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US Torture





handfleisch
Torture is a moral evil. A couple decades ago, Amnesty Int'l had the goal of making it a universally reprehensible practice, like slavery, so that any country engaging in it would be a pariah state. At the time it looked very doable. Now that the US practices torture, it shows how far and how fast backward we have gone.

Also notice:
"China Inspired Interrogations at Guantánamo"
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/us/02detain.html?_r=1&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

US torturers in Guantanamo were using techniques they got from an Air Force study of Communist Chinese torture used against US soldiers in Korea. Torture used obtain false confessions.

How much more plain and ugly can it get? We have met the enemy, and it is us.
hunnyhiteshseth
Whole world knows that US is a nation with no heart. They torture any body out of just suspicion in Guantomo Bay, they killed innocent Iraqis just for oil (and o those who do not believe this, just see how many of Iraq's oil field have been allocated to US. companies), it was US who supported mujahideens in Afganistan in 1980s and look how it has affected us all by introducing terrorism to world, US used bombs in Vietnam that killed all plants and crops there leading to mass famines and of course US is the first and only country which used a nuclear bomb!!
ocalhoun
Quote:
for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”


Note the words 'possible use' for one thing. It apparently isn't confirmed that they actually use it.

Also, the things listed here don't seem all that bad really. I know I was subjected to all three of those in light portions during basic training.

Really, I don't think things such as this are quite on a par with real torture.

hunnyhiteshseth wrote:
US is the first and only country which used a nuclear bomb!!

Well, at the time, carpet bombing of cities was acceptable and used by all sides. Also, we weren't yet aware of the real danger of radioactive fallout yet. We still thought it wasn't very dangerous and could be washed away by rinsing with water.
hunnyhiteshseth
ocalhoun wrote:
7
we weren't yet aware of the real danger of radioactive fallout yet. We still thought it wasn't very dangerous and could be washed away by rinsing with water.


Sorry if I am wrong but as far as I know, the reason which US gave for using nuclear bomb was that it would end war immediately by "completely destroying" Japan's cities.
And as for knowing about dangers of radio activity, its hard to believe that without knowing effects of radio activity, they built there observance center(bunkers) at 10miles and 17miles from ground zero while testing atom bomb. Also if they thought rinsing by water could remove radioactivity then obviously many more Americans should have died from radioactive exposure during development of atom bomb which took more than 3 years to complete.


I cannot understand such friendly people like Americans become so heartless when they take a collective decision or is that US only have those presidential candidates who are heartless?
deanhills
[quote="handfleisch" We have met the enemy, and it is us.[/quote]

I think when people are involved with a war like we have today, i.e. terrorists who fight without any rules, one probably has to adopt different ways of fighting with them. Must of us are lucky to sit in comfortable arm chairs while people are risking their lives in warfare.
Moonspider
I don't agree with water boarding. I think such techniques produce unreliable information. Studies on torture have demonstrated that.

But at the same time I believe it unfair and disingenuous to group water boarding, sleep deprivation, prolonged constraint, and exposure together with cutting off body extremities, electrical shock, starvation, sharp objects under the fingernails, burning, blinding, power tools, etc. Oh, and actually drowning people instead of tricking them into thinking their drowning.

When you hear the word "torture," of what do you think? Lack of sleep? Someone pouring water over plastic wrap to trick your mind into panicking and thinking your drowning? Or do you think of root canals without anesthesia, bamboo under fingernails, drowning and electrocution, among others?

I think of the latter. And even though I don't think water boarding should be used, to group it with techniques used by others which cause physical pain and permanent disabilities conveys the wrong impression to people who don't know any better.

There's a reason the phrase goes, "I'm going to go medieval on your butt," and not "I'm going to go Guantanamo on your butt." Wink I don't think the latter will ever carry the same meaning or conjure the same images as the former

Respectfully,
M
Bikerman
Well, many organisations would not agree that torture has been restricted to these practices by the US.
For example, Human Rights Watch has the following;
http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/torture.htm
There has, of course, been a prosecution for torture in Iraq, but the punishment was not really very harsh by most standards:
wiki wrote:
In January 2006 Lewis E. Welshofer Jr. was convicted of negligent homicide for the torturing to death of Abed Hamed Mowhoush, a general in the Iraqi Air Force who had voluntarily surrendered to American forces. As punishment Welshofer received 60 days of barrack confinement and a 6,000 US$ fine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture_and_the_United_States#Recent_allegations_of_torture_abroad
ocalhoun
hunnyhiteshseth wrote:


Sorry if I am wrong but as far as I know, the reason which US gave for using nuclear bomb was that it would end war immediately by "completely destroying" Japan's cities.
And as for knowing about dangers of radio activity, its hard to believe that without knowing effects of radio activity, they built there observance center(bunkers) at 10miles and 17miles from ground zero while testing atom bomb. Also if they thought rinsing by water could remove radioactivity then obviously many more Americans should have died from radioactive exposure during development of atom bomb which took more than 3 years to complete.


Completely destroying the enemy's cities was the usual objective of bombing campaigns at the time. The only reason they didn't use the same strategy on us is that they didn't have a heavy bomber with enough range.
Early testing determined (by trial and error) that troops could safely march through ground zero of a nuclear blast as little as 30 minutes after it happened. Why they built bunkers so far away is that they didn't really know at first just how big the blast would be. (A good thing too, since they were surprised at how powerful it was.)
hunnyhiteshseth
ocalhoun wrote:

Early testing determined (by trial and error) that troops could safely march through ground zero of a nuclear blast as little as 30 minutes after it happened. Why they built bunkers so far away is that they didn't really know at first just how big the blast would be. (A good thing too, since they were surprised at how powerful it was.)



Yeah, Americans knew by trial and error that troops could safely march through ground zero after 30 minutes but they did not knew how big blast would be. Shocked
You mean without knowing its effects they knew that troops could walk there after 30 minutes.

Also, after bombing one city they still did not knew what were its effects, so they dropped another bomb on another city just to confirm these effects were true? Right of course.


On more serious note, realistically, after dropping one bomb America could have easily negotiated Japan's surrender.
liljp617
Moonspider wrote:
When you hear the word "torture," of what do you think? Lack of sleep? Someone pouring water over plastic wrap to trick your mind into panicking and thinking your drowning? Or do you think of root canals without anesthesia, bamboo under fingernails, drowning and electrocution, among others?

I think of the latter. And even though I don't think water boarding should be used, to group it with techniques used by others which cause physical pain and permanent disabilities conveys the wrong impression to people who don't know any better.

There's a reason the phrase goes, "I'm going to go medieval on your butt," and not "I'm going to go Guantanamo on your butt." Wink I don't think the latter will ever carry the same meaning or conjure the same images as the former

Respectfully,
M

Torture is torture. Intentional mental or physical anguish is torture regardless of its severity. That's what I think of.

And you're probably right that phrase won't hold as much meaning, but that takes nothing away from the fact that we're torturing individuals with no evidence against them, no charges placed on them, and denying them all rights to prove their innocence. Also, I remember hearing we're using techniques from the Spanish Inquisition...awesome.

Never mind our executions of Japanese military generals who used water boarding on our POWs.

ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:
for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”


Note the words 'possible use' for one thing. It apparently isn't confirmed that they actually use it.

Also, the things listed here don't seem all that bad really. I know I was subjected to all three of those in light portions during basic training.

Really, I don't think things such as this are quite on a par with real torture.

What is this "real torture" you speak of? Perhaps putting sharp objects under finger nails, hanging people up and beating them, electrocuting people, simulated drowning? Then you have your real torture right here in the US. I don't really know what the distinction between torture and "real torture" is. Are there certain requirements or criteria that have to be met?


It should be noted there have been multiple studies done and many have come back with evidence of more forms of torture than the ones mentioned in the opening post.
handfleisch
Actually, people who have been tortured say the psychological torture is the worst. Sleep deprivation, constant fake drowning, noise assaults and stress positions are worse than the simple infliction of pain. That the US has now become a torture state is the worst disgrace in many, many years.
ocalhoun
hunnyhiteshseth wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:

Early testing determined (by trial and error) that troops could safely march through ground zero of a nuclear blast as little as 30 minutes after it happened. Why they built bunkers so far away is that they didn't really know at first just how big the blast would be. (A good thing too, since they were surprised at how powerful it was.)



Yeah, Americans knew by trial and error that troops could safely march through ground zero after 30 minutes but they did not knew how big blast would be. Shocked
You mean without knowing its effects they knew that troops could walk there after 30 minutes.


On more serious note, realistically, after dropping one bomb America could have easily negotiated Japan's surrender.


Not knowing the power of the blast was just for the very first test, after that they had an idea of it. The tests with marching troops through happened well after WWII was over.
Japan's emperor was kind of in denial about it. He was claiming that we only had one such bomb, and that it couldn't happen again. Besides, that was after destroying eight times as much with napalm cluster bombs with no word of any possible surrender. While that was going on, he had his civilians sharpening bamboo poles to defend the beaches with.
Moonspider
Bikerman wrote:
Well, many organisations would not agree that torture has been restricted to these practices by the US.
For example, Human Rights Watch has the following;
http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/torture.htm
There has, of course, been a prosecution for torture in Iraq, but the punishment was not really very harsh by most standards:
wiki wrote:
In January 2006 Lewis E. Welshofer Jr. was convicted of negligent homicide for the torturing to death of Abed Hamed Mowhoush, a general in the Iraqi Air Force who had voluntarily surrendered to American forces. As punishment Welshofer received 60 days of barrack confinement and a 6,000 US$ fine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture_and_the_United_States#Recent_allegations_of_torture_abroad


You and I have discussed this before, and as you know I don’t think the United States should be practicing any interrogation techniques that may be defined as torture. Aside from the morality and geopolitical issues, we know that it is not a reliable means of obtaining useful information. I’m obviously not privy to those levels of decision making, but I can’t imagine any evidence or argument that could sway me to support such harsh treatment of prisoners.

And I also agree that those prosecuted for activity such as the events at Abu Graib and the death of General Mowhoush received far too little in punishment (if any at all), and justice therefore was not served.

That being said, I believe the worst incidents documented are those that are illegal even by the standards set forth by the Bush administration. They are the acts of individuals or small groups behaving outside of sanctioned activity. Such events are not part of U.S. policy and therefore should not be lumped together as such. Nevertheless, I also believe that U.S. government policy increases the likelihood of such acts since it condones certain forms of harsh treatment.

But although I don’t agree with them, I still think it disingenuous to lump the sanctioned interrogation techniques of the U.S. together with all forms of torture. Given a choice between serving as a POW of a foreign country in any war of the 20th Century (or even as a POW in a U.S. camp during World War II), or serving as a prisoner at Gitmo, I think I’d choose the latter, provided the length of confinement didn’t outweigh the other benefits.

Respectfully,
M
Bikerman
Yes, we have discussed this before and I am happy to confirm we agreed on most things.
I do disagree with trying to distinguish between the sanctioned 'methods' and torture in general. The US Justice department recently published a revised definition of torture, which clearly includes the activities in question, and I agree with their decision.* Obviously 'waterboarding' is probably less painful than having your finger-nails pulled out or other such barbarities, but once we start 'ranking' torture then we introduce the notion that some techniques are preferrable to others, or 'not so bad' or whatever. I think the correct thing to do is to regard with due repugnance ALL forms of torture and punish those (individuals or leaders) who indulge in it. After all, murder carries a life sentence. You could argue that simply shooting someone is much less 'serious' than beating, raping and then shooting them, but both are murder. The same applies to torture...

* http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37687-2004Dec30.html
Moonspider
Bikerman wrote:
Obviously 'waterboarding' is probably less painful than having your finger-nails pulled out or other such barbarities, but once we start 'ranking' torture then we introduce the notion that some techniques are preferrable to others, or 'not so bad' or whatever.


I agree. It's an all too slippery slope.

R,
M
hunnyhiteshseth
ocalhoun wrote:

]Not knowing the power of the blast was just for the very first test, after that they had an idea of it. The tests with marching troops through happened well after WWII was over.


ok, so you agree that at the time of America dropping bomb on Japan they did not knew that soldiers could march towards ground zero in 30 minutes?

Quote:
While that was going on, he had his civilians sharpening bamboo poles to defend the beaches with.



Laughing Laughing Yeah right, bamboo poles are weapons of mas destruction comparable to nuclear bomb and obviously Americans were so scared of bamboo that they had to use nuclear bomb. Laughing Laughing
Moonspider
hunnyhiteshseth wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
While that was going on, he had his civilians sharpening bamboo poles to defend the beaches with.


Laughing Laughing Yeah right, bamboo poles are weapons of mas destruction comparable to nuclear bomb and obviously Americans were so scared of bamboo that they had to use nuclear bomb. Laughing Laughing


No. What ocalhoun is saying is that the Japanese would have fought to the death, to the very extinction of their civilization. I'll post more later on this subject, but I am sure there is at least one (if not more) thread debating the decision to use a nuclear weapon against Japan.

My bottom-line opinion, I believe the choice was correct and actually saved Japan from itself. A U.S. invasion would have led to the utter anihilation of Japan, not just the loss of two cities and a couple of hundred thousand people.

Respectfully,
M

Below added at 2358 Pacific Time, 08JUL08

This will be my only comment in this thread regarding the use of atomic bombs against Japan. I encourage anyone who wishes to debate this specific subject to start a thread in the “History” forum.

hunnyhiteshseth wrote:
and of course US is the first and only country which used a nuclear bomb!!


Yes, in the context of a total war in which the moral decision to target civilians had been made years prior. The atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nothing more than a more efficient means of doing so. They in no way represented an escalation of warfare. For convenience I’ll use the Wikipedia as a reference.

City bombing campaigns in World War II and civilian casualties

  1. London and other cities: September 1940 – May 1941 (“The Blitz”)
    43,000+ (51,509 by the end of the war with another 8,938 from V1 and V2 rocket attacks)
  2. Hamburg, Germany: July 1943 (Operation Gomorrah, 8 days & 7 nights of bombing)
    Wikipedia, Bombing of Hamburg in World War II wrote:
    On the night of July 27, shortly before midnight, 739 aircraft attacked Hamburg. A number of factors combined to give the enormous destruction that followed; the unusually dry and warm weather, the concentration of the bombing in one area and that the city's firefighters were unable to reach the initial fires — the high explosive "Cookies" used in the early part of the raid had prevented them getting into the center of the city from the periphery where they were working on the results of the 24th. The bombings culminated in the spawning of the so-called "Feuersturm" (firestorm). Quite literally a tornado of fire, this phenomenon created a huge outdoor blast furnace, containing winds of up to 240 km/h (150 mph) and reaching temperatures of 800 °C (1,500 °F). It caused asphalt on the streets to burst into flame, cooked people to death in air-raid shelters, sucked pedestrians off the sidewalks like leaves into a vacuum cleaner and incinerated some eight square miles (21 km²) of the city.

    50,000+ dead (does not include deaths from other raids on the same city)
    1,000,000+ homeless
    More than 3,000+ aircraft were used in the raids.
    On a personal note, my father-in-law (the most politically conservative American I know) survived this raid as a German child at the time. He and his family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.
  3. Dresden, Germany: February 13 – 15, 1945
    25,000 – 40,000 killed (Early estimates were in the hundreds of thousands. Total unknown)
    1,300 bombers used
  4. Tokyo: March 9 – 10, 1945
    100,000+ killed (some historians think this a gross underestimate)
    1,000,000+ wounded
    1,000,000+ homeless
    279 bombers used
  5. Hiroshima: August 6, 1945 (“Little Boy”)
    70,000 day of bombing, (~140,000 total)
  6. Nagasaki: August 9, 1945 (“Fat Man”)
    40,000 – 75,000 day of bombing (~80,000 total)

My point is that other than technology, there’s no difference between Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Hamburg, Dresden, or London. Morally it’s all the same. If the United States had not dropped atomic bombs on those two cities, General Curtis LeMay would have just continued his fire bombing campaign, at which he was very effective as Tokyo demonstrated. That coupled with U.S. invasion.

Civilian deaths are inevitable in any war, especially those of such magnitude with national existence itself on the line. Twice as many allied civilians died than allied forces in the war, for example. Here is a brief breakdown of casualties (for more detail visit the following site or any other numerous sources: http://www.secondworldwar.co.uk/casualty.html

About 60 million people died during World War II. Almost 70% of those deaths were civilian. Of those, more than 50% were allied countries (mostly the USSR, China, and Poland). Japan's casualties were 83% military and only 17% civilian. And yes, the majority of that 17% was Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and firebombed, but not nuked Tokyo. In fact, Japan's civilian casualties were less than Britain's military casualties, and less than Germany's civilian casualties by a factor of ten (Germany: 3.8 million, Japan: 300,000.)

Why were Japan's civilian casualties so small? It is because we never invaded their home country. If we had, the breakdown would have been closer to the USSR's or Germanys. (USSR: 66% Civilian, 34% Military, Germany: 54% Civilian, 46% Military). I’d argue that based upon the Japanese culture and the Battle of Okinawa, Japanese civilian death rates would have been significantly higher than those of Germany and the USSR.

Okinawa, an island of only 1,200 square kilometers, witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Following is a casualty list from the 82 day campaign.

United States:
12,000+ dead or missing (more than Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima combined)
39,000 wounded
33,000 non-combat losses
14,000 retired due to nervous breakdowns (48% of U.S. forces at Okinawa became casualties of combat stress, compared to 30% during the Korean War).
168 ships damaged
36 sunk (including 12 destroyers)
4,900+ sailors killed

Japan
66,000 dead
17,000 wounded

Civilians
75,000 – 150,000 dead
1/3 of surviving population wounded

A memorial erected on Okinawa in 1995 lists the names of all persons on all sides to have died during the battle. To date (as of this date referenced in the Wikipedia) the memorial contains 237,318 names. Of those, 148,136 are Okinawans.

As historian Victor Davis Hanson said,
Hanson, Ripples of Battle wrote:
...because the Japanese on Okinawa, including native Okinawans, were so fierce in their defense (even when cut off, and without supplies), and because casualties were so appalling, many American strategists looked for an alternative means to subdue mainland Japan, other than a direct invasion. This means presented itself, with the advent of atomic bombs, which worked admirably in convincing the Japanese to sue for peace, without American casualties. Ironically, the American conventional fire-bombing of major Japanese cities (which had been going on for months before Okinawa) was far more effective at killing civilians than the atomic bombs and, had the Americans simply continued, or expanded this, the Japanese would likely have surrendered anyway. Nevertheless, the bombs were a powerful symbolic display of American power, and the Japanese capitulated, obviating the need for an invasion of the home islands.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa#Military_losses

Thus, I believe that far more civilians would have died in Japan had we continued our fire bombing campaign and/or invaded rather than dropping two atomic bombs.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/okinawa-battle.htm

hunnyhiteshseth wrote:
On more serious note, realistically, after dropping one bomb America could have easily negotiated Japan's surrender.


On what do you base this statement? Is it your own supposition based on how you think a national government would react or is it founded in historical documentation and testimony?

I think the Battle of Okinawa testifies that Japan was far from ready to surrender and willing to fight to the death.

After Hiroshima’s destruction, Hirohito still had no plans to surrender unconditionally.

Furthermore, even after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, military leaders attempted a coup to prevent Emperor Hirohito from surrendering.

One Japanese general (I wish I could recall whom and the exact quote) even openly commented on how beautiful it would be for the entire nation of Japan to be destroyed in such a manner as Hiroshima, comparing the death of Japan by atomics to a blooming chrysanthemum.

Respectfully,
M
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:

That being said, I believe the worst incidents documented are those that are illegal even by the standards set forth by the Bush administration. They are the acts of individuals or small groups behaving outside of sanctioned activity. Such events are not part of U.S. policy and therefore should not be lumped together as such. Nevertheless, I also believe that U.S. government policy increases the likelihood of such acts since it condones certain forms of harsh treatment.


Formerly secret documents released this week seem to indicate serious Pentagon involvement in running torture camps all over the place. Do you still maintain it wasn't the policy of the military, and was just the intelligence agencies?

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Unredacted_documents_reveal_prisoners_tortured_to_0212.html

Quote:
Unredacted documents reveal prisoners tortured to death

The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously classified excerpts of a government report on harsh interrogation techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These previously unreported pages detail repeated use of "abusive" behavior, even to the point of prisoner deaths.

The documents, obtained by the ACLU under a Freedom of Information Act request, contain a report by Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, who was tapped to conduct a comprehensive review of Defense Department interrogation operations. Church specifically calls out interrogations at Bagram Air base in Afghanistan as "clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance."

The two unredacted pages from the Church report may be found here.

The ACLU's release comes on the same day as a major FOIA document dump by three other leading human rights groups: Documents which reveal the Pentagon ran secret prisons in Bagram and Iraq, that it cooperated with the CIA's "ghost detention" program and that Defense personnel delayed a prisoner's release to avoid bad press.


More, on edit:

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004387
Quote:
Tortured to Death

While Bush Administration torture-apologists continue to plead that the evidence cannot conclusively establish links between Rumsfeld Pentagon policies and the torture of detainees, the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded otherwise.
Bikerman
There has been an interesting news story running over here (UK) for the last week or so concerning one of the detainees at Guantanamo.
The person concerned (Binyam Mohammed) has made multiple allegations of torture occuring in several countries, when he was first detained and then flown around using the system of 'extraordinary rendition'.
UK High Court Judges asked for details from the US security services, which were provided, but the Judges said, last week, that these details cannot be made public because the US has threatened to withdraw security co-operation if they are. The Judges were 'hopping mad' about this and hinted strongly that the information in their possession indicates organised torture involving both the US and other nationals at the behest of the US and in which UK officials were complicit.

This does not, of course, contradict Moonspiders point about troops, but we simply don't know who was involved until these documents are released. I understand that the UK gov is supposed to be pressurising Obama to allow publication as part of his new approach to the issue...time will tell.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article5661291.ece
handfleisch
Bikerman wrote:
There has been an interesting news story running over here (UK) for the last week or so concerning one of the detainees at Guantanamo.
The person concerned (Binyam Mohammed) has made multiple allegations of torture occuring in several countries, when he was first detained and then flown around using the system of 'extraordinary rendition'.
UK High Court Judges asked for details from the US security services, which were provided, but the Judges said, last week, that these details cannot be made public because the US has threatened to withdraw security co-operation if they are. The Judges were 'hopping mad' about this and hinted strongly that the information in their possession indicates organised torture involving both the US and other nationals at the behest of the US and in which UK officials were complicit.

This does not, of course, contradict Moonspiders point about troops, but we simply don't know who was involved until these documents are released. I understand that the UK gov is supposed to be pressurising Obama to allow publication as part of his new approach to the issue...time will tell.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article5661291.ece


Yes, I have seen this described as the US blackmailing the UK. Could you tell us what "security cooperation" the US is threatening to withdraw?
hunnyhiteshseth
handfleisch wrote:


Yes, I have seen this described as the US blackmailing the UK. Could you tell us what "security cooperation" the US is threatening to withdraw?


It is threatning to withdraw sharing of intelligence with UK.
Bikerman
handfleisch wrote:
Yes, I have seen this described as the US blackmailing the UK. Could you tell us what "security cooperation" the US is threatening to withdraw?
Well, it depends who you listen to. The Foreign Office have said that no specific threats were made and that the US was merely repeating the 'normal' principle that the agency and country providing the information should have veto on whether it is published or not.
The Judges, however, seem to be saying more than this and appear, at least to me, to be saying that a specific threat was made along the lines of 'you publish this and it will harm further co-operation'.
The fact is that we don't know, but I would say that it is extremely rare for High-Court Judges to criticise another allied state in this way and, if you read behind the lines of the judicial language used, they were absolutely Furious.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
There has been an interesting news story running over here (UK) for the last week or so concerning one of the detainees at Guantanamo.
The person concerned (Binyam Mohammed) has made multiple allegations of torture occuring in several countries, when he was first detained and then flown around using the system of 'extraordinary rendition'.
UK High Court Judges asked for details from the US security services, which were provided, but the Judges said, last week, that these details cannot be made public because the US has threatened to withdraw security co-operation if they are. The Judges were 'hopping mad' about this and hinted strongly that the information in their possession indicates organised torture involving both the US and other nationals at the behest of the US and in which UK officials were complicit.

This does not, of course, contradict Moonspiders point about troops, but we simply don't know who was involved until these documents are released. I understand that the UK gov is supposed to be pressurising Obama to allow publication as part of his new approach to the issue...time will tell.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article5661291.ece


With respect Chris, this guy does not appear to be as innocent as it seems. He was travelling on a false passport for example, and his movements were super suspicious, his allegiances quite certain, even for the most innocent of people who would look at him from the outside in. Obviously he would make super allegations, and we would not be able to say whether they are true or false. Maybe they are, maybe they are not. Think the only bit I am happy about is that the US threat came under Obama's Government. And for it to have succeeded, even when top people gave the appearance of being indignant about it, must also speak for itself.
lagoon
hunnyhiteshseth wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
7
we weren't yet aware of the real danger of radioactive fallout yet. We still thought it wasn't very dangerous and could be washed away by rinsing with water.


Sorry if I am wrong but as far as I know, the reason which US gave for using nuclear bomb was that it would end war immediately by "completely destroying" Japan's cities.
And as for knowing about dangers of radio activity, its hard to believe that without knowing effects of radio activity, they built there observance center(bunkers) at 10miles and 17miles from ground zero while testing atom bomb. Also if they thought rinsing by water could remove radioactivity then obviously many more Americans should have died from radioactive exposure during development of atom bomb which took more than 3 years to complete.


I cannot understand such friendly people like Americans become so heartless when they take a collective decision or is that US only have those presidential candidates who are heartless?


Although most people think it was a rehensible act merely designed to assert the USAs power across the world, and to intimidate the USSR towards the end of the war, as the Cold War was already beginning.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
With respect Chris, this guy does not appear to be as innocent as it seems. He was travelling on a false passport for example, and his movements were super suspicious, his allegiances quite certain, even for the most innocent of people who would look at him from the outside in. Obviously he would make super allegations, and we would not be able to say whether they are true or false. Maybe they are, maybe they are not. Think the only bit I am happy about is that the US threat came under Obama's Government. And for it to have succeeded, even when top people gave the appearance of being indignant about it, must also speak for itself.
His innocence or guilt has absolutely nothing to do with the point and I never even mentioned it because of that.
Nor is it a matter of 'allegations'. The point is that the documents exist and have been provided but we are not allowed to see them.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
His innocence or guilt has absolutely nothing to do with the point and I never even mentioned it because of that.
Nor is it a matter of 'allegations'. The point is that the documents exist and have been provided but we are not allowed to see them.

Perhaps there is a good reason for it? I can't imagine that the US would act in the way it did without a very good reason, nor would the UK have gone along with it without very careful consideration. We probably will never know why.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
His innocence or guilt has absolutely nothing to do with the point and I never even mentioned it because of that.
Nor is it a matter of 'allegations'. The point is that the documents exist and have been provided but we are not allowed to see them.

Perhaps there is a good reason for it? I can't imagine that the US would act in the way it did without a very good reason, nor would the UK have gone along with it without very careful consideration. We probably will never know why.
There is never a good reason for torture. Nor has any charge been made against him. It is all hearsay and speculation. What is NOT speculation is that he was 'rendered' for interrogation in several countries and the records of this exist. Until they are released then we will not know what, if any, torture took place. The fact that they are NOT being released simply adds to the distrust of both the US and UK political, military and security organisations. The records are clearly not a matter of national security - otherwise the US government would not have released them for consideration by British High Court Judges. That means the only possible explanation I can think of is that they are politically embarrassing.
deanhills
My reply: "Perhaps there is a good reason for it?" was to this sentence in your previous posting:

Bikerman wrote:
The point is that the documents exist and have been provided but we are not allowed to see them.


I cannot understand how you would have misinterpreted it, as you specifically suggested that we should confine ourselves to the issue of the documentation only:

Bikerman wrote:
His innocence or guilt has absolutely nothing to do with the point and I never even mentioned it because of that.
Nor is it a matter of 'allegations'. The point is that the documents exist and have been provided but we are not allowed to see them.


Perhaps there is a good reason for dealing with the documentation that neither you or I are aware off? We do not have the facts in front of us do we? So we can never know. I have trust that both Governments made a decision after careful consideration. Since the one Government is a new one after election of Obama, and Obama being very clear about his opinion about the matter, the reason for asking the UK not to make the documentation public, would be at least a very carefully considered one. I am certain that that request could not have been easily made and came at a political risk for both Governments.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
Perhaps there is a good reason for dealing with the documentation that neither you or I are aware off? We do not have the facts in front of us do we? So we can never know. I have trust that both Governments made a decision after careful consideration. Since the one Government is a new one after election of Obama, and Obama being very clear about his opinion about the matter, the reason for asking the UK not to make the documentation public, would be at least a very carefully considered one. I am certain that that request could not have been easily made and came at a political risk for both Governments.
Well, when High Court Judges, who have seen the documentation, clearly state that
a) The documentation should be made public
b) They have been threatened by US sources so they cannot do so

then I tend to believe the Judges over the politicians. The Judges in the UK do not have a reputation for being dangerous radicals and certainly High Court Judges are well used to dealing with material of a sensitive nature. Neither do they normally express themselves in the blunt terms used in this case, which indicates just how strongly they feel about the matter. The politicians, on the other hand, have a lot of vested interest in not revealing this sort of material, because it has the potential to show them as liars and cause great political embarrassment. If it comes down to who you believe - several High Court judges, or several politicians, then give me the Judges every time.
The threat did not come from the Obama Presidency - this issue has been in the courts for some time and the statement that the Judges released refers to events during the Bush Presidency. In fact the Judges have expressed the hope that Obama will take a different line and allow the documents to be released.

PS I did not deliberately misinterpret you, that is not my style. I agree it appears that I did so unintentionally for which I apologise.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Perhaps there is a good reason for dealing with the documentation that neither you or I are aware off? We do not have the facts in front of us do we? So we can never know. I have trust that both Governments made a decision after careful consideration. Since the one Government is a new one after election of Obama, and Obama being very clear about his opinion about the matter, the reason for asking the UK not to make the documentation public, would be at least a very carefully considered one. I am certain that that request could not have been easily made and came at a political risk for both Governments.
Well, when High Court Judges, who have seen the documentation, clearly state that
a) The documentation should be made public
b) They have been threatened by US sources so they cannot do so

then I tend to believe the Judges over the politicians. The Judges in the UK do not have a reputation for being dangerous radicals and certainly High Court Judges are well used to dealing with material of a sensitive nature. Neither do they normally express themselves in the blunt terms used in this case, which indicates just how strongly they feel about the matter. The politicians, on the other hand, have a lot of vested interest in not revealing this sort of material, because it has the potential to show them as liars and cause great political embarrassment. If it comes down to who you believe - several High Court judges, or several politicians, then give me the Judges every time.
The threat did not come from the Obama Presidency - this issue has been in the courts for some time and the statement that the Judges released refers to events during the Bush Presidency. In fact the Judges have expressed the hope that Obama will take a different line and allow the documents to be released.

PS I did not deliberately misinterpret you, that is not my style. I agree it appears that I did so unintentionally for which I apologise.


I would imagine that the politicians would take their advice from specialists, and they would REALLY have thought it through for the reasons you cited, i.e. Obama promised transparent dealings over covering things up so would have asked a million questions before it would have been allowed to happen. I am sure Obama must have been very carefully briefed on it before the decision was made and I doubt he has the attitude that since he inherited this from Bush, that it is OK for it to proceed if it was less than right to do so.

I do not believe in justice Chris, judges play as much politics as everyone else in the world. People are playing politics with the documentation, and the judges are no exception in this. They had to say what they had to say, and I would not be suprised if everyone decided in advance of making the decision public what everyone would be saying. Everyone played their part as they should, to cover something up that was necessary to be covered up (in the opinion of the decision makers).
Bikerman
I'm sorry but I believe you are talking nonsense.
What possible reason could the Judges have for making a 'political point' out of this issue. They have been asked to rule on whether the person concerned was subjected to torture. They have no axe to grind either way - Judges are not subject to re-election. Their interest lies in producing a factual summary of the evidence provided to them. They have been prevented from doing this and are, quite correctly, furious about it.
The evidence is not in question - it was provided by US intelligence. Nor is it a matter of US national security (otherwise they would not have provided it). The only possible reason for excluding publication is that it embarrasses politicians either here or in the US or both.

Your faith in politicians is touching but entirely misplaced. No doubt Bush and Blair took 'advice from experts' before embarking on the Iraq fiasco. They then chose which advice to follow and which to ignore - as politicians always do.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
I'm sorry but I believe you are talking nonsense.
What possible reason could the Judges have for making a 'political point' out of this issue. They have been asked to rule on whether the person concerned was subjected to torture. They have no axe to grind either way - Judges are not subject to re-election. Their interest lies in producing a factual summary of the evidence provided to them. They have been prevented from doing this and are, quite correctly, furious about it.
The evidence is not in question - it was provided by US intelligence. Nor is it a matter of US national security (otherwise they would not have provided it). The only possible reason for excluding publication is that it embarrasses politicians either here or in the US or both.

Your faith in politicians is touching but entirely misplaced. No doubt Bush and Blair took 'advice from experts' before embarking on the Iraq fiasco. They then chose which advice to follow and which to ignore - as politicians always do.


Perhaps you are looking at life in black and white Chris. This is grey. Life has many grey areas. Judges have elections of their own. I would agree that they would have greater restrictions than politicians, i.e. the law, whatever they may interpret it to be. But perhaps you are making them look like Casper, whereas there is enough Spooky in them too. The legal system often reminds me of that book "Animal Farm", and how the piggies used to change interpretation of rules on a day to day basis. You cannot disregard the human element in judging, neither in the appointment of the judges, nor in the judgments they make. There are too many criminals in the street because of the failure of this system.
Bikerman
No, here in the UK Judges do NOT have elections of their own - that is part of the system of independence. Once a Judge is appointed then he/she has tenure until they decide to retire. They are selected by the Judicial Appointments Committee and approved by the Lord Chancellor.
I know the system is different in the US, but that is NOT how it works here - Judges are NOT political appointments.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
No, here in the UK Judges do NOT have elections of their own - that is part of the system of independence. Once a Judge is appointed then he/she has tenure until they decide to retire. They are selected by the Judicial Appointments Committee and approved by the Lord Chancellor.
I know the system is different in the US, but that is NOT how it works here - Judges are NOT political appointments.


Thanks for the info Chris. I still do not trust those guys however. But you must be right. They are at least a little better than politicians.
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