Is torture a good idea?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by growler, Mar 1, 2005.

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  1. On channel 4 last night. Some very interesting arguments. I suspect
    that the “Guantanamo 4” are not as sqeeky clean as they are trying
    to make out but, does torture work? I was in NI in the 70’s and what
    went on in the interrogation centres there and then was a sort of open
    gossipy secret. But, can torture ever be justified?
  2. As they said on the programme, the one time when most people would think it was justified ie the ticking bomb, never occurred. I assume you mean torture :wink:
  3. As Cicero pointed out well over two thousand years ago, a man under torture will tell you exactly what he thinks you want to hear, regardless of the truth. I suspect that the "ticking bomb" scenario is less likely to work with suicidal or martyrdom-seeking Islamic terrorists than any others.
  4. Can only speak for myself but I'd bravely try to withstand finger nails being pulled out, electrodes on nipples and having the backs of my eyes washed with sand. But you go anywhere near my nuts and I'd sell out my entire family before you could say 'Bricks'! 8O
  5. No. Never.
  6. Torture is morally indefensible in our society. It would be easier to make a case for the limited use of torture, if there was any evidence that it actually works, unfortunately, it has been proven that people will say whatever you want them to, if it means you will stop plunging the soldering iron into their hoop.
    There are far more sophisticated techniques for extracting information, mostly pioneered by the Russians, These where probably banned in the States, by Reagan, at the same time that he put a stop to "terminations"
    It seems a shame, that some of these relatively benign procedures cant be resurrected, as they would certainly be preferable to those currently practised at Guantanamo.
  7. Lets not forget that to self righteous sh1ts like John Snow shouting, shaving hair or not providing room temperature white chillean wine is torture. While it is true that suspects under torture will say anything some of the methods portrayed in the programme were deemed or portrayed as torture by the producers but IMHO are legitimate softening up techniques. While some actions did cross the line, everyone seems to forget that the overwhemling majority of detainees are scrotes. While not wishing to go on too much about the "innocent have nothing to fear" routine, if the regime is that bad why do the detainees not spill the beans after a certain period? There does come a stage when a captive is broken where the intelligence is of little value and more useful from a cultural or social standpoint. If detainees are innocent then surely they would be open to gathering information on captured terrorists and recieve less "torture"

    Besides all this as PIRA has shown us propaganda is a powerful weapons to the ignorant (UK press and media) The story of the house search in NI which was conducted correctly only to be portrayed in Republican News as soldiers smashing the place up etc etc. When the householder was later confronted with a copy of the story by the section commander she replied "Ohh thats just our propaganda" Does no journo ever realise? I think not, as propaganda from terrorists conforms to their warped sense of "justice", *******
  8. My 2P worth is that there are two types of intelligence that interrogators are after. The organisational and the operational. Organisation - what cells, what long term plans. Operational - who is QM, where are arms cached. The initial need is to convince the guy that he WILL talk. How this is done depends upon the subject. The Yanks in Korea were told they could say anything they liked so long as it was not true. If they went on TV or were published, everyone knew they were just waffling. If one thinks that the captive has good operational intelligence, it needs to be got very quickly as his team will move things etc. once they know he is taken. I've no experience but I have my doubts about close interrogation of Islamic fundamentalists - accomplished liars and - if he is willing to blow himself sky high - few fingernails or nightmares not likely to bother him.
  9. It's complicated. Torture can work, but in order to be fully effective, it has to be far more than mere brutality - the aim is to achieve the same end as classic British interrogation (note, not RtoI training) - psychological dominance of the subject and removal of the will to resist telling all.

    The UK Geneva Convention-compliant regime is ultimately successful, usually, but can take a long time; the precise use of torture can be very swiftly effective in breaking the will to resist.

    This leads us into some really unpleasant places - vide KGB and Gestapo techniques, undeniably professioal, scientific and enormously effective, but wholly unacceptable on moral grounds for any Western power nowadays.

    Equally, brutality for the sake of it will tend to create exactly the response described above - the subject will say anything to make it all stop - a classic weakness in some notorious police interrogations of the 70s for example.

    To return to the question, to my mind, no, torture per se can never be justified, certainly not in the British service and those who perpetrate it are committing a monstrous crime. That said, there may be occasions when it's necessary, at which point those who give the orders and have the ultimate responsibility should be compelled to watch and perhaps even carry it out themselves and then be prosecuted immediately afterwards.
  10. During a rather agreeable pivo-guzzling session in Ostrava, one of my wife's Czech cousins recounted the story of Old King Wenceslas.

    A team of Czech archaeologists were called in to investigate an old crypt that had been accidentally broken into by workmen in Prague. In it they found some old bones. Consulting their old city plans they began to suspect that they had found the bones of Old Wenceslas. All the crude analytical tests that they were capable of were inconclusive and they were very puzzled. Suddenly one of them leapt to his feet; 'I know, let's send it to the Russians -- they have far more money and equipment that we do.' 'Brilliant!' agreed his companions. So the bones were put in a large box and sent off to Moscow with a letter asking the Russian scientists if the bones were those of Wenceslas.

    Months passed and then a small box arrived with a muscovite postmark on it.

    Taut with anticipation, the Czech archaeologist gathered round as one opened the box. It contained nothing but hundreds of broken bone fragments and a terse note saying 'Yes, these bones did belong to Wenceslas.'

    The Czechs looked at one another in a stunned silence. Then one announced 'I shall call the Russians and ask them how they can be so sure.

    He dialled the number and waited.

    'Yes!' answered a guttural Russian voice.

    'Err...Comrade Scientist', began the Czech, 'we are grateful for your work on the Wenceslas matter, but we have some questions.'

    'Very well!' barked the Russian.

    'C-c-comrade Scientist, your note contains no hint of doubt and we wanted to know how you come to be so sure that these are the bones of Wenceslas.'

    'Hmmph!' growled the voice, 'they all talk in the end!'

    Hope this helps,
    Sticky :D
  11. Have I missed something?

    I could have sworn torture was being dragged round B & Q on a Sunday morning
  12. I'm not sure if this would count as torture, certainly not physical by any sense, but as we all know Muslims bear an abhorance of all things pig related. Would it be a) permissable and b) more effective to threaten the cleanliness of their immortal soul with a pack of bacon?
  13. B&Q?, you dont know when you're well off! I face the prospect of taking Mrs S_S and two of her friends, to IKEA! :cry: :cry: :cry:
  14. If you want to have a peek at the interior of the US Military Intelligence mindset, read a book called "The Men Who Stared At Goats"; some pretty wacky stuff with attempts to walk through walls, stare hamsters and the eponymous goats to death, and remote psychic recce, but towards the author concentrates on whats been going on in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Afghanistan. Dark arts if you believe what's been written! 8O !
  15. You can pay the compo bill........