Torture

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Espaldapalabras, May 14, 2010.

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  1. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    It's counterproductive and unnecessary, aside from morally wrong. Just look at how much information was gleaned about the would-be NYC bomber through good interrogation.
  3. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    I think in the most extreme circumstances it should be a last resort. Like if someone had a nuke or dirty bomb reay to go off and you knew they had info that could potentially save many lives.

    Other than that, no.

    Knightwriter already mentioned Times Square bomber. No need to torture that guy. He's running his mouth anyway.
  4. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Exploiting people's mental weaknesses, including and sometimes especially vanity, is a far better way to go. Even in those extreme cases, torture is simply unnecessary and counterproductive. The ticking time bomb scenario is also never going to happen.
  5. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    No but they should have torture as a last resort if the impossible were to happen.

    Yeah, I know it's something out of 24. Let's hope it always stays that way.
  6. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    "Especially vanity" is right. As a cop once said at a law seminar, "people love to tell their stories."
  7. MrZAP Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 5
    There is a very simple way to handle these question, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with morals, which could or could not have been your intention. I will first answer the second question. Do we use it? I will answer this in two ways. The first being in reference to the United States of America, and the second to the human species as a whole. I will argue yes to the first, on two grounds. We have evidence of using physical torture, which is the first part. And two, even if we didn't have evidence of using physical torture, modern interrogation tactics are often essentially applications of psychological torture. Torture is not confined to physical torture by any means. Now, the first answer clearly answers the second. Yes, humans as a species do use torture, however, that is limited in scope. That is because, in truth, torture of both kinds is used all over the world by many different people, some who don't even realize they're doing it, in the case of bullying in the very young. I am not going to bother with the sub-part of the second question, because really it is completely irrelevant when you think about it, and in a way entirely unrelated to that question anyway. So, now we go to the first question. Does torture work? This question is very interesting. It is structured in such a way that to be truly objective, ethical grounds must be cast aside. The truth of the matter, as unfortunate as it is, is that both physical and psychological torture work, meaning they have the ability to meet their goals, whether it is receiving information or even simple sadism. So, really, the completely simplified answer to your first question is, when objectively thought of, yes. It does work.

    I am in way endorsing torture of either kind, you must understand. I really do detest the very thought on ethical grounds. However, that is the completely objective set of answers to your two questions.
  8. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I disagree to a certain extent. I would say that the question of ethics is little more than a human-generated construct with no real value in a conflict. However, those who use torture on a regular basis earn an unfavorable reputation. And for the US to use it against people who are protected by its own laws is absolutely hypocritical.

    Sorry, but I have disagree with you on this. It would be more appropriate to state that you can make a person say anything if you subject him to enough pain. And when I say 'anything,' that includes lies told to them by their interrogators. 'Say Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, and this will stop.'

    Sure you can extract actual intelligence as well, but you can very well also force a person to speak lies if that's what it took to make the torture stop.
  9. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Ok, time to clean up a few myths.

    First EVIDENCE gained by torture is worthless, people will say anything to just make it stop. Intelligence gained by torture is vital and saves many lives.

    Secondly, yes of course people lie but then you check their info for accuracy. Break them down and you discover their safe houses, bank accounts, arms caches, contacts, smuggling routes, plans etc

    Thirdly, is that a price we're willing to pay? I say yes, to save the lives innocent people it's worthwhile. Anyone who says no I say fine, but when it's not hypothetical, it's you or people you care about I think your opinion would be different.

    Also you can use various psychological techniques to break people down slowly but speed is off the essence. Each passing moment increases the likelihood of an attack going ahead or the conspirators realising their comerade has been captured and adapting accordingly, with each passing moment the info you get from them is less useful
  10. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I don't follow your logic. So if their words are worthless, then you might as well not even bother to inflict physical pain at all. Whatever they say won't be to benefit their interrogators, so you might as well not trust any of it.

    And how many times has this happened? When it comes to terrorists, they don't use an extensive network where any one is able to bring down the entire organization. They work in cells for the specific purpose of not compromising everything beyond what that single cell is responsible for.

    Even if what you say is true, the real value of such info isn't really that significant.

    Yeah, I wouldn't want to see any of my friends tortured for any reason whatsoever. If I were convinced they were plotting to overthrow the US government, I might have a different opinion, but I most certainly wouldn't support torture because you put innocents at risk in the process. It's like making execution the punishment for every murder case, despite some cases when new evidence later turns up and exonerates the person. Sure, you give the right punishment to a lot of people, but you also put the innocent at risk of receiving punishment they aren't responsible for.
  11. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    So, if you have all the time you need to check all the information your torture victim gives you for accuracy, isn't the nuke going to go off in LA before Jack Bauer gets there?.

    Personally, if I was faced with a terrorist who knew the location of a dangerous weapon set to go off in a few hours and kill millions, I'd cast Charm Person and Detect Thoughts because I am clearly in a fantasy scenario. But I'm pretty sure I'd save the lives of millions, so I vote we authorize our troops to use magic to defend our freedom. Then they could use scrying and teleport to capture Bin Laden. Think of all the lives you're putting at risk because of your outdated superstitions!
  12. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Threadwinner =D=

    In all seriousness, it's an unfortunate fact that collectives (corporations, nations, etc.) don't operate along the moral/immoral dichotomy, instead operating along the lines of effective/ineffective. Therefore, let's ask this question: when has torture ever been effective in preventing a stated undesirable outcome? Secondly, how does torture compare against methods that don't involve torture?
  13. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Actually from what I've heard this is actually how interrogations are handled. You cross-reference what one guy tells you with what someone else tells you, see how consistent their stories are, and eventually you can sorta tell what's true and what's garbage. It's also said that if you're a U.S. serviceman and you're captured and interrogated, you will talk....so presumably the same applies to terrorist suspects.

    I'm with shanerjedi, torture should be kept as a last resort. It doesn't mean that torture is ever a good thing though; torture is evil, period....and it would be a huge mistake to praise interrogators as heroes even if what they do is ultimately necessary to save lives.
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Terrorists ratting eachother out is quite commonplace, particularly with AQ. A good example is the ongoing investigation into the Times Square bomber; his arrest has led to nearly twenty others since the event.

    And I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that terrorist groups don't have interconnected links; they do. In Iraq, AQI organization for planting IEDs goes something like this, for an example:

    Leader/financier-bomb maker-bomb planter-bomb initiator. If you capture any of them, your likelihood of capturing or killing the rest goes way up.
  15. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    LightWarden, so are you labeling acceptance of "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" as a threat to homeland security? Well played.
  16. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Except you seem to neglect to mention that getting info from one tends to compromise only anyone operating in that cell. It's not as though you can compromise an entire network because the cells operate independent of one another. One of the reasons the AQ is very inefficient in its operations is because the groups don't work in unison with one another, nor do they keep one another appraised of what they're doing.

    Capturing and extracting info from one does tend to lead to other terrorists, but it would be wrong to suggest you can compromise the entire network with info from just one cell.
  17. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    I can tell none of you read that article. If torture wasn't effective, then nobody would need to learn how to resist it.
  18. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I read the article just fine. I think I explicitly said that if you tortured a person long enough, he would say whatever you wanted to hear in order to make it stop. Some people can resist it, but it's only a matter of time before they break.

    The issue I have is whether what he says will be what the interrogators wanted, or if it's genuinely the truth. That comes back to the ones subjecting the torture. If someone has the gaul to strip a person naked, deprive him of sleep, and waterboarding... then how can you trust the motives of such a person? My issue isn't the victim, but what the interrogator demands to hear.
  19. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    But Yuthura, that's not an accurate characterization on how any interrogation method would be carried out, even if you went all the way and tortured someone.

    In the doomsday scenario, you wouldn't just wait until someone tells you that a bomb is hidden in Yankee Stadium, and when it's not there, just sit back and say "oh, that guy just told us what we want to hear, he pulled one over on us." If the information that was provided turned out to be inaccurate, then it represents a violation of the psychological relationship that was developed with the subject.

    People tend to look at this issue in the wrong way. Torture isn't separate and distinct from interrogation in general, it's a continual line that is set by society. I think that's the area that is examined by Espaldapalabras's initial link.
  20. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Except you seem to neglect to mention that getting info from one tends to compromise only anyone operating in that cell. It's not as though you can compromise an entire network because the cells operate independent of one another. One of the reasons the AQ is very inefficient in its operations is because the groups don't work in unison with one another, nor do they keep one another appraised of what they're doing.

    Capturing and extracting info from one does tend to lead to other terrorists, but it would be wrong to suggest you can compromise the entire network with info from just one cell.


    Yes, you can; I'm not sure where you get the impression that AQI was/is decentralized, because it wasn't and isn't. Cells seldom had interaction with eachother, but there was an overal chain of command directing individual cells; these people were often compromised by lower-level terrorists who knew their whereabouts.

  21. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Doomsday scenario. DOOOOOMSDAY SCEN-AR-I-OOOOOOOOOOO! I love this argument so. much.

    -There are terrorists
    -With a doomsday device
    -That works
    -And won't kill them if they mishandle it
    -That they can get into a heavily populated region
    -Without being noticed
    -Despite being comedic stereotypes
    -We have a guy
    -The right guy
    -But not right enough
    -Who is a member of that particular cell
    -And knows about the plot
    -Key information
    -And not any false information
    -And they won't actually change the plan once they notice his disappearance
    -We know the plot is real
    -But not any details
    -We do not have time for standard interrogation
    -But we do have just enough time to torture him
    -And still stop the plot
    -Assuming he breaks
    -And doesn't go completely catatonic
    -Before running out the clock
    -And leaving enough time left to stop it
    -But deception won't work
    -Nor will negotiation
    -Because they are comedic stereotypes
    -We will know when he is lying
    -Because we have information from other sources
    -That still don't actually tell us anything about where the plot is
    -So we can easily eliminate false leads
    -Whether he is lying or just misinformed
    -We will know when he is telling the truth
    -And won't keep torturing him on the chance that this is a ploy
    -For our oddly specific amount of time
    -Enough details of the plot will be unearthed
    -And we will have enough time to mobilize
    -With forces equipped to handle it
    -Who can get there in time
    -Without alerting the group
    -Or resulting in premature detonation
    -Of the doomsday device
    -Which they have
    -That works
    -We will be able to defeat them there
    -And stop the device
    -Because they are comedic stereotypes

    I can't see any places where this could possibly go wrong and thus no reason why we shouldn't use this to determine part of national policy!
  22. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    1. EVIDENCE gained by torture is worthless, you can never produce it in court because people would say anything to make it stop. INFORMATION gained by torture is worthwhile because you can then check it and it produces results and saves lives.

    2. Capture one person and break the cell, find the link person in the cell and work back to the next level. Even one terrorist can be a huge threat, the Unabomber, Timthy McVeigh, Richard Reid etc Torture still wothwhile

    3. Not sure if you're deliberately misunderstanding what I say but my point is that you would approve of torture if it saved you or the lives of people you cared about
  23. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I think I understand where you're coming from, but it's still a matter of whether you could have obtained the info through alternative means. If you question a suspect, offer him a good deal in exchange for any information he may reveal... he might talk if your offer is good enough. If that doesn't work, you might be able to trick him into giving away details without forcing it from him. If you can't gain leverage over him through such means, then you might wonder whether he has any useful intel or not to begin with.

    At that point, anything he tells you through torture is just what you want to hear to make it stop. Unless you have conclusive proof that a person HAD to know critical info, there is nothing to support torture as a means to extract info from suspects.
  24. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yathura, I'm not disagreeing with you, but I just think its puzzling as to why you're still thinking in such absolute terms.

    I mean, if you offer someone a deal that's good enough, what's stopping him from simply telling you what you want to hear just to take the deal? There's not a set line where trickery and deal making always results in good information, while everything else just falls apart. The same control methods would be used regardless of the situation. Some people here in the forum even labeled trickery as torture, so there's not even agreement on what the difference is. Don't get me wrong, society defines what torture is, but you just can't sit back and say "trick the guy, he'll tell you everything." If it was that easy, everyone would just send for the ESP-trained psychic troopers. Except for the fact that they don't exist.
  25. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I don't know... maybe that falling back on the deal takes everything off the table for the suspect. That's how dealmaking works... if someone doesn't live up to their side, they get nothing.

    Trickery I believe only constitutes torture if the person responsible is guilty of the crime. Tell a child-molesting priest that you spoke with one of the people who had served with him and lie about them making certain claims... unless it's true, a lie wouldn't work.

    And I wasn't referring to psychological trickery, but rather setting up traps for the person to walk into. Rigging a cell phone to record a conversation... if the person stole it in the first place. Maybe sending a suspect a fake email message and see what he does. If he doesn't have any idea why he's being contacted about 10 kilos of cocaine, he'll simply not know what to do about it. If he's good at faking and plays dumb, then it's just another failed attempt to get him incriminate himself.
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