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What a terrible mess: torture documents reveal U.S. at its worst

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 03:35 AM
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What a terrible mess: torture documents reveal U.S. at its worst
By Katy Burns
<Concord> Monitor columnist

... We've known bits and pieces of the torture program for years. We even knew where the techniques came from. They were lifted directly from a 1957 Air Force study of methods the Chinese used during the Korean War to break down American prisoners of war to elicit false confessions from them so our people could be paraded out to make their outlandish "admissions" before cameras. That's right, false confessions ...

The memos, in cold, clinical legalese studded with euphemisms ("physical discomfort" is one of my favorites), outlined and authorized the "techniques" interrogators were to use, including smashing men's heads into walls, confining them in small, dark boxes for extended times, depriving them of sleep for days at a time and shackling them to ceilings. These methods, one memo writer said, would be used in "an escalating fashion, culminating with the waterboard though not necessarily ending with this technique." Though not necessarily ending with waterboarding? ...

It is worth noting, by the way, that the FBI, the federal agency with the most familiarity with successful interrogation methods, flatly refused to participate in the torture sessions. Not only did Director Robert Mueller pull his people out. He said then - and confirmed just last week - that to the best of his knowledge use of the illegal techniques had not disrupted a single terrorist attack ...

In retrospect, we should have heeded the words of George Washington, who told soldiers tending to British captives to "treat them with humanity." We should have listened to this nation's most prominent victim of torture, John McCain when he rejected the use of torture, saying, "It's not about them. It's about us."
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 03:38 AM
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1. Yup, so what used to be called "Chinese water torture"
we now call "water-boarding." And we're the ones doing it.

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Jeep789 Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 03:39 AM
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2. Yep, the strategy was determined ineffective and inhumane
by most of the world long ago. I fail to see why anyone thinks we need to debate this any further. Torture was wrong then and will always be wrong. Countries that use it should be condemned and punished and that includes us.
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RufusTFirefly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 04:38 PM
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3. French journalist Henri Alleg was subjected to waterboarding... French paratroopers during the Algerian War. (Although he was a journalist, he was suspected of being sympathetic to Algerian independence.)

And suddenly, as I have explained itI think it was the third timeI just fainted. And I heard them after a while saying, Oh, hes coming back. Hes coming back. They didnt want me to die at once, and I knew afterwards, a long time afterwards, that many of the people who went under that waterboarding, as you call it, after having had some moments of fainting, some of them would die, drowned, asphyxier, as we say in French.

Democracy Now
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