Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Amnesty Shocker
So, picture yourself in a movie theatre, some frenetic music starts up, then the water starts to pour. It could be an ad for spring water or even vodka, it’s slick. But within seconds the slick commercial pans down and delivers a big dose of shock.

Amnesty International actually staged a waterboarding session in order to sharpen its campaign against it and beginning in May the commercial will air as a preview in theatres throughout Britain.

“It’s not a stunt, ” insists Sara McNeice of Amnesty. “This constitutes torture. We don’t need to gloss it up, we don’t need to call it an enhanced interrogation technique. It’s torture, it should be illegal it should never be used,” she adds.

Malcolm Nance, a former American military officer, trained personnel to resist water boarding and claims it feels like slow motion murder. He acted as a consultant for Amnesty during the production of the commercial.

“These videos that Amnesty International has put out are pretty realistic, ” says Nance. “These people are being tortured and this is just not how the American public, I’m certain, wanted their government to dishonour themselves,” he says.

Water boarding is now an iconic symbol in what has become known as the 'War on Terror". It is emblematic of the controversy and confusion now surrounding the war itself. The Bush Administration bans the practice of waterboarding for the military, but not intelligence officers which is why Amnesty International says it wants the American public to demand it be banned outright.

“This isn’t about being anti-American or taking an anti-American stance on the issue this is about an anti-torture stance people and the public don’t want to see people being tortured in their name” insists McNeice.

But some scholars warn that a shock ad will only add to all the confusion surrounding the debate. Professor Michael Levin of City College in New York is a noted scholar on the philosophical question of when and if torture is justified.

Levin insists he is not advocating waterboarding or any other kind of aggressive interrogation technique but he points out that there is a realistic question to asked : How tough should governments get when lives are on the line?

“There have to be firm rules, it has to be to protect the innocent, it has to be non-punitive,” he says before insisting that the blanket ban that Amnesty is advocating is not realistic.

“I don't see how you can honestly say that there are techniques you just can't use to save thousands of innocent lives, it just seems absurd." Says Levin.

Amnesty claims its commercial is the "video the CIA doesn’t want you to see”. It says almost four hundred thousand people have already viewed it online, even before it’s been released in theatres. And so the debate continues with another battleplan, on a different battlefield with Amnesty’s latest salvo coming soon to a theatre near you.

Watch report on the video.

By Paula Newton, International Security Correspondent.
Torure is not a great thing, but this is not a great world. Give me a good alternative to get information from fanatics and hardliners. Have you ever met or interacted with them? How do you get information? what can we do? I see people saying this is wrong, but i don't see people proposing "humane, nice, and pleasant" ways to get information from people that would gladly saw your head off with a rusty knife (have you seen those videos? i am forvever traumitized by it and i have seen some horrid things) I am open for suggestions. I do regret non guilty ( i don't say innocent because the number of innocents drawn into that level of interrogation are likely less then 1 percent) having to suffer. How do we get around it. Let us not forgot there are angry and cruel people out there doing far worse things then waterboarding.

Any recommendations? and lets try to maintain perspective (i.e. talking it out does not work unless you are a master mind manipulator)
I fail to see how the whole waterboarding technique gained so much exposure when most (western) governments still partake in medieval style torture. I.e.(maiming and amputations without anaesthetics) in so called Black Operations.

If a known terrorist perpetrator had information which would prevent (as an example) thousands of innocent people being killed, do you think any government would -not- torture this one individual to save those lives?

Waterboarding is the press equivalent of a dangling carrot, to keep the attention away from activities as Black Ops.
I understand what you are saying Anonymous, however it has been proven time and time again that information obtained during torture is rarely reliable. Why do you think torture is not used to obtain criminal confessions and other scrutinizable data? Once submitted to torture, a person will admit to anything. Why do you think developed countries think justice systems that allow torture as a joke. It's simply unreliable.
Give me a break! If a two-bit terrorist plotted, planned, or assitend in anything that caused harm to anyone, he deserves getting water boarded. Better yet, why don't we just strap a bomb to his/her chest, drive him in to the middle of Arizona, strap him to a post and press "the botton." I'd hate to waste all that good water for nothing.
I wonder if the people who found themselves above the impact zones of the trade center, while fire raged and they begged for rescue felt tortured? I also wonder if Osama reads the blogs and smiles to see how easily we are manipulated to despise what our military might do to his followers rather than to abhore what he did to thousands of Americans in just a couple of hours.
There is nothing torturous about water-boarding. The process creates ‘an illusion’ of drowning and it simply puts a little physical pressure on the person to provide an answer. In fact, it’s not even half as bad as when you used to twist your little sibling’s arm until he or she said “uncle”. Our society is so delicate and effeminate nowadays it’s appalling. I would be waterboarded in a heart-beat to demonstrate that I can fully recover and not endure any mental or physical scarring, especially if it would help make the government’s case (for allowing waterboarding) stronger and to ultimately save American lives.
i propose paper cuts and salt and if thats too juvinile i hear a lemon would sting like hell.. Any way waterboarding is the least of my worries when representing how barbaric the U.s. can be Mr. Bush seems to be doing a great job at that, all he needs is a loin cloth and club.
Amnesty International is a JOKE. Why don't they spend their time and resources going after REAL state sponsored human rights violators such as China, North Korea, Sudan? We are not only fighting a war against terrorism but against groups like these who fight America from within. It will take a nuke going off in an American or a European city before we wake up. At a time when we need true leadership we have NO leaders now or in the near future. I'm going to pray for our country on this National Day of Prayer...Hope I don't offend the ACLU or any other of these "hate America" groups.
I have seen all sorts of journalists, and now special interest groups perform waterboarding. Why don't these groups also demostrate torture used by other groups? Why just waterboarding?
If the US government does not consider waterboarding torture, does that imply US citizens can waterboard whomever they wish for information?

Can I waterboard my insurance agent for information on how to obtain the best rates?

Can I waterboard my girlfriend to find out who she slept with behind my back?

Can you waterboard a student to find out if they cheated on a quiz?

Let's face facts: If the government claims waterboarding is NOT torture, and it is not criminal, then it must be legal, right?


As I seem to recall from my days in government civics class, the US government cannot hold a citizen to a higher constitutional standard than it applies to itself...
It just makes me angry to no end to hear that waterboarding is too severe for a person whom would just as soon vaporize you and your family and howl how great god is while doing it. As one commenter pointed out, they would love nothing more than to saw your head or anyone elses head off who believes in freedom. They hate freedom and prosperity because you can't convince a free and prosperous person to strap bombs to them selves and commit a godless act. Who in all sanity would worship a "god" that asks for these acts on people?? These folks should be waterboarded daily just because. And for all you Amnesty cry babies that think these terrorists have rights then you too need to be waterboarded. I wonder what you would think if you had to go and ID your child or any other loved one from a box of body parts or a headless corpse that these poor abused terrorists just laughed about commiting. Where is your perspective on this????? These folks are pure evil and deserve this and far far more. Black Ops? SO WHAT!!!No more terroism, no more Black ops. FAIR!!! Frankly as it has been stated, don't waste good water on them. A bullet is far cheaper. They are a godless group of insane muderers that deserve nothing short of an eye for an eye. Amnesty???? Ummmm, you need to get your head screwed on straight. Maybe you can ask a terrorist to help you with that? they surely would gladly obligue you. Remember, GOD IS GREAT!
I couldn't agree more with Dave! And if that treatment only got some info some of the time???? Well, that might save another disaster. You want to meet 72 vergins? step right on up, I'll get ya there real quick.
So, let me get this right - this is considered torture but cutting someone's fingers or hands off; threatening to slice off the head of someone sitting on the floor, bound, with eyes covered; getting an arm or leg blown off (I could go on) is not considered torture? Have you even read the Geneva Convention? The moment one group no longer abides by the Geneva Convention, the other group does not need to abide by it. However, we tend to take the higher road and abide by it although it is not necessary we do so. The moment Al Queda attacked innocent civilians in the World Trade Center was the moment they threw the Geneva Convention out the window. Please, I would rather be captured and be water boarded than have my fingers, hands, arms, feet, legs, or head cut off. Worse happens to military members going through Basic Training.
It's not just a question of whether torture is justified or worth the cost, it's a question of whether there is any material benefit. Studies have shown, time and again, that less coercive techniques are much more successful in obtaining information and that waterboarding and its like lead to more false confessions and create a public perception of the US as torturers and not humanitarians.
Well, that begs the question of WHY Bin Laden is STILL ALIVE and smiling SEVEN YEARS after 9/11??? You don't have to waterboard anyone to know where he is. He's in the mountains of Pakistan. But bush decided to invade IRAQ instead, and spend his time waterboarding prisoners instead of bringing Bin Laden to justice.

Some say bush should be tried for war crimes. Maybe he should be tried for criminal incompetence.
Is that all there is to it. I thought waterboarding was torture. Looks to me like a good way to make them talk.
i think any way you can get needed information is fine you must remember the people we do this to would kill you and your childen if they could i think they should hit him in the head with a hammer while the other guy is gone to get more water
How can one consider this torture after what was done at the World Trade Center. Torture would have been being burnt to death or having the building crumble around you. I wonder what the opinion of Amnesty International would have been if their main office would have been in the World Trade Center...
If this technique or any other technique has saved the life of one US Soldier then I am all for it.
If the Hollywood screenwriter's scenario of a ticking time bomb ever actually happens on Planet Earth-- which, to date, it has not-- then Jack Bauer will have to hope for a pardon, prosecutorial discretion, or a sympathetic jury.

If Osama bin Laden reads these threads, he is given aid and comfort by Americans who embrace amorality and torture. An America that does things that cause the world to hate it is a diminished country, more likely to be the target of terrorists.

Torture: wrong for America.
It's sad that so few of the comments so far seem to value the notion of morality in the slightest.

Nor do they seem to aware of the fact that while torture does produce information, it doesn't produce reliable information. Bad people and good people alike are capable of saying completely random untrue statements to make torture stop.

I would've thought that the extreme expense of Iraq (in terms of injured and killed soldiers, economics, and global political power) would've made it clear to everyone that the dangers of operating on bad information are almost ludicrously extreme.

I sincerely hope that should I be killed in an unfortunate manner, that nobody will hold up my death as evidence that the United States should act without moral superiority. To do so desecrates the memory of all those who've died, not just on 9/11, but in all of the many wars fought to preserve our rights and our freedom.

Grow up, America. You're supposed to be better than the bad guys.
Gosh, golly, gee waterboarding is so un-nice. When somebody plans to kill maybe they just need a hug to feel better.

You can bet if somebody lost someone close to them because the government couldn't get information they would see things differently.

Fight fire with fire or end up living in the bondage of a tyrant.
Waterboard a terrorist, to save a city? No question, in my name, in your name, in everybody's name. When a city eventually goes nuclear you will have your answer. Misguided idealists shouldnt play in the realm of the intelligence community.
The commenters here who think that torture is being used to get useful information out of people who are proven active terrorists have been watching waaaaay too much TV.

Torture is generally considered by intelligence experts to be one of the least reliable ways to get correctinformation. Even if there was a "ticking time bomb" scenario, you think that the types of people who strap bombs to themselves, or fly airplanes into buildings, are going to give Jack Bauer the correct information to avoid some pain? Grow up.

All we've done as a country is to lose any moral authority or creditability we have with the international community. Those who point out our "torture" isn't as horrific as that practiced by even more savage countries are missing the point that we're now grouping ourselves with them.

The War On Terror as practiced by the Bush administration isn't working at all. Osama Bin Laden is still at large, and thanks to Bush there's even more people who hate us now than before 9/11. If we're going to avoid future attacks, it'll be by applying our brains and using international cooperation, not by rage and brute force.
Rightly said that torture is not a great thing,but just exactly what would you do if you knew that your life is on the line.These are hardened terrorists, not amature bounty hunters.Simulating a drowning effect just to know whos going to kill who and when is better than putting a terorist through therapy and allowing his mates to carry out their sordid plans with great effect.
Anonymous seems to be a know it all about these things, maybe hes watching too much telly or reading too much amnasty international propaganda or hes involved some other way. Maybe hes dreads being waterboarded. Let these freaks preach their pansy fantasies to our enemies and see how he makes out. Because of torture our military(The free world)is very cautious about how much our troops know exactly because of the fact that people will spill their guts under extreme torture. Its amazing how people become such bleeding hearts against the good guys. Sickening really.
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