Beware, political view within

Campfire's picture

Franco Frattini, the EU Justice commissioner, recently called for all member states (members of the EU) to be suspended that are known to have hosted CIA black sites, which apparently are sites blacked out to the media/public and used by the CIA to house and most likely torture suspects. (Which, by the way, they amusingly refer to as 'enhanced interrogation'). The most famous examples appear to be Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison.

The media and, it would seem, general public opinion, have me feeling reluctantly guilty. Why? Because I don't care that these sites exist, and furthermore, I think the proposition of suspending member states which have had these sites on their soil is appalling. And of course had the Italians had one on their soil, he wouldn't be making such a righteous suggestion - that's justice for you. Before knowing anything about the man or his position within Italy, I can see that this move is most likely one for self gain - that's politics for you.

How does anyone know the information that has been extracted from these prisoners? Does Mr. Fratinni? No. I would bet that terrorist plots have been foiled by the information gained through enhanced interrogation (sorry, I just love that phrase). So what would YOU prefer? Some wanker terrorist having their balls electrocuted, or a 12 year old girl losing her mum and dad in a bomb blast for the sake of human rights?

Maybe that says something about me. I like the phrase enhanced interrogation and I hate the phrase human rights! Might aswell lock me up now, I'll be dictating a country and posing a nuclear threat in 15 years.

In all seriousness though, people should think about these things a little more and not believe the 15th-century-style treatment the media likes to paint. As far as I can see, the USA nor any European country which helps them is a terrorist state. They're not conspiring against the Middle East. They don't want to lock members of the public up and torture them for no reason, it doesn't do their image any favours, so we can logically conclude they must be doing it for a reason. If that reason is the protection of my life, which I believe it is, then I am quite happy to sacrifice somebody elses human rights. Aren't I the selfish one.

Let's not forget these so-called suspects do not become suspects easily. I, for example, am not about to be bundled into a blacked out car by the CIA and taken off to Abu Ghraib for anything related to terrorism. Why? Because I have nothing to do with terrorists and I do not involve myself with anything remotely terrorist-related. Theoretically, if all humans did that, then terrorism would not exist would it? But they do. And then they get caught. And then they get tortured and interrogated. Live with it.

I also find that a common argument is that information obtained under torture will be given just so that the torture will stop. This is true. Sort of. People will confess to all sorts of things under torture and this is what the argument refers to. However, the CIA is not trying to extract confessions are they? They want information on all kinds of things - terrorist plans, locations, cell structure etc. I wonder how many people who reach the point of torture (I would assume the CIA try other things before this) actually don't know anything. Are such figures available? I don't think so.

People are so quick to grab whatever may be the most virtuous opinion without giving much thought to what they are actually saying. Not because they are thick or ignorant, but because the media are extremely powerful and tend to put opinions on us without us realising it. Media aside, the very society we live in expects us all to be incorruptible beacons of morality. Well bollocks to that. As far as I'm concerned, this world has a bunch of wankers living in it and I couldn't care less if they are tortured for the sake of my protection. Why does everyone oppose everyone that tries to help, and leaps to the defense of all those trying to hurt us?!

Comments

Kang Lin's picture

Logical Fallacy

Your argument is making two large assumptions about the character of those involved. Firstly, you assume that the person being interrogated is in fact a terrorist and secondly that the girl's parents are free of guilt. If we are to assume, quite reasonably, that all three are terrorists, then the lesser evil is done in allowing the first person to go through with the mission and detonate the bomb, killing the parents - the world has two fewer terrorists to deal with.

Setting aside the above possibility, the argument that torture is justified is guilty of the is-ought fallacy (i.e. What currently happens is the best way to do it). Granted, in your field of reference, it may be better to torture a grown man than to orphan a little girl, but this in no way proves that torture is necessary. The lesser of two evils is still an evil and should be replaced at the soonest moment with a better solution. To suggest that torture is the only method available to the CIA would probably be naive.

You also assume that you are not the person being tortured. While this is true in the present tense, you have no way of verifying that it will not be so. How would you feel to be martyred to a cause which would only fuel further attrocities?

Of course the above is all mere philosophy. The bottom line is that the EU countries are bound under treaty (most likely more than one) not to use torture. In a system of negativity responsibility, not acting against something is just as bad as acting for it - if the CIA commit war crimes on your soil, they should be punished like any other. To say otherwise would undermine international law to the point where treaties, charters and resolutions aren't worth the paper that they're written on.

Campfire's picture

A reply

"you assume that the person being interrogated is in fact a terrorist"

I use the word 'suspect' throughout the post. What I said was, people do not become suspects without having some affiliation with terrorism. I don't doubt that many, if not all, of the terror suspects beind held have not actually commited bombings (and I am certain they haven't participated in the suicide kind), but they almost certainly have helped organise terror plots (realised or not) OR know information about people who have.

"and secondly that the girl's parents are free of guilt"

Yes, it's called a hypothetical situation. Therefore, certain facts have to be assumed otherwise it wouldn't be very hypothetical.

"The lesser of two evils is still an evil and should be replaced at the soonest moment with a better solution. To suggest that torture is the only method available to the CIA would probably be naive."

Absolutely right. As I said:

"I wonder how many people who reach the point of torture (I would assume the CIA try other things before this)..."

Not only would I assume they try other things, I would hope so. If torture were to be used it should be an absolute last resort and I imagine it is.

"You also assume that you are not the person being tortured. While this is true in the present tense, you have no way of verifying that it will not be so."

And, in my opinion, and in the current political/social environment, and assuming I do not flee to Afghanistan and get caught up in a terror camp, one can safely assume I won't be. Of course it can't be verified, it's the future, that's a moot point.

"The bottom line is that the EU countries are bound under treaty (most likely more than one) not to use torture."

I can't argue with that. Damn those bottom lines.

My opposition to such utopian views remains though ;)

adbak's picture

This whole argument of yours

This whole argument of yours assumes that 1) all detainees are indeed terrrorists and that 2) "enhanced interrogation" or torture works.

The Israeli's, who I'm sure you would agree have faced many years of terrorism, have realized that torture doesn't work and instead use psychological tricks. It has been revealed that "information" weasled out of detainees who were tortured fabricated the evidence so as to end the torture. Furthermore, the United States, being a member of the United Nations, is obligated to adhere to the Geneva Conventions which prevent torturing of anyone. Ask any Prisoner of War if he or she is for or against torture. I'm sure you'll find a consistent answer of those who have seen the ravages of war.

And to assume that all those detained are terrorists is absurd. Hundreds of detainees have been released from Guantanamo Bay after being held there for years without being charged with anything (without due process) because they were in fact innocent. If there are innocent people on Death Row, it follows that there are innocent people taken prisoner in the heat of combat. After all, it doesn't help when you can't speak their language because you're firing translators for being gay.

Campfire's picture

You've said a couple of the s

You've said a couple of the same things Kang Lin said, which I've already answered.

To reiterate, I do not think people should be dragged off the street, tortured, and then sent home when it's realised they don't have information. That would be silly. The people you mention who have been released from Guantanamo Bay probably didn't go through torture. As I said, torture should be a last resort after other methods (including your cited psychological tricks) are used, and there is still a level of certainty that the prisoner is withholding information.

There are around 30 detainees which are considered highly dangerous or are withholding highly sensitive information. Personally, it is these 30 who I couldn't care less about, because the chances are they are not considered highly dangerous without concrete evidence.

I am also not saying that all detainees are terrorists. They are terrorist suspects. If they have not contributed to an actual terrorist attack then they are probably being held for having information relating to one. Those that are freed have been questioned (not tortured), and allowed to leave. I'm not interested in the beaurocratic niceties when we're potentially dealing with the lives of another 3,000 people.

raining men's picture

Ahh...

True they may be potential terrorist assholes, but acting like an asshole back isn't going to help. Keping a 13 year old, a fucking 13 year old, without trial in a maximum secirity prison is just wrong - although that is actually Guantanomo bay, not an EU prison

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"

Campfire's picture

Iguana

My post was relating to torture rather than the detention of children. Now you mention it though, I generally disagree with such detentions, particularly those that are detained for lengthy periods. Let us not forget though that these children have often not been raised in the way us Westerners think. Many are most likely to have been encouraged to hate on the USA and its allies, and to hurt it. Some of the detainees have killed US soldiers in Afghanistan or will have important information (which they may not even realise is important).

Let's also not paint Camp Iguana (which is what you're referring to) in some Alcatraz light. It does contain a football field and video games, aswell as an ocean view (opposed to the walls the other camps use). All reports point to children being treated fairly and with care, including reports from released children.

Nevertheless, detaining children in a nice environment is still detaining children. I question the number that actually need to be there or should be there, but at the same time I trust the US government's judgement on the issue.

raining men's picture

Hmmm...

You refer an awful lot to the detainees, or suspects, maybe having information to be tortured out - but what if they don't? Does the idea of electrocuting someone's balls for info, and then finding out they have nothing to do with the case trouble you at all?
And out of interest - do you condone the other side, say the Iraqi dissidents, torturing people to find out info for a terrorist attack? Now I know the terrorist plots are a lot worse, but our side killed twice as many cvillians in the Iraq war than september 11th did. Do they have the same right to defend thir citizens or not? An interesting question

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"