Amnesty's Unsubscribe Me video reenacts CIA stress-position torture

Amnesty International's "Unsubscribe Me" campaign invites us to unsubscribe from the use of torture in fighting the "war on terror;" to tell the world's governments that torture cannot be done in our name. As part of the campaign, they've released an incredibly moving and disturbing video reenacting a CIA-approved "stress position" torture taken straight out of a CIA interrogation manual. In order to make the film, the directors put the actor into a stress position for six hours -- the whimpers and trembling we see are real, the anguish you feel even when you choose to do this, let alone when you are kidnapped and subjected it for weeks, months or years. Amnesty is making two more videos and then doing a theatrical release for all three. We will never be made free by adopting the tactics of dictatorships. Link


  1. That’s one of the key problems of American foreign policy, as I see it. IANA foreign policy expert, but as I see it, not only can we not be free by acting like undemocratic countries, it encourages groups struggling for liberation in other areas of the world to be ambivalent about democracy. If you have a choice between being tortured by your local dictator or being tortured by the world’s leading democracy, what’s the diff?

  2. “the world’s leading democracy”, Vincent?

    ‘undemocratic countries’ aren’t always torturous countries either.

  3. I think the ad should somehow explain how long the guy has been there.

    Right now, you don’t get the sense that it’s six hours.

    They should also explain that the detainee is told the floor is electrified or that he will be shot if he moves.

    Right now — it’s very powerful, don’t get me wrong — I just think they should add the phrase “waiting for the guard….FOR SIX HOURS.”

  4. It’s important to note that this kind of treatment has only ever been used on a handful of very high value terrorists.

    This video is much more about smearing America then it is about ending this type of treatment.

  5. The key problem of the American foreign policy are the double standards they are using – and constantly re-defining what actually is torture.
    America still claims to be “the Land of the Free” and a democracy, yet it still has the death penalty and uses torture as a means to extract information.
    And refuses to call it by it’s name.
    Torture never leads to useful information, people will confess to anything.
    It’s rather curious to watch how fast one can become what one despises the most.
    Well, as Benjamin Franklin said:
    “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”

  6. @ Kevitivity:
    “It’s important to note that this kind of treatment has only ever been used on a handful of very high value terrorists.”

    Can you tell us what you’re basing that statement off of?

    I would certainly prefer that to be the case… but from all the reports I have heard from Amnesty International and others, acts like this and worse have been done to a very broad range of detainees, including those who have not had a fair trial and are now known to be innocent.

    If innocent people are being tortured in our names, I want it investigated and stopped. Don’t you?

  7. @#4, Kevitivity: I’d prefer to know what terms like ‘handful’ and ‘high value terrorist’ actually mean before leaping to the the conclusion that it’s important to note a sentence containing them. Do you know?

    Presumably there’s a cut off point at which the value of the terrorist is so high that ‘this kind of treatment’, as your charming euphemism has it, is no longer of any value. How else can one explain the absence of it during the interrogation of, say, Saddam Hussein?

  8. Hardly looks like torture to me. If it’s taking us 6+ hours to get information from these guys, we certainly do need to change our methods.

  9. @Kevitivity

    I would argue that defending your nation’s propensity for torture does more to smear its reputation than an Amnesty International video could.

  10. Oh dear god, you mean those American b@stards are….forcing people to squat?!?

    What’s next, The Comfy Chair???

  11. Sorry to have to tell you this, Kevitivity, but the more reliable sources say the use of torture is widespread.

  12. Scythe000, are you that shallow, or did you not actually read the entry, or are you volunteering to try it yourself next? Avar1ce, the same goes for you.

    Feel free to correct me if your impression is wrong, but if we’re not getting quick results, it’s because torture doesn’t work as an intelligence-gathering device. Just for the record, I know that because I’ve repeatedly had it explained to me by a couple of professional military interrogators.

  13. The ONLY Country Convicted of the International Crime of State Active Terrorism By the World Courts:
    The Good Ole U S of A .

  14. Nikos: In 1980 the World Court convicted the USA of ‘unlawful use of force’ in regards to actions taken in Nicaragua. Is there any relationship between this charge and terrorism? Some research shows that Noam Chomsky makes the same claim you do, but I’d like to see where ‘unlawful use of force’ is actually equated with terrorism in international law.

  15. @ AVAR1CE

    “Hardly looks like torture to me.” That’s because you haven’t even started to think how that feels. That comment denotes no attempt to even trying to understand why that’s inhumane.

    Those comments mirror plenty of ignorance.

    A British Intelligence Commander, once said during the cold war that “hitting a man is the act of a coward, besides being primitive”.

  16. The bizarre attempted justification of torture, that it gets usable results out of hardened terrorists is actually wrong.

    According to CIA sources, Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi, after two weeks of enhanced interrogation, made statements that were designed to tell the interrogators what they wanted to hear. Sources say Al Libbi had been subjected to each of the progressively harsher techniques in turn and finally broke after being water boarded and then left to stand naked in his cold cell overnight where he was doused with cold water at regular intervals.

    His statements became part of the basis for the Bush administration claims that Iraq trained al Qaeda members to use biochemical weapons. Sources tell ABC that it was later established that al Libbi had no knowledge of such training or weapons and fabricated the statements because he was terrified of further harsh treatment.

    “This is the problem with using the waterboard. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear,” one source said.

    so it is not only barbaric, but plainly worthless. Interrogators have known this for years. Torture does yield confessions but they are useless, as anyone would confess to anything under torture.

  17. @TNH – Torture is not used to extract information, it’s used to *impart* information. It lets the victim know just how helpless and powerless they are; it tells the public how “serious” the US is about terra and security. Look how effective it is at winning the hearts and minds of little Walter Mittys like Avar1ce and Kevitivity. They eat this tough-guy stuff up with a spoon.

  18. Peaceflag, if you take the trouble to read the text below the movie window you will see that they do indeed tell you it took place over six hours.

    Also, as I recall, torture has been recognized for centuries as being of no real interrogation value. And again, if I recall properly, it has also been outlawed by just about all ‘civilized’ nations for as long. This is exactly what was routinely done by many of the people reviled as the most evil people in history, yet now our government is claiming not only is it not torture, but that it’s necessary? Good grief!

  19. This looks much less harsh than the 200 lashes that Saudi rape victim is set to receive. Here’s the link for that story, in case anyone missed it.

  20. Donating to Amnesty gets more and more important each day. That was one powerful movie and hopefully it’ll help at least raise some eyebrows.

    Though I agree more text should be displayed indicating why he’s on the box and dares not leave it as well as the timeframe involved.

    Mad props to the poor volunteer on the box, though.

    The thought that this is used on anybody is sick. And seriously, wouldn’t someone just say any damn thing to get away? What possible assurances are there to indicate this facilitates a real answer as opposed to a contrived one made under duress?

  21. Osinoche We join in War.

    Something tells me that not only have you not joined any wars lately, but you press down on the gas pedal a little harder, and perhaps entirely unconsciously, when you pass a recruiting station.

  22. @#22, Yurei: It is indeed depressing to think that a country with a human rights record as deplorable as Saudi Arabia was certified by President Bush as an ally in the ‘war on terror’ on October 19th of this year.

    Or were you trying to say something else entirely?

  23. This is a war to PRESERVE the western way.

    See, you’re not paying attention. The Western Way for hundreds of years has been to condemn torture. You are advocating the Terrorist Way. Why do love the Terrorist Way so much?

  24. The problem, Osinoche, is what constitutes a “correct” answer. The techniques involved have been used to secure confessions. I hardly know how you can apply the scientific method to something like that.

    Equally, again, if the information involved was “correct”, you would let the prisoner go? Sure. They have a “bona-fide” terro-rist. They won’t release them at that point. And if the information is along the lines of “The important guys meet here.” and the important guys left by the time he said so, should they continue torturing him to find out more things?

    What you fail to realize is that by performing these atrocities, you not only get questionable info, you validate the hatred these people have for you in the first place. You breed more hatred and, as such, more terrorists who wish to see you dead.

    This heavy handedness is making those involved no better then those they torture. As such, it’s a shorter psychological trip to push someone into fanatical support of “those who oppress us”.

  25. Of course torture doesn’t work as an intelligence-gathering device. They use it for more ominous reasons. After reading much about Canadian Rendition Victim Maher Arar it became apparent to me why they torture people. They use torture to extract false confessions and then use these confessions as justification for the War on Terror. Rendition victims are forced to sign statements saying they are members of the mostly fictional world-wide terror network Al-Qaeda, or they are forced to implicate others as members of said Terror Network. For example, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi’s false confession, saying Iraq had WMDs and links with Al-Qaeda, were used as justification for the war in Iraq.
    Another reason they torture is that they get off on it. It makes them feel strong to cause suffering. It makes them feel like they are getting revenge on the “evil-doers.”

    For those on this forum who seem to think torturing people is somehow justifiable I say to you, seek a mental health provider. You’ve got serious issues to deal with. You don’t understand the difference between right and wrong which is a major cornerstone of sanity. When your ideals are in line with some of the most horrid regimes in history, you might want to take a look inside yourself and figure out where it all went wrong.

  26. @#31, OsiNoche: I do hope you’re not claiming to speak for the US Army National Guard. One weekend a month my ass.

  27. Osinoche, you sir, are very effective at bringing bile to my mouth. Quite the troll thy be.

    I would seriously like to know where you get this idea of “If we keep it under a million people, it’s cool.”

    Yeah, I’ll go kill my neighbor and eat his flesh now. I ain’t doing it to lots of people, so it’s okay, right?

    And why tha hell would we leave it to our children? We should make an example for our children and stop this foolishness now. They can’t fix it after we’ve farked it all up, can they?

    You are either trolling for the sake of trolling or you are the biggest and worse kind of fool.

    Forget not what this “war” is supposedly fought against. “Terror”(though I fail to see how one wages war against an abstract noun).

    These terrorists get their motivations from propaganda artists who are finding it exceedingly easier day by day to villainize the west. If we do these kinds of things to them, what chance to we have of convincing their brothers and offspring(if they are too far gone into fanaticism) that we aren’t these baby eating asshats that we’re portrayed as being(well…most of us…you seem to be walking the line, however).

  28. Regardless of how you feel about torture, the war, etc. you’ve got to admit that is a pretty disturbing film.

  29. @33 — The things you learn online! I didn’t realize there was a minimum number of offenses that “add up” to atrocity.

    I thought it was like “a little bit pregnant.” Only with more screaming, and more dishonor to the nation.

  30. S gvn th chc btwn trtrng trrrst nd mrdrng 1000 ppl, whch wld y chs? Bcs by nt btnng th nfrmtn n th bmb mkng fclts, y mght wll b sntncng 1000 ppl t dth.

    r mr.

  31. It’s an absolutely false choice, Realcatholicmen. As has been proven again and again and again, torture is not a reliable means of getting information. Your choice is false: the choice is actually between letting 1000 people die, or torturing one suspect and letting 1000 people die.

    And even this fantasyland scenario has to assume that you have absolutely verifiable knowledge that there is a bomb (and you won’t) and that you are absolutely sure that your suspect knows where it is (and you won’t).

  32. Osinoche, the same Osinoche who posts on Occultforums and RPGNet? The 23 year-old restaurant manager from Birmingham Alabama? Stop fronting like you’re some tough guy. It is clear you’re only a kid who is struggling with his identity and occasionally has trouble with his D-Link router. Go start a racist fifty-year war somewhere else please.

  33. Osinoche-
    If your service was ‘a long time ago’, then I suppose I represent one of your ‘children’, coming of age in a legacy of shame. I registered for Selective Service six months after September 11th, when I turned 18. Since then, I’ve grown more and more disgusted by the treatment of my country, a nation I cannot look on with pride when people like you justify these crimes in my name.
    I find your position revolting – that ineffective methods with no end but sadism and cruelty are justified by a ‘war’ whose basis is dubious at best. Do not dare try to fob off the disgusting actions you support on me and my contemporaries. Your future calls it wrong. Your future holds you in contempt.


  34. People, don’t be so quick to dismiss torture. Think of the trolls in this thread. Now think of them armed with a bomb. That’s a terrorist.

    Not so immoral, now, is it?

  35. #40: Really? How embarassing – I fell for a troll. New to forums myself – anyone who makes a HOWTO for troll-spotting would have my gratitude.

  36. @#38, RealCatholicMen: The Jack Bauer gambit! And not a moment too soon. That’ll shut these whining liberals up.

  37. @ RealCatholicMen

    Life is not an episode of 24.

    There are very real problems with the theory you’re operating under. Read up on Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi if you don’t understand that, or the abduction of Maher Arar.

  38. @RealCatholicMen, Osinoche and all others trying to justify this. I don’t care if you are trolls or not.

    I remember watching TV before the invasion of Iraq. News reporters talked on and on about the torture chambers of Saddam Hussein. They condemned his sadistic methods to gain information and install fear into rebels, insurgents and others who opposed his rule. I remember it was a big point in the American justification towards the war.

    I am utterly amazed by the perversion of your values. Torture does not “preserve” the western way. The western way is civilized society. The western way is treating people justly and fairly, even if they are the most vile people on earth. These torturous methods reduce us, what is supposed to be the shining light of equality and freedom, to the levels of the terrorists we loathe.

    And the fanciful idea that these methods actually gain any important information is cute. The reality is that these methods gain little to no useful information because anyone will say anything when they are subjected to endless amounts of torture and the threat of death. Any possible true information is washed away in a sea of lies from countless forced confessions.

    As for the torture one terrorist or save 1000 situation. How many foreign terrorist attacks on the US soil have happened in the past ten years? one. If we stop torturing people the floodgates are not going to open and we will descend into chaos. But tell me, what happens when that one terrorist is released? He tells one, ten, a hundred people what we did to him. Those people, angry at us, tell more and more. The circle of hate stretches. You know what that leads to? That leads to chaos in US-Ally Pakistan and a nuke headed for Israel. Despite what 24 tells you, torture does have lots of negative consequences.

    Also anyone who claims that this is not painful has apparently never had to do anything like this in their life. I had to do a similar activity for athletics in high school. It’s complete hell and I didn’t have to do it for hours on end.

    I live in New York City. I was here on 9/11 and I watched the towers fall. I come from a family of paramedics and firefighters. I lost friends and much of my family spent hours sorting through the debris at Ground Zero. My heart hurts for the scar left on our nation, but this is not the way to seek justice.

  39. As a side note, does anyone else think it ironic that a man calling himself a Christian would advocate torture?

  40. Sadly, I think it’s past the tipping point with the discussion of whether or not the US should embrace torture, with the thin edge being the waterboarding hairsplitting. Watch for the procedure in play on reality tv shows next year, getting voters even more comfortable with the idea.

    And @Vincent, I’m afraid ‘world’s leading democracy’ is a laughable misnomer. Democracies don’t settle elections in courts by forcing a stop to recounts. It’s a neo-monarchy, and has been since ’01.

  41. The Bush Crime Syndicate, like any crime syndicate will of course resort to physical torture when and where possible. I mean, we are dealing with criminals here. The lowest types of human beings. Thugs torture people, plain and simple. Don’t expect them to behave differently. Unfortunately, there are always going to be plenty of broken and damaged people who are willing to ignore all rational argument in order to get their immolation of human flesh on and act at torturers or torture supporters. Seems as if a few have already popped up here on boingboing.

    Logic and rational thought are functions of the higher brain, while the desire to “squish someone’s guts out” issues from the limbic system. Therefore, you can’t appeal to the purile torturer or torture enabler with a reasoned argument any more than you could to a 3 year old who enjoys smearing feces about.

    Quite tragically, history has proven again and again that within each human population there are enough sick people who can be recruited easily enough to go around chopping off the limbs and heads of other humans when conditions are just right. Women, children, babies, aged, innocents of all stripes–it doesn’t seem to matter to the sick pups seeking shameful and selfish gratification. It is pointless to reason with these individuals.

    In fact, ironically enough, to diffuse all of the guilt pleasure they get from being evil, they cannot be treated as though they are evil. They must be treated as though they are sick, and humanely so.

  42. Gvn scty tht blvs n pc nd fls thy mst hv “ncrn chsr” ftr vn <>rdng bt n nsvry sttn, nd gvn tht ths scty s fcng n nmy wh wldn’t bt n y t cttng ff ll f yr fngrs nd chkng y t dth wth thm, w cm t rl dlmm:
    Cn cvlzd scty srvv n th fc f n ncvlzd, brtl nmy? n nmy tht wll stp nthng t wn — thy wn’t hstt t scd bmb r slghtr ntr vllgs fr vn th slghtst dvntg. Whl w wrng r hnds vr mkng smn sqt fr t lng, thy’r plnnng hw t plnt bmb tht wll blw p th chldrn wh rn t t grt th lcl dfns frc bcs thy wnt t dscrg th lcls frm cprtng.

    f w lv r nms ngh wll thy gv p thr drms f rlgs nd cnmc dmntn? r wll w jst b sgnng p fr nw mstr bcs w n lngr hv th hrt t rsst?

    ‘d lk nthng bttr thn wrld pc; th prblm s t tks mr thn n sd wntng t.

  43. Osi Noche, you’re just a troll. 27 and “I served my time, long ago”? You were a boy scout? First person to buy a copy of Quake 3? Lives are cheap, buy one.

    Torture is not a part of Christianity, turn the other cheek is. Love thy neighbour is. Torture is part of brutalism.

    Go away.

  44. @Osinoche

    Torture is most assuredly NOT a part of Christianity. In fact violence towards your neighbor is exactly the opposite of what Christianity originally intended. What it is is a complete distortion of Christian values into extreme ideals. Kind of like a religion you apparently loathe: Islam.

    >But just because one such as yourself is to squeamish to see the truth. To see the light of day, that an enemy such as the Mid Easter Menace, must be eradicated. Every child either re memed or erased. Ideals, Islam in it’s less moderate force must be stamped Out.

    You are a hypocrite. Extremist Christian views are perfectly legitimate but extremist Islamic views are justification for treating people like dogs.

    Also I do not understand your justification for torture. Protect freedom and the western way of life? Torture doesn’t protect freedom, it installs fear and doubt among people. Lowering ourselves to the barbaric level of our “enemy” doesn’t exactly help preserve the western way of life either.

  45. Well, Realcatholcmen,

    There is no question that there are bad people in the world who wish to do wicked, wicked things.

    The unicorn chaseer, if there is one, is in imagining that a systematic program of torture might be able to prevent them from harming others.

    DO you honestly think that there is a known way to stop a suicide bomber? Is there a way to stop a demented American from picking up a gun and then opening fire on a crowd? How many times has this happened? If we had tortured a certain amount of people, it wouldn’t have been prevented.

    And don’t forget that by most people’s reckoning, we aren’t supposed to be in Iraq (where we are capturing these people). How would you respond if Arabs or Muslims invaded America and were rolling tanks every night in your neighborhood?

    Would it matter if they told you it was to bring you peace and freedom and democracy? Would you be excused for fighting back? This torture label can just be bandied about as if everyone should expect that you mean someone with brown skin who calls Allah their God. But who the fuck are the terrorists? What makes someone a terrorist?

    When our bombs land on schools or on churches, it is never a terrorist attack, is it? It is always an accident. It is not for oil or some other gain that we are so valiantly trying to bring
    “democracy” to the Iraq and the middle east. Oh no, OUR motives are pure. We are civilized, and they are barbaric, right?

    Our guns and our bombs have killed far more innocent Iraqis than Arab bombs or guns have killed Americans–probably by a 100 fold–yet they are the terrorists and we are civilized?

    WE have slaughtered entire villages. We have ruined countless civilizations and cultures. Don’t think for one second we haven’t. WE have as much blood on our hands (our wicked leaders, that is) as any ruler in the Arab world ever did.

    You have to see the other side as just as human as you are, because they are, whether you like it or not. Killing and torturing will not lead to less death, only to more. Mark my words. On the other hand, when people are treated with compassion and kindness, they respond in kind. These things are very predictiable. I’ve personally never seen it not work and I’ve been in situations to be judge of such a thing.

    So we decide to follow things like the Geneva convention (which even Hitler followed, if I’m not mistaken), international law, Christian ethics, etc, you regard this as capitulation? It is they, not we, who are under attack. We spend more on war and weapons of war than all other countries combined. We are supposed to believe that a country as poor as Iraq is somehow a threat? If we give up torture are we surrendering? Is this about the all too familiar intransigent, dominant male monkey ethos which does not allow either side to budge because a line has been drawn in the sand? God that get’s so old.

    The real threat stems from our own paranoia and our willingness to be tricked and duped by our so-called leaders. Remember the 40 year cold war era? It was a huge scam, man! They over blew the Soviet threat in order to line their pockets through their financial connections in the defense industrial complex. When are people going to catch on to this bullshit is what I wonder. Or is fear the trick that keeps on tricking?

    If there are terrorists, so what? I figure the worst they can do is kill you. Since you’re going to die anyway, may as well live your life as something other than a coward. No point in living your life defined by overly developed concern over them.

  46. Osi,

    I bid you stay. Express your point of view. You think the Arabs should be wiped out? Anything else? Here’s my question for you–should we eradicate them humanely, or should we make them suffer horrible deaths? Which are you in favor of?

    If they should die horribly, do you feel like expressing exactly how? Go on now, say if it will make you feel better.

  47. Thanks for sharing, Osi. It takes a certain amount of courage, I imagine to express such an unpopular point of view. Would you care to tell the rest of us how you became so brave?

    Also, I was wondering in what cases we might spare a child or a woman? What standard should we go by?

  48. If I believed for a moment that you were genuinely able to back up ANYTHING you say as true, I’d feel more than happy to have you participate. As you’ve already misrepresented yourself and are hiding behind a pseudonym while spouting narrow-minded gibberish, I don’t have that feeling.

    And, I’m not sure what part of Christianity you are part of but I’m fairly certain Christ himself would excommunicate you for your genocidal statements.

  49. Osi,

    Tell me the truth…are you a high-school aged guy maybe sitting around a computer with a few friends, maybe smoking a little weed pulling a good ole American Thanksgiving day prank to get everyone riled up for some kind of laugh? C’mmon, fess up?

    How about revealing your identity? I mean, you were the one who was talking about not being squeamish. You must be proud of who you are, right? Let the world know how you feel about the Arabs!

  50. Ones identity is not something that is “private”. Anyway, who should be entitled to privacy these days? We need the governemnt spying on everyone to ensure that the terrorists don’t destroy our way of life and our superior Western/Christian values. Only the devil and the Muslim terrorists need to hide in secrecy, so out with it Osinoche, who are you really? State your name, age, (rank?) and occupation. What do you have to fear?

    Additionally, I need to know that you’re not just some pranking adolescent to be appropriately outraged by your comments. As long as I think you’re still a teenager in highscholl I can’t take your hating very seriously.

  51. Group hug for Osinoche. Though he pushes everyone away with hatred, what he really needs is love. If only I could carress his furrowed brow. If only I could provide some succor for his troubled spirit…

  52. Osinoche has a good point about Christianity being based on torture. What is the most popular movie about Jesus? The Passion. Almost every single minute of that movie has violence or torture in it. I know that Osinoche is a wise ass, but knowing what you know about Christians, Bush, and Revelation. Don’t you think most Christians get a stiffy thinking about someone suffering just like their god? It is the clay feet of that religion and of most others.

  53. Pyros, don’t sweat him, he’s getting his Warhammer 40k confused with current events.

    Although he’s operating as a pretty decent double agent/troll, since the ideas of Exterminatus aren’t too far removed from the lovely wages of war offered by our more conservative friends.

  54. I think it is just possible that Osinoche’s political views, along with everything else he believes, might be tied to his trouble with the D-Link Router (as mentioned by Kaiser). I too had trouble with the D-Link Router and spent many fruitless hours trying to sort it out with someone with a thick foreign accent. By the time it was over I was ready to join some Western, Christian, Civilzed army (or private contractor organization)bent on a mission to rid the world of cocao leaves or even to erase entire civilizations. But after a few hours when I had a chance to sit down to a plate of girl scout cookies, a glass of milk, a re-run of Malcolm in The Middle, and a caron of Tarreyton’s in my double-wide, I thought better of it.

    There is always some trigger, isn’t there?

    So, Osinoche, was it the D-Link Router? If not this, what? Is it true that you are a 22 year old restaurant manager in Alabama?

    If so, this comes as somewhat of a disappointment. I had imagined that you were a Yale humanities professor. Now that would have been much more interesting. So I guess you’re right. Sometimes it’s best not to know ones true identity.

    One other question: if you occupy a low station in life, do you sometimes feel emasculated and powerless? DO you own guns or drive a truck/SUV? Are you also angry with Mexican immigrants? Do you believe in Jesus? Just asking.

  55. “Think of the trolls in this thread. Now think of them armed with a bomb. That’s a terrorist. Not so immoral, now, is it?”

    Uh…yes, Yes it is. Maybe you need to look up the definition of “immoral.” Or were you joking? It’s hard to tell sometimes….

    “So given the choice between torturing a terrorist and murdering 1000 people, which would you choose?”

    You’ve been watching too much TV. This is a fantasy scenario that you no doubt picked up from “24” or a Die Hard movie. The solution to this fantasy scenario is: “Bruce Willis comes in, guns blazing, and saves everybody.”

    In other words, the kind of false dichotomy we’ve had shoved down our throats ten times daily since way before 9/11, and twenty times a day since.

    “This looks much less harsh than the 200 lashes that Saudi rape victim is set to receive.”

    What’s your point? “We are far less sickening than they are, so it’s OK”? Doesn’t our using torture make the world safer for that kind of horrible behavior? You’re not saying that torture is the way to combat the torturers, are you? ‘Cause, um, that doesn’t really make any sense.

  56. Pyros, if I thought there were any chance of Osinoche answering your questions, I would have waited longer before throwing him down the flaming oubliette.

    Angstrom (19):

    …it is not only barbaric, but plainly worthless. Interrogators have known this for years. Torture does yield confessions but they are useless, as anyone would confess to anything under torture.

    “Known this for years” doesn’t begin to cover it. The Inquisition gave up torture, having noticed that confessions obtained under torture are absolutely worthless.

    Yurei (22), “what looks harsh” isn’t the same thing as what will break a prisoner. Also, those lashes are punishment. They aren’t intended to elicit information.

    Kaiser (29), I wish I could argue with that.

    RealCatholicMen (34), Jim Cowling’s right: that’s a false choice, as are all arguments based on the idea that torture might be justified if the information you’re looking for is sufficiently important. It doesn’t matter how hypothetically important it is. You can’t get worthwhile information via torture, period.

    JohnnyWeird (37), “Your future holds you in contempt” is a superlative line.

    Oxdeadbeef (38), that’s not a particularly good description of terrorists, and even if it were, it wouldn’t justify torture.

    RealCatholicMen (48), the measure of what’s right for you to do is not the greatest evil you can imagine someone else might do. And isn’t it more than a little bit strange to talk about enemies who are willing to do, like, anything, in a discussion of our willingness to employ torture?

    I wouldn’t point this out if you had a different user name, but we are enjoined to love our enemies.

  57. It seems that many of you have forgotten the basic rules of dealing with a troll, please review the following:

    1) Do not talk to the troll or about him.
    2) Report the troll or utilize the moderation system in place
    3) Continue on with real conversation.

    **REMEMBER** The troll wins if the discussion is to or about him, irrespective of the discussion. The troll wants a reaction from you, thats it.

  58. Advice for OsiNoche: Before you go on your genocidal, rivers of blood thing, run this by your parents, doctor and neighborhood police officer. They can help in ways you may not have thought about yet. Don’t forget to tell them the part about the slaughtering, it’ll go over huge, I promise.

    Question for everyone else: Is this kid just talking big or does he pose a real threat to his community? It is pretty reckless to go on a public forum and openly say you want murder people. He’s paranoid, delusional and wants to commit acts of violence. He sounds like another national tragedy waiting to happen.

  59. Pyrs (51),

    wsh hd gttn t rd snch’s psts. hv n d wht hlf f ths thrd s n rply t. t ny rt, f trtr nvr wrks nd th ntl s lwys fk nnsns tht th prsn bng trtrd nvnts n rdr t stp bng trtrd, thn why d cntlss gvrnmnts d t? Why hs t srvvd th cntrs, ths mthd tht dsn’t wrk? ncdtl tls f, “ths n tm, thr ws ths gy, nd t ddn’t wrk n hm” s nt swpng prf.

    sbmt t ds wrk, nd frqntly ngh fr qt lt f ppl t jstfy cntnng t d t.

    My pstn n t s smthng lk ths:
    sspct tht n gnrtn t f vry fw hs t bcm th mnstr s tht th nxt fw gnrtns dn’t hv t. whl lt f ppl n Wrld Wr 2 dd drdfl thngs s tht th nxt gnrtns wldn’t hv t. Lts hp t dsn’t cm t tht scl gn. Th nmy cn d lt wrs thn kll m. Thy cld sm dy dstry wy f lf, s th Nzs trd t d glblly nd th Tlbn trd t d n fghnstn nd l’Qd trs t d whrvr thy cn.

    Fr m t lv pcfl lf nd d (r b mrdrd) s n nncnt mn s nt th bst thng. Th bst thng s fr my chldrn t b bl t lv pcfl lf whr thy hv frdm f rlgn nd thy dn’t hv t fght trrrsts bcs w lrdy dd t. f hv t trtr trrrst by mkng hm sqt n n ncmfrtbl pstn n rdr t fnd t wh’s bv hm n th chn f cmmnd, ‘d prbbly d t. s ths dmnbl ffns? Myb. ‘ll ccpt tht rsk f t mns ftr gnrtns cn cntn t hv thr frdms nd nvr b sbjct t Tlbn-sq ldrshp. Dn’t thnk tht’s n mpssbl ftr, thr — tht wld b dngrsly nv thght.

    Th “wr gnst trrr” s ptly nmd. t’s nt wr gnst rq r fghnstn, t’s wr gnst th phlsphy f trgtng cvlns t gt wht y wnt. t’s crtclly mprtnt tht w wn ths wr, snc t ls t wll pt s t th mrcy f ppl wh d nt hv ny rgrd fr r frdms r r lfstyls. W’r fghtng ppl wh wld sht dwn Bng Bng f vr thy hd th pwr t d s (tht nd prbbly sht r cnvrt mst f s).

    Tht sd, th ln ds hv t b drwn smwhr. Drwng nd qrtrng ppl w dn’t lk s wy t fr. Sttng thm dwn n nc chr nd skng thm fw qstns bfr sndng thm ff t dnnr s nt fr ngh. Thr’s ln wld drw, nd ‘d pprntly drw t lt frthr dwn thn y.

    Nt ls tht th Gnv cnvntn ppls t prsnrs f wr. Wr hs rls, ctlly. Th trrrst grps dn’t bd by ny f th rls, s thy rn’t ffrdd ny f th prtctns. s s t, lv thy nmy s nt th sm thng s syng, “Lt hm wn”. gthr snch sttd htrd fr rbs n gnrl bfr dltng hs mssgs? Wll tht’s nt th Chrstn wy. hv n grdg gnst rqs, mslms r slm n gnrl, bt d hv grdg gnst th mthd f pltcl nflnc knwn s “trrrsm” nd whlhrtdly spprt ts dft.


    Osi was advocating slaughtering most Muslims, blood running in the streets, etc… Shame his posts were deleted. He was nuttier than your average troll.

  61. Is it a war, or not a war? It seems to flip between one and the other according to convenience. I guess that’s the sort of situation you find yourself in when you declare war on a philosophy.

    Realcatholicmen’s theory that every few generations we are called upon to act like monsters so that our children might live peacefully, with their enemies safely crushed, is perhaps the scariest idea to come out of this discussion.

  62. I think discussing the ideas of trollish posters feeds them. The best response is silence, they hopefully can’t represent the majority. I would argue a refrain from talk about obviously dumb and combative posts. You won’t change their ideas and just waste your valuable time posting. Spend your time, I would suggest, actively fighting the things you find offensive, like torture, in a more viable arena.

    Like helping Amnesty or speaking with your votes.


    The discussion or debate about whether we should or shouldn’t torture seems to ride upon several ideas or assumptions that come to mind whenever the word “torture” is invoked. The mind rushes to a stock scenario of a malefactor having some critical information which he is unwilling to divulge. If only the prisoner would speak a squad of commandos would be put in to action to save some innocent children being held captive in the woods.

    For even this Hollywood scenario to be plausible, the interrogators would have to somehow know for certain that the hostage had this valuable information in the first place, and this is the whole problem. How do you verify the truthfulness of any confession wrung by torture?

    It is because of the very fact that some malefactors might have important strategic information that we need to stay away from torture.

    The Israelis understand this probably better than anyone and have developed sophisticated interrogation techniques that don’t rely on poking needles through people’s eyes. They might use that method if it worked, but since their objective really is get information about sponsors of terror, etc. they know they have to have a far more sophisticated technique.

    There are other problems as well with torture. There are some people who are able to withstand any and all kinds of torture. Torturing these individuals is the best way to ensure you will get no information whatsoever.

    The other assumption that supporters MUST make is that we are 100% accurate in who we identify as a terrorist. If this absurdity cannot be maintained then the need-to-torture argument is prima facie busted.

    But even a person with a small capacity for rational thought that in a foreign land where there is one Arabic translator for every 100 soldiers many innocent people wil be labled as “enemy combatants” or whatever the term may be.

    This, in turn, means that we will end up torturing innocent people who are telling the truth when they say they don’t know anything. But since we’ve already identified them as terrorists with potentially valuable information we will assume they are lying, right? And the stubborn liars will need to be tortured so that they will tell us what we want to know.

    Since we know that most people will say anything to stop being tortured, these innocent people will begin to make up stories. Sometimes these stories will be completely false involving completely made-up people and scenarios which experienced interrogators will dismiss before bringing out the blow torch, and sometimes the false stories will seem true enough that they will be believed by interrogators.

    Think about what happens when an innocent person starts to lie in order to avoid punishment. Once you understand this, you might change how you think on the matter.

    How does an innocent person who is believed to be a terrorist tell a convincing lie? By adding lots of truth to it! After all, the more verifiable it is, the more likely it is that someone will believe it, right? If the innocent gives a name and location that can be cross-referenced in the Baghdad phone book then the innocent is one step closer to being believed and perhaps one step closer to getting sleep, a meal, relief from a stress position, etc.

    In order to make the phony stories seem believable, the innocent will begin to add real details–maybe the names of people who have harmed him or his family in the past–members of other sects and religions–maybe even family members. Sometimes these stories will go over, and then more people will be rounded up in the torture campaign, and then these innocent people will start telling lies. Eventually a lot of people will be rounded up, everyone will be informing and people will be engaged in a profoundly tragic waste of human energy.

    By this time, the torture campaign will be well established, and everyone involved in it will be self-deluding. Eventually the torture campaign is rendered useless for anything other than inflicting human misery and suffering.

    This is but a simple and pedestrian illustration of how things can go quickly awry when you go down the torture road. Even if it were possible to imagine that the torture campaign started off with good intentions, it will quickly upend itself for the reasons given.

    Torturing people is probably the most reliable way of getting unreliable information. Since the information is so unreliable, there needs to be a way to verify it, and if there were a way to verify it, you wouldn’t need torture in the first place.

    The matter is not as simple as one might think. I would suggest reading a few books on the most effective means of interrogating people, REALCATHOLICMEN. You might be surprised by what you find out. It would seem like torture would be effective, but you run in to unexpected complications.

    There’s a 100% chance that not a living sole has read all the way to the bottom of this, but if I am wrong, has anyone besides me notices that there is a conspicuous absence of the once plentiful “W” bumber stickers? I was out on the road the other day and I didn’t see a one.

  64. @72, Pyros:

    Don’t worry– the “W: Still the President!” stickers are still around. After a measured observational study, I’ve taken to labeling a number of cars on the road as “BMW:Ws” – BMWs with the “W” sticker in the window.

    By the way, I have nothing to add to the discussion on torture and the logical fallacies utilized; they’ve already been busted with gusto. Cheers, Pyros and others.

  65. Don’t we have fancy drugs for this anyway? I’m sure “truth serums” are exaggerated by Hollywood, but I seem to recall that they’re pretty accurate in combination with sleep dep.

    “How do we have peace when one side blah blah…”

    Hopefully, cause we’re smarter.


    Just because a 3 year old tries to kill you with a fork doesn’t mean you need to kill the 3 year old.

  66. I happened to be reading last night about the justly famous Milgrom experiment, which was halted early because some of the experimentees were in real danger. It strikes me that what we’re seeing is the Milgrom and Stanford experiments writ large on our society, and it’s becoming frightfully easy to see who would happily leap into the role of a guard without the least qualm.

  67. Why does any knowledgeable regime torture prisoners? Not for information. The only real reasons to do it are retaliation, intimidation, and because you were bored and frustrated that shift.

    Don’t kid yourself that these procedures are merciful or mild. The innocuous-sounding descriptions you’ve read of “stress and duress interrogation techniques” are a fraud. Innocuous methods don’t make prisoners break down and babble anything they think the interrogators want to hear.

    For pete’s sake, that’s the whole point of this video — that when prisoners are forced to hold these trivial-sounding “stress positions” for hour after hour, the effect produced is unambiguously torture.

    If you knew an organization had done stuff like this to one of your close friends or family members, odds are you’d never forgive them, and you’d welcome opportunities to do them an ill turn. Torture doesn’t protect us from anti-U.S. terrorism; it breeds it.

    That’s just one of the reasons why the cost of using torture is so high. It’s a hell of a price to pay for worthless intel.

  68. f y wnt t pst trly hrrfc vd rltd t th wr n trrr, prhps y shld pst lnk t th vd f th bhdng f Dnl Prl. ntl w r rlsng vds shwng th prsnrs t Gntnm (r nywhr ls) bng trtd n smlr mnnr, dn’t rlly cr wht s dn t thm.

  69. TNH@64: Glad you like it! I’ve read ML for years, it feels good to be recognized for a good turn of phrase.

  70. @Skaven:

    You’re totally right! Like, every day I run into people who ask me “what’s so bad about terrorists, anyway?”

    And I’m all like, “dude, they beheaded this guy!”

    And they’re all like, “well, that’s just like some sort of fraternity prank, dude!”

    So, like, we ought to make people watch that beheading video at dinner, y’know?

  71. “Until we are releasing videos showing the prisoners at Guantanamo (or anywhere else) being treated in a similar manner [to Daniel Pearl], I don’t really care what is done to them.”

    Why, are they the same people? I hadn’t heard we had caught them. If we do, should we saw their heads off?

    And you do realize that most of the prisoners at Guantanamo aren’t actually guilty of anything, don’t you? Or doesn’t that matter?

    See, the point is: we are not a nation that saws peoples heads off. Get it? We are not them. That’s what makes us better than them.

    It’s a good thing you’re not president, because mature, competent heads of state don’t base their policy on gut emotions, however horrific the events that inspire them. See George Bush and his idiot cronies for an illustration of the dangers of your kind of decisionmaking.

  72. Myb f ths ppl ddn’t chs t b trrrsts thn thy wldn’t b trtrd. Hw ls r w sppsd t gt nfrmtn frm ths ppl? f t wr p t m w wld pt bmb n thr fngr nls. wn’t nsbscrb bcs DN’T SPPRT TRRRSM nd y shld nt thr. Strt stckng p fr th mrcn Ppl wh lst thr lvs n 9/11 nd stp stckng p fr th trrrsts

  73. “Start sticking up for the American People who lost their lives in 9/11 and stop sticking up for the terrorists.”

    Have you even read any of the above posts? ‘Cause, like, you’re supposed to before commenting.

    You need to give a little thought to your arguments before posting, because saying that people who disagree with you support terrorism, is, well.. sorry, but there’s just no nice way to put this… ignorant, offensive, and a stupid, boring waste of everyone’s time.

  74. Sqshy (70),
    Scry, bt tr. 64 yrs g qt lt f th wrld ws shtng ch thr. Brbrc, ys, bt wht wr th ltrntvs? Th ltrntvs wr t lt th Grmns wn, kll ll th Jws nd mbrk n rnst n Htlr’s grnd schms fr th hmn rc.

    “Gdwn’s Lw”, thnk, ws ctlly nvntd bcs thr s n nswr t brngng p “Htlr”. Nbdy wnts t rmmbr tht ppl lk hm cm nt pwr prdclly nd hv t b dlt wth. Th dbt slly nds t tht pnt bcs th wrd “Htlr” s th trmp crd t ll f th pc lvng dbts n th wrld. Smtms y hv t chs btwn fghtng nsty fght r th nd f yr wy f lf. Smtms thr s n ncrn chsr, jst mr bld.

    dn’t thnk w’r thr yt wth th trrrst thrt, bt tht’s bcs w’r fghtng t rly, whl t’s stll smll. f w’d dn th sm thng wth th Nz mvmnt whn t ws smll, Wrld Wr 2 prbbly wld hv bn vdd. T my mnd, crshng trrrsts tdy s prvng w lrnd smthng frm Wrld Wr 2. W lrnd nt t lt crzy mltnt ppl gt t pnt whr thy’r cpbl f kllng mllns.

    nd t’s wrkng. W’r n lngr fghtng rq nsrgnts. vn th hrd cr mrcn htng rq trbs r thr drctly wrkng wth mrcn trps r r ndpndntly fghtng th trrrsts nd gnrng th mrcns. W’r fghtng th Syrns, Lbyns nd Sds wh r bmbzld nt fghtng s trrrsts. ttcks r dwn prcsly bcs w’r wnnng: th lcls dn’t wnt t b trrrsts, dn’t wnt t fght th mrcns nd wnt th ctl trrrsts t g bck hm.

    Pyrs (72),
    ctlly, thnk trtr s th xcptnl cs, nt th rl, s y sm t thnk. Mchl Yn s n ndpndnt rprtr n rq nd hd ths t sy n hs dsptch nttld, “Th Bttl fr Msl V”:
    <>“Th plc wr ls dvlpng thr wn ntllgnc nd ctng n t, vn bcmng dpt t ‘th cscdng rd,’ s bgn t cll t… Rd cscds hppn lk ths: bd gy s cght, nd tlls whr thr trrrsts r, wh r thn qckly cght, nd thy n trn rt t fw mr…
    “Th cll ldr qckly brk, gvng p th dntty f hs bss. Th plc thn cntnd th mmntm f th cscd, cptrng th hghr rnkng cll ldr, wh n trn gv ntrrgtrs th lctn f lrg cch f wpns, mrtrs nd mmntn. Th wpns cch vldtd th cptr nd vldty f ll th prvsly cptrd trrrsts n th cscd.”

    W dn’t knw hw th nfrmtn s xtrctd n ths prtclr ntrrgtns. D thy spll th bns mmdtly? D w hv t mk thm lstn t Brtny Sprs fr 2 hrs? Whtvr th mthd, t’s wrkng.

    Y sm t b pctrng th Spnsh nqstn, trtrng smn ntl thy cnfss t bng crmnl, bt thr’s nt mch vl n tht. Gttng thm t rvl th lctn f cch f wpns whch y thn g t nd <>fnd s fr mr sfl, nd ctlly s wht’s hppnng.

    nthr rn (75),
    t wld b srs mstk t ssm tht w r smrtr thn r nms. Trrrsts r nt gntclly dfcnt mtnts. Ths 3 yr ld wth frk nlgy dsn’t rlly xtnd t trrrsts wh r btnng wpns tht cn dstry r mst tp f th ln, mst hvly rmrd bttl tnk.

  75. You’re not paying attention, JM @83: “These people” aren’t necessarily terrorists. They are swept up, having been identified by very dubious means for the most part, and are then abused until they come up with something that will lead to other people being swept up for further abuse. They aren’t all Abu Zubaydah. Most of them are Richard Belmar or Jose Padilla. Torturing the wrong people is not only a waste of resources, it is actually counter-productive. Not only that, but torture is useless without confirmatory intel from other sources, analysis, deduction, logic and reason. And when you have those, you don’t need torture.

    But why am I arguing the utilitarian argument? It’s obvious that you, at least, are not interested in acquiring useful intel. You just want to torture people you have been told are the “enemy”. What a wizened little soul you are.

  76. I’d just like to ask this question of those who support the use of torture:

    John McCain, a Republican Viet Nam veteran who spent 5 and a half years in a North Viet Namese prison camp, and who (sadly) knows more about torture than any of us (thankfully) ever will, says it’s useless as well as morally wrong.

    I’m not being sarcastic or disingenuous when I ask: is that an opinion you’re comfortable dismissing? How is it that you know better than McCain?

  77. “If we’d done the same thing with the Nazi movement when it was small, World War 2 probably would have been avoided.”

    Sorry, but this kind of attempt to draw parallels between very different historical situations just isn’t much use in a debate. That’s the real reason that mentioning Hitler stops debate like this. It’s sloppy reasoning.

    Nazi Germany was a state. The Nazi’s were not a diffused group of unidentified terrorists, and the US didn’t go around detaining and torturing any Germans it could get its hands on. (It did-uselessly-detain the Japanese-American population. But it didn’t torture them. And yet we didn’t lose the war.)

    I could name historical precedents that suggest that containment also works. That is after all what they tried to do with Hitler. So what? What’s it prove?

    Etc., etc.

    Saying that we are diminishing the terrorist threat by our actions is like saying that the way to put out a fire is to smother it with gasoline. Take that, you evil fire!

    I don’t think anyone denies that going into Afghanistan was the right move. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

    We’re talking about systematically torturing detainees. If you don’t think it’s systemmatic, I’m sorry, but you just can’t have been paying attention all these years since 9/11.

    Can you not see that we are turning undecided Muslims all over the world into committed anti-American extremists by our actions?

  78. @ RealCatholicMen

    As much as I hate to belabor the obvious, The Allies were able to defeat Nazi Germany without torturing prisoners.

    Please re-read posts 86, 87, and 19. Your belief that all detainees are terrorists and they all have useful information that be extracted though coercion is indefensible.

  79. @jm365098

    I don’t care that you’re a troll.

    I’m tired of people hiding behind 9/11. The overwhelming majority of you have no connection to 9/11. You personally do not know anyone who was there or witness it yourself. Your only idea of the scale of what happened that day are some news clips on Fox News. Yet you keep on championing it around as an excuse to do whatever you please in the world.

    Do you know what the mood in New York City was that day? It was somber. We had become greedy and ignorant and we paid a dear price. But there was also resolve. Not for revenge but to rebuild, to get back to normal and show those maniacs that they could not change us with chaos and destruction. We held firm and said “you do not scare us.”

    I think Michael Moran, a member of NYFD, put it best. In the Concert for New York, he yelled on national television, “Osama Bin Laden, you can kiss my royal Irish ass.” He didn’t say “Osama Bin Laden, I’m going to come and tear your fucking head off.” No this man, who lost his brother and 12 colleagues, said that the terrorists did not frighten him. They weren’t going to change him and they were insignificant to him.

    Rudy Giuliani recently came to Yankee Stadium and was unanimously booed by the crowd multiple times. He’s hated in New York City because of what he’s done with 9/11. We don’t like him and we don’t like you. So stop showing off our city’s pain like a trophy. We don’t want any part in the War on Terror and I’m sure the vast majority of those who gave their lives on that awful day wouldn’t either. What you are doing is not “sticking up” for the dead. You are being disrespectful and marginalizing their sacrifice by using their deaths as a reason to change the very thing they gave their lives for.

  80. Maybe they can release it as Torture Porn. Amnesty International has never made interrogation look so stylish and sexy.

  81. If you’re against the death penalty because you’re concerned about the eventuality of executing innocents you’re or murderers an criminals. If you’re against torture, you’re for terrorists.

    Theresa is 100% correct – torture apologists want to commit acts of torture because they’re angry, and want revenge. The language they use betrays this – that it was only “a hand full” of really horrible bad men who never got a trial because the government told us they were so bad.

    there’s no acknowledgments of the overwhelming evidence of how crappy torture is for extracting intel. Nothing about the impact on th psyche of the interrogator. Just insults about how people who object are traitors, fags, and one word government communists.

    Deep down, torture defenders would love to put the waterboards and stress positions to you and me, a anyone else who disagreed. or mocked them

    They’re sadists who get off on authority through torture.

  82. @#89-Nick D

    I’m so glad you cleared that up. As a german, I thought…should I bother?? Hitler is being pulled out as the ultimate justification Joker for pretty much anything when it comes to extreme foreign policy.

    There is nothing comparable in today’s world to nazi germany…sorry, it provides great analogies and powerful statements, but you’re fooling yourself.

    Hitler rose to power by abusing sentiments of fear and frustration amongst the german population as well as clever politicking and abandonment of existing laws….in a very generalised nutshell…

    Hang on….

    Just kidding…

  83. It is not America the country that tortures people. It is the government said to represent Americans that does. It is only that Americans have become such weak pathetic creatures that they would even rationalize the crimes its government commits.

    Also never strive for democracy, one day you will find yourself in the minority and you will know the evils of government by the majority really is.

    Strive for liberty. Nothing else matters.

    Ross Givens
    Kushin Los
    An American.

  84. Nck D (89),
    Y r crrct n n spct bt th Nz mvmnt bng cmprd t trrrsm. Trrrsm s ntcbly wrs. Th Nz mvmnt rlly nly bcm glbl prblm whn thy cntrlld ntn. Th wrld (mrc n prtclr) shld hv ctd mr dcsvly s sn s th prblm bcm pprnt bt dmttdly tht wsn’t ntl thy wr lrdy n cntrl f dngrs wr mchn.

    Th trrrsts, lk th Nzs, hv ls ttmptd t frg ntn, bt thr ttmpts hv bn s grssly vlnt tht w’v bn bl t s thm fr wht thy r bfr thy cm nt ttl pwr, nd stp thm. dn’t ndrstnd hw y cn thnk f ths s nythng bt gd thng. Y rlly dn’t wnt 1940-Grmny strngth Tlbn n th wrld, spclly wth nks.

    nd n, dn’t s tht w r trnng ndcdd Mslms ll vr th wrld nt cmmttd nt-mrcn xtrmsts.

    n th shrt trm, y my b crrct, jst nt n th wy y thnk. fnd chrt f trrrst ttcks p t 2004. Th yr wth th lst nmbr f trrrst ttcks ws 2000. ftr 2001 thr ws rs n trrrst ttcks wrldwd. thnk thr r tw lssns hr: n s tht whn w fght trrrsts, trrrst rltd ttcks bvsly ncrs. Scnd s tht whn w gnr th trrrsts, thy wll sv p fr rlly nsty ttck.

    Ths dys, s qt lt f Mslms rlzng tht th xtrmst lmnts r sng nd bsng thm fr thr wn gls nd s th wr n rq s bng pssbly th wrst pblc rltns mv tht l’Qd cld hv md. Sndng ppl t thr dths sn’t wnnng thm ny fns t hm. t ws wrkng whn thy thght thy cld wn nd nw t’s nt wrkng s wll. f w kp t p, w mght trly hv dlvrd knck-t pnch tht sts th xtrmsts s fr bck n trms f mnpwr nd rsrcs tht thy wn’t b t mk nthr vlnt grb t pwr n th frsbl ftr.

  85. RCM96:
    I feel that there are a number of wrong statements in your post. At the same time, I worry that any response I make will lack sufficiently articulate arguments to convince you to agree with me. I will leave that to more eloquent speakers.

  86. You really don’t want a 1940-Germany strength Taliban in the world, especially with nukes.

    I know you’re deadly serious, but if you would have any idea how this sounds to non-paranoid-shizo’s, you’d have a great hearty belly-laugh…

    What’s next? “First paved road in Afghanistan! We need to move in…they’re building an Autobahn!!”

  87. All things require moderation. Even your views Elnico. All things are possible, given time, and energy.

    Osiris Dela Noche
    For he is reborn.
    And known unto the world.

  88. Seriously, pretending to get rid of terrorism by turning yourself into a terrorist is not something I’d qualify as a very good move in terms of:
    1) ethics
    2) efficiency
    3) well, basic sanity, really

    Then again, the Bush clique hasn’t proved strong in any of these areas, anyway.

  89. Can anyone repost what Osinoche said? I’ve been reading responses to his (obviously idiotic) post with no point of reference and it’s driving me insane.

  90. @#96: No, terrorism is not worse than what we faced in WWII. Nothing happening in today’s world comes close to the shit that went on in WWII.

    Listen: we went into Afghanistan, we went into Iraq, and the powers that be are still warning us about their “gut feelings” about an “imminent terrorist attack.”

    What happened? We did exactly what you’re advocating, and it didn’t work. What next, Iran? Pakistan? Indonesia?
    But we can somehow turn the whole sorry mess around if we can just get our hands on the right people and torure some info out of them? C’mon!

    “I think there are two lessons here: one is that when we fight terrorists, terrorist related attacks obviously increase. Second is that when we ignore the terrorists, they will save up for a really nasty attack.”

    So when we do nothing, terrorists strike; and when we do something, terrorists strike?

    Per the “knockout punch” you’re itching to deliver the evildoers: this is just pure fantasy.

    How would this happen, exactly? Where do you get these ideas, from comic books? There is no evil version of the Fortress of Solitude that we can attack. There is no military solution to this one.

    While we’re at it, let’s deploy the military to finally win that pesky War on Poverty!

    Send them to that cave there where all the bad poverty-causing people are, and just bomb the shit out of it! (Smacks forehead.) “My God, why has no one thought of this before?!”

    And oh yeah, just to reiterate: torture is what makes the evildoers the evildoers. It’s strictly for scumbags. No amount of arguing is gonna change that basic fact.

  91. RCM (96):

    You are correct in one aspect about the Nazi movement being compared to terrorism. Terrorism is noticeably worse.

    That statement is noticeably meaningless. Terrorism is a tactic. The Nazis were a political movement. You need to specify which terrorists you have in mind.

    The Nazi movement really only became a global problem when they controlled a nation.

    That’s because the Nazis didn’t do much of anything prior to taking control of the government. Terrorists, on the other hand, are only distinguishable from Guys Who Talk Big at the point that they commit acts of terrorism.

    What you’re doing is comparing the Nazis at a historical moment when they’d so far only behaved like small-time thugs, and only done it domestically, with small groups of extremists who have already been doing everything in their (not all that vast) power to hurt us.

    I’ll grant that actively committing evil is worse than merely intending it; but that’s as far as your comparison stretches. The Nazis had seized control of a national government, and would go on to instigate massive wars of aggression, and the systematic murder of millions of people. The unspecified terrorists you’re talking about are extremely unlikely to get that far. They certainly haven’t done it yet.

    The world (America in particular) should have acted more decisively as soon as the problem became apparent but admittedly that wasn’t until they were already in control of a dangerous war machine.

    Let me repeat: that was because they hadn’t yet done much of anything.

    The terrorists, like the Nazis, have also attempted to forge a nation, but their attempts have been so grossly violent that we’ve been able to see them for what they are before they came into total power, and stop them.

    Excuse me? Who the devil are you talking about? That statement of yours is wrong, but I’d like to know how wrong, and in which direction.

    I don’t understand how you can think of this as anything but a good thing.

    I can do it because I can’t tell who you’re talking about, and I don’t know of any actions we’ve taken that amount to what you’re describing there.

    You really don’t want a 1940-Germany strength Taliban in the world, especially with nukes.

    Where in the world are we in danger of that, and what does it have to do with us torturing our prisoners?

    And no, I don’t see that we are turning undecided Muslims all over the world into committed anti-American extremists.

    Then you’re touch-typing with your eyes closed. There’s a mass of data out there on that subject.

    It would be overkill for me to continue in this fashion with your entire post. Let me just say that what we’re doing is absolutely not working. Believing that it is is on par with thinking that we’re going to be met with cheering and flowers.

    Gabe (101), Osinoche was a bad wicked troll, and his comments will not be re-posted. For what it’s worth, you really didn’t miss much.

    Deltron (91), thank you. I get tired of it too. I especially get tired of hearing about it from supporters of an administration that crapped out on most of its post-911 promises of help and support, and allocates more anti-terrorism funding to Wyoming than NYC.

    On the day, and in the days that followed, the whole world reacted with pain and horror, and reached out to us. They perceived, correctly, that it wasn’t just an attack on America, but on modern civilization itself. Ever since then, our domestic yahoos have been yammering America America America, as though 9/11 was all about us and no one else. They’ve also been ignoring how many of the dead were from other countries. For a while there, while the numbers were still being totted up, it looked like the non-native dead might be in the majority. They weren’t, in the end; but it was a substantial fraction.

    They want it to be an attack on America — not just on New York City, and not on civilization itself. What they mean is that they want to claim it was an attack on them, personally, so they’ll have an excuse to retaliate.

  92. The world (America in particular) should have acted more decisively as soon as the problem became apparent but admittedly that wasn’t until they were already in control of a dangerous war machine.

    You mean meddling in another sovereign country’s political affairs because it doesn’t quite suit you?
    It would have been great to avoid nazi germany, but your scenario implies some Cheneyesque global strike force that doesn’t need a war to invade.

    Sorry, but it just blurs the lines a bit too much…

  93. Trs (105),
    Ys, trrrsm s tctc, nd t’s tctc tht w’r wrkng t prv ds nt wrk nd shld nt b sd n th ftr by ny grp tht wnts t ccmplsh nythng thr thn thr wn crshng dft. sy f Spn hd bn smrt, thr rctn t th trn bmbng wld hv bn dblng f th nmbrs f trps. Nw thy’r slvs t th whms f trrrsts. D wht w wnt r w’ll blw p nthr trn. Lt th trrrsts sttl ths dstrctn n rq nd w’ll s thm hv chnc t cptlz n thr mjr vctry n Spn.

    Th trrrsts d nt, s y sy, hv ntnl gvrnmnt. Tht’s wht hppns whn y ttck thm vry tm thy clmp p. Thy bsclly hd fghnstn nd tht cld hv grwn nt smthng mjr. ftn sspct tht lt f snr trrrsts mst rlly ht Bn Ldn, snc t’s hs flt w crshd thr mvmnt lng bfr t hd chnc t rlly b frtfl.

    nd f y thnk ‘m wrng bt th trrrsts ttmptng t frm ntn, y nd t g rd sm strs frm sm ndpndnt rprtrs mbddd n rq. rcmmnd Mchl Yn, prsnlly. l’Qd hs trd vry hrd t crt strnghlds wth dsgns n gvrnmnt nd ntn, bt w’v brkn p.

    s fr strng trrrst-frndly rgm wth nks, w rn’t tht fr wy frm t. ll w rlly nd s chng f pwr n mddl strn ntn wth strng mslm ppltn whch lrdy hs nclr cpblty. Lk, h, sy, fr xmpl, Pkstn. lthgh rn gnng th pwr t crt nks shld scr y t. f t dsn’t, y nd t rd mr bt rn nd ts ldr.

    Y clm tht thr’s mss f dt tht Mslms r trnng gnst s. sy thr’s mss f dt tht th wr n trrr s wrkng nd th nmbr f xtrmsts gnst s s n shrp dcln. Mslms r nt trrrsts. Mslms r nt bcmng trrrsts. Wht w’r fghtng s th dldd fw, nd th dt shws thy’r bcmng fwr by th mnth.

    Wht w’r dng s nt nly wrkng, t’s bsclly wrkd. Yr nfrmtn s crrct s f ths tm lst yr bt t’s t f dt tdy.

  94. RCM @108:

    I say if Spain had been smart, their reaction to the train bombing would have been a doubling of the numbers of troops. Now they’re slaves to the whims of terrorists.

    Because Spain is suffering so much from terrorism now? More than when it was just the Basques? Spain is dancing to the tune of terrorism how, exactly?

    I say, if you knew anything about the world, the world would be an infinitismally better place. Leave this poor thread to die, go to a library, read a book or two. Come back when you can sound less ignorant.

  95. “Yes, terrorism is a tactic, and it’s a tactic that we’re working to prove does not work and should not be used in the future by any group that wants to accomplish anything other than their own crushing defeat.”
    I fail to see how it is coherent with your approval of the endorsement of terrorism by US government. Because, just so you know, the purpose of torture is terrorist. It has nothing to do with gaining information. It’s all about sending a message, a message of terror against any dissent in target countries. Which is the very definition of terrorism, no matter how Bush and his minions try to twist the words.

    Speaking of words: terrorism isn’t a tactic, it’s a strategy. Various tactics can be involved in this strategy, like bombing, torture, mutilations en masse, or methodic execution of dissenters (1793-94, France, the… Terror – the origin of the word “terrorism”, FYI).

  96. Nlsn, f y hv smthng t dd, by ll mns d s. Nbdy s mkng y cm ll th wy bck t ths thrd t rd t.

    Schmrglck, w r gnng vlbl, vrfbl nfrmtn (ncldng th lctns f wpn cchs, s dtld rlr) smply by mkng smn ncmfrtbl fr fw hrs. ‘m n fvr f tht. ‘m nt n fvr f hrsh tchnqs r trtr fr th prps f xtrctng cnfssns (snc sch cnfssns wld b wrthlss).

    lthgh n f Mchl Yn’s dsptchs hd sggstd tht mst trrrsts dn’t nd t b crcd n th slghtst. Thy spll th bns mmdtly bcs f th hrsh trtmnt thy wr gvn by thr sprrs. Mny r thr nly bcs thr fmls wr thrtnd wth dth f thy ddn’t g. f w cptr n f thr sprrs, ‘m nt gnst mkng hm sqt fr whl.

    s fr wrd dfntn, “trrrsm” s bth tctc ( mns f ttck, sch s blwng yrslf p n crwdd mrktplc fll f cvlns) nd strtgy ( mns t n vrll bjctv, sch s kllng vry mn, wmn nd chld n vllg).

    W’d lk t dscrg t, n ll f ts mny trrbl dfntns.

    r shld w lt t g n? ftr ll, thy’r nly frgnrs, rght? s t ky wth y ll tht trrrsm flrshs s lng s t mstly hppns t frgnrs? Myb f w g hm nd trn ff th TV, ths bd ppl wll jst g wy? Tht wld tk sm pwrfl fth t blv smthng tht crzy!

  97. “Schmorgluck, we are gaining valuable, verifiable information (including the locations of weapon caches, as detailed earlier) simply by making someone uncomfortable for a few hours.”
    Bullshit. No reliable information has ever been gained by means of torture. Expert in the field have said it many times. You seem to be unaware that there are many interrogation techniques that are not based on torture. Fortunately, some people know their job. Not in Guantanamo, apparently.

    “I’m in favor of that. I’m not in favor of harsh techniques or torture for the purpose of extracting confessions (since such confessions would be worthless).”
    The technique involved here are harsh techniques of torture, aimed at causing huge pain and extreme distress. The one and only real difference between these methods and, say, those used by French army in Algeria, is that they cause lower casualties (still some casualties, though).

    By the way, to answer to yet another piece of bullshit you dropped earlier: Spain’s withdrawal has little to do with the train bombing and mainly to do with a change in government not unrelated to the fact that the invasion of Iraq was highly impopular to Spanish people from the very beginning, like it was to most people in the world, actually.

  98. Remember the mass protests all over the world when the Bush administration made its first moves toward invading Iraq? Spain’s previous government disregarded them.


    Yes, terrorism is a tactic, and it’s a tactic that we’re working to prove does not work…

    Let me second Schmorgluck in saying that this is an unlikely piece of piety to hear from you, since the only real purpose for torturing prisoners is to terrorize them and (more to the point) everyone who hears about them.

    That’s real terrorism. It’s not the hazy fake excuses-everything never-defined “terrorism” you keep invoking. It’s the thing itself, and you’re advocating it.


    Your appearances here show some strikingly abnormal patterns. You don’t come off like a hardcore troll — that is, you sound like someone who’s capable of genuine interaction with this conversation and the other people in it — and yet you don’t. You ignore 90% of what’s said to you, and you only pay attention to the rest because you’re using it as a jumping-off point for further explanations about how this stuff isn’t really torture, and how we’re getting good intelligence out of it.

    Which is utter bullshit. There’s heaps of data on this question, lots of authoritative statements from authoritative sources, and they all say the same thing: yes, it is torture; no, we’re not getting usable intel out of it.

    But back to those patterns. Usually, when someone’s so interested in a conversation that they come back as often and write as much as you have, they care about the reactions they’re getting from the other participants. But as I noted earlier, you don’t. You ignore everything, including direct questions and extended analyses, and only acknowledge the bits you use as jumping-off points for your next round.

    That isn’t natural.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that you keep making the same points over and over again, unchanged: We have to do this to protect ourselves from terrorism. It isn’t really torture. We’re getting useful intelligence out of prisoners by doing it. And the longer you go on about them, the more you sound like a press release.

    I happen to know that for years now, the military has assigned servicepeople to hang out on the internet, incognito, posting messages in support of the top brass’s preferred versions of things. It’s very, very wrong of them. The U.S. military is supposed to never be used to keep peaceable civilians in line, or interfere with civilian politics. They’ve nevertheless been doing quite a lot of it.

    RCM, I don’t know who or what you are, but I trust you less with every passing day.

  99. RCM @110: I thought I had added something. Let me try again.

    Now they’re slaves to the whims of terrorists.

    Please explain exactly how Spain is in thrall to Muslim terrorists. What terrorist tune is the present government dancing to? Also explain how Spain is in thrall to Basque terrorists, since it would make no sense for them to be tough on the old set of terrorists and soft on the Muslim arrivistes simultaneously.

  100. Ditto Nelson, the majority of the Spanish people were thinking invading Iraq was a stupid idea and they took the opportunity to say so.

    Last time I was in Barcelona I didn’t get the impression of a Muslim terrorist-controlled country living in fear…maybe I wasn’t going to the right places…

    I really hope RCM is just a troll, because middle-America is seriously scaring me…

  101. Hi all, we made the film. Interesting seeing all the comments.

    Just wanted to add in to the conversation, the visceral reaction we all had to seeing first hand in the flesh the agony Stress Positions induce. This is a critical time; I don’t think there was much comment during the Vietnam War about supporting torture. Now it seems that a lot of people, maybe even the majority of people would support the use of torture.

    There’s a shift in our collective psychology going on here. We, as societies, are slipping into the acceptance of torture, becoming immune to civilian casualties caused by our armies, accepting more draconian police powers (and in the UK we’ve accepted our police being more armed)…

    It’s the War ON Liberty that I’m worried about… Thanks to all for watching the film. If you believe this is a cause that is worthwhile, please pass the film on to as many people as you can….

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