    In other words, you have an absolute position because you don't think your beliefs will ever be tested.

                    • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:13PM

                      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:13PM (#124630)

                      No, I said no such thing. I answered his unrealistic hypothetical completely honestly.

                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:13PM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:13PM (#124655) Journal
                        You are right. You never explicitly say that all your moral grandstanding is because you never think you will ever be tested by this particular contrived moral quandary. But when your argument against boils down to "it won't happen", then you aren't arguing over the moral aspects of the problem.
                        • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:11AM

                          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:11AM (#124954)

                          You never explicitly say that all your moral grandstanding is because you never think you will ever be tested by this particular contrived moral quandary.

                          And neither do you, because there are all kinds of hypothetical situations that will never come about that would also test your principles. It means nothing.

                          But when your argument against boils down to "it won't happen"

                          My argument boiled down to no such thing. I merely mentioned that it won't happen. Learn the difference.

                          Because every decision government makes saves tens of millions of lives?

                          No, because torture is wrong and no one should condone it. We are talking about government torture. That's the realm of limitless government.

                          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday December 11 2014, @10:36AM

                            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 11 2014, @10:36AM (#125000) Journal

                            No, because torture is wrong and no one should condone it. We are talking about government torture. That's the realm of limitless government.

                            Who actually "condones" torture in this thread? Is it you?

                            • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday December 12 2014, @07:38AM

                              by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday December 12 2014, @07:38AM (#125400)

                              Anyone saying they would torture someone in some hypothetical extreme situation to save lives apparently condones torture, at least in those situations.

                              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 12 2014, @11:21PM

                                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 12 2014, @11:21PM (#125622) Journal

                                at least in those situations.

                                Which morally speaking isn't saying much.

                  • (Score: 2) by Kell on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:44AM

                    by Kell (292) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:44AM (#124578)

                    I won't disagree that the behaviour of these people was wrong. I feel we are on the same side of the debate in that regards. My point here is that it's not a simple problem. There is no clear line between interrogation and torture, and it's only muddier for people whose moral affinity is not as attuned as yours.
                     
                    I don't adhere to the notion of moral absolutes; I can always find a counter-example to those assertions. For example, I very much expect I would be willing to torture someone to save my family (and I'm deeply skeptical of any person who says they wouldn't). The OP's point of "Make it illegal and ruinous for anyone to do, and it will only be done in case of utmost need" is probably fair.

                    --
                    Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
                    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 10 2014, @10:16AM

                      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday December 10 2014, @10:16AM (#124601) Homepage
                      Fortunately, we have a scale of different repremands and punishments ranging from an off-the-record "don't do that again" to, in some countries, a death sentence in order to deal with the different magnitudes of transgressions.
                      --
                      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
                    • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:22PM

                      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:22PM (#124635)

                      There is no clear line between interrogation and torture

                      We could always evaluate the science and see what it does to people. There might not be a clear line, but some things are just obviously torture.

                      For example, I very much expect I would be willing to torture someone to save my family (and I'm deeply skeptical of any person who says they wouldn't).

                      That wouldn't make it any less wrong.

                      • (Score: 2) by Kell on Wednesday December 10 2014, @11:29PM

                        by Kell (292) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @11:29PM (#124905)

                        That wouldn't make it any less wrong.

                        And now we circle back to the original post. Yes, we should punish torture severely. The realpolitik is that if someone feels it is a vital expedient to torture someone, then they will do it anyway. Thus, we do not need legal provisions that explicitly allow torture in any circumstances. We should make it highly illegal and severely censure those who do it - that way, the only way it will ever happen is if someone believes its urgency justifies their own direct and assured punishment as a result. Right or wrong is subjective, but the policy is grounded in game theory with a little dose of human psychology. It's a similar mechanism to jury nullification.

                        --
                        Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
                        • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:08AM

                          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:08AM (#124952)

                          You're talking about something different than I am.

                          • (Score: 2) by Kell on Thursday December 11 2014, @01:46PM

                            by Kell (292) on Thursday December 11 2014, @01:46PM (#125035)

                            In which case I have no idea what you're talking about... but this was what the OP was talking about in the first place.

                            --
                            Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
            • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:11PM

              by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:11PM (#124685) Journal

              People, stop and think! Please, stop and think. There is discussion, even on this board, among people of greater than average intelligence, of the practical, real-politik value of torture. Torture is wrong. It is a crime against humanity. Full. Stop.

              Leave off the fake butch discussion of its utility. Leave off the "It's a dangerous world" crap. It has always been a dangerous world. It always will be. It does not change the fact that torture is totally, categorically, wrong. It is evil. Those who do it are evil. Those who order it done are evil. All of them must face the death penalty.

              If you do not agree, then kindly remove yourselves from our company and go live in some pariah state like North Korea where political opponents are fed to starving packs of wild dogs. You suck, and I don't want your kids playing with my kids.

              --
              Washington DC delenda est.
              • (Score: 2) by Kell on Wednesday December 10 2014, @11:22PM

                by Kell (292) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @11:22PM (#124902)

                I don't condone torture, but I also do condone absoluteism, either. If one can't find a compelling reason that something could ever happen, they lack imagination or are a zealot. Are you seriously telling us that people should 'go away' just because they have a difference of opinion? Absoluteism is the bedfellow of extremism. I don't want your kids playing with my kids.

                --
                Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
                • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday December 11 2014, @03:23AM

                  by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 11 2014, @03:23AM (#124944) Journal

                  When it comes to torture, yes, that is an absolute position. Under no circumstances, ever.

                  --
                  Washington DC delenda est.
                  • (Score: 2) by Kell on Thursday December 11 2014, @01:49PM

                    by Kell (292) on Thursday December 11 2014, @01:49PM (#125036)

                    Hypothetically thinking, what makes torture different from, say, use of nuclear weapons? Seriously, I would like to know what privilages one type of violence above others in terms of its unacceptibility. We as a civilisation are prepared to accept that it is sometimes ok to kill (in war, in the line of duty, etc) but somehow it's magically not to simply harm? What is the unifying principle here?

                    --
                    Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
                    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday December 11 2014, @02:20PM

                      by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 11 2014, @02:20PM (#125051) Journal

                      Because it's a war crime. There is no justification for torture under any circumstance because it is a crime against humanity. So please stop and consider where your moral relativism is taking you on this. You're essentially saying that there's nothing that you absolutely wouldn't do. Does that include, say, raping a child? Are you saying that you could see yourself having moral justification for that, under the right circumstances? Are you saying that there are totally, 100% despicable, evil acts that you could see yourself committing if the "context was right?" And that that would be OK?

                      Some things are beyond the pale. Child rape and torture are at least two. I would also include things like genocide and ethnic cleansing.

                      Please stop defending the indefensible. When you do that you don't just dehumanize the rest of us, you dehumanize yourself.

                      --
                      Washington DC delenda est.
                      • (Score: 2) by Kell on Thursday December 11 2014, @03:23PM

                        by Kell (292) on Thursday December 11 2014, @03:23PM (#125078)

                        I'm sorry, but I respectfully disagree. I would absolutely do the worst possible things for the best possible reasons. I (like most people) would kill for my family, and I would rate torture as being a lesser sin than killing. Obviously, the extingent circumstances needed to justify the truly reprehensible are pretty high. Would I wipe out one race of people to save all life in the univese? Yes. In an instant, because to do otherwise is monsterous. Fortunately, I am unlikely to ever be in that situation.

                        And no, just because you call something evil or a crime doesn't make it beyond the pale for a rational person. Murder is a crime, but killing in war is regarded as an acceptable behaviour when justified; the act itself is not evil, just its reason. Are you seriously saying you wouldn't torture someone to save your own family if you were absolutely convinced it would really work and was the one and only way?
                         
                        You don't like relativism - I get it. Just as I don't like absoluteism. The difference is that I'm not going to tell you that you're somehow less of a person for believing in it. And also, before you buckle your swashes about other people's morality, do remember that just because I think that extreme behaviour can be justifiable in extreme circumstances doesn't mean that I'm somehow arguing that torture or genocide are ever good or right, or that the Americans in any way were justified in using torture. My philosophical position is simply that sometimes doing the despicable thing is the best of a lousy set of options.

                        --
                        Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
                        • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:23PM

                          by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 11 2014, @04:23PM (#125104) Journal

                          And my position is that sometimes virtuous death is better than evil. If raping a thousand children would save my own family, I would still not do it. If torturing one man to death would save my family, I would still not do it. If wiping out a race of people, say, the Jews, would save the rest of humanity and my family, I would still not do it. And it's not a hypothetical family that I'm talking about, but my actual family and actual children. But then, I believe in God and an afterlife and that there are consequences to our actions in life that extend beyond death.

                          Consider that when you make excuses for monstrous acts, you too become a monster. The vast, vast majority of humanity agrees and has agreed that torture is a crime against humanity. If you choose to nevertheless excuse a crime against humanity, then you render yourself part of the conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity. Your saying that you would torture someone under certain circumstances is not OK. It's not a philosophical, academic question. It's a question about your humanity. And in this repartee at least you have failed, and failed again, wilfully. So perhaps you think that you're just typing words on an internet forum and that it doesn't mean anything, but what you are signalling is that you condone evil and that you consciously comply with that evil. That, my friend, makes you evil too.

                          --
                          Washington DC delenda est.
                          • (Score: 2) by Kell on Thursday December 11 2014, @05:03PM

                            by Kell (292) on Thursday December 11 2014, @05:03PM (#125132)

                            Consider that when you make excuses for monstrous acts, you too become a monster.

                            I disagree with this statement. Ultimately our difference of opinion depends on whether intentions matter or if only action matters. Ie. are actions innately good or evil? I think no, whereas you obviously think yes. Unless one of us can convince the other differently, it is unlikely that we will ever find resolution on this matter.

                            I further disagree that "making excuses" for monsterous acts indicates culpability in the act or is somehow tantamount to crime against humanity. If an action is justified, then it needs no excusing and there is no responsibility for anyone except the person who took it upon themselves to perform the act. I deny entirely your premise that identifying the rational basis for action makes me somehow liable for it. That's simply ridiculous.
                             
                            I will kill a man threatening my family (yes, my real actual non-hypothetical family) if that is the only way to save them. You can throw me in prision for it, but I'd do it again. Why? Because I would believe my action was justified. You might say it boils down to "the ends justify the means"; of course the more horrendous the means, the more critical and urgent that end had better be. I'm hardly going to kill a man who bears no credible risk to my family, even if he makes threatening statements? Why? Because the urgency doesn't justify it. If he had a gun pointed at their heads and made clear he was about to pull the trigger, then I would act with all possible violence to avert it.
                             
                            If you want to call me evil for defending my family, feel free. I could just as well call you evil for allowing harm to come to those you are charged to protect because you are too "principled" to take the moral burden upon yourself for their protection. Absolutist morals are a fine thing in civil life and it's great that people can enjoy the luxury of them, however it's not true for all parts of the world, or even sometimes in our own privilaged society. I pray that I will never need employ violence to protect that society or the people I care about. But I will, and I will rest well doing so.

                            --
                            Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 10 2014, @10:10AM

            by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday December 10 2014, @10:10AM (#124599) Homepage
            You're making a judgement about all of humanity based on the actions of one person?

            You're worse than Old Testament God, at least he was prepared to spare Sodom if he found 50 righteous people there. You're prepared to see the whole planet burn even if there are *entire continents* (ones outside the US' borders, presuming this torturing is taking place in the US) of righteous people.

            Ever heard the expression "throwing the baby out with the bathwater"? You're throwing maybe billions of babies out. Congratulations - you're a better exterminator than Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot put together!
            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
            • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:15PM

              by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:15PM (#124633)

              You're making a judgement about all of humanity based on the actions of one person?

              I'm making a judgement that a world where you have you torture one person to save all of humanity probably has so many problems it isn't worth living in.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @11:45PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @11:45PM (#124913)

            If we needed to torture someone to save all of humanity, humanity wouldn't be worth saving.

            It must be so easy, so comfortable living in a world of pure black and white, with no shades of grey in between. After all, having to wrestle with morally complex situations can be so...wearisome. The rest of us, though, have to live in the real world. But I don't think I would recommend that for you. You and the rest of the Fundamentalists (whether religious, or not) would find that world far too frightening.

      • (Score: 2) by gman003 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:06AM

        by gman003 (4155) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:06AM (#124489)

        No, I am a realist.

        I conceded only that conditions under which I would torture someone are not completely impossible. They are very extreme conditions, and I myself doubt that they ever have or ever will occur in reality, and they consist only of scenarios so bleak and desperate that torture becomes the lesser of two evils, but they are not completely impossible.

        Under ALL other conditions, torture is absolutely wrong, including every single case I have ever heard of torture being used.

        And note that I did not even trust myself to be the final judge of my hypothetical actions - my first action after completing the goal was to surrender to the judicial system, and accept whatever punishment was deemed appropriate by a jury of my peers, knowing that if it costs my life to save tens of millions, it would ultimately be worth it.

        We have decided, as a culture, that there are conditions under which it is ethical to kill - in self-defense, in defense of others, or in defense of your country. Murder is undoubtedly the greatest crime one can commit - after any other crime, you are at least alive, and can try to recover or at least forget. Yet we have concluded it is permissible under certain conditions. If murder is sometimes allowed due to extreme circumstances, why cannot other, lesser crimes?

        • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:14AM

          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:14AM (#124507)

          I conceded only that conditions under which I would torture someone

          The problem is that you would torture someone.

          • (Score: 2) by gman003 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:01AM

            by gman003 (4155) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @05:01AM (#124517)

            As opposed to what, let tens of millions of people die? Even if it's a one-in-a-thousand shot that it will yield accurate information, in that particular case, I would try it (after all other alternatives have been attempted, or if there is insufficient time to try them all and torture seems most likely to work). In almost any other case? Fuck no.

            My ethics are very utilitarian. Not completely - a true utilitarian would deem torture ethical whenever the lives saved outweighs those harmed, as long as it is the most efficient method. I would only even consider torture as a last resort, and only in situations that are nearly apocalyptic.

            I am willing to die for my principles, including my "torture is evil" principle. I am *not* willing to let millions die for them as well. That is not my choice to make.

            • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:19AM

              by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:19AM (#124533)

              As opposed to what, let tens of millions of people die?

              Freedom and principles > safety. It is far, far, far worse for the government to become unjust (as it would if someone were tortured) than it is for people to die at the hands of criminals/terrorists/whatever other bogeyman of the day we're talking about.

              I am willing to die for my principles, including my "torture is evil" principle. I am *not* willing to let millions die for them as well. That is not my choice to make.

              It is your choice; you could choose not to torture.

              But let's apply your logic to the NSA's mass surveillance, and suppose it works. You can't oppose it, because other people dying isn't your choice to make. Despise the fact that this is supposed to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave," you would support unconstitutional mass surveillance in the name of safety, and then afterwards you'd have people be prosecuted I guess. A government acting immorally or unconstitutionally is nothing more than a collection of thugs. That is not an acceptable outcome under any situation.

              I'd rather die as a result of someone's choice to not torture than to have people tortured, were it to come to that. It's the choice of the person who chooses to torture, and opting to torture means they lack principles.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:14AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:14AM (#124568) Journal
        I too would do it. "Worthless and unprincipled" saves tens of millions of lives.

        The real problem is that the real world doesn't have such trivial ethics decisions, involving torture. Justifying current torture on the basis of a contrived situation that has yet to happen is pointless and reprehensible.
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 10 2014, @10:21AM

          by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday December 10 2014, @10:21AM (#124602) Homepage
          I think I'd just get the guy righteously stoned instead. He's probably been trained to defend against negative stimuli, I reckon a bit of killer weed might soften him up a bit, and after a "that's how I got into the intelligence services, so how did you get into this terrorism lark?" introit you'll be well on the way to getting the answers you need - if he really has them, that is.
          --
          I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:11PM

          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:11PM (#124629)

          I too would do it. "Worthless and unprincipled" saves tens of millions of lives.

          Well then, limited government just isn't for you.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:54PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:54PM (#124649) Journal

            Well then, limited government just isn't for you.

            Because every decision government makes saves tens of millions of lives? Even the ones that kill people instead? Nonsense.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 10 2014, @09:53AM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday December 10 2014, @09:53AM (#124594) Homepage
        I know a bad example was chosen, and nobody can really disapprove of the destruction of NYC and its 10 million residents, but imagine something more desirable being under threat and reconsider.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:41AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:41AM (#124487)

      It is possible to frame anything such that it appears OK. But, reality doesn't agree with your framing. Torture has been proven to NOT work. There is no value short of sadistic satisfaction in torture. It not only doesn't work, it is worse than no information as the information is usually just made up stuff to get some relief from the torture.

      I know American television has been spreading pro torture propaganda in general, and in particular of the type in your scenario (an entire tv series devoted to it), but it is false. Read up on torture and you will see it never has any place. And, certainly no role in any society that claims to be civil.

      • (Score: 2) by morgauxo on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:09AM

        by morgauxo (2082) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:09AM (#124492)

        But what if the local children are being overcome by a witch? What if it's your child that is next? Wouldn't you torture a witch to save your child's soul?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:25AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:25AM (#124538)

          How can you even know she is a witch, without torture? We can't just ask, because witches lie. And even torture is problematic, because if they confess, they are not a very good witch. No, a witch with true diabolical assistance with be able to withstand torture, which is then absolute proof, that they are a witch!

          Trial by Order, circa 1622. "Throw her into the pond!" Bound, of course. If she floats, it must be because of demonic help. Burn her!!! If she sinks, oh, our bad, she was innocent, but now dead. Either way, we get to buy the widow's property as a "suspected witch" rate! A "win-win" situation for early capitalism and misogyny. (Oh crap did I bring that up again?)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:55PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:55PM (#124862)

          You torturing in order to save your(!) kid != a nation state torturing you
          There is a very big difference between something that is sanctioned by a nation state and something that is done by an individual.

          (that being said: I do think that those part-taking in the torture sanctioned by a nation state should face justice just like all SS Concentration Camp guards did - "just following orders" is *not* a justification nor an absolution)

          • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday December 12 2014, @09:25PM

            by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday December 12 2014, @09:25PM (#125598)

            Right. One is an egregious violation of people's fundamental liberties by a government that's supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, and is supposed to act in a just manner, and the other is an unjust act by a single individual who represents only themselves. The former is far, far worse.

      • (Score: 2) by gman003 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:18AM

        by gman003 (4155) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:18AM (#124497)

        My framing was hypothetical, aimed at proving that, even with every pro-torture defense accepted, it is still never necessary for torture to be legal. The question of if it is ever correct is unfortunately even murkier.

        What you state as absolutes, I consider correct only as general statements (five nines of correctness is still not absolute truth). But rather than focus on the hypotheticals that may divide us, let's focus on the things we can agree on - the CIA use of torture was absolutely wrong, and cannot be condoned, and everyone who even just failed to act against it while knowing needs to face justice.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:14AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:14AM (#124496)

      Torture does work. It has nothing to do with those terrorists though. The main goal of torture is to terrorise the population into submission to the authorities and that is why the report was released. It is a message to the so called protesters out there. We used to burn under-age witches, nowadays we water-board some guys - what's the difference?

      Why did I say "we"? Well, we pay taxes that finance torturers therefore, based on Nuremberg precedent, we are guilty.

    • (Score: 2) by melikamp on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:20AM

      by melikamp (1886) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:20AM (#124534) Journal

      Hypothetical scenario: terrorist has planted a nuke somewhere in NYC, there's five minutes left on the clock and you need to know how to defuse it. You've got the guy, you know 100% that he's the guy, but he's not talking.

      This scenario is not impossible, but you have to understand it is both a bad and an extremely unlikely example. Nothing can be done in 5 minutes, not even torture itself, and if we have more time, then why not simply evacuate? Also, where does this 100% certainty comes from? In order for this example to work, you have to describe a circumstance where we know with 100% certainty that we have 5 minutes, and that it should take less than 5 minutes to disarm the bomb, and that we can spot a bad answer right away, and yet we totally lack the means to disarm the bomb by ourselves. Indeed, in practice we never have 100% certainty, and we consider ourselves lucky when we have 99%. And so the guy tells you "in order to diffuse the bomb, do XYZ". Doing XYZ takes about 5.1 minutes, so you blow up anyway. How do we guard against that? Continue the torture even after the guy "confesses" for a few more minutes?

      Also, a poster above you said, why discuss whether torture is useful when it's already unethical? I actually agree with you in this one respect: if torture was indeed magical and produced results, then things wouldn't be as simple. But it's not. It is just awfully ineffective. It is so bloody useless, it is hard to even come up with a hypothetical example that would justify it over other, more humane methods. Here's an idea: offer a legitimate deal of some kind.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:47AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:47AM (#124581)

        Even regular courts (you know, where you are allowed to have a lawyer present and present evidence) don't get anywhere near 99% certainty.

        Not even for the death penalty.

        Yet, when it comes to torture, it's always the people that we don't have enough evidence to even consider a real court.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 10 2014, @09:53AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @09:53AM (#124595) Journal

        Nothing can be done in 5 minutes, not even torture itself, and if we have more time, then why not simply evacuate?

        It takes about a day to evacuate all the people who travel to Manhattan Island. If you're evacuating everyone in Manhattan Island, it's going to take a lot longer than 5 minutes.

        • (Score: 2) by melikamp on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:25PM

          by melikamp (1886) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:25PM (#124805) Journal
          Actually, we could evacuate the people in 5 minutes. It would be very stinky, but it would work. But me and the OP were talking about evacuating the island.
      • (Score: 2) by gman003 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:00PM

        by gman003 (4155) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:00PM (#124651)

        The 100% certainties came from it being a hypothetical scenario, in order to ignore complicating factors (like "reality") to more clearly demonstrate my point, that there is no need to legally permit torture, because any situation dire enough that it can be justified is dire enough that one could break laws in order to do what may be right.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:05PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:05PM (#124681) Journal

        Not to mention, the mere discussion of the practicality of torture is a radical, un-American departure from our received values as a nation and people. I don't give one good God-damn if a single piece of useful information was ever acquired through torture. The costs of getting that one piece of information far, far outweigh its utility. It *damns* us as a nation and people. I mean that in the religious sense. It damns us to hell.

        Every single sector of the government that did this, ordered it, or even knew about it and said nothing, must be cleared out with a chainsaw. Every one.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:41AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:41AM (#124577)

      We're the good guys, right?

      On a scale from North Korea (uses torture) to Norway (does not use torture): Not even close.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:50PM (#124859)

      Hypothetical scenario: terrorist has planted a nuke somewhere in NYC, there's five minutes left on the clock and you need to know how to defuse it. You've got the guy, you know 100% that he's the guy, but he's not talking. For this scenario, torture is absolutely illegal, and will get you sent to prison probably for life. Let's also assume that you are reasonably confident that you can get the info out of him with torture, and save tens of millions of lives, and that no other option will work in time.

      This scenario is a fallacy, doesn't exist and never will exist. 1) if you have 5min left, there is never enough time to diffuse the device 2) the only thing the dude you're about to torture has to do to succeed is one or more of the following: die or withstand until the clock runs out (either of which, for the right cause, may be desired by said dude - heck, it may even be the plan all along) If you find yourself in the scenario you describe above, then you've lost. Deal with it. Torturing the dude amounts to nothing more than revenge (but then again, if you're a citizen of the USA, you do seem to condone revenge -as opposed to justice- in your 'justice system' already, so I'm not that surprised) I'll join in with what another reply to your post already mentioned: you're a horrible person, vanish!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by novak on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:33AM

    by novak (4683) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @03:33AM (#124504) Homepage

    It's in the title: "US braces for backlash." So what we're worried about is ourselves, still and always. I'll be a little more enthusiastic when it reads something like: "US leaders brace for backlash." Apparently the American people can't even be bothered to get angry about this sort of abuse of human rights. An absolute disgrace.

    --
    novak
    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:04AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @06:04AM (#124528)

      We are angry, and have been for some time. What can we do? The soap box and ballot box have been rendered useless to us, but it it not yet time for the ammo box.

      • (Score: 0) by t-3 on Thursday December 11 2014, @12:08AM

        by t-3 (4907) on Thursday December 11 2014, @12:08AM (#124918)

        When will it be time? If the other options are gone, doesn't that mean it's time for the last option?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:19AM (#124552)

      This comment section proves you wrong. People are upset, they just lack any efficacy. As for the headline, it is media news. The people that own the 'ink' have a vested interest with maintaining the status quo.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:23AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:23AM (#124573) Journal

      It's in the title: "US braces for backlash." So what we're worried about is ourselves, still and always. I'll be a little more enthusiastic when it reads something like: "US leaders brace for backlash." Apparently the American people can't even be bothered to get angry about this sort of abuse of human rights. An absolute disgrace.

      What's in the title? I don't recall writing or approving the title because I was worried about myself. It's clearly all about you and your worries, whatever they might be, even if you have nothing at all to do with the US.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bradley13 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:08AM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:08AM (#124566) Homepage Journal

    So...torture. Illegal by US domestic law, despite the rather transparent dodge of doing it outside of US territory, or even outsourcing it. Illegal by numerous international laws, to which the US is a signatory.

    As an overreaction to terrorism, TSA / Homeland security have taken the US one step closer to being a police state. Similarly, by torturing people, the people involved here have taken the US one step closer to being on the same moral level as the terrorists they claim to be fighting. It's rather hard to decry the acts of ISIS, when you're doing much the same thing in the back room.

    - Why aren't the people involved being prosecuted? From Bush and Cheney on down to the lowest CIA operative involved?

    - Since the US apparently intends no prosecutions, what are the chances that someone will bring a case before the International Criminal Court?

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 1) by whathappenedtomonday on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:49PM

      by whathappenedtomonday (4292) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:49PM (#124858)

      what are the chances that someone will bring a case before the International Criminal Court?

      Not sure, but I read an article by the Secretary General of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) I found somewhat informative and ... well, revealing, since the US seems to play every card they have to thwart criminal prosecution of those responsible; article is in German [www.zeit.de], but some interesting points are:

      Beginning 2004, lawyers and human rights associations have tried to take cases of human rights violations to courts, starting with civil litigation in the US; for political reasons, US courts blocked all suits of torture victims demanding indemnity. "In the US, there is no justice whatsoever for victims of human rights violations," says the author Wolfgang Kaleck, so he and others wanted to take the matters to European prosecutors and judges.

      Donald Rumsfeld was not pleased with the criminal charges they brought forth; the German Federal Prosecutor General stopped investigations when Rumsfeld announced he would not attend the Munich Security Conference in 2005 unless those matters were "settled"; authorities stated that investigations were no longer necessary, because the US authorities themselves would investigate. They did, but only against Lynndie England and other minor actors; German authorities then stated that none of the "big ones" were on German soil, and anyway it was too hard to investigate from afar.

      Rumsfeld privately visited France in '07, ECCHR immediately filed criminal complaint, since he was no longer protected by immunity and was on European soil. French authorities did nothing.

      A Spanish investigating judge in 2008 investigated criminal charges for torture of Spanish citizens and collected promising evidence, while (later revealed by Wikileaks) behind his back the Prosecutor General discussed the matter with the US embassy, which did not like those investigations at all. Judge Garzón was suspended months later, for matters of course unrelated to his investigations. Judicial inquiry was not suspended, but little outcome is to be expected now.

      In 2011, Bush wanted to visit Switzerland, but stayed home because ECCHR pressed charges in the name of torture victims. Bush, Rumsfeld and some 500 more people involved with the CIA's practices will no longer be traveling to Europe because of the charges filed by ECCHR. If they do, they face criminal prosecution.

      Arrest warrants are active in several European countries against CIA agents involved in 'renditions'.

      -

      After reading that article, I no longer count on courts outside the US to take those responsible to court, and, honestly, taking the torturers and those who ordered it to court in the US is the only way for the US to deal with the shame and especially the "backlash" politics fears.

      --
      I hope I didn't brain my damage.
  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:15AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @08:15AM (#124569) Journal

    A bad day to be an American. How bad depends on what happens next. (And no, I am not referring to possible reprisal attacks, I am referring to prosecutions of the traitors who violated international law.)

    --
    You are currently banned from moderating. The last day of your ban is 2022-03-25.
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:30PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:30PM (#124637) Journal

      (And no, I am not referring to possible reprisal attacks, I am referring to prosecutions of the traitors who violated international law.)

      Welcome back from the stasis or cryogenic sleep: Bush and 6 others are already convicted war criminals [foreignpolicyjournal.com] - so what [politifact.com]?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:33PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:33PM (#124664) Journal

    That's my assessment of it. "Mistakes were made." "We've already taken corrective action, nothing to see here." "Yawn. We've known about this for years. What's the big deal?" "Everybody does it." "No I cross my heart and hope to die this will never happen again." "If we don't torture, terrorists win!!!" Yeah, yeah, yeah. We've heard it all before. It's still all bullshit. Can't the 3-letter agency social media sabotaging drones come up with *any* new memes to excuse their crimes against humanity?

    Let's cut the crap. The CIA and NSA and their masters in the Whitehouse, Congress, and Deep State have egregiously broken our most sacred laws, enshrined by the Constitution, and backed up by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Will these people swing for it, or not? Will they face the ultimate penalty for their evil, or not? Does the Rule of Law mean anything, anything at all, or not?

    I say, find them, execute them, hold a Constitutional Convention to cut them off at the knees systematically forever, and send an unequivocal signal to the world and ourselves that the American people have no tolerance for this bullshit. If we fail to do that, then we forever abdicate any pretense to moral high ground and ought to vanish from the world stage as a failed attempt to elevate human dignity and advance the species.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:11PM (#124823)

      I know that the US hasn't ratified the ICC treaty, but I think that this would be a good time to basically tell the Hague, "Hey, figure out who is responsible for these war crimes and put them on international trial."

      It is basically the only way I think we could start to regain the moral high ground.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @07:48PM (#124833)

    FWIW with regard to the 'ticking bomb' situation, I personally would not employ any form of torture.

    1. If this person has the confirmed aim of allowing the bomb to go off then how can I trust anything he/she says as a result of torture, maybe he/she plans matyrdom and will jerk your chain to waste your time or even to entertain themselves.

    2. Given that someone likely to repond to torture is also likely to tell you anything they think you want to hear, nothing that they say as a result of torture methods should ever be trusted on its own. In the context of a 'ticking bomb' how much time do you have to find others to torture and then repeat the process.

    I guess the big question I still have here is what value, if any, can be placed on information that came from torture, and can you provide any citations to back up your answer?