Author Topic: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts  (Read 12886 times)

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Offline Daxx

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Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« on: December 15, 2007, 04:13:35 pm »
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/12/14/bashmilah/print.html?source=whitelist

From the page: "A Yemeni man never charged by the U.S. details 19 months of brutality and psychological torture -- the first in-depth, first-person account from inside the secret U.S. prisons. A Salon exclusive."

It's well known that there are networks of secret CIA prisons, but hard evidence of what happens there has been difficult to come by. Besides removing the right of habeus corpus, some extreme measures have been taken as part of the "War on Terror".

And of course, there's been this whole debate recently about waterboarding (bizarrely some people including the new US Attorney General seem to deny it's a form of torture) practised by CIA interrogators. Stuff like this has been endorsed by Dick Cheney. "Now, you can get into a debate about what shocks the conscience and what is cruel and inhuman. And to some extent, I suppose, that's in the eye of the beholder. But I believe, and we think it's important to remember, that we are in a war against a group of individuals and terrorist organizations that did, in fact, slaughter 3,000 innocent Americans on 9/11, that it's important for us to be able to have effective interrogation of these people when we capture them."

From
http://civilliberty.about.com/od/waronterror/p/torturelite.htm

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The Bush administration has been accused of using "torture-lite," or "moderate physical pressure," against detainees. In practical terms, what does this mean?
Psychological Torture: The number one criterion for American torture is that it must leave no physical marks, and psychological torture certainly qualifies. Whether U.S. officials are threatening to execute a prisoner's family or just falsely claiming that the leader of his terror cell is dead, it's hard to imagine a form of torture that is more effective--or easier to get away with--than a steady diet of misinformation and threats.
Sensory Deprivation: When you're locked up in a cell, it's already remarkably easy to lose track of time. Eliminate all noise and light sources--or, as was done to the Guantanamo prisoners at one point, simply bind, blindfold, and earmuff a prisoner into temporary oblivion--and life becomes a hellish, sanity-destroying experience. Whether prisoners subjected to long-term sensory deprivation can still tell fiction from reality is, of course, another question.
Starvation and Thirst: Maslow's hierarchy of needs identifies basic physical needs as the most fundamental--more fundamental than religion, political ideology, or community. A prisoner who is being given enough (unpleasant) food and water to survive, but only just, can go as long as a week before looking physically thinner--but will soon find that his or her life revolves around the quest for food.
Sleep Deprivation: Studies have shown that missing a night's sleep temporarily drains 10 points from a person's IQ. Consistent sleep deprivation, through harassment, exposure to bright lights, and exposure to loud, jarring music and recordings, can drastically impair judgment.
Waterboarding: Water torture, one of the oldest and most common forms of torture, came to the United States with the first colonists and has cropped up many times since then. In the latest incarnation, waterboarding, a prisoner is strapped down to a board and then dunked in water until nearly drowned, then brought back, gasping, to the surface. The interrogator repeats the procedure until the desired result is obtained.
Forced Standing: "I stand for 8-10 hours a day," Donald Rumsfeld wrote in a 2002 interrogation memo. "Why is standing limited to four hours?" Rumsfeld would probably feel a little differently about this if he had to stand in place for 8-10 hours, which can cause ankle swelling, bruising, and excruciating pain.
Palestinian Hanging (aka Palestinian Crucifixion): This form of torture, referred to as "Palestinian hanging" due to its use by the Israeli government against Palestinians, involves binding the prisoner's hands behind his or her back. After fatigue sets in, the prisoner will inevitably fall forward--putting full body weight on the shoulders, and impairing breathing. If the prisoner is not released, death by crucifixion results. Such was the fate of U.S. prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi in 2003.
Sweatboxes: In this form of torture, sometimes referred to as the "hot box" or simply as "the box," the prisoner is locked up in a small, hot room which, due to lack of ventilation, essentially functions as an oven. When the prisoner cooperates, he or she is finally released. Long used as a form of torture within the United States (most recently against one Alabama activist in 1998), it is particularly effective in the arid Middle East.
Sexual Abuse and Humiliation: Various forms of sexual abuse and humiliation documented in U.S. prisons include forced nudity, forcible smearing of menstrual blood on prisoners' faces, forced lapdances, forced transvestitism, and forced homosexual acts on other prisoners. These abuses and alleged abuses should be considered in light of the fact that most detainees are deeply religious Muslims, and many are married.

A question to the Americans on the forum - doesn't this sort of thing worry you at all? I mean, if it happened in another country wouldn't you be outraged?



Offline Luminar

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2007, 04:22:37 pm »
Given the secluded and covert nature of imprisonment as it is, this is likely very, very hard to put a complete stop to. Hell, I could argue that torture occurs to some people daily quite well outside the realm of the political - imagine a battered wife, her husband humiliating and hurting her every day, breaking her mind and bruising her body - and yet no-one ever knows because it's kept hidden where we can't see it. As long as that state of not being able to see it persists, torture may well occur in some form or another and not a great deal can be done to prevent it. I fear it's human nature, though I don't want to acknowledge that... I like to think of it as a "low point" of ours.

Offline Yuu

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2007, 05:37:46 pm »
Those who do this kind of stuff will really meet a vary bad fate at the end of the road.

I wonder how these interrogators would feel if their parents' and loved ones' fingernails we're pulled off one-by-one, hair ripped off with duct tape, eyes gouged out, castrated, dismembered, choked, punched in the abdomen, kicked in the shin, forced to listen to static for long periods of time(causes headaches), forced to drink pig fat/blood, killed, sexually harassed, evicted, fried alive, dipped in boiling tar, etc.

I think, they won't feel a thing. Why? Because they threw away all their humanity when they started to do this. They're not even sure if he's innocent or not! And they then proceed to make a Hell of his once peaceful life! They deserve to pay for it forever! Even without evidence, they can't escape the inevitable... They'll pay, someday... I'm sure of it. :(

Offline TotalSandwich

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2007, 05:53:54 pm »
Yuu, you might have missed the point. Nobody is being dipped in tar or fried alive. These techniques are controversial because the government likes to deny that they're torture or that they are even happening.

Plus, the discussion here isn't about the fate of the interrogators. It's about the tortured themselves.
I don't like it, but as Luminar pointed out, there isn't much that can be done to abate it. This isn't a public issue like gay marriage or social security; it's out of the eye of the nation, behind closed doors, the slowly emerging skeleton in the closet with God knows what else.

That being said, I have a granule of confidence that this will pass. Our nation has a (very terrible) habit of stripping away basic rights in wartime. They are usually returned, however, with the return of peace (Lincoln took away Habeas Corpus during the Civil war, to name one example.) Pray that this nonsense stops and that it can be investigated in a fair and stable environment, before being snuffed completely.
The moon is a sickle cell; it will kill you in time.

Offline Daxx

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 06:03:40 pm »
That's pretty insightful, TS. What I'm worried about is that the War on Terror isn't like traditional wartime in that it'll probably never end; you can't win a war against an enemy who is that nebulous. There are ominous parallels with Germany in 1938 and the Galactic Republic circa Star Wars Episode III - lets hope it never goes that far.

EDIT: It's bad enough that the UK has bought into some of this crap as well. Evidence enough is Brown's seeming commitment to longer custody without trial here.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 06:31:17 pm by Daxx »

Offline Yuu

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 06:14:45 pm »
I sure hope your right, Daxx. This should really end. With all the suffering and stuff. :-\ I guess the best we could do in these times is to support the peace cause and hope things get smoother in the future. :)

Somehow, one of the greatest tools today is the media. If everyone knew everything, everyone would understand each other better. The future will look very promising if valid information is spread to everyone. That way, no one will suffer the consequences of misunderstanding. :)

Unfortunately, truth be told, we're still far away from such technology. :-\ We could make a One World Order like Libra from Equilibrium, but such an act will only defeat the very purpose of it, to make people safe and most importantly, enjoy their lives.

Offline Mr. Consideration

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2007, 01:26:21 am »
I think it's disgusting.

Basically, the US has made itself totally unable to be taken seriously as a 'Defender of Democracy and Freedom'. I mean, surely detaining people without charge, state-sponsored murder and torture is exactly what the United States are supposed to be crusading against?
This war will never end. Every time they invade a country, or torture a Muslim, they incite more hatred, and more of the same. An endless cycle of needless suffering.

But, as said, there's nothing you can do. Slightly depressing that in 'The Most Democratic Nation on Earth' you have no say at all in this aspect of government policy.
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elses opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." - Oscar Wilde

Yes, I am aware of the irony.

Offline Yuu

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2007, 02:34:59 am »
All of it is so true. :-\ I mean, people can say anything they like, but when it comes to stuff like war and most especially, "TopSecret and "Confidential" information, people honestly don't have a clue what is true or not.

Look at the XFiles, Guantanamo, Area51 and The Philosopher's Legacy, which the US took part in. All of them are becoming subjects of conspiracies and debate, partly because of the secretive nature of the government. Because they are so secretive, their secretiveness reaches the point where some of the public have become extremely paranoid and some have even begun creating their own stories.

In this situation, you really never know if your safe or not. :-\ Who knows? Maybe two weeks later, we'll just find a ufo in Central Park and they just say it's a hoax even though it's not. You really never know what's gonna happen because a lot of people are a wee bit too secretive. :-\ What's true and what's not isn't clear anymore.

For me, I'd rather be strapped to a wall and see the truth than be allowed to walk free as a blind seeker.

Offline blitzonator

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2007, 06:37:47 am »
America: -10 for human rights. +5 for style of torture.

Offline Luminar

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2007, 09:47:12 am »
Torture is in no sense of the word stylish. Generally where people are being stripped of all dignity, rights and general well-being, nothing and no-one associated with the acts can be described as stylish at all. Movies and TV make torture look far, far less gruesome than it is - imagine someone stripped naked infront of a pack of sneering, giggling torturers, having all manners of injury and humiliation heaped on him, a grown man sobbing for mercy because it's his only option due to the inescapability of the situation and his survival instinct panicking and looking for any way out, while bleeding or otherwise broken both in mind and body.

Is it still "stylish"?

Offline TotalSandwich

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2007, 12:20:07 pm »
  Well, to have an good idea of what's going on, we have to look back. The US was the preeminent western nation that didn't have to weather two world-spanning conflicts on our home soil. We reaped all the benefits without the widespread economic and moral devastation of many European nations. With the Cold War to motivate us, technology, military and spirits grew fiery.

Obviously, it didn't last. As the power wanes, the goverment sunk lower and lower. The end of the USSR, coupled with the rise of the internet, meant that the government could no longer guide production, opinion and state-sponsored morality with an invisible hand.  The nation began to break out, to come free. The War on Terror is "nebulous", as Daxx put it, to match an increasingly nebulous field of public opinion. The nation is sinking lower as we come upon our own great war, as well as the struggle to maintain ourselves under great expansion (not military expansion, as the Romans faced with rebellion and barbarians, but the outsourcing of jobs and the slow dissent of the world as a whole.)

The US population thinks they are headed towards some Star Trek Federation future

This is one of the most frustration assumptions on the Internet. The public as a whole doesn't do this. Remember the public face of America? The Miss South Carolina who refers to the "war in Iraqs," the woman who takes legal action against the cashier who refused to giver her the deal that she wanted? This isn't the case of a Lenny-like giant who doesn't know their own strength. This is a case of Malaprop man from Frank and Ernest, who tries to say something but gets it out all wrong.

That's not the voting, decision making majority. The people in power-both the politicians, as well as the people who are granted choice once every four years-are moderately intelligent. The stupid ones aren't voting. All these bad choices are coming from the people who are semi-smart. Enough to make good choices, who are smart enough to get elected or who go to vote, but who still feel bound by the natural trappings of the system. Lobbyists, religion, electoral bases, the Machiavellian organization of the party itself.  Any need or want that enters that machine comes out twisted and re-formed. It makes self-rule impossible.

Not to mention that when the other shoe of the climate is removed post-mortem, it isn't going to be America that gets hit with the biggest punch-all the lost resources and polarizing chaos. We have a nice, big middle class to cushion that. The consequences will be much more indirect, and much worse in the long run.

Apologies for the ramble. I just woke up, and don't know how much sense I just made. Also, ChiToes, I would like to say that I agree with most of your main points-it's just the support that I disagree with.

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Offline blitzonator

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2007, 12:25:43 pm »
Is it still "stylish"?
Kinda how you look at it. All I mean by stylish is "Inventive". I mean forced standing would be pretty effective. but the others are just annoyingly creul.

Offline Luminar

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2007, 12:55:11 pm »
Neccecity may be the mother of invention, but it's certainly not neccecary to inflict that kind of crap on people. It takes a horribly warped mind to be able to inflict that kind of thing on people routinely and enjoy it - not so dissimilar from a mind warped to the point of killing itself and several others needlessly for a cause.
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Offline Blarg

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2007, 01:59:29 pm »
This is making me SO hate my country.  >:(

So very, very much.


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Offline blitzonator

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Re: Torture, Secret Prisons and other questionable acts
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2007, 02:20:44 pm »
I think if you even think of going to america you deserve to be tortured. Not a funny joke.