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Use of torture by secret services

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  • Use of torture by secret services

    Hi all,

    Right, we all know that Mossad use torture, Mi5, and the CIA. This is exactly what I expect from intelligence services.

    But I'm sure that I heard a Mi5 spokesman condeming and denying the use of torture in a program last year.

    Anyone remember this? do the secret services actually deny this kind of thing happens?

    While we're on the "not in my name" discussion, it has allways disturbed me how spying and the diplomatic service are so closely entwined. diplomatic relations should be a sign of goodwill between countries rather than an opportunity to deploy more spooks.

    come to think of it, why do we need intelligence services anyway?
    \"It got worse. He needed something to cure himself. What? he asked. M-A 19 he answered.\"

  • #2
    "come to think of it, why do we need intelligence services anyway?"

    Because arguably, things like 9/11 can occasionally be minimized or prevented via intelligence operations. Bad example, and I'm sure someone will helpfully point out that "It really helped there!"; but we can likely never know about how many more like events were avoided. The danger isn't necessarily in "intelligence operations", but in relying too heavily on intelligence operations. They are one piece of a bigger puzzle. Colin Powell (I think) has a great quote in "Plan of Attack" that says, in effect, "Intelligence has uncertainty. If it was a fact, it would be called a 'fact', and not called 'intelligence'".

    Comment


    • #3
      Because arguably, things like 9/11 can occasionally be minimized or prevented via intelligence operations.

      "Intelligence operations" is rather too broad a definition for my liking. If by "Intelligence operations" you mean bugging phone lines, monitoring the movements of known suspects etc then fine, but couldn't the police (or another FBI-type agency) do that?

      If "Intelligence operations" involve torture and rape to extract information then quite frankly the information isn't worth the price.
      \"It got worse. He needed something to cure himself. What? he asked. M-A 19 he answered.\"

      Comment


      • #4
        "We do not torture." Uh-huh. Right.

        Originally posted by M-A_19
        If "Intelligence operations" involve torture and rape to extract information then quite frankly the information isn't worth the price.
        Agreed. So imagine my dismay upon reading this:

        Originally posted by The Washington Post
        Although the CIA will not acknowledge details of its system, intelligence officials defend the agency's approach, arguing that the successful defense of the country requires that the agency be empowered to hold and interrogate suspected terrorists for as long as necessary and without restrictions imposed by the U.S. legal system or even by the military tribunals established for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.
        SOURCE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...101644_pf.html
        Emphasis in bold is mine, by the way.

        So, in other words, in order to defend the rights we hold dear, we must be able to completely ignore those rights wherever it suits us.

        The article I linked to is about how the CIA has "a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe" which is "part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA" known as "black sites in classified White House, CIA, Justice Department and congressional documents."

        Still, Bush yesterday felt the need to reiterate: "Our country is at war and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture."

        We do not torture. Say it again and again until it's the truth. I wonder how he can say that considering the torturous acts at Abu Ghraib have been documented by the government itself.
        (cf. THE ABU GHRAIB INVESTIGATIONS The Official Report of the Independent Panel and Pentagon on the Shocking Prisoner Abuse in Iraq. Edited by Steven Strasser. Illustrated. 175 pp.)

        I wonder if Bush ever gets tired of constantly spouting obvious lies.
        "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
        --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

        Comment


        • #5
          I think "they" are in part dealing in semanticising around the bush (no pun intended), if t*rt*r* is illegal and the group involved has a writ (or a wink) from the government authorizing "due" force, then it "can't" be torture, in the same way that if a "recognized" bank charges interest on money then it "can't" be considered usury, but it's all a word game, with very physical/fiscal repercussions.
          "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

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          • #6
            Exactly, Talisant! In 2002, the Justice Department defined torture as "intentionally causing permanent damage to vital organs." By this logic, electrocution is acceptable. Breaking bones? Acceptable. Sharp reeds under the fingernails? You guessed it. Acceptable.

            Only it is NOT acceptable! Not at all.
            "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
            --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

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            • #7
              I thought torture had been offshored.
              \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

              Comment


              • #8
                The whole idea of allowing torture is nearly unfathomable to me. I do find it interesting that the first veto of the Bush administration may be on a torture ban. :clap: What a legacy! :roll:

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was in Seattle the other week and saw a guy on (I think MSNBC) who was promoting his new political science book - I think he was a former journalist for the guardian newspaper in the UK.

                  Anyway he had some interesting ideas about american democracy, one of the things that stood out to me was the connection he made between successive US administration and the political philosophy of Leo Strauss - essentially saying that american politicians have historically discarded the tenets of the constitution whenever they conflict with the national interest.

                  Essentially he says that this (and previous administrations) have variously considered the constitution and human rights legislations 'nice to haves', above which the 'national' interest has always taken precedence. Wish I'd have remembered his name - he was a really interesting guy (I'd have probably bought his book).

                  That being the case, its no surprise at all that the Bush administration has found a way to justify torture, and how others have come to condone it.
                  Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                  Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by devilchicken
                    I was in Seattle the other week...
                    8O And you didn't drop by? I had scones made up! And brownies!

                    Originally posted by devilchicken
                    Essentially he says that this (and previous administrations) have variously considered the constitution and human rights legislations 'nice to haves', above which the 'national' interest has always taken precedence...

                    That being the case, its no surprise at all that the Bush administration has found a way to justify torture, and how others have come to condone it.
                    Very good point, devilchicken.

                    On the yardstick of "things we're willing to do in the national interest", I think torture sits waaaay over on the irrational/terrifying end.
                    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      it seems there is a debate in your country, congress-men have planned an investigation on the subject (enquiry for misconduct, torture) but Bush banned the CIA off the field. So they don't have a chance to discover whatsoever !
                      Also here in Europe we heard about CIA secret bases implementated (Sweden, Poland) in which terrorists get collared and transit by violating aircraft space over Sweden ( and tortured ?) sorry if my english is not clear !
                      There are many ways for an administration to deny torturing : Bush's strategy is what you describe, it's like when the communists say about the former ethnic cleansing in USSR by Staline: they claimed that it was not communism !
                      History is repeating...
                      10 years ago in Rwanda and Bosnia, same happened.
                      It's sad to say, but such not worthy things happened that are a stain in the french history...
                      -60 years ago, during french cooperation with the nazis (ok, all the french were not pro-nazi, but not comparable to the danish who saved 90% of jewish by an exemplary solidarity) ; french and germans haven't finished to pay for their ignominy so far.
                      - fifties: everyone knows there has been torture in Algeria, that government knew it and covered it , even if he didn't encourage for (but think to this: when we ask paras mil to act as policemen, giving them white card to do , you can clearly imagine the next step )

                      Another tool in use to deny torture is when the media et alteri muzzle a man who confessed having tortured .
                      It reminds me a debate that has occured couple of years in France when a retired general (named "Aussares") had published a "book" [ some extracts can be read on the internet , mostly in french] in which he admitted torture as a inevitable way to avoid more losses in the algerian conflict...
                      The trouble came, in addition to the fact that one could write such a book, from that he told the story like if it was a chat near the hearth. So everybody played Tartuffe and tend to put a carpet on this stain like a cat buries its shit. Of course it's not my word to make an exegesis of the man and what he has done, the few but enough I read on the net made me throw-up, but I see the only interest of his confession is that Aussares was a man who gave orders, and it's hard to believe that government wasn't aware. Military should have ethical duty to refuse orders opposing the human rights. "In the name of reason of state" is the same intellectual hypocrisy than "in nomine patris".
                      What was unacceptable must be recalled constantly; I am far from being anti-americanism and September 11 was something I vigorously condemn, but all Bush did after could be called "rackett" : to trigger problems, and then to enforce the solutions. I am interested in what should have done Clinton if he was still in charge ?

                      thank you for your relevant forum.

                      best regards,
                      Alian.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The lock-step conservatives scare me with regards to torture. I was flipping through radio stations yesterday morning and randomly landed on a right wing talk show. The host was (presumably with a straight face) justifying the use of torture. I was a little depressed the rest of the day--no kidding. People are willing to say that torture is fine, all in the name of agreeing with misguided policy. I'm sure they would change their minds should it be them who were facing electic shocks or having their fingers broken.

                        Such is the nature of ideologues, I guess. Many of these are the same people who would have found fault with Clinton had he suggested the same things. I see a lack of nuanced principles perpetuated by blind faith in a nebulous ideology that lately has less and less cohesion.

                        Grunt, agree, and get back in line. :?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The British government's hypocrisy over the use of torture is sickening. They officially condemn it while being quite happy to use evidence obtained by torture in terror trials and even assist the CIA in flying suspects to places where torture is known or believed to be used.

                          http://www.guardian.co.uk/humanright...568671,00.html

                          It's reminicent of the British attitude regarding slavery during the American Civil War. Britain came close to siding with the Confederacy because British linen mills were supplied with cotton from Southern slave plantations almost 30 years after slavery had been outlawed in British colonies.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            On the yardstick of "things we're willing to do in the national interest", I think torture sits waaaay over on the irrational/terrifying end.
                            It certainly makes me think when, sitting in traffic on an LA freeway I see bumper stickers proudly proclaiming 'support the troops' and right beneath... 'freedom isn't free'...

                            'Freedom' might be in short supply these days, but we have an abundance of fear.

                            BTW - my wife and I are possibly moving to Seattle in the new year, assuming her transfer gets approved.
                            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by devilchicken
                              'freedom isn't free'...
                              That's somehow reminiscent of Lenin's (in)famous dictum; "Freedom is a luxury: it must be rationed".

                              I caught some 'New Labour' doublespeak this week in a debate about ID cards - one guy was arguing that these represented 'freedom' and belonging to poor underprivileged people who could not afford to join posh clubs, and a woman went one step further arguing that the cards would be welcomed as a sign of freedom and independence by repressed women in ethnic minority communities, who could use them to shake at their husbands whilst demanding the right to go out and vote, etc. These people are utterly shameless - you couldn't make it up.
                              \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                              Comment

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