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Postby Apoclima » Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:13 am

gailr:
Who would Jesus torture?


This is, of course, a rhetorical question. I cannot see Jesus torturing anyone.

But Jesus did not condemn soldiers for their job as trained killers either, did He?

After supper, on the night that He was betrayed, He asked whoever of His disciples that did not have a sword to sell their cloak and buy one. It turned out that among them they had two. He said that was enough!

It is obvious later that these swords were not for use against the soldiers that came to arrest him. What were they for?

As for the verse: "He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword," it cannot be meant literally. In the first place it is not true; not everyone who lives by the sword does die by the sword. And secondly, Peter was not one, as far as anyone knows, who lived by the sword.

Soldiers can be true believers, and still remain soldiers.

And a certain centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. 3 And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. 4 And when they had come to Jesus, they earnestly entreated Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; 5 for he loves our nation, and it was he who built us our synagogue.” 6 Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 7 for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 “For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 9 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.


Also, I do understand that the old law of vengence was to be overturned, and that is was better to put up with minor insults, like a slap, rather than lash out in kind, by turning the other cheek, but He did not say "if someone rapes your wife, give over your daughter to be raped also," or "if someone kills your dog, offer your son also to be killed."

There is nothing unChristian about self-defense.

Now I have a rhetorical question for you, gailr!

"Who would Jesus abort?"

Causing pain or suffering is not always an evil act, otherwise modern medicine (ie surgery) and the forced drugging of the "mentally sick" would be evil.

Perhaps that is not the best example!

"...so quickly toss their God-given Scriptures out the window when encountering moral dilemmas of their own."

Apo
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Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Dec 12, 2005 8:29 am

Thanks, gailr and uncronopio ! You have said some things that need to be said and heard, again and again and again. We do not differ in our essential make-up from those who tortured for the Inquisition or the Nazis or many other regimes throughout the bloody course of human history or those who instigated or accepted that torture ; natural selection has not worked to remove these propensities from our old friend H sap sap. Please keep reminding us of what we so often tend to forget - we do not build a Paradise by constructing a Hell....

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Postby anders » Mon Dec 12, 2005 9:14 am

Mehdi Gezali was in no way innocent

That guy must know something the rest of the world is unaware of. No charges about anything have been pressed; no information on any indictable offense or even misconduct has been delivered to Sweden.
Ghezali was under investigation for criminal activity in Sweden

AFAIK, he was accused of some minor felony in Spain, but he qualified for free Swedish legal counsel and the case was quickly withdrawn.
he had been to Afghanistan attending a Madras

Now I see; attending any kind of school on one's own initiative must be very suspicious to the US.
He was a mislead young confused person

In what way? In wanting to know more about his religion?
that leftist organisations used as a figurhead to raise hate towards US.

I noticed no political, only humanitarian motives and the wish for fair judicial procedures. Hate? Not at all; possibly dislike. As to the "leftist" thing I might remind you-all that I for many years held municipal political posts for the most conservative party of that community (which is the most conservative party in our parliament as well).
Ghezali perhaps was not a terrorist per se but that is only because he lacked the courage and time to do so.

Jail me and torture me. I'm no terrorist per se, but who knows, perhaps I just lack the courage and the time. And even worse, I'm no Christian.
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Postby Apoclima » Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:32 pm

Alright, then, we are not going to get a go ahead and torture anyone, not even in a "ticking time-bomb" scenerio.

"So," I may ask, what constitutes humane interrogation? Are there any "softening techniques" or are they all torture or mistreatment?"

The CIA sources described a list of six "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" instituted in mid-March 2002 and used, they said, on a dozen top al Qaeda targets incarcerated in isolation at secret locations on military bases in regions from Asia to Eastern Europe. According to the sources, only a handful of CIA interrogators are trained and authorized to use the techniques:

1. The Attention Grab: The interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him.

2. Attention Slap: An open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.

3. The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.

4. Long Time Standing: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions.

5. The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water.

6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.


CIA's Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described

The most important aspect of the brainwashing process is the interrogation. The other pressures are designed primarily to help the interrogator achieve his goals. The following states are created systematically within the individual. These may vary in order, but all are necessary to the brainwashing process:

1. A feeling of helplessness in attempting to deal with the impersonal machinery of control.
2. An initial reaction of "surprise."
3. A feeling of uncertainty about what is required of him.
4. A developing feeling of dependence upon the interrogator .
5. A sense of doubt and loss of objectivity.
6. Feelings of guilt.
7. A questioning attitude toward his own value-system.
8. A feeling of potential "breakdown," i.e., that he might go crazy.
9. A need to defend his acquired principles.
10. A final sense of "belonging" (identification).


Interrogation and Torture Techniques

The good news is those ways exist, or will soon. Interrogators will soon be able to secure reasonably reliable information from their detainees without harsh sleep deprivation, physical threats, or sexual humiliations. The rationale—and the rationalizations—for outrageous abuse will dissolve.


Of course, the advent of these new drugs and brain-scanning techniques doesn't remove the moral questions about whether they should be used on detainees. Consider a hypothetical pill, whose only side effect is slight nausea and a headache, that makes anyone who takes it tell the truth for 90 minutes. Should military and intelligence interrogators be able to force POWs or unlawful combatants to take the pill?


Technology vs. Torture
Psychopharmaceuticals and brain imaging could make prisoner interrogation more humane. Should we use them?


And, anders, did Mehdi Gezali ever file suit against the US government? Are there any facts such a suit has brought to light?

Also:

ooner or later, there had to be a backlash against the largely American phenomenon of preempting political debate by injecting “Jesus” into whatever social or political argument happened to dominate the hour. The fad started several years ago and quickly found favor among a surprisingly broad swath of the U.S. population, young and old, men and women, right and left.

Religiously minded, but at the same time sheeplike in their simplicity, these people were soon sporting bracelets, pins and other accessories emblazoned with the question “What Would Jesus Do?” or its shorthand version, “WWJD?” Others, perhaps more cynical than simple, went along with what they perceived as a mainstream movement. Then-U.S. Vice President Al Gore, for one, declared that, if elected president in 2000, he would be guided by that question in his policymaking.

Last year, the all-purpose slogan got a bit more specific, and quite a bit more risible, with the launch of a campaign (complete with a Web site) urging people to ask themselves, “What Would Jesus Drive?”

In case you are thinking the only things Jesus drove anywhere were unclean spirits, the correct answer—or at least it was up until last week—is that Jesus would drive anything but a gas-guzzling, air-fouling sport utility vehicle.

...

But in secular, pluralist societies there are numerous measures of morality besides Christianity; and besides, Christianity itself is ill-served by the assumption that it provides a fixed set of answers to questions that are inherently unspiritual.


As I intimated with my "Who would Jesus abort?" (I almost wrote "Who would Jesus sodomize?" but I thought that was too indelicate) we all know what Jesus would do, he would wander around nearly penniless, and homeless, giving to Ceasar what is Caesar's, showing charity to the poor, abstaining from sex, preaching the kingdom of God, challenging the religious establishment, expressing love, and stopping unjustice, but yet surrender to an unjust authority and die, so unless you feel that you can fill those shoes, I really don't think that anyone has the right to get on their high horse and ask me, "What would Jesus do?" because we all fall short of that ideal.

Apo
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Postby gailr » Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:13 pm

Apoclima wrote:Now I have a rhetorical question for you, gailr!

"Who would Jesus abort?"
To answer your question (whether rhetorical or not):
-as for the man: none. ever.
-as for the god: (in the same spirit and style as your initial reply to the article links I posted) most of my duly-married, childbearing friends have experienced at least one miscarriage.

If a disclaimer is actually needed at this point: I personally do not think that blaming individual human actions, natural disasters, or human illnesses on a deity, whether to comfort, frighten, or coerce obedience, is legitimate. (NB: "in the same spirit and style...")

I am not in the habit of festooning my posts with biblical references, especially in a diverse and secular forum where they may be meaningless to many readers. I made an exception in this topic because the current administration--and its apologists--have gone out of their way to drag God into every speech and photo-op in an effort to prove unconditional divine endorsement. I find it revolting and a-theistic.

There is no arguing with literalist perception [which you do not have]. The only real purpose served by opposing responses in kind is to provide context and/or cultural and historical perspective for those unfamiliar with: the texts being quoted; the scholarly discussions about [mis]translations; and the history of where some of the texts actually came from. I don't think that is "getting on my high horse," and if you do, I am confident that you will get over it, because you understand that neither of us has the "right" to be protected from being offended.

Neither you nor I will change each other's mind on hot topics, nor do I believe either expects to. If any of us had black and white answers to the problems plaguing humanity for so many millenia, he or she would not have time to post to this board. Since anyone still reading this is acutely aware of our respective positions by now, I will yield the floor to you for any further remarks, and leave them unchallenged.

-gailr
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Postby Apoclima » Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:59 pm

Thanks for the clarification and gentle tone, gailr.

Certainly there are at least two legitimate traditions in Christianity concerning violence, one is pacificism and the other is the just war position, self-defense probably falling closer to the just war position.

You see, before this thread started I was very much against any sort of torture, in any sort of context, but Henri's cartoon got me thinking about how broadly torture has been defined, and it seems that any sort of coercion or interrogation could be defined as torture, if not mistreatment.

Whether one likes it or not, the imprisonment (or detainment) of human beings entails a certain amount of discipline exerted over those imprisoned, and resistance to that order is going to entail a necessary amount of force by the guards.

Neither the discipline nor the coercion to keep order is going to be "comfortable" to prisoners, and I don't think that can be helped. That is why it is excluded from the definition of either mistreatment or torture.

"It [torture] does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."

"...the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental....."

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment


So torture is "severe pain" or "severe suffering". Torture is not mild to moderate pain or suffering. And I think that "mental pain", although being metaphorical, is hard to judge and quanitify, but has substance (I did have roommates in college, after all).

I would truly like to know (as I asked in my last post) to what extent coercion can be used in interrogation; at what degree does it become abuse (mistreatment) or even torture.

Thank you,

Apo
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Dec 13, 2005 6:53 am

Apoclima wrote:...

However, I do not think that what went on a Abu Graib was torture; it was mistreatment, and should never have been allowed to go on. ...


Apo, I do not wish to believe that you are arguing against better knowledge, but at a minimum, you have been - allowed yourself to be - grievously under-informed. Check out these photos from Abu Ghraib - and keep in mind that in the possession of the Pentagon, there are more which have been kept from the public eye due to their horrific nature - and then tell me that none of what you see is torture but merely «mistreatment». Or rather, tell that to Manadel al-Jamadi, who may, however, have some difficulty hearing you, as he died as a result of the «mistreatment» he received (10th and 11th photos from the top - thumbs up !)....

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Postby Apoclima » Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:26 pm

Here is the best story I found on Manadel al-Jamadi:

A DEADLY INTERROGATION

Thanks, for the heads up, Henri! I was not aware of all the details of this case.

I was not refering to CIA "interrogators" using Abu Ghraib. I was talking about Cpl. Charles Graner Jr., Private Lynndie England and her cohorts when I refered (rather cynically) to "fun-and-games" mistreatment at Abu Ghraib.

Apo
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Postby Apoclima » Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:24 am

Torture vesus tough interrogation

“Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”

The six techniques are:

1. The attention grab – forcefully grabbing a prisoner by the shirt or shoulders.

2. The attention slap – an open handed slap.

3. The belly slap – an open handed slap on the stomach.

4. Long time standing – forcing a prisoner to stand in handcuffs with feet shackled for 40 hours or more.

5. The Cold Cell – standing in a cell with the temperature near 50 degrees naked for an extended period of time.

6. Water Boarding – elevating the feet of a prisoner slightly above his head, wrapping the face in cellophane and pouring water on the face to trigger the gag reflex.


I took a look at these and imagined Islamists, the Chinese, or Castro's henchmen utilizing these techniques on American military personnel.

I personally would only allow #1. (The attention grab) and #4. (Long time standing).

#2.(The attention slap) may be done too violently and is potentially damaging.

#3. (The belly slap) same as #2 but more so!

#5. (The Cold Cell) esp. with use of cold water, could lead to hypothermia or illness.

#6. (Water Boarding) this does seem like torture to me, and more likely to elicit misinformation.

Apo
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Postby Apoclima » Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:18 am

I guess what bothers me the most about this topic is the way torture has been portrayed here. It is one thing to find abuse of prisoners by individuals and groups; it is quite another to jump to the conclusion that these abuses are torture condoned or sanctioned by every commander above those perpetrators.

Allegations and news reports are not legal testimony. And although all torture is abuse, not all abuse is torture, and not that it makes it any better, but this sort of reductionism and conflation is certainly what is conveyed by the cartoon at the beginning of this thread.

The acts of the military police involved in the abuses at Abu Ghraib were humiliating, painful, and obscene, but it was not torture in a legal sense: it was not punishment, and it was not for obtaining information; it was pure humane sadism. And I am sorry for the victims who became dehumanized like that.

Besides, I find it very unlikely that these guards were told to take photos of their atrocities if they were under orders from some higher up.

As for al-Jamadi, perhaps, because he did fight the arrest, he was horribly mistreated, and then his broken ribs went undetected. It was noted that he was having trouble breathing as he was taken to the shower. Whether he was actually to be tortured or just interrogated, the interrogator should have known his physical condition and sought medical care. I find the interrogator very much at fault in his death.

The "Taguba Report" On Treatment
Of Abu Ghraib Prisoners In Iraq


Church Investigation Says Policy Did Not Condone Detainee Abuse

The admiral also said that every allegation of abuse has been or is being investigated. Higher authorities did not sanction the alleged detainee abuse that was documented in photographs and videos flashed around the world in 2004, he said.


Military Justice at Abu Ghraib

None of the Reports have found that there was an official policy - either written or oral - to torture or abuse prisoners. According to the Schlesinger Report, the most far reaching investigation to date and the one which the Wall Street Journal deemed the “definitive assessment of what went wrong,” “no approved procedures called for or allowed the kinds of abuse that in fact occurred.” In fact, the Schlesinger Report found: “There is no evidence of a policy of abuse promulgated by senior officials or military authorities.” In addition, none of the Reports cite any direct abuse of prisoners by officers or by superiors ordering subordinates to commit the abuses. In short, the Schlesinger Report concurs with all the Reports to date in finding that the individuals that conducted the sadistic abuse are personally responsible for their acts.


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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:19 pm

Apo, thank you for taking the time to inform us of the distinction between legally decisive testimony and «allegations and news reports» ! May I remind you that, to paraphrase one who seems, in this matter at least, to be one of your cultural heroes, «allegations of absence [which of course, we now know to be false] is not evidence of absence of intent». If you are interested, I can provide you with links that make a very strong case for the proposition that standards for the treatment of prisoners were deliberately lowered by the present US administration in order to enable torture to be applied. Alas, I get the feeling that you prefer to «cherry-pick» the material that has been written on this matter in order to sustain what I find to be the untenable thesis that any «abuse» (the word «torture» is only appropriate when the other side does it : Saddam had «torture chambers» ; the US forces and the CIA merely «abuse chambers») occurred as the unfortunate (for the tortured) but inevitable result of «bad apples» among the lower ranks. Strong evidence exists that persons affiliated to the Falungong movement in China are frequently beaten when apprehended by the authorities in China : would you accept a defense on the part of the Chinese authorities that such cases are the unfortunate result of «bad apples» among the lower police ranks ? I thought not....

Image

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Postby Stargzer » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:40 pm

Talk about oxymorons!

Apoclima wrote: . . . it was pure humane sadism. . . .


Uh, is there a stray 'e' in there, or has a wayward 'in' wandered off? :)
Regards//Larry

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Postby Apoclima » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:58 pm

Henri:
Apo, thank you for taking the time to inform us of the distinction between legally decisive testimony and «allegations and news reports» !


I am more than happy to help! It is important to keep these distinctions in mind. We don't want things "tried in the press."

Henri:
Alas, I get the feeling that you prefer to «cherry-pick» the material........


I am critical of what I read, some sources I find less than objective, as I am sure you do!

Henri:
the untenable thesis that any «abuse» ...[]... occurred as the unfortunate ...[]... but inevitable result of «bad apples» among the lower ranks.


Not exactly, I think the worst stuff was done by soldiers that lacked the discipline, maturity and restraint to have the authority that they did over prisoners, some may have been "bad apples" from the start. Other cases of abuse of captives may have been brought on by anger or high emotions right after a battle.

Henri:
(the word «torture» is only appropriate when the other side does it : Saddam had «torture chambers» ; the US forces and the CIA merely «abuse chambers»)


No. I think that "torture chamber" has a strong connotative, emotive value that is appropriate for the horrors that Saddam Hussein allegedly perpetrated on his victims. If the CIA, or anyone one claiming offical authority, tortures uses a certain room or facility, it could rightly be called a "torture chamber."

"Torture" is the use of severe pain or suffering to punish or to coerce, usually for information, under official direction.

"Abuse" (or "mis-, ill-, or mal- treatment") is causing pain or suffering, that is not for the maintenance of order, cooperation and discipline in a detention facility.

I have paraphrased and summerized here, my main source being, COMPILATION UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW: DEFINITION OF TORTURE.

If you have some other definition of torture, I am sorry, that is not what the signatories, including the United States signed off on.

Director: CIA does not torture

I am certainly interested in any evidence to the contrary!

Even with Communist China, one must be careful about what is condoned and what is not, fortunely in our countries we can have exchanges about what our governments do or don't do, can or can't do. In Red China they are not so fortunate.

And to quote from the poet you admire so much:

"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." -Mao Tse Tung

Apo
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Postby Apoclima » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:10 am

Yes, Larry! A bit difficult!

Apo
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Postby Stargzer » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:14 am

Apoclima wrote:Yes, Larry! A bit difficult!

Apo


I did assume you didn't mean "humane Saddamism" . . . :lol:
Regards//Larry

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