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Postby Apoclima » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:27 am

You get more clever with every post, Larry! LOL!

Apo
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Postby Stargzer » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:34 am

"Ahead Warp 9"

"Aye, aye, sir! They don't come any more warped than you!"
Regards//Larry

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Postby Apoclima » Fri Dec 16, 2005 1:05 am

Bush accepts McCain torture prohibition

It is good that Bush accepted this bill.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:42 pm

Apoclima wrote:...

"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.


No need, Apo, for you to be sorry ; I do not wish to cause you even light pain or suffering and I have no difficulty whatsoever with the definition given in the link you provide above :

For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. ...


Rather, it would seem that not I, but certain legal lights in the US «Justice [Sic !] Department», in particular a Mr (now Professor) John Yoo, had difficulty with the above definition, finding it all too lax and in need of tightening up. Thus they claimed in the infamous «Torture Memo» that in order to constitute torture the pain inflicted on a prisoner «must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death». How does one distinguish between the Convention definition - the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering - and Mr Yoo's definition ? If the chap being tortured dies, do the torturers say, «Oops, that must have been torture, but we didn't mean it that way, so it doesn't fulfill the criterion of «intentionality» ? Does, for example, vaginal or anal rape constitute torture under the convention definition ? Does it do so under Mr Yoo's definition ? Does it do so under the Apo definition ? How about having one's leg(s) broken with an aluminium baseball bat ?...

I find it strange that you say that you would certainly be «interested in any evidence to the contrary [of Mr Goss' assertion that the «CIA does not torture»], as if you have never seen such, after yourself having posted a link to the New Yorker article on the death of Manadel al-Jamadi at the hands of CIA operative Mark Swanner. Do you believe, then, that al-Jamadi's death by suffocation was not accompanied by «severe pain or suffering» (Convention definition) or was not «equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death». (If I have understood the matter aright, the mechanism of death by crucifixion, when the muscles of the diaphragm no longer can support breathing is the same as that al-Jamadi suffered - would the pain Jesus suffered on the cross qualify for torture under Mr Yoo's definition ?) Do you believe Mr Goss is telling the truth when he asserts that the «CIA does not torture» ? Do you find him an «objective» source ? If so, why ? Do you find the Human Rights Watch report of firsthand accounts of torture of Iraqi detainees by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, published in September and based on evidence given by Captain Ian Fishback and two of his non-commisioned officers to be «objective» ? If not, why not ?...

Yes indeed, I am familiar with the well-known citation from a speech Mao gave in November 1938 :
«枪杆子字里面出政权»。。。


Given that the United States has a military budget which is at least as great as that of the rest of the world combined, it would seem that I am not the only one who reads poetry....

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Postby Stargzer » Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:45 pm

M. Henri Day wrote: . . .
For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person . . .


. . . How does one distinguish between the Convention definition - the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering - and Mr Yoo's definition ? If the chap being tortured dies, do the torturers say, «Oops, that must have been torture, but we didn't mean it that way, so it doesn't fulfill the criterion of «intentionality» ? Does, for example, vaginal or anal rape constitute torture under the convention definition ? Does it do so under Mr Yoo's definition ? Does it do so under the Apo definition ? How about having one's leg(s) broken with an aluminium baseball bat ?...

. . .


Hey, Henri, that definition is big enough to drive a convoy of trucks through . . . or in the words of Asiak and Inuk, when Inuk had to teach the missionary some manners by knocking his head against the igloo wall because he refused Inuk's offer to share his wife in The Savage Innocents:

Asiak: "You killed him! You hit is head too hard!
Inuk: "No, his head was too soft!"
Asiak: "Well, remember to cut his fingers and toes off and put them in his mouth so his spirit won't follow us!"


Needless to say, he didn't perform that last ritual, so the Mounties came after him, but that's another story . . .

. . .
Given that the United States has a military budget which is at least as great as that of the rest of the world combined, it would seem that I am not the only one who reads poetry....

Henri


No, Henri, it doesn't come from reading poetry. It comes from being dragged, somewhat unprepared, into two world wars in single century in an attempt to save the Europeans from themselves. We tried to be isolationists, but it never worked out.
Regards//Larry

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Postby Flaminius » Sat Dec 17, 2005 1:31 am

From Magna Carta to Abu Ghraib

[A]n alien, or non-citizen, held by the United States, outside the United States, could not even open the door to a court.

I am truely in shock.

Can this not be corrrelated, in a wider application, to a claim that the Unitated States is not accountable for what it does outside its realms?
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Postby Apoclima » Sat Dec 17, 2005 1:51 am

To quote Justice Potter Stewart about pornography, "I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

Banning torture by governments seems an easy and decent thing to do, but it must be defined. Just as with pornography, torture must have an explicit legal definition.

The definition given in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984, although meaningful, was not explicit, at least to the Congress of the United States, so for it to become part of American law, definitions had to be decided on, as Yoo explains:

The Senate and Congress' decisions provided the basis for the Justice Department's definition of torture:

"Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture (under U.S. law), it must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years. . . . We conclude that the statute, taken as a whole, makes plain that it prohibits only extreme acts.''

Under this definition, interrogation methods that go beyond polite questioning but fall short of torture could include shouted questions, reduced sleep, stress positions (like standing for long periods of time), and isolation from other prisoners. The purpose of these techniques is not to inflict pain or harm, but simply to disorient.


The department issued a new memo that superseded the August 2002 memo. Among other things, the new memo withdrew the statement that only pain equivalent to such harm as serious physical injury or organ failure constitutes torture and said, instead, that torture may consist of acts that fall short of provoking excruciating and agonizing pain.


Among other things, it reiterates that there is a difference between "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment'' and torture – a distinction that many critics of the administration have ignored or misunderstood.


....the International Committee for the Red Cross has charged that interrogations at Guantánamo Bay, which included solitary confinement and exposing prisoners to temperature extremes and loud music, were "tantamount to torture.'' This expands torture beyond the United States' understanding when it ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture and enacted the 1994 statute. Not only does the very text of the convention recognize the difference between cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture, but the United States clearly chose to criminalize only torture.


No one condones the abuses witnessed in the Abu Ghurayb photos that are being properly handled through the military justice system. But those abuses had nothing to do with the memos defining torture – which did not discuss the pros and cons of any interrogation tactic – nor the decision to deny POW protections to Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Gonzales, among others, has made clear that the administration never ordered the torture of any prisoner. And as multiple investigatory commissions have now found, these incidents did not result from any official orders.


Henri:
How does one distinguish between the Convention definition - the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering - and Mr Yoo's definition ? If the chap being tortured dies, do the torturers say, «Oops, that must have been torture, but we didn't mean it that way, so it doesn't fulfill the criterion of «intentionality» ?


Intention is always part of determining guilt in an alleged homocide. Deaths, however unlikely, found to be caused by approved interrogation techniques would have to be taken on an individual basis and would include concepts such as negligence, intentionality, and adherence of the interrogator to the allowed Interrogation Techniques(See table of approved techniques)

Henri:
Does, for example, vaginal or anal rape constitute torture under the convention definition ?


Rape, if used as a means of authorized punishment or as an authorized "interrogation technique," whatever the physical pain might be (likely severe), it would certainly fit the definition of both definitions of torture, the convention's (severe mental pain or suffering), and Mr Yoo's (mental pain or suffering...[that]...result[s] in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years). And in my book too!

Henri:
How about having one's leg(s) broken with an aluminium baseball bat ?


Yes, if used as an authorized "interrogation technique."

I think what is being confused here, Henri, is the difference between State-sanctioned torture and unauthorized use of torture. "State-sanctioned torture," besides the criteria mention above, must include: "when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."

Anything perpetrated by a agent of a government outside of its authorization would rightly be called "assault", "aggravated assault," or unauthorized "torture."

I am not sure about the use of the word "torture" in the judicial codes of the many states, counties and municipalities ("torture" maybe covered under various degree of "assault" and "unlawful imprisonment"), but the use of "torture" in the US Code is quite clear.

Any person who misuses their official authority and steps outside approved interrogation techniques is guilty of torture.

This does not speak to the Convention, whose definition applies to Sovereign States, but the US Code applies to individuals empowered with authority to detain and question.

The accusation of torture in the US Code can only be made when a person has exceeded the bounds of his authorized actions in his capacity to question and detain, not being sanctioned by the US which would not be a violation of the Convention by the United States, it would be an individual criminal act.

Concerning al-Jamadi, as I said before, the interrogator is responsible for his death, in my opinion. Agent Swanner was negligent in not determining the medical status of al-Jamadi.

The accounts concur that, while Jamadi was able to stand without discomfort, he couldn’t kneel or sit without hanging painfully from his arms.


Diaz (a military policeman, was on guard duty at Abu Ghraib the morning that Jamadi was delivered to the prison) said he didn’t know if Swanner had intended to torture Jamadi, or whether the death was accidental.


If Diaz, who was there, cannot say whether Swanner had intended to torture Jamadi or not. How can I judge the situation without more information?

Apo
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Postby Apoclima » Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:12 pm

I read the interviews about abuse and torture that the HRW have posted at there site. (Thanks for the link, Henri!)

It is indeed a disturbing and gruesome situation that Fishback and the other two anonymous fellows tell. The language is very rough and authentic, and I think that adds to the credibility of the accounts.

Even if the only eye-witness experiences of abuse are true, this really must have been an intolerable predicament, a nightmare.

I guess what bothers me most about Fishback’s account is that it took him 17 months to finally decide that the Army wasn’t going to listen to him about his call for clarification on the treatment of prisoners. Perhaps it is understandable, but esp. for someone as conscientious and dutiful (even a Christian), it must have been hell to watch this horrible abuse go on, day after day. It must have been torture. I am just surprized that he didn’t come forward sooner.

One could certainly see how Fishback would feel that this ambiguity as to how to treat prisoners was “systematic’ given his attempts to get things clarified. Although he is not very explicit about what he told his superiors and the others that he asked clarification from. I think he might have reminded his superiors and subordinates what the meaning of “humanely” is, which surely does not entail “f**king someone” (up) or breaking limbs.

The idea that this sort of anything-goes-as-long-as-you-don’t-kill-them treatment is “systematic,” is, of course, tantamount to a grand conspiracy theory. There are well over 100,000 American troops in Iraq alone, and I find it difficult to believe that merely a handful are noble enough to not hide behind the “green wall” (or any other wall) of silence.

This story doesn't involve the entire division — others can correct me, but if I recall, the 82nd had only contributed a brigade to the region at the time. Contrary to the Abu G experience, which involved a high-profile detention facility in close proximity to CJTF-7 headquarters, both the 82nd's deployed brigade and its battalions were comparably out in the middle of nowhere and not in the normal loop of high level interrogation policy discussions. Also, I am willing to bet dollar-to-donuts that all the 82nd's OPLANS, FRAGOs, and ROE said something to the effect that the Geneva Conventions applied. Even the Division JAG agreed that the GC applied — he just had a very wrong interpretation of the law. This particular battalion of the 82nd Airborne soiled its own name.


INTEL DUMP -Abu Ghraib Déjà vu- Jon Holdaway

It's always easy to draw attention to one case, so al-Qahtani might be an example, or the cases of Abu Ghraib. And you try to indict the whole system because [of] what could be abuses or people stepping over line.
And I think there's a difference between people going over the line and something that's systematic and ordered to happen as a matter of policy. The questions we should be asking is we're running a huge operation in Iraq and Afghanistan with hundreds of thousands of troops, with thousands of detainees, and to say that one case means that the whole operation is illegal or that because one person might have been physically abused, that means therefore we shouldn't be conducting interrogations at all in the way we have been, I think that's just faulty logic.
It's like saying because there's one car accident we shouldn't have cars. One case does not prove that the whole system doesn't work. But it's human nature to sort of fix your gaze on the one case with pictures and not look at the bigger picture. I think that's one thing.


interview : john yoo

Fishback’s reaction to the aftermath of the release of his HRW story is somewhat naive. Did he really think that the Army would not ask for the names of his supporting witnesses? Did he actually believe that he would not be investigated first and foremost in the quest to find out the facts of his story?

I think when something looks to good to be true, it probably isn’t, but we’ll wait and see what comes of it. I think Fishback did the right thing in going to McCain, that should help to keep this thing out in the open.

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Postby William » Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:25 pm

All those supporting torture assume that they'll get vital information out of the process. But what if the assumption is wrong?


Hmmmm. The belief that torture does not elicit "valuable" information is a myth. I know of at least one case where severe torture did indeed produce the exact information the torturers wanted.

In 1983 in the city of Guadalajara Jalisco, Enrique Camarena, an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, was kidnapped by the minions of Rafael Caro-Quintero, a big time narcotics trafficker in Guadalajara. Because of pressure placed on the Mexican Government by officials of the Reagon Administration, notably the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, and the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Camarana's body and that of his pilot were eventually found on a ranch in Jalisco under circumstances that indicated the bodies had been moved from a burial site inside of Guadalajara and reburried on the ranch. Camarena's body was returned to the U.S. where it was autopsied and showed signs of severe torture. Largely because of the pressure put on the Mexican Government, the DEA was also able to secure a tape recording that was made of Camarena's interrogation. On the tape are heard the sounds of the torture and Camarena is heard "giving up" his informants.

So yes, torture does work, at least some of the time. I am in total agreement with Apo regarding the abuse at Abu Ghraib. That was mistreatment very similar to what goes on in many fraternity houses in University towns throughout the U.S. But it was not torture, and as Apo points out, punishment has been administered on the heads of the perpetrators.

Also, check out this op-ed by Max Boot regarding ongoing torture of U.S. Citizens in the U.S. in the December 14 edition of the LA Times. Very amusing and makes an excellent point.
Last edited by William on Tue Dec 20, 2005 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Apoclima » Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:45 am

Thanks for the link, William! It does make some good points.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:53 pm

Mr Boot's OpEd does make some interesting points, such as that

This type of treatment — fingernails pulled, electric shocks applied, sharp objects put where they don't belong — is what the word "torture" commonly connotes. That's not what American operatives are up to.


Unfortunately, Mr Boot completely neglects the evidence that just such things have been done by US operatives to prisoners, in addition to such pleasant things as various forms of rape and the infamous «waterboarding», which as Mr Boot explains, «involves wrapping cellophane over a subject's face and pouring water on it to induce a feeling of drowning». If he regards this latter as «a much milder and more justified [sic !] form of torture than what the Baathists practiced», that is probably because he has not experienced it himself and lacks the imagination and the empathy to put himself in the place of those subjected to such procedures.

No, William, what has been going on the USA's gulag (and which, indeed, is nothing new, as Latin American exiles in Sweden could inform me decades ago) is not the same as pranks like the practice branding Delta Kappa Epsilon pledges at Yale which Mr Bush defended back in 1967, but that he would choose to do so does, perhaps, explain why the outrage (if not always surprise) many of us feel at these revelations is not shared by the present occupant of the Oval Office. Torture is torture, and in my opinion should be condemned no matter who practices it. And we Europeans, whose governments have colluded in the practice by allowing this to be an element in the cooperation of our secret services with the CIA, are no less guilty than you, who have permitted your government to carry it out, either directly or via «extraordinary rendition»....

Henri
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Postby gailr » Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:25 am

William wrote:So yes, torture does work, at least some of the time. I am in total agreement with Apo regarding the abuse at Abu Ghraib. That was mistreatment very similar to what goes on in many fraternity houses in University towns throughout the U.S. But it was not torture, and as Apo points out, punishment has been administered on the heads of the perpetrators.

(My emphasis above.) I was under the impression that fraternity pledges are essentially willing--even determined--participants in their hazing, however out-of-hand it is allowed to get. Political prisoners, on the other hand, so seldom clamor for the carousing, the sense of belonging and the valuable business connections which can be made through their "similar" experiences.
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Postby Apoclima » Thu Dec 22, 2005 6:27 am

“While fraternity misadventures comprise many a humorous tale, they may also leave multimillion dollar judgments, humiliation, disfigurement, crippling injury, and death in their wake”


Hazing and Higher Education: State Laws, Liability, and Institutional Implications

At least two victims claim they were hazed and raped in a hazing initiation. ...
a law suit against the district.


High School Hazing Page

Some of the boys were allegedly stripped and struck in the groin. Others were hog-tied and used as "human bowling balls," rolled down a floor covered with gallons of liquid soap.


Sports hazing incidents

Volunteer? Please! How does one voluteer for rape and murder?

By calling the Graner-England incidents at Abu Ghraib, frat pranks, no way diminishes the suffering of the prisoners, but neither does it suggest in itself State-sanctioned torture or even abuse. The power structure of small the groups can bring out a great potential for mis-use of authority, many a time leading to sadism and perversity.

Apo
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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Dec 22, 2005 6:19 pm

Apoclima wrote:...

The power structure of small of the groups can bring out a great potential for mis-use of authority, many a time leading to sadism and perversity.


Apo, here we certainly agree ! Hazing is not something to be taken lightly, and indeed, as I suggested in my earlier posting, those who have take part in it, either as victim or as perpetrator or in both roles, risk being desensitised, partially or totally, to the practice of torture, which I think is clearly shown in Mr Boot's LA Times OpED piece (on the somewhat questionable assumption that Mr Boot was sincere and really thought that hazing at boot camp in some way was parallel to or justified what went on at Abu Ghraib and other islands in the gulag, rather than simply a feint to defend the indefensible). Where we disagree, however, is with regard to the following :

Note the horrors and large numbers of deaths* By calling the Graner-England incidents at Abu Ghraib, frat pranks, no way diminishes the suffering of the prisoners, but neither does it suggest in itself State-sanctioned torture or even abuse [emphasis added[sub]MHD[/sub]].


This is, in fact, an empirical question, and it is widely known that the presence of «hazing» in an organisation is largely dependent upon the degree to which the practice is tolerated by leading persons in the organisation. I think it is misleading for you to refer to the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib as «the Graner-England incidents», as that suggests that the main responsibility for the existence of such practices lies with these particular individuals* at the very bottom of the chain of command. Rather, it would to my mind be far more appropriate to refer to them as (one set of) «the Cheney-Rumsfeld incidents», as those individuals, as is now publically known, played the defining role in lowering the standards for the treatment of detainees, a lowering of standards which influenced not merely the two individuals you mentioned, but whole organisations, as can be seen from e g, Captain Fishback's testimony. An example of this which you may find it easier to accept, as the perpetrators were/are classic examples of «bad guys» for many people in your country, is the widespread and cruel hazing of recruits in the Russian military, which led and perhaps still leads to large numbers of deaths annually, and which the soldiers' mothers organisation were the first to reveal. Those who commit the crimes with their own hands must be punished, but those who permit and encourage the crimes cannot escape their responsibility. These principles were established in Nürnberg and in Tokyo after WW II, and they still hold today, even if the principals concerned are no longer German and Japanese, but from the US. As Justice Jackson put it at Nürnberg,



*When the photos of the torture at Abu Ghraib first came to public attention, it was stated that Charles Graner, a veteran of the 1st Gulf War, had worked as a prison guard at Fayette County Prison in Pennsylvania before coming to Iraq, and even there had been notorious for abusing prisoners. The US military did not seem to regard this as a hinder to his employment in a similar, but more responsible role in Iraq. Why not ?...

Henri

* Edit : The verbal phrase «Note the horrors and large numbers of deaths» was inadvertantly included in the above quote from Apo's posting, which should have read as follows :

By calling the Graner-England incidents at Abu Ghraib, frat pranks, no way diminishes the suffering of the prisoners, but neither does it suggest in itself State-sanctioned torture or even abuse [emphasis added[sub]MHD[/sub]].
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Postby William » Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:22 am

Unfortunately, Mr Boot completely neglects the evidence that just such things have been done by US operatives to prisoners, in addition to such pleasant things as various forms of rape


Henri, I would like to see your sources for that information. Who specifically are the U.S. Operatives and what is the evidence that supports these allegations. If you mean the Guardian, certainly you have a better source. The Guardian's anti-American agenda should be clear to anyone.

If you mean the New York Times, surely you can find a much better source. The New York Times has been publishing lies since the 1930s when their correspondent Waltery Duranty reported that the mass starvation that killed millions in Stalinist Russia was not really happening. Russia was a workers paradise he said. And the left leaning U.S. media bought it, or at lease went along with it, awarding Duranty the Pulitzer Prize.

Or maybe you are depending on Al Jazeera for your information, the same Al Jazeera that has shown footage of the aftermath of suicide bombings that have killed dozens of innocent Iraqis and then telling its viewers that it was the United States who set off those bombs.
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