Effect Measure

What’s the big deal about putting a few bad guys into “stressful” positions (assuming you know for sure they really are bad guys)? You call that torture? Waterboarding maybe is torture (we aren’t sure about that yet; requires some study***), but stressful positions and a love tap or two? Give me a break:

Source: Waiting for the Guards, Amnesty International

So what’s the big deal? This was straight out of the CIA interrogation manual. No pretense we don’t do it.

This video is also not play acting:

In order to make the film, the directors put the actor into a stress position for six hours — the whimpers and trembling we see are real, the anguish you feel even when you choose to do this, let alone when you are kidnapped and subjected to it for weeks, months or years. (Boingboing)

That’s what the Big Deal is.

***Sarcasm warning: Judging from some comments below, apparently our discourse has become so debased that no attempt at sarcasm can be taken for granted any longer. So for the record, the parenthetic remark about waterboarding needing more study was meant as a sarcastic poke at our current Attorney General, Mr. Mukasey, who cannot tell if something is torture without consulting his law books. I have spoken out against all kinds of torture many times here, and there is no doubt — no doubt — that anyone who practices waterboarding is torturing.

Comments

  1. #1 herman
    November 26, 2007

    Sometimes I give Revere a lot of problems with my stupid remarks, and he is patient. But for me what he is saying is extremely important. Revere has dedicated his life to the preservation of human life, and his knowledge should be respected by all of us. When he flew to Italy recently, he posted a statement, in which he appeared to be in great mental suffering, and he said: No more blood for oil.
    I will never forget that moment. And what he is saying with this post is like a knife in my guts. Forgive me for saying this, since I too am an American; but the United States has become a fascist police state; in which torture and murder is accepted and approved by our Attorney General and the Justice Department. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been destroyed. The Congress and Supreme Court are merely a rubber stamp on whatever the president wants to do.
    Do you realize the horrible suffering of the civilians in Iraq? Do you realize how many Iraqi women and children have been killed and wounded by the invasion by the United States of Iraq? The life of even one innocent child in Iraq, is not worth all the oil the United States receives from Middle East.
    And even worse than the torture by US employees of many victims, is the incredible insanity of an attack on Iran with tactical nuclear weapons. Please try to imagine, if 30,000 pound blockbuster bombs and tactical nuclear bombs with the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima is turned loose on Iran. Those nuclear reactors in Iran will go critical, and release enough radiation to kill thousands, if not millions. And the winds will carry the radiation over India, killing thousands more.
    If the order is given for the attack of Iran, which I have no doubt it will be given in the next 16 months, the world will be turned into a living hell; and World War 111 may start, which means we may all be dead within the next 15 months. Think about it.

  2. #2 Grackle
    November 26, 2007

    Waterboarding needs study? That work has already been done, back in medieval times: look for ‘the water cure’. I suggest we ask everyone in the federal government to take a formal stand on waterboarding: either it is torture, or it is not. Then, on live TV, everyone who said it isn’t torture gets one hour of the treatment.

    There is another stress position that is often mistaken for something innocuous, but it is good for relentless mortal dread, interrupted by terrifying beatings, which takes little time or attention. On a hard surface such as concrete, you are put on your knees with your ankles crossed and bound. Your wrists are bound behind you. A bag is put over your head. Now the fun begins. You don’t know what’s going to happen. After a while — minutes or hours, depending on how your knees are ennervated — the knees start to hurt sharply, as nerves get compressed, and the pain only gets worse. The punished nervous tissue will become inflamed, increasing the pressure. If you fall over, you will be beaten relentlessly until you get back up on your screamingly painful knees, and of course you can’t use your hands.

    If somebody takes a picture, you don’t seem to be doing anything at all. You look peaceful, submissive, docile, patient, and well-behaved.

    When there are no cameras, the guards can sneak up on you and suddenly strike with a club, going for soft tissue — the belly or kidneys — or vulnerable joints — the elbows. They can take a heavy book two-handed and knock you in the head, or use a sandbag. Of course if you fall over, the beating resumes, ceasing only when you are back up on your painful knees again.

    If you think it’s bad now, wait for quitting time: you’re going to have to sleep in that position on concrete blocks to keep you out of the chilly water beneath.

    Some years ago, I think it was in Indonesia, the local police got too heavy handed with too large a crowd of protestors and the crowd mobbed the cops, quickly pinning them down and disarming them. Somebody who understood the police organized what followed. All the cops were bound and bagged in that kneeling stress position. They were placed in a line and plenty of pictures were taken. All the cops were familiar with that torture, so within minutes they stank of fear. An upper level official went to see the townspeople, coming in unarmed and alone, sitting down to talk. He eventually talked the authorities into backing off completely, the community into releasing their captives, and both sides into forgiving each other.

    If you ever overpower the authorities, that’s a good trick to have in your back pocket. Nothing so humbles a fellow as the humiliation of being utterly powerless and helpless, having to completely depend on his captors — his enemies — for everything, and having to smell his own stink of fear.

    BTW, a way to fight this lies in jury service. If you serve on a jury, consider all testimony in light of the wholesale acceptance of coercing testimony by torture, of the threat of torture, or by buying it from snitches in return for money, drugs, or lighter sentences. (Also study up on jury nullification and the meaning of double jeopardy back in the 1780s era when the Bill of Rights were in the works.) If juries quit convicting people because the government cannot be trusted, then everyone arrested will demand a jury trial (which is supposed to be the normal course rather than the rare exception.) This would certainly reverse the trend of escalating prison construction and of criminalizing the poor.

  3. #3 herman
    November 26, 2007

    sorry, I need to proof read what I write. Correction:
    The life of one innocent child in Iraq is worth more than all the oil the United States receives from the Middle East.

  4. #4 herman
    November 26, 2007

    Grackle,
    I feel profound sadness as I read what you describe with great accuracy. You appear to understand much better than most what a horrible outrage our own government has become.
    I feel like some German citizens must have felt in 1933, as they watched Adolph Hilter rise to power, knowing there was not much they could really do.
    There is an omnimous death grip decending on our country, driven by what is now a fascist police state, which will terminate everything that is decent, just as it did in Nazi Germany.

  5. #5 revere
    November 26, 2007

    Grackle: “Waterboarding needs study” was meant as a sarcastic reference to our new Atty. General. I should have given it a “sarcasm” warning, since the death of irony makes even the most outlandish things sound like they might have been meant seriously.

  6. #6 anon
    November 27, 2007

    it’s just so dishonest.
    Torture was always being used by US to critisize
    her enemies. Now it’s OK.
    Nuclear weapons were OK, until Russia,terrorists got them.
    Restrictions in free speech, surveillance of citizens was bad
    in cold war times, now it’s OK.

  7. #7 mistah charley, ph.d.
    November 27, 2007

    The foundation of the United States was genocide and slavery. War is good for msking lots of money, and for keeping and increasing political power. The people of the U.S. have the government they deserve.

    Have a nice day.

  8. #8 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 27, 2007

    Torture? I wonder if those guys on TV that got beheaded understand the idea of torture. If I had a GPS fix on them I would have lobbed a 500 pounder in on them, just as they eventually did on Abu_al-Zarqawi.

    How about re-enacting that one? Might remind people what we have going on in the world and its not the rights of friggin’ terrorists. Its the rights of the people who have absolutely nothing to do with governmental actions other than they vote every year, pay their taxes, go to and from work and school.

    Just run right out AI and lets behead an actor. Only, lets make sure he is a good actor because I want everyone on the planet to hear him scream as a reminder that these people are out to get us. The above is there to push an agenda and does nothing to solve the problems of the world. In fact it makes me really angry to see that they are depicting the guy above as being “in trouble.” Uh-huh. The assertion is that this guy couldnt just get up and walk out anytime he wanted. Uh-huh. His tears and fears are real? The guy takes a call from his wife and kid? HUH? You just got Hollywooded.

    Hey its about waterboarding. Lets go and waterboard him instead of this crap. I would also say that toture does work. Might only get bits and pieces but with enough you have all or most of a puzzle. I wouldnt want it done to me and I wouldnt want to do it to anyone else having seen some of it in certain Central American countries, but it is necessary sometimes. Its also generally done on people that have something to do with terrorist activities against us and our allies.

    Pop-fiction.

  9. #9 revere
    November 27, 2007

    Randy: NIce try. Doesn’t work. You don’t mind being as bad as they are. I do.

  10. #10 Grace RN
    November 27, 2007

    Herman, re: “…the United States has become a fascist police state; in which torture and murder is accepted and approved by our Attorney General and the Justice Department. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been destroyed…Congress and Supreme Court are merely a rubber stamp on whatever the president wants to do.
    …”

    yes yes one thousand time yes. The American Revolution was fought for far less egregious issues than what we face today. I agree with revere.

    There are far more human rights violations in Darfur but we didn’t invade them….no oil.

  11. #11 albatross
    November 27, 2007

    *Sigh*. I’m so old, I remember when it was the *bad guys* that tortured their prisoners, wiretapped all their citizens’ phone calls, forbade photographs in all kinds of weird places, etc. I wonder if I’ll ever see the country I grew up in, again.

  12. #12 Charles Roten
    November 27, 2007

    Randy: NIce try. Doesn’t work. You don’t mind being as bad as they are. I do.

    IMHO, Randy thinks the ends justify the means.

    Problem is, the ends and the means cannot be teased apart by any set of analytical tools you care to name, because they are one and inseparable.

    The cautionary tale from classical literature that I always refer to is “Macbeth”. There are others, but that one gets the point across well enough for me.

  13. #13 Charles Roten
    November 27, 2007

    I wonder if I’ll ever see the country I grew up in, again.

    Personally, I don’t think so. We’ve passed the point of no return.

  14. #14 Shannon
    November 27, 2007

    I am horrified by the thought that more study needs to be done. I shudder that any thinking person, let alone a doctor, would even consider torture as okay. I’d like to think that nmankind wasn’t its own worst enemy but this has to be proof positive. Torture doesn’t work. Period. We only become the enemy when we resort to such bestial means of gathering information.

  15. #15 Shannon
    November 27, 2007

    I too missed the sarcasm post. Thank heavens, I was frothing at the mouth with disgust. Thank you for clarifying. Nice to know you are not actually for such tactics.

  16. #16 revere
    November 27, 2007

    Shannon: Read the comments. It was a (bitter) sarcastic remark aimed at our new Atty Gen’l Mukase. I think my comments here condemning waterboarding are ample in that regard. I guess I need a sarcasm warning.

  17. #17 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 28, 2007

    You know I wonder but you may be right. Our Bill of Rights and the Constitution have been trashed. Gee, I thought that you had the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. I think that entails that you not get bombed at work, or that some Sudanese guy feels free to sit and plan with friends the bombing of a mall while sipping tea.

    I also believe that somewhere it says that the President is required by law to protect the people of the United States. That doesnt mean multilaterally either. It means that if he thinks we need to whack someone, he can do it. I am still waiting for the resolution on Kosovo to come thru.

    I also read that no one will be deprived of life, liberty or pursuit of happiness without due process of law….Hmmm did we get to indict the countries that supported Al Qaeda?

    Our constitution says that we must have a rendering of opinion whenever there is an issue before the attorney general requested by the President in the matters of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Now two AG’s and the tribunal have ruled that wiretapping is constitutional of international calls to or from suspected terrorists. I guess those guys just dont know what they are talking about. Black Day for America.

    I guess we also just need to sit back and DO NOTHING when we get hit. Hit in this particular case is the 479th hit on our assets or people since 1968. Some big, some small. Big was Locherbie, the embassies, the takeover in Teheran, and the WTC’s twice. But thats okay, we got that Bill of Rights and Constitution to think of while they blow up a school or a city. They got rights..Make sure you remember that when they do another of the above or something new and exciting like poison the water in Atlanta or LA.

  18. #18 jen_m
    November 28, 2007

    Mr. Kruger, even if one accepts that torturing criminals is a reasonable proposition, if there is insufficient evidence to merit prosecuting someone in a U.S. court of law, he is presumed innocent – but he may be transported overseas, held captive and tortured under our current set-up. We’re NOT talking about “terrorists’ rights” – we’re talking about the rights of every citizen. Imprisoning people without public trial, torturing people, and spying on every citizen’s conversations to capture the rare conversation relevant to terrorism, all erode the rights of law-abiding citizens. It’s not cut and dried that provision of security against every possible plot for the few at identifiably high risk must outweigh the everyday expectations of privacy and due process for every citizen.

    Government is made of citizens, and by citizens. It is expected to have the “cooler head” of many to balance out the emotional impulses of the few. For example, I would probably be very upset if someone I loved was murdered, but I hope that my government would restrain me from hurting someone I believed to be a murderer. It would hurt me, as well as society and the murderer, if I succumbed to the impulse to damage that person. The cumulative effort of the citizenry known as government is expected to act dispassionately, and to be held in check by law to the same or a greater extent than the individual citizen. I am frankly horrified at the idea of a government being inspired by revenge or fear. I want my government to behave calmly and rationally, considering the entire good of the people it represents, not just their safety.

    And good grief, Dr. Mistah Charley, your particular species of drive-by cynicism is less helpful than Mr. Kruger’s honest rage. Sure, we honor a genocidal statesman on the twenty-dollar bill, but that doesn’t excuse new horrors.

  19. #19 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 29, 2007

    Oh I disagree Jen. Its all drive by.

    There are just times when you have to just say what the eff and do what is necessary. I would break any law, kill just about anyone who I thought was going to do something causing great harm to any person or persons in the US. That is the difference between some of the slimeball media, the sacks of crap that constantly say the US is always at fault from other countries. These are also the countries that for years we have provided a defense for. Times are changing. Personally I find this masturbation go round of what people think about torture disturbing. There are very few people who would do what is necessary in the US to ensure that the nation stands. That includes breaking the law. Shit the one guy in the last 30 years who did break the law after a long ardous trial was acquitted and that was in a left wing courtroom….

    Who? Lt. Col. Oliver North. I can happily tell you that both he and I would use a chain saw on someone get information to stop a 9/11. ?

    They have their butcheries in their offense, leave me to mine when it comes to the defense of my family and indirectly yours. There is NO limit to what I would do. Jail? That doesnt scare me. Loss of family does. I would stick my foot so far up a terrorists ass to get information that it would have to be surgically removed if it were necessary. And “necessary” is where we are for the time being. Ten years from now, maybe not. Information causes small, surgical strikes and takes down leaderships and material. Screw around and start talking about some shit sucking terrorist, his family and their rights when they know damned well what he is up to just falls on deaf ears with me. It requires an Iraq to take down something that is so large once established.

    Righteous? It will be up to God to judge my acts and I am willing to take the chance that I am in this.

  20. #20 M. Randolph Kruger
    December 1, 2007

    Oh and Jen, you are mistaken. There is a difference between an enemy combatant and a terrorist. WE took too long to define that and that is where a lot of this stuff you speak of came to be. If a person in the proverbial “towel head” garb is picked up in a sweep in Baghdad we can do just about anything we want including whisking them away to gitmo. They are for the better part afforded a Geneva Convention classification. They also are not afforded an attorney. They are part of an army and that is by declaration of the Congress. They dont have rights under US law, only those of the military courts.

    We COULD have designated them as non-combatants and then terrorists and then the ball goes into the legal system of the US where they give them an attorney. But thats for acts against the US pretty much here on domestic soil or against our soft targets such as embassies in foreign lands.

    The problem is large. We have an army that attacks us in traditional Mid-East garb and people who put on plain clothes and climb on airplanes. The second they leave the garb and into plain clothes they are terrorists and thats either a prison sentence, a life without parole, or a death sentence. So we could have rounded up thousands in Iraq and shipped them off via the Geneva Convention, but didnt. They are terrorists under Iraqi law in country, enemy combatants under ours, or they are terrorists. Classification is done via the acts committed. It also determines HOW they are treated. The deal in Al-Ghraib was that there were a mix of people being influenced by non-military personnel and directing their actions. The Army guys all get put into this spot and unfortunately they put the dumbest people in charge of these places in the military. SP/AP/APF’s are all known for their brawn generally and not the ability to repair a computer. A mistake of course but thats the system. We paid for that with the questionable acts of the soldiers, but they had no direction other than some military contractors… dumb.

    Is their torture going on? On some levels yes. But we are not allowed to torture enemy combatants, they get Geneva. Terrorists we haul them off of US soil and politely give them every chance to talk that there is. Its up to us how we designate them.

    But you know what the REAL problem is? It is that we are always trying to play the good guy and that is what got us into this mess in the first place. Negotiations with nations that would do us harm. I hear the endless rant about their rights, and that this isnt America. You are absolutely right, this isnt America. America died on 9/11 and the failure of the people to see it for what it is will result in a bright flash very soon or a severe case of radiation sickness or mass death on our soil. Then the wussies will demand that we do something and we will and some little country with probably 2 or 3% controlling the other 97%, wlll get the shit kicked out of it. Its been that way and its a cycle. The difference now is that they know they can hit us and HARD. Its a war and it started in 1968 when they took the first aircraft in a hijacking. We should have done them then. But there we go..Politically Correct. Enjoy what you have for now, while you can. The balloon is about to go up again and soon.

  21. #21 M. Randolph Kruger
    March 8, 2008

    Well FINALLY they have released the list of known thwarted terrorism attempts that I alluded too. Sorry guys, cant tell everything I know sometimes.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,335498,00.html

    Thats on Reuters too BTW but Fox was the first to post up. This is ONLY the US list. There have been many others. As I said, waterboard them? Be glad that I dont get a shot at them if I know Americans or our allies assets are going to get tagged. There is no limit to what I would do to stop that from happening.

    Bad as they are? I havent gone out and dropped any buildings in Teheran lately, or bombed a subway in Japan with Sarin, or blown up a subway station with hundreds of people in it in Madrid. But thats just me. Perhaps I should ask if I can go and do it? Tit for tat.

  22. #22 revere
    March 8, 2008

    Sorry, Randy. You don’t believe a widespead international consensus on global warning but you immediately swallow whole totally unsourced and unsubstantiated reports from interested parties that play into a political agenda? Sorry. The offer for my 95 Volvo still stands. It is one of the greatest cars in the whole world. Guaranteed. I have it on good authority (me).

  23. #23 mirc
    March 15, 2008

    Successful website

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