T Nation

Our Gulag

The first couple aren’t great comparisons, but read the whole list. But Bush, that paragon of honesty, says “We don’t torture.”

http://triode.blogspot.com/2005/11/none-dare-call-it-gulag.html

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
The first couple aren’t great comparisons, but read the whole list. But Bush, that paragon of honesty, says “We don’t torture.”

http://triode.blogspot.com/2005/11/none-dare-call-it-gulag.html[/quote]

Our own military is subjected to the waterboard. And that is as bad is it gets? This is torture?

If this is the worst we do - it is not torture.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:
The first couple aren’t great comparisons, but read the whole list. But Bush, that paragon of honesty, says “We don’t torture.”

http://triode.blogspot.com/2005/11/none-dare-call-it-gulag.html

Our own military is subjected to the waterboard. And that is as bad is it gets? This is torture?

If this is the worst we do - it is not torture. [/quote]

You honestly believe that? We do it to our Special Forces soldiers so they know how to resist torture. Catch that last word there?

Our soldiers who waterboarded prisoners in World War II and Vietnam were court-martialed if caught. Any idea why that might be?

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
rainjack wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:
The first couple aren’t great comparisons, but read the whole list. But Bush, that paragon of honesty, says “We don’t torture.”

http://triode.blogspot.com/2005/11/none-dare-call-it-gulag.html

Our own military is subjected to the waterboard. And that is as bad is it gets? This is torture?

If this is the worst we do - it is not torture.

You honestly believe that? We do it to our Special Forces soldiers so they know how to resist torture. Catch that last word there?

Our soldiers who waterboarded prisoners in World War II and Vietnam were court-martialed if caught. Any idea why that might be?[/quote]

I don’t consider it torture. What happened to McCain was torture.

Cutting off pieces of you is torture.
Drilling holes in you is torture.

If you can practice it and walk away unscathed, it isn’t torture. It’s stress.

Is there anything new here? Or is it the same debate, with the same exact points, as previous threads?

Let me reprise:

  1. This is torture.

  2. No it’s not.

  3. Yes it is.

  4. No it’s not.

There, no need for further argument – unless of course you have a legally binding definition of torture that solves the issue.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:
rainjack wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:
The first couple aren’t great comparisons, but read the whole list. But Bush, that paragon of honesty, says “We don’t torture.”

http://triode.blogspot.com/2005/11/none-dare-call-it-gulag.html

Our own military is subjected to the waterboard. And that is as bad is it gets? This is torture?

If this is the worst we do - it is not torture.

You honestly believe that? We do it to our Special Forces soldiers so they know how to resist torture. Catch that last word there?

Our soldiers who waterboarded prisoners in World War II and Vietnam were court-martialed if caught. Any idea why that might be?

I don’t consider it torture. What happened to McCain was torture. [/quote]

Funny, John McCain said the worst torture of all was sleep deprivation.

[quote]doogie wrote:

Cutting off pieces of you is torture.
Drilling holes in you is torture.

If you can practice it and walk away unscathed, it isn’t torture. It’s stress.[/quote]

Ever consider that the mental and emotional side of things is far worse than the physical? Know any combat vets?

Look up Abu Zubaydah sometime. Hard to have sympathy for him, but that doesn’t change the fact that tormenting a mentally ill person is wrong, regardless of war.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Is there anything new here? Or is it the same debate, with the same exact points, as previous threads?

Let me reprise:

  1. This is torture.

  2. No it’s not.

  3. Yes it is.

  4. No it’s not.

There, no need for further argument – unless of course you have a legally binding definition of torture that solves the issue.[/quote]

Geneva Convention III covers the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs) in an international armed conflict. In particular article 17 states that “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

That’s pretty unambiguous. Now you can of course argue the whole unlawful combatant issue, but the global standard of how prisoners of war are to be treated is pretty clear. Except to George Bush.

Waterboarding is both torture, and, by virtue of inducing terror through making the victim think he is drowning, a mock execution. Mock executions are illegal under international law.

The U.S. interrogation practices at Guantanamo have been identified as “torture” by the International Committee of the Red Cross (2004), the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (2006), and by nongovernmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. We’re not talking about Moveon here. These are the foremost human rights organizations in the world.

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:

Geneva Convention III covers the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs) in an international armed conflict. In particular article 17 states that “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

That’s pretty unambiguous. Now you can of course argue the whole unlawful combatant issue, but the global standard of how prisoners of war are to be treated is pretty clear. Except to George Bush.

Waterboarding is both torture, and, by virtue of inducing terror through making the victim think he is drowning, a mock execution. Mock executions are illegal under international law.

The U.S. interrogation practices at Guantanamo have been identified as “torture” by the International Committee of the Red Cross (2004), the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (2006), and by nongovernmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. We’re not talking about Moveon here. These are the foremost human rights organizations in the world.[/quote]

The U.S. has for over two decades expressly rejected a treaty ? the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions ? that would have vested terrorists with Geneva protections. I wonder why people thought it would be necessary to expressly cover terrorists?

Now, as to the Geneva Convention III, which the U.S. has signed and is a “High Contracting Party,” Common Article III reads:

[i] ARTICLE 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (b) taking of hostages; © outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict. [/i]

This applies to civil wars – note the initial defintion – conflicts NOT of an international nature taking place WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF ONE OF THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES.

The protections also apply to those not actively taking part in the conflict, including soldiers who have surrendered.

I don’t know how you think Article 17 applies - or how you think that captured terrorists would qualify as “prisoners of war” under the definition of Geneva Convention III, but here it is too:

[i] ARTICLE 17

Every prisoner of war, when questioned on the subject, is bound to give only his surname, first names and rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or failing this, equivalent information.

If he wilfully infringes this rule, he may render himself liable to a restriction of the privileges accorded to his rank or status.

Each Party to a conflict is required to furnish the persons under its jurisdiction who are liable to become prisoners of war, with an identity card showing the owner’s surname, first names, rank, army, regimental, personal or serial number or equivalent information, and date of birth. The identity card may, furthermore, bear the signature or the fingerprints, or both, of the owner, and may bear, as well, any other information the Party to the conflict may wish to add concerning persons belonging to its armed forces. As far as possible the card shall measure 6.5 x 10 cm. and shall be issued in duplicate. The identity card shall be shown by the prisoner of war upon demand, but may in no case be taken away from him.

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind. Prisoners of war who, owing to their physical or mental condition, are unable to state their identity, shall be handed over to the medical service. The identity of such prisoners shall be established by all possible means, subject to the provisions of the preceding paragraph.

The questioning of prisoners of war shall be carried out in a language which they understand. [/i]

BTW, here’s the definition of “Prisoners of War” from Article 4:

[i] ARTICLE 4

A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions: (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; © that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

(3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

(5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention:

(1) Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to them with a view to internment.

(2) The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular usage and treaties.

C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical personnel and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the present Convention. [/i]

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:
Is there anything new here? Or is it the same debate, with the same exact points, as previous threads?

Let me reprise:

  1. This is torture.

  2. No it’s not.

  3. Yes it is.

  4. No it’s not.

There, no need for further argument – unless of course you have a legally binding definition of torture that solves the issue.

Geneva Convention III covers the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs) in an international armed conflict. In particular article 17 states that “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

That’s pretty unambiguous. Now you can of course argue the whole unlawful combatant issue, but the global standard of how prisoners of war are to be treated is pretty clear. Except to George Bush.

Waterboarding is both torture, and, by virtue of inducing terror through making the victim think he is drowning, a mock execution. Mock executions are illegal under international law.

The U.S. interrogation practices at Guantanamo have been identified as “torture” by the International Committee of the Red Cross (2004), the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (2006), and by nongovernmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. We’re not talking about Moveon here. These are the foremost human rights organizations in the world.[/quote]

Tell me what uniform the terrorists are wearing. Tell me what sovereign nation they are fighting for.

Oh that’s right - you can’t. No GC protection for terrorists,

And if you think AMnesty International is not biased deluded.

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:

Geneva Convention III covers the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs) in an international armed conflict. In particular article 17 states that “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

That’s pretty unambiguous. Now you can of course argue the whole unlawful combatant issue, but the global standard of how prisoners of war are to be treated is pretty clear. Except to George Bush.
[/quote]

BTW, on your specific point, it is ambiguous, given the quote is not defining “torture” - it prohibits torture, and then also prohibits other items.

So you don’t have a definition of torture that obviously applies.

Thus, see my initial post.

[quote]rainjack wrote:

Tell me what uniform the terrorists are wearing. Tell me what sovereign nation they are fighting for.

Oh that’s right - you can’t. No GC protection for terrorists,

And if you think AMnesty International is not biased deluded.

[/quote]

Of course they are biased. That is the whole point of their existence.

Oh, and the Geneva Convention, read it.

When you get to the point why it is irrellevant if they were uniformed or fought for a souvereign nation, get back to us.

And one more thing, which you know quite well, most of these people were not caught on a battlefield but are actually kidnapped civilians.

People like you or me, just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And, once again, AI is very biased if such people, or any other people, get freedom tickled.

So is every other human being.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

There, no need for further argument – unless of course you have a legally binding definition of torture that solves the issue.[/quote]

The Geneva Conventions provide the most comprehensive protection for lawful combatants captured during wartime. Spies, mercenaries, guerrilla fighters and terrorists are not protected under the provisions of the GC, but they must be found guilty of violating the laws of war by a competent military tribunal, in accordance with Article 5 of the 4th GC, before being deemed an “unlawful combatant”. Regardless, an unlawful combatant still must be treated “humanely”. Whatever the fuck that means.

Although the Geneva Conventions do not specify exactly what constitutes torture, they do forbid corporal punishment of any kind.

A more comprehensive definition of torture may be found in Article 1 of the 1985 UN Convention Against Torture.

“For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

This agreement was signed in 1985 by Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria and the United Kingdom, plus a few surprising places like Uruguay, Bolivia and Afghanistan. Conspicuously absent among the signatories are the Russians and the Germans (no big surprises here), as well as the United States. So I guess this definition is not “legally binding” at al Ghraib and Guantanamo.

Right, Boston?

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:

There, no need for further argument – unless of course you have a legally binding definition of torture that solves the issue.

The Geneva Conventions provide the most comprehensive protection for lawful combatants captured during wartime. Spies, mercenaries, guerrilla fighters and terrorists are not protected under the provisions of the GC, but they must be found guilty of violating the laws of war by a competent military tribunal, in accordance with Article 5 of the 4th GC, before being deemed an “unlawful combatant”. Regardless, an unlawful combatant still must be treated “humanely”. Whatever the fuck that means.

Although the Geneva Conventions do not specify exactly what constitutes torture, they do forbid corporal punishment of any kind.

A more comprehensive definition of torture may be found in Article 1 of the 1985 UN Convention Against Torture.

“For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

This agreement was signed in 1985 by Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria and the United Kingdom, plus a few surprising places like Uruguay, Bolivia and Afghanistan. Conspicuously absent among the signatories are the Russians and the Germans (no big surprises here), as well as the United States. So I guess this definition is not “legally binding” at al Ghraib and Guantanamo.

Right, Boston?[/quote]

That’s exactly right - save that I haven’t checked on your corporal punishment point, particularly with respect to those who are not “prisoners of war” or who are “unlawful combatants”. Thanks for the summary.

BTW, did Canada or Australia sign that U.N. convention? I’m too lazy to look it up for myself.

This, of course, is the other side of the spectrum, and why people worry about tying the hands of the government too much w/r/t terrorist captives:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/bminiter/?id=110008962

It touches on the problems with the McCain idea of blanketly applying the UCMJ to detainees and on treating each case of a terrorist detainee like a full blown criminal trial.

[quote]doogie wrote:

Cutting off pieces of you is torture.
Drilling holes in you is torture.

If you can practice it and walk away unscathed, it isn’t torture. It’s stress.[/quote]

You’re confusing torture with mutilation. You can torture someone just fine without cutting pieces off or drilling holes in them.

You could torture someone for years and then let him go “unscathed.” At least physically.

[quote]pookie wrote:
doogie wrote:

Cutting off pieces of you is torture.
Drilling holes in you is torture.

If you can practice it and walk away unscathed, it isn’t torture. It’s stress.

You’re confusing torture with mutilation. You can torture someone just fine without cutting pieces off or drilling holes in them.

You could torture someone for years and then let him go “unscathed.” At least physically.

[/quote]

If us depriving a terrorist of his beauty sleep will help us stop a car bombing - I am all for it.

If pouring pig fat on them and having a dog shit in their cell will yield valuable information that will save lives - I’ll donate my dog. She shits like a bear.

[quote]pookie wrote:
doogie wrote:

Cutting off pieces of you is torture.
Drilling holes in you is torture.

If you can practice it and walk away unscathed, it isn’t torture. It’s stress.

You’re confusing torture with mutilation. You can torture someone just fine without cutting pieces off or drilling holes in them.

You could torture someone for years and then let him go “unscathed.” At least physically.

[/quote]

Americans grasp that sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us.

Ask John McCain.