From Issuepedia


Torture, while often billed as (and believed strongly by much of the public to be) a tool for obtaining vital information from captured enemies, is in fact primarily a tool for inspiring fear in the enemy and sometimes for obtaining false confessions for use as propaganda.

Despite repeated claims of those who use torture, there is no evidence that it actually works to obtain accurate information; its victims will say whatever they think the torturers want to hear.

More importantly, though, those who use it are lowering themselves to the moral level of the terrorists they claim to be fighting.


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  • 2008-07-02 [Talk|Index] Believe Me, It's Torture § “One used to be told – and surely with truth – that the lethal fanatics of al-Qaeda were schooled to lie, and instructed to claim that they had been tortured and maltreated whether they had been tortured and maltreated or not. Did we notice what a frontier we had crossed when we admitted and even proclaimed that their stories might in fact be true? I had only a very slight encounter on that frontier, but I still wish that my experience were the only way in which the words "waterboard" and "American" could be mentioned in the same (gasping and sobbing) breath.”
  • 2008-02 [Talk|Index] FPTV: How to Break a Terrorist § [2]“How do you make a terrorist talk? Veteran FBI interrogator Jack Cloonan has broken some of al Qaeda's toughest operatives. In this special interview with FP, he shares some of his methods for making a terrorist tell all.” Two videos.
  • 2007-12-18 [Talk|Index] FBI, CIA Debate Significance of Terror Suspect § “Al-Qaeda captive Abu Zubaida, whose interrogation videotapes were destroyed by the CIA, remains the subject of a dispute between FBI and CIA officials over his significance as a terrorism suspect and whether his most important revelations came from traditional interrogations or from torture.”
  • 2007-12-18 [Talk|Index] 9/11 "Confession" Falls Apart § [2]“Bottom line: According to the FBI, the information which formed the basis for the 9/11 Commission Report was based on the ramblings of a literally crazy guy after he had been tortured for many, many weeks in a manner that was guaranteed to destroy his trust in his interrogators and which was contrary to effective interrogation techniques.”
  • 2007-11-08 [Talk|Index] Veteran Interrogator: Torture Ties My Hands § [2]“But if a detainee has his hands tied, or if a detainee shivers because a room is chilled, then "I don't know whether he's shivering because the room is cold or because my questions are penetrating," Kleinman said. That degree of abuse "takes away a lot of my tools." It's one of the clearest explanations in the public record about what torture costs professional interrogators in terms of actionable intelligence, as the debate is so often set up as what a lack of torture ends up costing national security.”
  • 2007-11-07 [Talk|Index] Ex-Navy Instructor Promises to Hit Back If Attacked on Torture § [2]“Nance remarks, "Two centuries of knowledge were thrown out the window" when the administration decided after 9/11 that, to use Cofer Black's famous phrase, "the gloves come off." What administration officials mistakenly thought, Nance says, is that "these were actually gloves, not empirical data. Dude, it's not a glove. It's a fact. But they thought it was one more tool in the tool box."”
  • 2006-09-23 [Talk|Index] Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat § “A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.” ... “It also examines how the Internet has helped spread jihadist ideology, and how cyberspace has become a haven for terrorist operatives who no longer have geographical refuges in countries like Afghanistan.”
  • 2006-09-06 [Talk|Index] DoD News Briefing with Deputy Assistant Secretary Stimson and Lt. Gen. Kimmons from the Pentagon § [2]“No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tell us that. .. And moreover, any piece of intelligence which is obtained under duress, under -- through the use of abusive techniques would be of questionable credibility. And additionally, it would do more harm than good when it inevitably became known that abusive practices were used. And we can't afford to go there. .. Some of our most significant successes on the battlefield have been -- in fact, I would say all of them, almost categorically all of them have accrued from expert interrogators using mixtures of authorized, humane interrogation practices, in clever ways that you would hope Americans would use them, to push the envelope within the bookends of legal, moral and ethical, now as further refined by this field manual. So we don't need abusive practices in there. Nothing good will come from them.”
  • 2005-12-01 [Talk|Index] My Experience With Abusive Interrogation Tactics § [2]“Even when working with such elite troops as the US Special Forces and the British SAS, we found that the standard interrogation techniques found in the US Army Field Manual 34-52 were far more effective than such abusive behavior as stress positions, sensory deprivation, and humiliation. We obtained more information – and more reliable information – with our basic skills than we did with even days of harsh treatment.”
  • 2005-01-12 [Talk|Index] The Torture Myth § [2]“Worse, you'll have the other side effects of torture. It "endangers our soldiers on the battlefield by encouraging reciprocity." It does "damage to our country's image" and undermines our credibility in Iraq. That, in the long run, outweighs any theoretical benefit. Herrington's confidential Pentagon report, which he won't discuss but which was leaked to The Post a month ago, goes farther. In that document, he warned that members of an elite military and CIA task force were abusing detainees in Iraq, that their activities could be "making gratuitous enemies" and that prisoner abuse "is counterproductive to the Coalition's efforts to win the cooperation of the Iraqi citizenry." Far from rescuing Americans, in other words, the use of "special methods" might help explain why the war is going so badly.” Includes quotes from US military officers (retired and not) supporting this thesis.