Streams

Torture Team

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In his book, Torture Team, attorney Philippe Sands takes an in-depth look at the now infamous "Rumsfeld Memo." Issued on December 2, 2002, by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the memo authorized eighteen techniques of interrogation that meet international definitions of torture. Sands investigates how the memo set the stage for the Bush Administration’s divergence from the Geneva Convention, and Torture Convention, and international law.

Guests:

Philippe Sands

Comments [17]

Scott D. Strader from Atlanta, GA

Classic:

Conservative Radio Host gets Waterboarded, Lasts Six Seconds Before Saying Its Torture

http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/8mj5g/conservative_radio_host_gets_waterboarded_lasts/

"What is it about these people that they can't put two and two together and have to actually experience a disaster (i.e. global warming, the horrors of war, economic collapse, and yes...waterboarding) before they take it seriously? Worse yet, their folly involves not only them, but the rest of us on this planet. Grow up, republicans, for the love of God, grow up."

May. 22 2009 05:30 PM
Scott D. Strader from Atlanta, GA

Well, one could also speculate that invation of a country would be met with retaliation. It's pretty clear where speculation parallels common sense. So, when families report the shock of their relatives dissappeared by US troops, or listen to the horror of those who have returned, a common sense conclusion would be that these people are being radicalized by our brutality.

A simple line of reasoning: there are Iraqis that have varying degrees of love or hatred towards the US; brutal acts increase that hatred; increased hatred can lead some to act violently where they wouldn't have before. It doesn't have to be the *only* route to radicalization (recruiting tools can and do vary), but it's a pretty obvious one.

I ask you again: How do you explain our government's fear over releasing those photos? Or the Taliban references to Abu Ghraib in their videos? Why wouldn't people fight back if they've been treated poorly?

May. 22 2009 03:51 PM
Xheight from brooklyn

sorry scott but "Simple, it proves to those on the fence that what the more radical are saying is true. It gives them a reason to hate America when they otherwise would not. Why do you think our reputation is so poor now around the world? We spout empty morality and then act ruthlessly." - that's not evidence just speculation. Where are these people turned by pictures of abu ghraib and not Saudi Oil policy.

I agree that they hate us for a reason but they are reasons we are not willing to back away from for our own reasons. That's how wars happen.

May. 21 2009 05:28 PM
BMF from NYC

re: "Most of these interrogation techniques are dependent entirely on context. I was in a class a few weeks ago, and my professor (a former FBI agent) went through the list of each of the techniques in question making jokes about each of them. He said 'My coach used to push me into a wall... I guess he was torturing me!' "

It will sound horrific to us, but I would suggest that someone needs to rape this professor's wife, or mother. And then just say that it was just sex. And tell him to grow a pair.

Of course, this also goes to what I say, which is that all of these techniques should be immediately applied to the various government officials that authorised them in search of good information on their justification and application. In the Senate lobby.

Let's see how long that whole "It was just frat boy hazing" thing lasts. They'll scream torture. And the US government will go into court using their own words against them.

Of course, then there is the whole argument about these people being merely sadistic thugs anyway, products of other sadistic thugs. Best to get them in prison. Their degeneracy is likely contagious.

May. 20 2009 02:46 PM
Scott D. Strader from Atlanta, GA

"Where is the evidence for [torture creating terrorists]?"

Simple, it proves to those on the fence that what the more radical are saying is true. It gives them a reason to hate America when they otherwise would not. Why do you think our reputation is so poor now around the world? We spout empty morality and then act ruthlessly.

If Obama (plus conservatives) are against showing the photos for this reason, please tell me the secret knowledge that contradicts their position.

"...there is no shortage of recruits to kill americans."

And why do you think that is? I suppose they "hate us for our freedoms"?

May. 20 2009 01:49 PM
Xheight from brooklyn

"Unfortunately, it risks American lives and only creates more terrorists. Obama won't even release the photos because he fears they'll risk our soldiers' lives."

Where is the evidence for that? It is said often enough that it is taking on fact-iness.
Truth is unless there is a way to rewrite history or flip our position in the world there is no shortage of recruits to kill americans.

May. 20 2009 01:25 PM
Scott D. Strader from Atlanta, GA

"I want every technique used to save American lives. The faux outrage will disappear PDQ after the next terrorist attack on US soil."

Unfortunately, it risks American lives and only creates more terrorists. Obama won't even release the photos because he fears they'll risk our soldiers' lives. Our shame at what the administration did to destroy America's reputation is in no way "faux".

May. 20 2009 01:09 PM
Scott D. Strader from Atlanta, GA

"[waterboarding] presently IS used as a training tool by the military"

Big difference when you're a willing participant, haven't been sleep-deprived/disorented, haven't gone through dozens of sessions already, and *know* the torturer won't go any further. Nice try.

"I think you know [torture] when you see it"

That's a great way to define laws. The looks-like-it approach! You know speeding when you see it: it *looks* fast. You know copyright infringement when you see it: there's no such thing as "fair use." Seriously, a law on torture requires at leas"[waterboarding] presently IS used as a training tool by the military"

Big difference when you're a willing participant, haven't been sleep-deprived/disorented, haven't gone through dozens of sessions already, and *know* the torturer won't go any further. Nice try.

"I think you know [torture] when you see it"

That's a great way to define laws. The looks-like-it approach! You know speeding when you see it: it *looks* fast. You know copyright infringement when you see it: there's no such thing as "fair use." Seriously, a law on torture requires at least an attempt at a definition.

May. 20 2009 01:01 PM
Guy from Cedar Knolls, NJ

Unlawful combatants are not covered by the Geneva Conventions. Terrorists are unlawful combatants. They are not entitled to constitutional protections. I want every technique used to save American lives. The faux outrage will disappear PDQ after the next terrorist attack on US soil.

May. 20 2009 12:51 PM
Lisa m from Bergen County NJ

To me, if we have to struggle and debate over "is it torture, is it not?' then it's probably not. I think you know it when you see it: torture IS ripping out someone's fingernails, decapitating someone slowly with a dull knife, as the Iraquis did to Daniel Pearl, NOT taking naked pics - that may have been culturally insensitive, but in our land is akin to a college-boy prank.

May. 20 2009 12:39 PM
Xheight from brooklyn

Lisa m is on the mark of Sands' confabulation of outrage and legality overlooking the reality of the ire centered on not who we are or a general idea that this shouldn't be done to anyone, ever but that Americans shouldn't be subjected to it. Further, is an International Law any protection against it happening to Americans?

May. 20 2009 12:33 PM
Lisa m from Bergen County NJ

What is construed as Torture might be subjective: making me jump off a high dive or eat worms would be torture to me; others do that for fun or fame

May. 20 2009 12:33 PM
robb

is the threat of beheading torture?

May. 20 2009 12:31 PM
antonio from park slope

The talking heads in the corporate media say that the CIA has found instances where torture works.
Has Mr. Sands come across any intelligence that contradicts this???
Real info, not hyperbole from hacks...

May. 20 2009 12:30 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Most of these interrogation techniques are dependent entirely on context. I was in a class a few weeks ago, and my professor (a former FBI agent) went through the list of each of the techniques in question making jokes about each of them. He said "My coach used to push me into a wall... I guess he was torturing me!"

Of course, it's a huge difference between being made uncomfortable or mildly injured when you are a willing participant and where the rules and restrictions of the other person's behavior are clear and known to everyone involved. Being slammed into a wall by enemy soldiers in a foreign country where you have no idea what will happen next is an entirely different story.

Of course, even the professor said that waterboarding was inexcusable. As he put it (as an FBI agent) "Tough guys don't get confessions. Smart guys do."

May. 20 2009 12:29 PM
Lisa m from Bergen County NJ

on Water boarding - the guest just said that Americans would be outraged if it were being used on US troops - it presently IS used as a training tool by the military, no? If so, is the US breaking an international law against "torture?" Other countries have done the same: they train their fighters against techniques they may face in battle.
I don't mind that water boarding was used to obtain info that saved lives.

May. 20 2009 12:22 PM
Gabrielle from Brooklyn

is international law legally binding for citizens of the US? or is more of a nominal thing?

May. 20 2009 09:10 AM

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