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View Diary: Torture News Roundup: Evidence & Excuses (233 comments)

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  •  I had help from my companeros in this ... (5+ / 0-)

    ...series: Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse and Valtin.

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

    by Meteor Blades on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:21:31 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  but you missed a great one! (0+ / 0-)

      At least so far as I could tell (I haven't followed all your links yet)... but Tortured Reasoning, which appeared in a Vanity Fair "Web Exclusive" Dec. 16, 2008, is certainly among the best articles on torture I have read.

      A few key graphs:

      There is, alas, no shortage of evidence from earlier times that torture produces bad intelligence. "It is incredible what people say under the compulsion of torture," wrote the German Jesuit Friedrich von Spee in 1631, "and how many lies they will tell about themselves and about others; in the end, whatever the torturers want to be true, is true."

      The unreliability of intelligence acquired by torture was taken as a given in the early years of the C.I.A., whose 1963 kubark interrogation manual stated: "Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping from distress. A time-consuming delay results, while investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite the interrogatee can pull himself together. He may even use the time to think up new, more complex ‘admissions’ that take still longer to disprove."

      A 1957 study by Albert Biderman, an Air Force sociologist, described how brainwashing had been achieved by depriving prisoners of sleep, exposing them to cold, and forcing them into agonizing "stress positions" for long periods. In July 2008, The New York Times reported that Biderman’s work formed the basis of a 2002 interrogators’ training class at Guantánamo Bay. That the methods it described had once been used to generate Communist propaganda had apparently been forgotten.

      Experience derived from 1990s terrorism cases also casts doubt on torture’s value. For example....


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