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Thread: What on earth are we supposed to do?

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    It is not as clear cut as the situation for POW treatment, but I don't think the US actions stand up to even those less stringent requirements reserved for spies and saboteurs.
    Totally agree

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agente Secreto View Post
    Well not all over the world but in some specific locations where such facilities are easy to hide (Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia have been reported)
    I'd have thought Diego Garcia was an ideal location.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agente Secreto View Post
    I personally believe that Obama has made a grave error in not prosecuting those responsible - his problem of course is that he'd have had to start with George W Bush!
    Notable that Darth Vader has been shooting his mouth off (as opposed to his hunting buddy ) recently. Looked like a warning shot across Obama's bows.

    I'm not religious, but if prayer could prevent such a repugnant inidividual as Cheney ever becoming so powerful ever again, I'd be banging on the church doors to get in.

  3. #23
    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart M View Post
    Notable that Darth Vader has been shooting his mouth off (as opposed to his hunting buddy ) recently. Looked like a warning shot across Obama's bows.
    Perhaps not the wisest thing to do, since this happened shortly after:

    From the Chigago Tribune:
    Shifting ground in the face of a growing uproar, President Barack Obama opened the door Tuesday to possible criminal prosecution of senior Bush administration officials who provided the legal rationale for harsh interrogation techniques used against terrorism suspects.

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agente Secreto View Post
    The Fylingdales you probably remember is a lot different now. The golf balls have gone and been replaced by a 'pyramid' called a SSPAR (Solid State Phased Array Radar).
    Really? Wow, didn't know that. There was talk of it been a site for "Son of Star Wars." I don't know why I thought it was American? Also I remember this local guy who worked there as a guard. He said there were lots of trigger happy servicemen there. He quit because he feared for his safety. Why would they hire him though? Surely they would have their own guards?
    I think that there is a lot of speculation in the press about some of the secure facilities and locations, and 95% of it is completely wrong (just have to worry about the 5% I guess).

    Agent 000
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Perhaps not the wisest thing to do, since this happened shortly after:
    From the Chigago Tribune:
    Shifting ground in the face of a growing uproar, President Barack Obama opened the door Tuesday to possible criminal prosecution of senior Bush administration officials who provided the legal rationale for harsh interrogation techniques used against terrorism suspects.
    I reckon that personally he is itching to prosecute, but he would need a hell of a lot of backing.


    What makes it all extremely vile is that Bush shouldn't have served a second term anyway.

    He only got in because his brother Jed, the governor of Florida, fixed the votes there.

    This also set back the Kyoto Agreement 4 years. 4 years of irreversible damage to the planet.

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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Shnikov View Post
    Notably I saw one ex-CIA operative saying something to the effect that 'getting in-house counsel to interpret the law to allow torture was the same thing as giving ourselves permission to do it'.
    Saw this discussed elsewhere. You would know better than me, but my understanding is that an "interpretation of the law" is only an interpretation - it is still up to the courts to decide.

    In simpler terms, you can't get away with doing something illegal because "my lawyer told me it was ok". Which makes sense, because that would be one heck of a handy loophole if you had a tame lawyer who was prepared to take the fall.

    Of course, it's not as simple as that: it would be a very brave soldier who decided an order was illegal when it was endorsed by the Attorney General.

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Saw this discussed elsewhere. You would know better than me, but my understanding is that an "interpretation of the law" is only an interpretation - it is still up to the courts to decide.

    In simpler terms, you can't get away with doing something illegal because "my lawyer told me it was ok". Which makes sense, because that would be one heck of a handy loophole if you had a tame lawyer who was prepared to take the fall.

    Of course, it's not as simple as that: it would be a very brave soldier who decided an order was illegal when it was endorsed by the Attorney General.
    They could say that the whole Iraq war was/is illegal.

    The UN didn't vote the final resolution.

    But first they would have to cease the war.

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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    What makes it all extremely vile is that Bush shouldn't have served a second term anyway.
    Sadly, even most democrats would tell you this isn't true. That is, the consensus is that Shrub did in fact get the necessary votes for election in 2004.

    He only got in because his brother Jed, the governor of Florida, fixed the votes there.
    This is very unlikely to be true: Florida wasn't particularly close in 2004.

    There's a lot more concern about the results in Ohio, but even here, the margin wasn't that small - it's unlikely vote fixing could have made a real difference.

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    What makes it all extremely vile is that Bush shouldn't have served a second term anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Sadly, even most democrats would tell you this isn't true. That is, the consensus is that Shrub did in fact get the necessary votes for election in 2004.
    Well, in a sense Astro is correct in that he should never have been elected for his first term. He had to rely on dodgy vote-counting, the courts, and the bizarrely unrepresentative US Presidential election system (Gore actually polled about half a million more votes than the Shrub).

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    Cool Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    The thing is, even if you stipulate that Al Qaeda et. al. don't qualify as prisoners of war, the Convention says ...
    The Catch 22 here is that most of these individuals claim NOT to be part of Al Qaeda, but with enough water boarding they may 'confess' to pretty much anything. It's a little like ducking a witch, if she sinks and drowns then she's innocent. But people float, so ... burn the witch!!!!!

    The other point is; there are safety mechanisms that were put in place (the code word, the metal hand weights) in the clip. Are we to believe that this is the way that American torturers do things away from the cameras and possibility of prosecution? If they do, surely when the victim (sorry - detainee) drops the weights and tries to scream R-E-D through a water soaked towel as though their life depends upon it, that's the exact moment you're close to a breakthrough in your torture (sorry - interrogation). Of course anyone morally corrupt enough to justify these types of tortures in the first place is just a small step away from justifying NOT stopping on the signal.

    My uncle used to work for the water board - he always looked so respectable in his overalls. I will never speak to him again now

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Saw this discussed elsewhere. You would know better than me, but my understanding is that an "interpretation of the law" is only an interpretation - it is still up to the courts to decide.

    In simpler terms, you can't get away with doing something illegal because "my lawyer told me it was ok". Which makes sense, because that would be one heck of a handy loophole if you had a tame lawyer who was prepared to take the fall.

    Of course, it's not as simple as that: it would be a very brave soldier who decided an order was illegal when it was endorsed by the Attorney General.
    Yes, absolutely correct.

    The line that Obama has been taking is that operatives should not be subject to criminal prosecution if they were operating under the 'shelter' of a formal opinion that what they were doing was not unlawful. That must be wrong; the final arbiter of whether any act is lawful or not is a court (which court is another question), and the fact that legal advice was sought does not prevent the actor from being held responsible for his actions.

    From the reports it seems like at least some of the people carrying out torture on behalf of the US were anything but willing. They should sue Gonzales and his ghastly cohort.

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Sadly, even most democrats would tell you this isn't true. That is, the consensus is that Shrub did in fact get the necessary votes for election in 2004.

    This is very unlikely to be true: Florida wasn't particularly close in 2004.

    There's a lot more concern about the results in Ohio, but even here, the margin wasn't that small - it's unlikely vote fixing could have made a real difference.
    Don't be cruel to Astro - she got it all correct, except for she's thinking of the 2000 elections...

    ...and if Bush had not won that year, he sure as hell would not have been the GOP candidate in 2004.

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by StokeBloke View Post
    The other point is; there are safety mechanisms that were put in place (the code word, the metal hand weights) in the clip. Are we to believe that this is the way that American torturers do things away from the cameras...
    No, I don't think we're supposed to think that at all. It is entirely for the benefit of volunteers such as Hitchens.

    I seem to recall reading that they do it for a set number of seconds, then take off the cloth. They give the victim an opportunity to recover and then it is the threat of a repetition that is intended to loosen the tongue.

    Sounds like - 183 times in one month - the law of diminished returns sets in. Once the intellect can forcibly prove to the instinct that 'we can survive this', it's probably easier to keep the tongue still between 'sessions'.

    I understand that the people who were working with islamic terrorist detainees prior to the torturing manifesto found that you could get amazing quantities of information just by being nice guys. Sort of like the Stockholm syndrome - these people have been abruptly taken away from their life, isolated from the world, deprived of their freedom - some guy comes along who can talk their language, bringing some Afghan cigarettes, a friendly persona and photographs of his kids in his wallet, and after a day or two they'll tell you their family's bank account number. The key statement is: "hey, forget your old life. You're never going home - we both know what you've done to my country and it's people. Your old friends are useless to you now - even if we let you go, they'll never talk to you because they'll think you're a spy. So it's time to make some new friends. What can you tell me to make me your friend?"

    Probably especially effective when a terrorist has been told that the people of America have horns and goats feet and eat arab children off a spit.

    My uncle used to work for the water board - he always looked so respectable in his overalls. I will never speak to him again now
    *groan*

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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Shnikov View Post
    No, I don't think we're supposed to think that at all. It is entirely for the benefit of volunteers such as Hitchens.
    Absolutely. And what Hitchens got (basically what happens in SERE training) turns out to be quite different from what happened to terrorist suspects:

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/olc/techniques.pdf
    At the SERE school and in the DoJ opinion, the subject’s airflow is disrupted by by the firm application of a damp cloth over the air passages; the Interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth in a controlled manner. By contrast, the Agency interrogator… applies large volumes of water to a cloththat covered the detainee’s mouth and nose. One of the psychologists/interrogators acknowledged that the Agency’s use of the technique is different than that used by in SERE training because it is ‘for real’ and is ‘more poignant and convincing’.
    The quantities of water used were great enough that "the C.I.A. requires that saline solution be used instead of plain water to reduce the possibility of hyponatremia".

    Sounds like - 183 times in one month - the law of diminished returns sets in.
    One suspects that whoever did it is going to end up prosecuted. The frequency is way over what was allowed in the DOJ memos. (So even if you accept their ridiculous arguments, he's still damned).

    I understand that the people who were working with islamic terrorist detainees prior to the torturing manifesto found that you could get amazing quantities of information just by being nice guys.

    Probably especially effective when a terrorist has been told that the people of America have horns and goats feet and eat arab children off a spit.
    From one of the articles I linked to earlier (by an interrogator who is anti-torture):

    Quote Originally Posted by http://pecunium.livejournal.com/
    the more prisoners one has to work with, the easier it is to get them to talk. You can play on fears. I come to talk to A: Ten minutes later I come to talk to B:, along about the time I get to G, he will be afraid, because A-F have not been seen since. He's probably been told we will torture, and then kill, him. He's convinced himself this is happening. When all I want to do is ask questions, he tells all he knows, because in his mind he's saving his life.

    On the flip side, if I start to hit him, he resists, because that is what he's been trained to do, avoid giving up information in exchange for pain.

    And we know this doesn't work.

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Shnikov View Post
    I understand that the people who were working with islamic terrorist detainees prior to the torturing manifesto found that you could get amazing quantities of information just by being nice guys. Sort of like the Stockholm syndrome - these people have been abruptly taken away from their life, isolated from the world, deprived of their freedom - some guy comes along who can talk their language, bringing some Afghan cigarettes, a friendly persona and photographs of his kids in his wallet, and after a day or two they'll tell you their family's bank account number. The key statement is: "hey, forget your old life. You're never going home - we both know what you've done to my country and it's people. Your old friends are useless to you now - even if we let you go, they'll never talk to you because they'll think you're a spy. So it's time to make some new friends. What can you tell me to make me your friend?"
    sound and logical - it'll never happen

    Probably especially effective when a terrorist has been told that the people of America have horns and goats feet and eat arab children off a spit.
    Yup, I always thought it seemed daft to do inhumane things to people thus giving them extra evidence that you are in fact satans little helpers, just as they expected you to be

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    Re: What on earth are we supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadful Scathe View Post
    sound and logical - it'll never happen
    Oh, but it did.

    I read a book by a US interrogator - one who was trained and promoted well before the WTC attacks - about his time in Afghanistan and Iraq. All the best information came from the best relationships with the detainees. He was (according to him, at any rate) livid at the accounts which followed him back to the States of how things were changing after he was rotated home after his tour of duty.

    Also, one of the two al Quaeda bigwigs - I forget which - was injured while being arrested and his interrogation began while he was still recovering in hospital. It was carried out on the above basis. They had begun to get really good information from the debriefing when - IIRC - they turned up one day to find he'd been removed from the hospital by another agency who began applying the Bush/Cheney/Gonzales techniques. They claimed the credit for all the information that had been provided while he was still in hospital - thus giving spurious credence for the torture manifesto. Can't give a citation for this; I read the whole thing in a US magazine - I think when I was there on holiday - but I can't remember which or what edition.

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    Astro (24th-April-2009)

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