Never Mind The Frolykz, Here’s Weekend Wonderland!

Hello!

Good afternoon, and welcome to Weekend Wonderland. The thread that drags us kicking and screaming into the weekend.

What a difference a day makes, twenty four little hours….

The other day Big Kev was suggesting that the home owners’ grant was coming to an end (by which he meant that it would revert back to the original $7000, I’m presuming anyway).

Now, some secret squirrel insiders are suggesting that there may be an extension to the grant. I suspect that the truth is somewhere inbetween, and that there will be some sort of stimulus package designed to keep the residential construction industry humming along as part of a broader infrastructure strategy to be announced in the forthcoming budget.

But that’s just pure speculation on my part, and what would this wealth crazed prick know anyhow?

However, me thinks there is method in Kev’s madness of not revealing any snippets about the forthcoming budget as well as any details of the recent asylum seekers incident.

For one thing, it starves the Opposition of any material that they can seize which effectively deprives them of any oxygen for media doorstops and sound grabs.

No wonder Joe Hockey is looking so flabbergasted lately while Malcolm Turnbull looks like the five year that didn’t get to see the Wiggles.

Now I’m not usually one to participate in the glorification of war and all that sort of thing, but I’ll make a bit of an effort here…

Saturday is of course Anzac day. While many people of my age, have been fortunate not to have any direct experience with a war time situation, it’s worth remembering that many people who have lost their lives during wars were just kids basically – a lot of teenagers and young men and women in their early twenties.

While I disagree with terms like “sacrifice” and “bravery” (basically because there’s nothing brave about being forced onto a battlefield by your commanding officer only to be shot dead), it’s still important to remember that our lives would be dramatically different today, if it was not for the young men and women who were prepared (voluntarily or not) to face death for the rest of us.

One of the relatively few things that I’ve admired about my father, was that he always maintained that Anzac day or Remembrance Day is about remembering everyone who lost their lives in all wars.

Not just the Brits, Australians etc, but also the Japanese and Germans, which I thought was quite a broadminded perspective for someone who was so narrow-minded in so many other ways. Perhaps that was his way of expressing his feelings about the futility of all war. (He actually spent some time guarding Rudolph Hess after WWII)..

Anyway, that’s another story…

Here’s an old favourite to dissolve us into the weekend…

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185 Responses

  1. “(He actually spent some time guarding Rudolph Hess after WWII)……”

    Ahhhhhhh…………..!

    But was it really Hess ??????????

  2. Walrus,

    Indeed it was. This was in Berlin…

  3. Turnbull’s called it:

    In other words:

    “we will decide who comes here and under what circumstances”

    It was only a matter of time. The Libs simply can’t help themselves…

  4. sreb, your father was right, most soldiers I have met/know, abhor war – strange to some I suppose but he was right, all Remembrance Days should remember all who died in the service of their country…

    …and not all soldiers agree with the decisions the politicians make…I can vouch personally for that!

    Its a pity that we have to fight for peace…

    …but as I posted once many months ago the only war that I believe was justified in “recent” history (since and including The Great War – I was once admonished by an old digger for calling it WWI) was WWII…

    …having said that I believe WWIII woon Mondayuld be quite justified if I don’t get my new computer power supply…

    …oh! and, sreb, I doubt that I’ll be thinking of you when I have a beer with my son at the RAEME gathering tomorrow but I might give yer old man a thought as I remember mine – he was a narrow minded bastard too – but he did serve in WWII!

    I’ll take up “bravery” and “sacrifice” as related to diggers another time…

  5. I was once admonished by an old digger for calling it WWI) was WWII…

    TB Queensland, on April 24th, 2009 at 5:11 pm Said:

    And he was quite correct as The Great War never actually ended……………..there was an Armistice but no surrender. So WW2, as you call it, was The Great War ( second half)

  6. Hi everyone,

    I’m watching the ongoing Indian election with great interest. The world’s largest democracy does nothing by half measures. And all the economic and cultural indicators suggest India is going to go a long, long way in the 21st Century.

    When the French, British and Americans were on the rise economically and geo-politically, their growth was coincidentally (?) accompanied by so-called soft power – their arts, culture, music and social sciences were also ascendant.

    India has Bollywood, which was already the largest film production centre in the world long before Slum Dog Millionaire, the best crop of English-language writers in the world – my current picks include Rohinton Mistry and Arundhati Roy – and Indian music, philosophy and art are also right up there.

    Topping it all off, of course, there’s the all-conquering Indian cricket team, best in the world for much of the past five years – regardless of what the official ratings may say – and the game-changing Indian Premier League currently running in South Africa.

    Great place for a holiday, if you’ve not yet been. Wonderful deserted beaches, amazing architecture, mysticism in the air almost everywhere, crazy cities, empty countryside, pulsing night clubs. You name it, India has it …

    Personally, I hope the nasty BJP gets upended. But the Indian people will decide for themselves at the ballot box. Ah, yes, democracy Indian-style, flaws and all, it’s a beautiful thing.

    Whatever the election result, a much underestimated giant is rising fast to our West you can be sure of that much …

  7. When Fraser was PM there was an older bloke up at the local who us younger blokes used to call some fairly horrible names as we argued about politics. It was after the Whitlam dismissal and us young lefties were particular rude to this RWDB.

    About 10 years ago, on ANZAC Day, a fellow who done some heroic things on the Greek front was interviewed on telly. It was the old bloke I used to call a c**t. I felt mighty bad.

    Last year on ANZAC Day I phoned my Dad and thanked him for what he did for his country. He was a digger in New Guinea. He thought it was a bit odd, but I felt good about it.

    This will be my first ANZAC Day without him. I haven’t had a good cry since he passed on at Xmas, but I’m betting that the tap will be turned on tomorrow.

    Now, to prove that we Canberrans are hard workers, we get a holiday on Monday. Obviously we deserve it.

    What are you mob doing?

  8. I think I killed the mid-week torture thread off with my one act play 😉

    If you don’t care about that issue (it is the weekend after all), skip this comment.

    There’s an interesting Op Ed today from an FBI Special Supervisory Agent who interrogated Abu Zubaydah basically calling b*lldust on Cheney’s claims that “enhanced interrogation techniques” were necessary.

    There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions…

    Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh…and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh’s capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla…the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May.

    Furthermore, he points out real negative consequences of the enhanced techniques policy, including the FBI agent who knew the most about KSM being taken off the case because the CIA were using those methods and the FBI would not.

    And he points out in response to people who mindlessly level charges that anti-torture advocates are “attacking the US”, that

    …it is in our national security interest to regain our position as the world’s foremost defenders of human rights.

    Unfortunately, he argues that officials who applied these techniques should not be prosecuted, thereby somewhat undermining his case, but it’s still a useful contribution.

  9. Miglo, I like to have a quiet beer or three while remembering all those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we have the freedom to mouth off as we wish and … forget all the other rights and privileges that we the citizens of this lucky land – and only a handful of other democratic countries – enjoy.

    We are truly blessed, thanks to them, lest we forget.

  10. Ray Hunt

    Well said!

  11. “Now, to prove that we Canberrans are hard workers, we get a holiday on Monday. Obviously we deserve it.

    What are you mob doing?”

    This WCP will be working cos we don’t get a holiday on Monday!

  12. Skip this one if you’re avoiding the torture issue too. I’ll try to get all the news out in one (long) hit here…

    German officials were convicted of war crimes at Nuremberg for failing to object to actions that violated international law (start at 3rd paragraph of this post.)

    And to those arguing that anyone who abided by the OLC memos should not be prosecuted, note that KSM was apparently waterboarded twice as often as specified in the guidelines, and (towards the bottom of that post) the interrogators procedures violated even the Bybee memos.

    The GOP House Minority Leader calls it “torture”. Presumably he’ll be told to take it back any moment now. His party president has already said in response “America does not torture”.

    Obama quashed his advisor’s idea for a 9/11 style commission into the torture issues and pushed to release the memos as an alternative.

    Cheney, Rice, Gonzalez & Ashcroft all signed off on continuing the “harsh interrogation techniques”.

    Former FBI Director Robert Mueller (appointed by Bush), right at the end of a long article from three months ago on the tactical costs of prisoner abuse, doesn’t believe that enhanced interrogation techniques disrupted any attacks on America. And for those who still claim that the OLC memos made it all legal and everyone should just “keep on walking”, that article also claims that abusive interrogations began well before the Bybee & Yoo memo that “authorized” them. And is abuse effective?

    In researching this article, I spoke to numerous counterterrorist officials from agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Their conclusion is unanimous: not only have coercive methods failed to generate significant and actionable intelligence, they have also caused the squandering of resources on a massive scale through false leads, chimerical plots, and unnecessary safety alerts—with Abu Zubaydah’s case one of the most glaring examples.

    It was blatantly clear from early investigative work that he could not be the terrorist mastermind that the officials pressing for abusive interrogations made him out to be. As I’ve said elsewhere, torture works – when you want to maintain your own self-deception. (And there’s NOTHING the victim can do to convince the torturers of their error. I’m willing to be shown wrong on this point – any takers?)

    Apparently no-one even asked at the time whether it worked.

    Those who advocated a policy that would lead America to deploy methods it had always previously abhorred simply assumed they would be worthwhile.

    “Nobody in intelligence believes in the ticking bomb. It’s just a way of framing the debate for public consumption. That is not an intelligence reality.”

    There’s plenty more abject folly, ignorance and stupidity on display in that article – including plenty of evidence that torture doesn’t work (including torture on a guy who worked with KSM in 1995 but didn’t give him up!) and Binyam Mohamed being drawn into the net and tortured on the basis of what is claimed to be a tenuous and coincidental association. (He was also a heroin addict, which those with expert in Al Qaeda KNEW would have prevented them from letting him join, but they were not listened to). And his “confession” implicating Jose Padilla in a “dirty bomb” plot was submitted to the court including a statement from his wife – when he was and still is unmarried.

    There’s much more, and the totality of it is unf*ckingbelievable. The use of abusive methods largely shut down the traditional methods responsible for lots of major successes.

    Read the whole sorry thing.

    And yesterday Mueller reaffirmed the accuracy of the quote, thus disagreeing publicly with Cheney. The article discusses opposing points of view on the question.

    A Fox News talking head explodes in annoyance at claims that “torture works”, saying

    We are America! I don’t give a rat’s ass if it helps! We are America! We do not f***ing torture! We don’t do it!

    This is good to see, as Cheney really really wants to ONLY debate whether it works, not whether America should do it or not.

    Meanwhile, another Fox News talking head in the context of discussions about American torture tries to deflect outrage to other places – such as Iran, the Gaza Strip, Cuba and Syria. The blogger posting about this gets it exactly right:

    More important, though, is the fact that torture is scandalously common in countries with dictators and/or totalitarian regimes. “Maybe we should look into” this? We have looked into this, and are disgusted by what these lawless regimes do to their prisoners.

    Note to Kilmeade: that’s the point. So many Americans are incensed by the Bush administration’s torture policies precisely because it throws the United States in with countries like Iran, Cuba, and Syria. We’re supposed to be the leader of the free world, a beacon of hope for free people everywhere, and now people are equating our treatment of prisoners with the politicies of dictatorships.

  13. I’ll be free to come over and finish off the painting for you reb. Just leave a clean brush, a pot of paint, a bottle of shiraz and a corkscrew. Either the paint or the shiraz will be empty by the end of the day.

    Ray, I concur, it was well said. ANZAC Day or not, I assume you’ll have a quiet beer anyway.

    You’re from Adelaide aren’t you? My Dad and his mates used to gather at the Union Hotel in Waymouth St after the march and spill a few drinks down. I’m sure they talked about things that they would only share with each other.

    I’ll be in Albury tomorrow and will have a drink for him. Might even have a few for myself.

  14. Here are my war medals.

  15. No medals, but a trophy.

  16. Scaper, definitely worth defending.

    My medals were accidental. Whenever the platoon leader yelled out “duck” I thought he was calling me. So off I’d go, leading the charge.

  17. Just an afterthought scaper, but I’d love to have that trophy pinned to my chest.

  18. Miglo, I’m another Sydney refugee who’s seen the light and is now very happy to call Melbourne home …

  19. Thanks for the important detail and insights Lotharsson. At the risk of stating the obvious, this story has a long way to run. Safe to say, none of the cowardly neo-con thugs will be holidaying in Europe again in this life …

  20. Sorry Ray. I’ve mistaken you for another Ray who used to post on Blogocracy.

  21. scaper,
    Nice to see you and your sense of humour back!

    Off to watch the Broncos clobber the Eels!

    Posting is still a pain on the steam driven laptop – text jumps all over the place or I keep losing it – just takes so long!

    My 11 year old grandson has asked to come to the Dawn Service with his dad and me tomorrow – he can’t go to the RSL Gunfire Breakfast, so we are going to the seafront and having our own – bacon and egg roll, cooked on the BBQ – and my son will bring along a flask of rum for the big boys…our boy’s involvement is very important, he’ll wear his great grandma’s medals (from WWII), his dad wears his own and his grandfathers medals from WWII. Looking forward to it..

  22. Gee, I thought I saw a tumbleweed blow across the screen.

    We attended a concert not long ago that I would rate in my top 5.

    Where is the resident VJ?

  23. Lotharsson,

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/player
    /bcpid1579920046?bctid=20047560001

    That’s in controlled conditions, just add fear..Cute eh!.

  24. Apt link on waterboarding Lang Mack.

    Well said Lotharsson. Lest we forget. Puppet masters are expert at whistling Nationalistic tunes & manufacturing conflict.

    Yet how many of their kin feel the burden of THE FRONT?
    N’

  25. Pink Floyd – Us and Them

    N’

  26. This will send a bunch of heads reeling. In shades of tobacco industry denialist tactics, apparently this fossil fuel industry group was a little too frugal with the truth, even to themselves:

    For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

    But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that…“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” … in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

    Read the article carefully – it may not be as black and white as the headline suggests, but it’s still pretty damning. At the time the scientists weren’t convinced that evidence was strong enough that humans had contributed to recent warming but they were definitely unconvinced by the contrarian arguments (that humans weren’t to blame for various reasons). Yet that section of the report was cut before publication.

  27. That’s in controlled conditions, just add fear..Cute eh!.

    6 seconds. Under totally non-malicious conditions.

    And note the journalist said he was very afraid – even under controlled conditions with a “get me out of here NOW NOW NOW” mechanism.

  28. For Republicans, up is down and black is white. (Yeah, yeah, old news I know. But new variations…all pretty much torture-related if you’re skipping this stuff.)

    Apparently avoiding the politicization of the Justice Department means you must avoid conducting investigations of even credible allegations of criminality by anyone from the opposition party. (And Obama buys into this definition too, at least so far as torture policy goes, so this one isn’t just Republicans.) Republicans claim doing so would make America a “Banana Republic”.

    Krugman notes the obvious – that investigations are necessary because the US is [allegedly, at least – my qualifier] “a nation of laws”. Greenwald points out that avoiding politicization means investigating alleged crimes regardless of political affiliations, and:

    People like John McCain argue that only “banana republics” prosecute former political leaders, but the reality is exactly the opposite. As the Western world has spent decades pointing out, the hallmark of an under-developed, tyrannical society is the very same premise we have embraced: that political elites are free to break the law with impunity and never suffer the consequences that ordinary citizens do.

    And this Washington Post editorial gets it right:

    AND YET, on the other side, we have this: American officials condoned and conducted torture. Waterboarding, to take the starkest case, has been recognized in international and U.S. law for decades as beyond the pale, and it was used hundreds of times during the Bush years. Eric H. Holder Jr., the attorney general of the United States, has stated flatly that it is illegal. In a country founded on the rule of law, a president can’t sweep criminality away for political reasons, even the most noble. When the United States sees torture taking place in other parts of the world, it issues some pretty simple demands: Stop doing that, and punish — or at least identify, and in some way hold accountable — those responsible, so that the practice will not be repeated. How can a country that purports to serve as a moral exemplar ask any less of itself?

  29. At the time the scientists weren’t convinced that evidence was strong enough;
    You mean like when Howard and (some) of the still in the trough, ‘guided’ the CSIRO?. Surly not also the DPP, ASIO, FP, DIMA, ATG, ATO, Dept. EA, Customs, ADF, man, he was a busy fellow, bet there’s more he guided.
    A book will appear before too long on Malcolm Fraser, I hope he will be forthright on Howard. I wait with interest.

  30. Lotharsson,
    I can’t remember where I read it,a neat inducer with the CIA was to get a soft drink (warm) and shake it vigorously then induce the stream into the nose of the mouth bound ‘client’, apparently after only an episode or two, just the motion of hand doing a mimic was enough to break most. Sort of water boarding on the cheap.
    Probably Coca Cola.

  31. Anyway, as I drew the marble (Thanks Libs ‘I send your sons to die for my country);

  32. An ACLU lawsuit has forced the Defense Department to release a bunch of additional photographs showing prisoner abuse. The ACLU says this will visually demonstrate that abuse was “…not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib.” The photographs are due by May 28.

    Bybee, Rizzo and others involved in formulating the torture policy – and yes, we can probably call it that now based on this revelation and others despite protestations to the contrary – were warned before the famous Bybee memo was issued that torture doesn’t work (PDF!). They start by exploding the “ticking bomb” scenario much-loved by “24” afficionados:

    The requirement to obtain information from an uncooperative source as quickly as
    possible-in time to prevent, for example, an impending terrorist attack that could result in loss
    of life – has been forwarded as a compelling argument for the use of torture. Conceptually,
    proponents envision the application of torture as a means to expedite the exploitation process. … The error inherent in this line of thinking is the
    assumption that, through torture, the interrogator can extract reliable and accurate intelligence.

    And move on to point out that “upwards of 90%” of non-coercive investigations succeed through establishing rapport, and that not only do you lose that avenue by torturing, but you lose information channels you would otherwise have:

    For skilled interrogators, the observation ofsubtle nonverbal behaviors provides an
    invaluable assessment of the prisoner’s psychological and emotional state. This offers important
    insights into how the prisoner can be most effectively leveraged into compliance. Further, it
    often enables the interrogator to form a reasonably accurate assessment ofthe prisoner’s veracity
    in answering pertinent questions. The prisoner’s physical response to the pain inflicted by an
    interrogator would obliterate such nuance and deprive the interrogator of these key tools.

    I don’t know how much people have to see before they stop thinking torture is a panacea for finding the truth or getting rapid information. The experts say it is not, over and over again.

    Obama’s DOJ backs Bush in arguing that Bagram detainees have no constitutional rights (under which they were seeking to challenge in US courts their detention and torture at US hands).

  33. An ACLU lawsuit has forced the Defense Department to release a bunch of additional photographs showing prisoner abuse. The ACLU says this will visually demonstrate that abuse was “…not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib.” The photographs are due by May 28.

    Bybee, Rizzo and others involved in formulating the torture policy – and yes, we can probably call it that now based on this revelation and others despite protestations to the contrary – were warned before the famous Bybee memo was issued that torture doesn’t work (PDF!). They start by exploding the “ticking bomb” scenario much-loved by “24” afficionados:

    The requirement to obtain information from an uncooperative source as quickly as possible-in time to prevent, for example, an impending terrorist attack that could result in loss of life – has been forwarded as a compelling argument for the use of torture. Conceptually, proponents envision the application of torture as a means to expedite the exploitation process. … The error inherent in this line of thinking is the assumption that, through torture, the interrogator can extract reliable and accurate intelligence.

    (On the other hand, if it’s intimidation of a populace or manufacture of propaganda you’re after…)

    They move on to point out that “upwards of 90%” of non-coercive investigations succeed through establishing rapport, and that not only do you lose that avenue by torturing, but you lose information channels you would otherwise have:

    For skilled interrogators, the observation of subtle nonverbal behaviors provides an invaluable assessment of the prisoner’s psychological and emotional state. This offers important insights into how the prisoner can be most effectively leveraged into compliance. Further, it often enables the interrogator to form a reasonably accurate assessment of the prisoner’s veracity in answering pertinent questions. The prisoner’s physical response to the pain inflicted by an interrogator would obliterate such nuance and deprive the interrogator of these key tools.

    I don’t know how much people have to see before they stop thinking torture is a panacea for finding the truth or getting rapid information. The experts say it is not, over and over again.

  34. Obama’s DOJ backs Bush in arguing that Bagram detainees have no constitutional rights (under which they were seeking to challenge in US courts their detention and torture at US hands).

  35. What happens if you win a Pulitzer prize for investigating “how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.”?

    Well, if those companies include ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox, don’t expect them to report on your prize.

  36. For my friend Nask;
    laid back and an oldie ( the music, then again)

    Big day at the rural interest tomorrow;
    Have Moto GP from 12.30 till about 5.30, then SBK from about 7.30 till 12.30am. That’s a lot of brews. (Memo, get wife to feed the dogs , an me if lucky :)..

  37. LM,

    You love the MotoGP too! I am loving that it is back on air.

  38. Lawsuit claims detainee was tortured before the OLC memos – including interrogators using pepper spray on the detainee’s hemorrhoids. It may take some time to see whether this is substantiated or not.

  39. Lotharson,

    American Torture has been documenting the timeline and has shown that the torture occurred before the approval.

  40. Legion,

    “Huge Medical Bill For Refugees”

    What, you mean no model to estimate the “real” costs……You out there Legion, perhaps you can explain to the Australian Citizen with the broken ankle why it is a “good thing” she couldn’t get a rid to the ER for here injury but also why she is indirectly helping to pay some 50,000 dollars a day to treat these folks? Nah, I am sure there are no “Australian citizens” who could use such care……

    http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,27574,25385302-2761,00.html

  41. joni, on April 25th, 2009 at 11:08 pm Said:

    LM,

    You love the MotoGP too! I am loving that it is back on air.

    joni, yeah, that’s all we have Austar for, it’s going to be a Rossi/Stoner year, if the Duke can retain it’s being reliable and Rossi can’t get into Stoners head as he’s done with every other opponent untill now, although he gave Stoner a character building lesson at Laguna Sarga ??(it’s late), my money is on Stoner. Cool dudes both. The Aussies punch way above their weigh in the trade.
    ( I use to do a lot of Trials, Scrambles, Moto Cross then Track untill I got tired of being hurt, so in the last thirty years or so have just become an old boring tourer,mind you, heated grips, fairing, radio, luggage, my little mate on the back (Mrs.L.)and just wandering, ain’t bad..)

  42. Yea, these folks just need to go to the back of the “compassion” line….Don’t you know, “global welfare” comes first…….

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/15/2060091.htm

  43. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 25th, 2009 at 11:30 pm Said:

    Legion,

    “Huge Medical Bill For Refugees”

    What, you mean no model to estimate the “real” costs……You out there Legion, perhaps you can explain to the Australian Citizen with the broken ankle why it is a “good thing” she couldn’t get a rid to the ER for here injury ‘
    Finger pointing is fraught, just suggest you keep them in your hand before pointing.

  44. Lang Mack,

    I just have the opinion that providing “global welfare” is fraught with burden, burden to the average Australian taxpayer when so many Australians are in need. This story is just one of many to highlight this burden. One which some, like the aforementioned, seems to think is no burden at all………

  45. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 25th, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    What, you mean no model to estimate the “real” costs……You out there Legion, perhaps you can explain to the Australian Citizen with the broken ankle why it is a “good thing” she couldn’t get a rid to the ER for here injury but also why she is indirectly helping to pay some 50,000 dollars a day to treat these folks? Nah, I am sure there are no “Australian citizens” who could use such care……I just have the opinion that providing “global welfare” is fraught with burden, burden to the average Australian taxpayer when so many Australians are in need. This story is just one of many to highlight this burden. One which some, like the aforementioned, seems to think is no burden at all………

    I’m not sure what you-I mean when you-I is too busy not-stalking I-I and not having another I-you-I paroxysm of solipsism; but I-I does wonder about the not-model provided by and for the you-you, which seems to have answered its own I-you-I question, because it demonstrably wasn’t a question, independent of any independent input from the I-I, per an explicitly ectopic, I-I-originated meta-model and analytic. An independent I-I does wonder, additionally, if a constitutive and manipulative I-I-I not-model for the social world does indeed substitute for and preclude any other possible mode for an I-you-I, even and particularly when the I-you-I modality seems to be feigning selective empathy in yet another transparent ‘let’s you and him her I-you-I fight’ gambit. A wonderment raised but not addressed on another thread, and for which this I-I would suggest the repeated evidence, of an I-I-I modality in its various manipulative permutations, indicates a ‘Yes’.

  46. Legion,

    In “plain English” how about a model that contradicts my claims for a change? Perhaps we could start here, on this topic? It is funny how you keep on when you have all but conceeded my point for me with your “slip” in which you “pulled the vail back” and gave us a glimpse into your ideology. You seem all but incabable of even attempting to address my points, only quasi adept at attempting to change the subject and “muddy the waters”….

  47. My apologies, the story caught me attention given our recent exchange. I see no need to labor the subject just wish to know how you feel such an expense could be a “net gain”…….

  48. Did you not notice the 23 refugees receiving medical attention from a former Australian of the Year, Sparta? I’d count that as a gain. Nuff said my friend, and you can continue your solipsistic point-trading with the invisible hordes of you-Is who agree with whatever point du jour you are attempting to make.

  49. Legion,

    Point already made genius but some refuse to acknowledge it. Haven’t read anything about a “donation” but even if that was the case, couldn’t Australia’s poor use it? Point made again, do try to compute……

  50. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 26th, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Having fun playing Pong with yourself?

  51. Legion,

    You are right….Why am I wasting my time highlighting your stupidity…..Moving on…….

  52. Sparta, what is your take on the recession at street level in Phoenix?

    Has it hit bottom and on the rise or just wallowing with no clear sign of improving?

  53. SBS, 7:30pm tonight, “Secret Files of the Inquisition – The Tears of Spain”. Apart from being one of the key episodes in history, there might be some interesting…parallels to the current torture issues.

  54. Scaper,

    “Sparta, what is your take on the recession at street level in Phoenix?”

    Mixed bag all around mate….Much like Australia, those that lived well beyond their means are certainly feeling it the most. Sectors such a business and finance are heavily impacted but even some Tech areas such as Motorola and the such…The housing bubble was very pronounced in AZ, with many neighborhoods now resembling ghost towns….However, many of our newest residents are former Californians. Many came out to AZ with the proceeds of their home sales in Cali and as such still had plenty left over so many are hanging in there. It is hard to say for how long though. Our migrant population seems to be folding tent and heading elsewhere (back south) but many are still much more comfortable here then down in “old Mexico”…..Still, with many catering to those industries which helped sustain the “good times” such as construction, housekeeping and landscaping, work is becoming very hard to come by or maintain indeed…Rock bottom, well we are certainly close if not skimming….In short, the good times are definitely over. What is your take on the Australian experience?

  55. Sparta, the feedback that I’m getting on the ground is there is a crisis of confidence more than anything.

    A lot of small businesses are folding due to lack of cash flow due to the reliance on the overdraft instead of building up running capital during the good times.

    The new home builders are keeping busy due to actions that maintain the artificial high cost of residences.

    I notice with some of my suppliers have become more greedy now to take what they can before the demand/supply pendulum swings to the other side.

    On my own side of things there has been cancellations by my bread and butter clientele but my premium clients will get me through, albeit patchy and I am prepared to pay my guys for basically doing nothing to retain them.

    My prognosis…the next six months at least will be tough but I prepared for that, those that haven’t will learn a very important lesson the hard way.

  56. “My prognosis…the next six months at least will be tough but I prepared for that, those that haven’t will learn a very important lesson the hard way.”

    Glad to hear it…Your employees and their families our fortunate to have such an employer…Wish you the best during such times although it sounds like you hardly need it…Anybody can make it through the good times but the real test of a man’s/employers character is measured during such times as the present. It says a lot that you care for your employees as much as your bottom line. I tip my hat to you sir……

  57. “My prognosis…the next six months at least will be tough but I prepared for that, those that haven’t will learn a very important lesson the hard way.”

    Sage words Scaper.

    Here is Tassie, builders, sparkies and just about anyone involved in the residential construction industry having been making a motza over the past few years, basically due to a shortage of qualified tradespeople and an excessive demand of people like myself, moving from the mainland to build new houses.

    The industry has been characterised by more than its fair share of rip-off merchants (here in Tassie).

    One builder quoted me $200,000 to add an extra room onto my existing house, and wait for it, this price didn;t include giprock or electricals..!

    Naturally as the downturn bites, that guy isn’t going to see any work forthcoming.

    It’ll be the honest ones that earn a good reputation for being honest, reliable and trustworthy in the “good times” that survive in the downturn.

    And rightly, so it should be.

  58. I see that Caney has been the only Blogocrat to take up George’s challenge over at Meganomics.

    I’m surprised there are not more here willing to do such,

    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/meganomics/index.php/theaustralian/comments/calling_all_partisans/P25/

  59. Scaper,

    It’s nice of you to rally the troops for George, and it’s a novel idea of him to ask his readers to reveal their political motivations. However, one suspects that many might be unwilling to answer such questions publicly, even under an online alias, out of suspicion that the answers be used against them in future ‘discussions’.

    😉

  60. ‘Oh we’re from Tiger land, a fighting fury we’re from Tiger land . . .

  61. Lol Oftenbark. I actually backed them at the last minute, so I’m doubly happy. (Didn’t pick them in the tipping, though.)

  62. A win is a win is a win. Well done.

  63. This poem has been e-mailed everywhere. i do not know the Author but someone must have composed this

    PSALM 2009
    FIRST BOOK OF GOVERNMENT
    Kevin is the shepherd I did not want.
    He leadeth me beside the still factories.
    He restoreth my faith in the Liberal party.
    He guideth me in the path of unemployment for his party’s sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the bread line,
    I shall fear no hunger for his bailouts are with me.
    He has anointed my income with taxes,
    My expenses runneth over.
    Surely, poverty and hard living will follow me all the days of my life
    And I will live in a rented home forever.
    I am glad I am Australian,
    I am glad that I am free.
    But I wish I was a dog
    and Kevin was a tree

  64. Neil

    I hope you value that piece of derivative doggerel. Some poor brain-challenged conservative (tautology alert!) probably employed a lifetime’s supply of neurons putting that together. It’s likely to go down as a landmark in conservative “Liberal” “literature”.

  65. lifetime’s supply of neurons

    lmao

  66. Just back from seeing Jerry Springer – The Opera – what a hilarious riot.

  67. “I’m surprised there are not more here willing to do such”

    yawn. Come one come all! Get yer front row seats for the great and secret show.

    Lot of ships flying false flags these days.

    Lotta recruiters around too.

    Good link LM. Have a soft spot for Willie.
    N’

  68. FIRST BOOK OF GOVERNMENT..Was by Ern O’Malley……….

    MotoGP.
    So, I feel Stoner did well, apparently he had front brake problems, it seems odd that just a few tenths of a second per lap can make such an effect. The young Spaniard who won, well he is very good,but you have to be good all season and he has been a bit of an ‘Autumn Leaf’, also may well be a ‘little’ enthusiastic . Same goes for Mr.(Personality) Pedrosa, has to be consistent. I’ll give a slight edge to Stoner over Rossi, but it will be a close season. Much fun.

  69. Ein…Erin, (keyboard) ;)..

  70. LM, angry penguins might ask if we have done our best to prevent the ice from melting…fixated as we are on turbines and such:

    N’

  71. “Did you not notice the 23 refugees receiving medical attention from a former Australian of the Year, Sparta? I’d count that as a gain. Nuff said my friend, and you can continue your solipsistic point-trading with the invisible hordes of you-Is who agree with whatever point du jour you are attempting to make.”

    Can anybody direct me to the source of this claim? I have yet to find anything in regards to the bill being picked up by a “donation”

    “Yesterday, West Australian Health Minister Kim Hames said it would cost tens of millions of dollars to treat 23 asylum seekers admitted to Royal Perth Hospital after the explosion.”

    http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/no-split-bills-for-burnt-asylum-seekers-20090420-acls.html

  72. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 27th, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Can anybody direct me to the source of this claim? I have yet to find anything in regards to the bill being picked up by a “donation”

    Ping. Pong.

  73. This looked interesting, for anyone with a minor interest in collisions, plasmas, cultures, and the (meta -)’problem of induction’ in science(s) and their theories…Superfast secret of northern lights revealed

    DIFFERENT CULTURES have attributed their spectacular light show to fire-breathing dragons, dancing gods and ghostly clans at war.

    New research, however, has found that the northern lights, or aurora borealis, are powered by giant electrical tornadoes spinning at more than a million miles an hour and stretching thousands of miles into space.

  74. Legion,

    Haven’t you heard? The science is settled: the northern lights are definitely caused by fire-breathing dragons, and anyone who claims otherwise is a denialist.

  75. This headline makes no sense when you read the story.

    Im confused.

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25388163-23109,00.html

  76. And also on the subject of confusion..

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25390423-2702,00.html

    On one hand, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is against the Government’s $42 billion stimulus package.

    On the other hand, he’s definitively for the spending of federal funds in the blue-ribbon electorate of Wentworth.

  77. “Ping. Pong.”

    Link please…..

  78. Now the real results of the Three Amigos policies and arrogance.

    WE now alos see why they all cut and run with umpteen millions of dollars only a few months ago.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,25389225-643,00.html?referrer=email

  79. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 27th, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Link please…..

    Link.

  80. Tony, on April 27th, 2009 at 7:52 am

    The problem to this mind exists in an established agenda which consists of a nominal choice between ‘fire-breathing dragons’, ‘dancing gods’, or ‘ghostly clans at war’, perhaps.

  81. Legion,

    Thanks mate…I figured you were lying but don’t worry, you are in good company here…Nobody much cares about the “truth” no matter how much they claim to be after just that…..I love exposing frauds regardless……Ping-Pong, Ping-Pong…Again, unless you have an actual link to substantiat your claim?

    “Did you not notice the 23 refugees receiving medical attention from a former Australian of the Year, Sparta?”

    I am looking to actually contribute a post on the subject so if you can actually substantiate your claim it would be refreshing otherwise it is just more cannon fodder……ASRC has some info but nothing to substantiate your claim…I can’t imagine why…Hmm…

  82. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 27th, 2009 at 9:16 am

    From your own link at Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 27th, 2009 at 5:45 am…

    Royal Perth Hospital has utilised the expertise of world-renowned burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood.

    Yesterday Dr Wood said some of the patients may begin rehabilitation as early as next Monday although six remain in intensive care.

    Dr Wood pioneered a “spray on skin” treatment, used on victims of the Bali bombing.

    The mother of six was named Australian of the Year in 2005.

  83. Sigh….

    I was discussing “expenditures”, the fiscal cost to the Australian tax payer as you know…………Again, where is the “net gain” here? Have we resorted to childhood games now?

    “I’d count that as a gain. Nuff said my friend”

    Let me get this straight, Mr. “model & data” has no use for such things now? Amusing as hell…..”Nuff said” is right……Ego’s can carry one only so far before “reality” catches up….LOL……..

    “solipsism”, no I am just thinking good old “denial” in your case………..Anyhow, has been fun……

  84. Can we call shananigans on this blog?

  85. Min, I have been under the impression that Turnbull was against the handout component of the stimulus package, not the infrastructure component.

    I would venture to say that if these were two separate bills going to the upper house one would have had a lesser chance of being passed.

    I must admit that the flagging of tax cuts by Turnbull in the initial stage of this nightmare was pretty average.

  86. Good point scaper. I think that this is a bit of Turnbull’s problem/s. He is voting against everything holus bolus instead of putting forward amendments about how to do it better.

    From Milne at: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25385582-5000117,00.html

    The complexity of the Turnbull argument – we oppose the stimulus package, endorse $800 million of its infrastructure measures – must be confusing voters…

    Behind the scenes the message of the Coalition frontbench on the Rudd stimulus is being directly undermined by Coalition backbenchers desperate to be associated with the local spending flowing from it….

    Even former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson is lining up.

    Mind you, these days, he wouldn’t take a blind bit of notice of anything Turnbull had to say.

    Division and confusion. Welcome to the Federal Opposition.

    Handout or infrastructure, he voted against it and now has been wedged and out-manouvered.

  87. NEWSFLASH

    There has been an incident at Geodynamics Habanaro 3 plant in the Cooper Basin.

    There has been no injuries and the Dillons Highway has been diverted as a precaution.

    The commissioning of the 1KW power plant has been suspended and recommencement at this point is uncertain.

  88. Min – “I think that this is a bit of Turnbull’s problem/s. He is voting against everything holus bolus instead of putting forward amendments about how to do it better.

    Possibly Turnbull is stuffing up his political position regarding the “stimulus package”.

    But Min, do YOU think the handouts represent wise spending of our monsy?

  89. Tom. I’m probably a little prejudiced having been a Shire Councilor (the now defunct Shire of Lilydale). Local work, smaller projects mean utilizing local businesses and local resources.

    For example, the work in Turnbull’s own electorate would not include bringing people in on 457 visas.

    However, we certainly do need the big ticket items such as infrastructure to assist with ongoing employment. As long as these infrastructure projects employ local people, which they often do not. For example, on the desal at Tugun the engineers are all from France.

    I think that the latest handout was a waste of money. I think that the baby bonus is a waste of money. I agree with a home buyers grant under much stricter criteria.

  90. That’s fine Min, but you might occasionally focus on what you support. As from what I can see you position is actually pretty similar to that of Turnbull!!

    I think he has supported the infrastructure spending, but opposed the handouts. So while you might have a sense of criticising the political tactics sometimes, perhaps have a look at the actual policies as well.

    Otherwise it all appears very partisan.

  91. Tom. Fortunately I am rarely if ever condescending. I told you what I support. I answered honestly that I believe that the latest handout was a waste of money plus stated that I also believe that a lot of middle class welfare that has been lingering on and on and on needs to be sliced.

    I also stated (not good listening Tom) that I support major infrastructure projects (quote from self ‘we certainly do need the big ticket items’), but have concerns whether this will translate to jobs for Australians examples being 457 visa holders and imported ‘experts’.

  92. This article is interesting.

    http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article6169488.ece

    I don’t have enough knowledge on this, what effect, if any has this scenario on the rollout of the NBN as far as speed in concerned?

  93. One reads Sparta’s posts and the underlying tone is always of someone who seems to have absolutely zilch…………zero…………….nil…………….compassion for anyone of low economic worth.

    Sparta does not seem to realize that there was a 1 in 3 chance of him being born in China or India but he was fortunate enough to be born in a developed nation just like a great number of us.

    It was pure fluke that I was brought into this world in a well equipped hospital in Sydney and was raised in a good family and educated.

    If you send troops to a nation who then bomb the crap out of the joint how can you express surprise that they will want to flee their country. Sparta how many people are in refuge camps in Iran due to what goes on in Iraq. Even those from Sri Lanka are fleeing because other Western Governments are not actively pushing hard enough to end the violence there…….no oil I suppose.

    You attitude and tone to everything reinforces why your nation is not seen too kindly around the World. Whilst I have no personal problem with Yanks I can see why others would take an attitude like yours and tar brush the entire population of the USA as being made up of people with your type of attitude.

  94. I noted your point about s457 visas Min, but the administration of the skills employed is a fair level of detail. I’m not sure which party will be better at providing this level of detailed administration. Do you think this is a politically defining issue?

    Of course a stimulus package is not worth putting in place if much of the money is consumed by people sourced from overseas, and by poker machines.

    Not sure exactly what you meant by “condescending” thought.

  95. One reads Sparta’s posts and the underlying tone is always of someone who seems to have absolutely zilch…………zero…………….nil…………….compassion for anyone of low economic worth.

    I can’t speak for Sparta, and it can be hard to get an accurate picture of someone’s attitudes on the Web, but it does seem to echo his low level of apparent empathy for certain other classes of human.

    And – at least in US Republican circles – being wealthy is taken (often subconsciously) as proof positive that you are hardworking, moral, upright and worthy. On the other hand, in those circles being poor is taken as proof, or at least casts great suspicions that, you are lazy, shiftless, immoral and not particularly worthy.

    Never mind that this belief about wealth makes no empirical sense (as the regular parade of rich preachers busted for amoral behaviour ought to indicate – if nothing else. (IIRC Altermeyer’s work in “The Authoritarians” also identifies this belief amongst right-wing authoritarians – and that “right wing” designation is NOTHING to do with political left-vs-right for those of you who haven’t seen Altemeyer’s work before. And this would go some way to explaining why rich people get such an easy pass from a significant portion of society for immoral, illegal or outrageous behaviour.)

    You can see this assumption about wealth running through much of the Republican policies, politicking and philosophy of the last 30+ years. It was embedded in much of the heartless response to poor victims of Katrina who were lambasted for not filling up their (in many cases non-existent) cars with fuel (they often couldn’t afford if they had a car) and driving a few hundred miles away to escape the storm.

    And in a sense the US legal system works this way too – if you’re rich, your chances of being convicted and sentenced to prison on the same strength of evidence as someone poor is a lot lower. Some would even argue quite convincingly that your chances of being arrested in the first place for certain types of crimes (e.g. pot smoking or theft, although admittedly usually on a different scale) are much lower too.

  96. And in Australia too Loth..

    Aboriginal people are more likely to be remanded to custody due to a lack of secure accommodation and limited personal or family assets to fund bail sureties.1
    For similar reasons, Aboriginal people are less likely to receive non-custodial sentences.2

  97. Questions about empathy are rather interesting in the light of two big thoughts.

    George Lakoff (whose work on worldviews and stuff may be familiar to some) writes that, disregarding all the other very good reasons, torture must be investigated. His reason is that empathy is the foundation of democracy, and although he doesn’t say it, his American readers should have parts of the US Declaration of Independence in mind:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Lakoff illustrates his point with the story of a US military interpreter who committed suicide after refusing to participate in torture, stating that “she did not know how to be two people” after being reprimanded for showing empathy with the prisoners. Lakoff writes (my emphasis):

    We now know from the study of mirror neuron systems in the brain that empathy is physical, a capacity built into our very bodies. It is what allows us to feel what others feel and appears to be the basis for human connection and the capacity to care about others. Our native neural capacities for empathy can be strengthened by how we are raised, or it can decay when empathy is not experienced — or we can be trained to develop neural circuitry to bypass natural empathy.

    …The same neurons that fire when you move your muscles in performing an action also fire when you see someone else moving the same muscles. The emotional regions of the brain are linked to muscle movement: you smile in joy and writhe in extreme pain. Your mirror neuron system picks up their muscle movements, activating the same part of the brain in you, which is linked to your emotional system. Thus, when you see someone jumping for joy or writhing in pain, you can sense their joy or feel their pain. That is, if your empathy system is working normally—if it has not decayed in your upbringing and if you have not acquired other circuitry to inhibit or bypass it…

    This goes a long way providing an answer to Sparta about how we know when we’ve inflicted “severe pain and suffering”, as opposed to “not quite severe” – but one that hasn’t yet seemed to sink in.

    Lakoff and others argue that empathy in its basis for connection with other people lies at the heart of political democracy, and that torture, and turning off empathy, is

    …turning off humanity, and with it democracy.

    Related themes, this time about parenting styles as they relate to authoritarianism are explored here. This touches on relations to how personal boundaries and moral compasses are developed and what abuse is/is not tolerated in the name of “the family”, and more.

    Go read the whole things.

  98. And in Australia too Loth.

    Yes, all too true. And I suspect Aboriginals are incarcerated (on average) at higher rates than others for similar allegations. And the same disparity probably applies to rich vs poor.

    Which is why many of us see access to effective legal representation as a (necessary, but not sufficient) prerequisite for a fair justice system. User-pays is not a universal foundation for bringing out equity.

  99. Seems to be basic common sense Loth, that there is a separation..some who have the inate ability to empathise and others (for one reason or another..nature vs nurture) are unable to do so.

    And agreed, a self-evident truth equates with an ability to empathise. Yes, this seems to be basic common sense to consider this as such.

    And yes, authoritarian parenting equates with might equals right. Don’t do what I do, do what I tell you. I’ll slap you if you don’t..sort of parenting.

    Lots of things to consider Loth.

  100. Loth re Aboriginal incarceration. Remember the NT 3 strikes and you’re out with a boy being given a custodial sentence for stealing a packet of Tim-Tams.

  101. “And yes, authoritarian parenting equates with might equals right…………….”

    Min, on April 27th, 2009 at 3:58 pm Said:

    You might be onto something as the ancient historians tell us that the parents of Spartan children were required to tie down the new born male to a nearby hillside overnight.

    If the child died of exposure well so be it. If he lived he was deemed worthy to be a Spartan warrior.

    So I bet Sparta’s parents did something similar………..hence the name.

  102. Tried it with son Walrus. Son disappeared and we found him asleep in amongst the peas and the tatties in the vegie garden. Maybe why he’s now in the Navy?? Was it this early exposure to the elements that caused him to be worthy of being a warrior.

  103. Don’t do what I do, do what I tell you.

    The other thing that resonated with me (as my parents were a bit on the authoritarian side) was the “keep it all in the family” mentality. It’s far more important that the image of a “good” family is maintained to those outside of it than that your own experience of that family is healthy…so keep any dirty laundry to yourself. Or else.

  104. I Am The Walrus, on April 27th, 2009 at 4:07 pm
    LMAO

    Sparta was sent to the opposition where he was taunted with things like “we must look after the people”
    “we are all boat people”,” might is not right” where he lost it and slaughtered the lot. A warrior was born to finish the fight on blogocrats.

  105. Wow,

    That was rather interesting if not completely off base…

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Having trouble discerning where in that very poignant statement I have ever said anything to contradict it? Perhaps you folks can explain where it mentions these “unalienable rights” will be guaranteed without any regards to the rule of law? When it was written, words had meaning….. If everything is relative, why have any laws at all then? Are we not depriving criminals of liberty and life at times? Does the pursuit of happiness imply at the “expense of another”? Hmm….PURSIUT OF HAPPINESS….

    I realize many here misunderstand me entirely but let me lift the veil a bit: I am neither a registered Republican, rich, nor was I abused……..Many here see the world the way they would like it to be and some of us see it as it is…..Many here make statements that are simply not grounded in reality or never taken to their “logical” end….I am hardly an enigma but perhaps if some here really bothered to understand where I was coming from instead of “lashing out” they might better understand me and many millions more that disagree with your positions…Unfortunately, the intellectual curiosity on this site is often replaced with many trying to come across as more intelligent/humorous then the next…..Yawn…..

    Aqua,

    I was however raised in a modern day version of the “agoge”………….

  106. Having trouble discerning where in that very poignant statement I have ever said anything to contradict it?

    Once again you’re not understanding what I wrote and attributing accusations to me that I did not make. No wonder you frequently seem aggrieved.

    Let me try and clarify it – at least that part that seems to apply to you.

    A lot of your statements on torture appear to demonstrate a lack of – or at least a lack of regard for the existence and value of – empathy for other humans. Others believe they detect the same in your thoughts on other issues. Maybe that’s not an accurate assessment of how you really are in person, but it’s how you tend to come across in these forums.

    On the torture threads you ask over and over again “but how can we know that we’re inflicting pain and suffering that is strong enough to reach the legal definition of ‘severe’, given that everyone experiences pain differently”? (Never mind that the question should be at the very least “How can we know that we’re NOT inflicting ‘severe’ pain and suffering…”)

    To your question there are several answers given, which you generally appear to ignore and then you repeat the question in an increasingly aggrieved/belligerent tone, all the while declaring that your position on torture appears to be justified by the “fact” that no-one can answer your question.

    One of these answers that you ignore is squarely based on human empathic response. Most humans can make a reasonable judgement of how someone else feels in response to a strong stimulus. (Lakoff’s post points out the biological basis for this capability.)

    And the rest of my post wasn’t about you, if you read what it actually says.

  107. Does the pursuit of happiness imply at the “expense of another”?

    Excellent question. (And yes, there are a large number of Americans who think it’s their right to do exactly that…and I note that delineating the boundaries between “your” right to pursue happiness and “mine” forms a significant part of the body of law.)

    It suggests some more excellent questions:

    – Does the pursuit of “national interests” come at the expense of another nation’s interests? And who gets to say what those interests are and how much “expense” can be forced onto other nations in the pursuit of those interests?

    – At the expense of that nation’s citizen’s interests? And who gets to say how much expense can be forced on to those citizens? What about the citizen’sinterest in not being arbitrarily detained? And in not being abused or degraded or tortured during said detention? And in not being blown up and not having their infrastructure destroyed when someone else decides it’s in their interests to invade those citizen’s country?

    – At the expense of another nation’s citizen’s interests (with all the same questions)?

    – A more specific example – does the pursuit of false connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq in order to justify an otherwise illegal invasion imply “at the expense of torturing humans who have no such knowledge”?

  108. Lotharsson,

    You have to be kidding me….Perhaps if you could get your ADD under control it would be easier to discern a question from a statement, let alone address the 5-10 questions you normally ask in response to every question I ask instead of actually answering…

    One more time, you started this exchange with me some time ago on the basis of the “UN treaty”…Perhaps if you could focus long enough before going off on another tangent you might understand where I am coming from….I certainly don’t need a lecture on “empathy” from somebody that tries to use the “law” to make his point only to forget it was the “law” he originally purported was what was in violation until the language of said law seems in doubt. Why else would Ted Kennedy offer a bill to specifically ban “water-boarding”; because the language was so clear?

    You feel there is some “invisible” barrier that most humans should be able to detect…Yea that will hold up; sure you didn’t draft this thing? For your other tangents, I really don’t want to go over that old ground again…Your points are not only wrong but completely pointless discussing now with troops set to be pulled out in the next 18 months or so…Please tell me why Afghanistan is “legal” and the Iraq conflict isn’t again? I can accept your view of the world is foreign from mine, why do you have such difficulty doing the same?

  109. Perhaps if you could get your ADD under control…

    There you go again…

    …you started this exchange with me some time ago on the basis of the “UN treaty”.

    Er, I don’t recall it that way at all, although I could be wrong.

    The exchange started because you didn’t seem to think there were any significant moral or ethical constraints of concern, nor any strategic, national security or operational intelligence issues with abusing detainees in the ways that have been documented. Or to put it more succinctly, you argued that torture, er… “harsh interrogation methods” were effective and should probably have been used…

    Some people (likely myself included) pointed out that it was apparently illegal. I recall that in response you were the one asking for the details of the laws – you seemed to suggest that your unawareness of said law(s) meant that perhaps we really didn’t know if any torture laws had been broken and therefore maybe the detainee abuse wasn’t severe enough to be properly called torture. I merely brought up the UN Convention Against Torture part way through the exchange as ONE example of a US law that torture violates – and which I and others argued was clearly violated, especially given the historical precedents.

    …until the language of said law seems in doubt…

    It doesn’t seem in doubt to most. (And strictly speaking, it’s not the language that’s in doubt – we’re 100% certain what the law says. It’s the interpretation, and I note that there’s nothing distinctive about torture laws here, as the process of interpretation of a fully known text applies to all laws.)

    And the doubt you think is there seems to be based heavily on highly dubious lawyering, as most lawyers now looking at the memos seem to agree. And those who defend the lawyering generally aren’t defending the quality of the work – they’re mostly defending the poor quality work of people who did it on the grounds that they were under a lot of pressure. You know, pressure the US has never seen before – never having faced an enemy strong enough to bring down a couple of large buildings, let alone obliterate the entire country many times over. (Oh, wait…)

    Why else would Ted Kennedy offer a bill to specifically ban “water-boarding”; because the language was so clear?

    You really can’t imagine, and you imagine that proves your point – which is a frequent pattern of debate from you. There have been any number of draft laws introduced into your legislative system that merely affirm or restate in different terms existing laws and which are therefore technically redundant. No-one to my knowledge has ever used that fact in court to try to argue that their client did not break the existing law – and I’m betting they would be laughed out of court if they did.

    Here are some other possibilities:

    1. Because a bunch of people with significant access to media platforms have started running around saying it is no longer illegal, despite the fact that your country executed people for doing it in the past? heck, you even convicted one of your own citizens for doing it. I bet that person is real peeved right now if he’s still around to watch the waterboarding circus.

    2. Because quite a few people like you seem to think that it is, and a new law would really drum home that it is not?

    3. Oh wait, maybe because your country claims to have invented and applied the New And Improved Gentler Kinder Waterboarding procedure, and some people are using that to claim the New And Improved version isn’t illegal under the old laws?

    I don’t know why he did it, but I reckon there are at least two or three other fairly plausible reasons that he might have do so. Reckon you can come up with any?

    I can accept your view of the world is foreign from mine, why do you have such difficulty doing the same?

    What makes you think I’m having difficulty accepting that your view is foreign from mine? It’s blatantly obvious to me that it is – in other words, I accept that. But “accepting” it doesn’t mean I must agree with it, in which case I may choose to argue with it which is fully consistent with “acceptance of difference”.

    And in exploring that difference, I’m asking you to justify your positions. Who knows, you might bring me around to your way of thinking. But I’m not seeing much that appears to be grounded in logic and evidence and I’m pointing out what I see.

    What would “acceptance” of the different views look like to you?

  110. Or to put it more succinctly, you argued that torture, er… “harsh interrogation methods” were effective and should probably have been used…

    Let me clarify that as it’s likely to generate misunderstanding (the two concepts in the one sentence aren’t clearly differentiated).

    In my recollection you argued that what had been done (a) was effective and should likely have been done, and (b) didn’t rise to the level of torture. IIRC you specifically argued that you didn’t think waterboarding was torture (and by implication was legal and perhaps even an acceptable interrogation tactic although you hadn’t read anything about the torture laws when your first made that statement) whereas putting bamboo shoots under fingernails was torture…

  111. “Or to put it more succinctly, you argued that torture, er… “harsh interrogation methods” were effective and should probably have been used…”

    Don’t recall taking that position? I know I have stated on numerous occasions that in my “opinion” it was not torture and referred to the definition of “torture” as defined by the UN as hardly being conclusive on the matter…..Hence where we are today….

    https://blogocrats.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/torture-be-careful-what-you-wish-for/

    This may refresh your memory…….

  112. Even though we have highlighted the US law to Sparta, he continues to say that it is the UN definition we are using.

    And note how the apologists in the US media for the Bush administration do deny that torture occured, they just want to cloud the issue by saying that the release of the memos has now affected US security because the terrorist now know the “enhanced techniques”.

    Well – I think that is a load of bullshit, and I wish someone would call them on it.

    Do they really think that the release of the memos is how the terrorist would now know about the methods? Don’t you think that they might, um, you know ask the people who were tortured?

    And there is a major difference between SERE training and torture. SERE training is not conducted to obtain information, and the participant can just say stop.

  113. “Even though we have highlighted the US law to Sparta, he continues to say that it is the UN definition we are using.”

    Can you please highlight where enemy combatants are entitled to the protections of US law, prior to the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling? Please do keep in mind that the definition of torture being touted by many here and others is in reference to current treaties? We have never before entitled enemy combatants the privilege of citizenship to my knowledge?

  114. LOL Sparta.

    So the US law on torture was only to cover torture against US citizens?

    And I thought the comedy festival was in Sydney this week.

  115. And I see that the pentagon is about to release hundreds of photos showing the mistreatment and abuse by US defence personel of detainees. You know – the ones who Sparta says are not US citizens and derserve no protection under the law.

    The Pentagon announced last week it had agreed to release hundreds of photos from US-run prisons in Iraq and elsewhere in response to a long-running lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

  116. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 29th, 2009 at 9:02 am

    I was perty sure the Supreme Court stipulated that vacation of citizenship was a ‘cruel and unusua’l thing, too; since when was it ok to remove the obligations of American citizenship and acting according to American laws from Americans, which is the concomitant theft from Americans in turning some of them into torturers? Or, to put it another way, why did the Bush administration think it was ok to remove the protections owed to American citizens, under the Constitution and American laws and under received treaty laws, in their conduct towards POWs, thereby potentially exposing some of them to criminal sanction under American law?

    .

  117. “So the US law on torture was only to cover torture against US citizens?”

    This is becoming tedious…..First of all the question of “torture” is still in doubt despite your “gut” and the rights of those captured during conflict are different from the rights of the average American citizen, sorry to break that news….In regards to the photos, I can only hope and imagine that if abuse took place (such as the travesty that was Abu Grab) those responsible were and are held to account……Releasing the photos regardless, outside of this reality is plain politics, nothing more…….It will simply endanger troops and civilians alike but what does the ACLU care…..

    Legion,

    Well that is what is in question here now isn’t it and my contention from the beginning? As defined by the law, “not the definition of torture according to you or me”….Seems pointless to keep discussing these hypothetical’s when the question of whether or not water boarding constitutes torture is still in play…Again, if it was so crystal clear you would not have had Congress voting on the issue of “water boarding” specifically (measures which didn’t pass mind you…).

  118. Can you please highlight where enemy combatants are entitled to the protections of US law, prior to the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling?

    Sparta, you are being incredibly obtuse. Either you’re actually incapable of understanding, or you REALLY don’t want to.

    Let me say this about as clearly as I can. It’s in two parts. It seems to me that more than one concept in a post leads you to discount said post, but since your objections RELY on pretending that one or other of these isn’t part of the much-vaunted reality that you like to think you see and others don’t, try to process these two things.

    1. International Treaties that the US signs, according to your Constitution (IIRC), are “the supreme law of the land”. They override any other law.

    2. The UN Convention Against Torture makes NO distinctions between US Citizens and other country’s citizens. It prohibits torture as it defines it in all forms, in all places, by all people. No excuses.

    Therefore, even people arbitrarily labeled “enemy combatants” are entitled to the protection of US law on this issue.

    What part of this do you think is not in accordance with reality?

  119. And Sparta is wanting to put the guilt on the ACLU instead of the people who perpetrated the acts.

    Maybe he needs to be on a 12 step program where the first stage is accepting that there is a problem.

  120. Thread police!

  121. Tony, on April 29th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Robust debate! (There is still a debate isn’t there?) 😉

  122. Sparta, you wrote:

    Many here see the world the way they would like it to be and some of us see it as it is.

    I presume you see yourself in the latter category and people arguing against you on this issue in the former. And you believe that validates your argument and invalidates theirs to some extent.

    And yet you mangle reality – if only by ignoring what people point out to you – over and over again. Strange.

    Please do keep in mind that the definition of torture being touted by many here and others is in reference to current treaties?

    Please keep in mind that MULTIPLE US laws prohibit torture.

    And speaking of that definition of torture, please keep in mind that your country has convicted at least one of its own citizens for waterboarding, and executed Japanese soldiers for the same.

    And please keep in mind that legal precedent is used to establish the interpretation of the law, and hence that those precedents shed some light on whether waterboarding is torture or not.

    And that the techniques used by the US are derived from the SERE school which was specifically set up to help prepare US military personnel in case they fell into the hands of unscrupulous interrogators who were prepared to torture.

    And that people who have been waterboarded in anger by enemies say that it is torture.

    And that waterboarding is actually drowning the victim – and then stopping.

    And that there is at least a plausible opinion from various military lawyers that the practice of abusive interrogation procedures ordered by the top brass likely amounted to torture.

    And that other US laws and military regulations are likely to apply to much of the practice of “enhanced interrogation methods”.

    And speaking of reality and not-reality. You assert earlier that the ONLY reason there might be an anti-waterboarding bill is because maybe waterboarding is currently considered legal. I write three OTHER reasons that bill might have been introduced and tell you I have at least three more, and challenge you to come up with some on your own.

    And after all of that you stick your head as far in the sand as you can by writing:

    Again, if it was so crystal clear you would not have had Congress voting on the issue of “water boarding” specifically (measures which didn’t pass mind you…).

    Who exactly “sees what they want to see” regardless of any other evidence?

    Segue.

    I do kind of like your quote at the top of this post, but I think it’s incomplete. It should read:

    Some here see the world the way they would like it to be; some see it as it is. Some of us see both – and aim to make the latter into the former.

  123. Tony, on April 29th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Mind you, the Andrew C. McCarthy link back on the other thread said there “should be little debate”, but that was in the abstract and not in the specific, and all the normatives change when the abstract crystallises as the very specific thing least wanted for sake of reasoned discussion and that there “should be little debate” about, apparently. 😉

  124. Fair cop Legion (even if it was just a friendly dig at Shane).

    😉

  125. Releasing the photos regardless, outside of this reality is plain politics, nothing more…….It will simply endanger troops and civilians alike but what does the ACLU care…..

    Calling it “plain politics” means what to you? That it’s unworthy, illegitimate, prompted by ulterior motives? That it’s just a small move in an attempt to gain greater domestic political power? It’s merely part of a contest between Republicans and Democrats for a few votes?

    Or do you think maybe it could be part of an effort to define what sort of country and society the US is and will be, and an attempt to define standards of acceptable behaviour and maybe even start on a path of making amends for unacceptable behaviour? Wouldn’t that also come under the label of “politics”? And is that worthy?

    Why do you think it will endanger troops and civilians? Do you think reality is that the people who are pissed off at the US for treatment of detainees are somehow UNAWARE of that treatment? They were aware of it long before any significant number of US citizens were – and the “insurgents” and terrorists were already using that treatment as part of their (very effective) recruiting pitch.

    What will endanger civilians and troops is:
    (a) Lowering the standards for detainee treatment by engaging in behavour that the US was previously credibly able to argue were beyond the pale
    (b) Sweeping that sort of behaviour under the carpet which merely confirms part of the propaganda about the US used by the terrorists for recruiting purposes.

  126. Oh, and since you keep raising the fact that the US Constitution doesn’t guarantee the same rights for US citizens as for non-citizens as if that gets someone off the hook…

    A US court convicted a Liberian citizen on charges related to torture that took place in Liberia not known to have involved US victims – under US anti-torture laws. Another US court awarded US citizens with a compensation judgement in a court case against Libya for crimes alleged to have been committed in Libya.

    So we have actual reality showing us that US torture law applies to non-US violators, in non-US locations, and when the victims are not US citizens.

    So explain to me how the fact that the Constitution doesn’t grant the same rights to non-US citizens means in reality that US personnel could perhaps torture detainees overseas if they felt it were necessary?

  127. “Please keep in mind that MULTIPLE US laws prohibit torture.”

    Jesus Lotharsson, DEFINE TORTURE FOR ME AGAIN…..WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION? NOW TELL ME HOW WE PROVE IT HAS OCCURED….WHAT ARE YOU NOT GETTING ABOUT THIS CONCEPT?

    I know you and others see yourself as some sort of “crusade” but since you all keep missing the fundamentals, really what is the point in continuing this? You will get a commission or some other bone but I can assure you no GW officials are going to jail…….

  128. “So explain to me how the fact that the Constitution doesn’t grant the same rights to non-US citizens means in reality that US personnel could perhaps torture detainees overseas if they felt it were necessary?’

    Sigh….you seem to be utterly confused on the details mate, try to keep it straight….We are talking about “enemy combatants” and hypothetically whether or not “torture” has been commited…..a.k.a water-boarding…….try to focus……

  129. Jesus Lotharsson, DEFINE TORTURE FOR ME AGAIN…..WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION? NOW TELL ME HOW WE PROVE IT HAS OCCURED….WHAT ARE YOU NOT GETTING ABOUT THIS CONCEPT?

    You well know we’ve provided you with the legal definitions, chapter and verse and URL, multiple times.

    I’m not getting that you don’t even acknowledge, let alone attempt to refute, the multiple answers that have been given to your question about how violations are prove in the past. It’s like your eyes have skipped over the posts and accordingly you act all aggrieved because we refuse to answer your question. Your own government in various different guises has provided their own analyses of that question. And yet you seem to think that the law can never be enforced because your question will stump the courts.

    Do you realise that proof that torture has occurred under the legal definition is a necessary condition of getting a conviction under the law? And that those convictions have occurred, as I pointed out immediately above? And that therefore that proof under the law is possible? Can you at least agree on that?

  130. You seem to be utterly confused on the details mate, try to keep it straight….We are talking about “enemy combatants” and hypothetically whether or not “torture” has been commited

    LOL. Self-deception is an amazing thing.

    Ever notice that when someone puts up FACTS that seem to run counter to your argument, that you respond with “you’re confused about the facts”? And yet, you somehow never seem to point out HOW the facts that you think are on your side actually are.

    So, let’s agree on some facts.

    1 In some cases we’re talking about “enemy combatants”. (I think you’ll find there are cases such as Jose Padilla and John Lindh Walker who are US citizens which is a grey area, and you’ll also find that abusive practices were likely meted out to some who had not been designated enemy combatants. Nevertheless, let’s leave those issues off the table for now.)

    2. “Enemy combatant” is a label attached to a person by the US President (or presumably some of those working on his behalf).

    Do you agree with these facts?

    Presuming you do, and now that we’ve established that, please show me the error of my ways. I have pointed out that US and international anti-torture laws apply with universal jurisdiction – to any perpetrator, regardless of nationality; to any nation; to any victim; with no excuses on any grounds, not even “national security” or “the president told me to do it”. Apparently I have drawn the false inference that there is an exception for anyone the US president feels should be called an enemy combatant, but I’m having trouble finding where that exception is stated in any law. Would you mind showing me how/where this exception comes about?

  131. Maybe Sparta is a lawyer?

  132. Apparently I have drawn the false inference that there is an exception…

    Doh! That should read “…that there is NO exception…”

  133. “Your own government in various different guises has provided their own analyses of that question. And yet you seem to think that the law can never be enforced because your question will stump the courts.”

    No, you are all over the place and seem to be somewhat confused about the topic again. Were they convicted of “water-boarding” only and as such torture?

    “Do you realise that proof that torture has occurred under the legal definition is a necessary condition of getting a conviction under the law? And that those convictions have occurred, as I pointed out immediately above? And that therefore that proof under the law is possible? Can you at least agree on that?”

    In regards to Gitmo and the legal definition of torture, that is what is in question!!!!!!!!!! Again, in regards to past “convictions” were they convicted for “water-boarding” only or was it a combination of events that carried the conviction of torture? I repeat, if you can prove to me at this point how to prove “severe pain and suffering” have occurred I will continue this thing otherwise this is really going nowhere…You feel torture has occurred I say it hasn’t, under the law (whether foreign or domestic). We can agree to disagree……..

  134. No, you are all over the place and seem to be somewhat confused about the topic again.

    Me thinks the pot is calling the kettle black once more. Or maybe you’re expressing frustration because you’re not making your point in ways that come across very clearly.

    In regards to Gitmo and the legal definition of torture, that is what is in question!

    (Don’t forget Abu Ghraib, Bagram, various CIA black sites, and the military brig that held Jose Padilla in solitary for 5+years, plus the extraordinary rendition program.)

    But leaving all of that aside, if I reinterpret your latest post in the hope of understanding where you’re at, you’re implicitly agreeing that it’s certainly possible under the law to prove that torture occurred? If so, can we agree on that fact and leave it off the table?

    Do you also agree (as per my previous post) that US anti-torture laws apply to detainees designated “enemy combatants”? Can we also agree on that and leave it off the table?

    So is it correct that you’re merely objecting to any claims that US waterboarding and other detainee abuse over the last eight years amounts to torture under the law, on the grounds that you’re not certain it meets the legal bar? Or is it on the grounds that these PARTICULAR cases haven’t been tried by a US court and thus the outcome has not been determined yet?

    Or have I missed your point?

  135. joni, on April 29th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Doubtful, but Andrew McCarthy apparently is or was.

    That 2007 McCarthy piece did seek to define what torture does and doesn’t mean, too, and when torture could reasonably be inferred to have occurred.

    (Not that I’d saying I’m agreeing with McCarthy’s line of reasoning per se; I just picked up on it because Sparta says it sums up nicely what he was trying to articulate….

    Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on April 28th, 2009 at 8:26 am Said:

    I’ve been looking for this piece in regards to TORTURE…Sums up nicely what I have been at pains to articulate…..

    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=ZjhkM2YyZmE5MThjZGNlN2IyMGI4MmE3MWM1OWQ5

    )

    And this is what McCarthy said in that piece…

    SO IS WATERBOARDING TORTURE?
    Again, we do not know the details of waterboarding as practiced (if, as reported, it is or has been practiced) by the CIA. Yet, we know generally that waterboarding is very rough stuff. It is not especially painful physically and causes no lasting bodily injury; yet, it is intended to create the sensation of drowning in a person who is bound and temporarily suffocated. Administered by someone who knows what he is doing, there is presumably no actual threat of drowning or suffocation; for the victim, though, there is clearly fear of imminent death and he could pass out from the deprivation of oxygen.

    The sensation is temporary, not prolonged. There shouldn’t be much debate that subjecting someone to it repeatedly would cause the type of mental anguish required for torture. But what about doing it once, twice, or some number of instances that were not prolonged or extensive?

    So, in that one piece, offered as a summation of what Sparta has been at pains to articulate, there is both an acknowledged and rehearsed operative legal definition; and there is a rehearsed appreciation of waterboarding potentially amounting to torture per that definition, if one believes a circa 2007 Andrew C. McCarthy; and now proof of acts meeting that general threshold established by Andrew McCarthy as one extra-judicial species of ‘the reasonable person’. But, as you Sparta says, who would know: a) what the legal definition might be; and b) how anyone would make at least a prima facie case for testing that proof of acts against the proven to exist legal definition of torture in a court of law, which is what a court is pre-eminently designed and equipped to do.

  136. “So is it correct that you’re merely objecting to any claims that US waterboarding and other detainee abuse over the last eight years amounts to torture under the law, on the grounds that you’re not certain it meets the legal bar?”

    We are talking about Gitmo and waterboarding….One more time, GITMO AND WATER-BOARDING…get it…sinking in…. I am supremely confident you cannot prove torture has occurred as is obvious….

    “ Or is it on the grounds that these PARTICULAR cases haven’t been tried by a US court and thus the outcome has not been determined yet?”

    I would like to see any court try to define “severe pain and suffering” in the context of torture….

    “Or have I missed your point?”

    Most likely; if you cannot prove “severe pain and suffering” have occurred than “torture” has not occurred under current law; the only footing you argument has is the possibility of precedent but again…that’s assuming that all the cases you have thus far mentioned were cases in which those convicted were because of water-boarding ALONE…….otherwise it will be a bit more difficult….For the last time, how do you prove “severe pain and suffering” have occurred?

  137. I would like to see any court try to define “severe pain and suffering” in the context of torture and water-boarding….

  138. I am having trouble reconciling these two statements…

    I would like to see any court try to define “severe pain and suffering” in the context of torture and water-boarding….

    I know you and others see yourself as some sort of “crusade” but since you all keep missing the fundamentals, really what is the point in continuing this? You will get a commission or some other bone but I can assure you no GW officials are going to jail…….

    I will muse on it some more.

  139. We are talking about Gitmo and waterboarding….One more time, GITMO AND WATER-BOARDING…get it…sinking in…. I am supremely confident you cannot prove torture has occurred as is obvious….

    I’ll take that as implicit agreement with the questions I asked then, which is great – because you’ve made many protestations that appear to contradict that agreement in the past. Perhaps it’s merely your style of arguing in follow-on comments without much reference to specifics (which many can interpret as an argument on general terms); perhaps it’s your style of arguing by first protesting one thing and then quietly switching to another when the first appears untenable. Perhaps both.

    Again, in regards to past “convictions” were they convicted for “water-boarding” only or was it a combination of events that carried the conviction of torture?

    Why do you ask? How do you think it helps defend US waterboarding? It is well established that there was a combination of events meted out by US personnel to various detainees, including but not limited to waterboarding. Arguing that we ONLY need to consider US waterboarding is, well, fraudulent.

  140. Gee Sparta, you seem pretty upset over this. You initially were denying that anything bad went on at Gitmo, saying that the goat headers could not be trusted to tell the truth about their treatment.

    When the evidence started to come out, like from Susan Crawford you then changed tact to that was just an opinion. And you challenged us to show any charges against those responsible saying that there was a lack of evidence.

    Now that the memos have been released you change to “what is torture”. And when evidence (even from you own government and laws) shows that people have been charged with similar crimes you continue to say that it is the definition that is the problem.

    I still say (and I know you will say that I am like a broken record) – let those who authorised and encouraged the use of the “enhanced techniques” defned themselve in a court of law. You know – the law, the one under which we operate.

    You seem to be saying that because there is no clear definition then no charges should be laid.

  141. “I’ll take that as implicit agreement with the questions I asked then, which is great – because you’ve made many protestations that appear to contradict that agreement in the past. Perhaps it’s merely your style of arguing in follow-on comments without much reference to specifics (which many can interpret as an argument on general terms); perhaps it’s your style of arguing by first protesting one thing and then quietly switching to another when the first appears untenable. Perhaps both.”

    So clearly you cannot answer my one little question that has been raised multiple times and that you never address in any form. Instead you continue on from one tangent to the next completely loosing site of how this debate started. Make as many irrelevant statements as you feel necessary to try and retain some semblances of your ego but again that little question stands that you will undoubtedly refuse to address again, and again and again and again….How do you prove “severe pain and suffering” have occurred???? Silence…………or some other pointless tangent in avoidance of reality…………

    “Why do you ask? How do you think it helps defend US waterboarding? It is well established that there was a combination of events meted out by US personnel to various detainees, including but not limited to waterboarding. Arguing that we ONLY need to consider US waterboarding is, well, fraudulent.”

    Geez…….I can just see you getting a conviction on “stress positions” now….give me a break…Still waiting for an answer and the slam dunk???????????

  142. FFS Sparta – how do we prove “severe pain and suffering” have occured. How the f**k have courts in the US done it in the past?

    They never seemed to have problems in the past. If the courts say it was not torture then you know what, we will abide by that decision. You logic is because you think it is not torture then no charges should be brought.

    Sparta aka Judge Judy and executioner.

  143. Sparta

    The definition of severe pain or torture should be determined by a court and its jury. Just the same is if I cracked you over the skull with a brick and you sued me for pain and suffering. The court would determine the extent of injuries and pain and surrering and award damages.

    Sounds simple to me.

  144. *suffering*

  145. Geez…….I can just see you getting a conviction on “stress positions” now….give me a break…

    It’s almost hilarious how you – deliberately or otherwise – misinterpret fairly straightforward logic to create a strawman which you triumphantly knock down with a defiant glare in my direction.

    Is it deliberate, or are you really that incapable of following basic logical argument?

    Once more, slowly and with a helpful analogy at the end.

    If the pattern of events is what must be evaluated to determine whether torture has occurred under the law, and that pattern INCLUDES as one of its elements some waterboarding, then it must by definition be at LEAST as severe in the eyes of the law as the same waterboarding would be on its own. And we already KNOW that waterboarding + other harsh interrogation practices took place.

    It’s kind of like if I can get convicted of dangerous driving for doing 30 mph above the speed limit, then I can get convicted at LEAST as easily for doing 30 mph above the speed limit whilst hanging one leg out the window.

    So arguing about whether other convictions may or may not have been for waterboarding alone can only hurt the defense of waterboarding. I’m quite happy for you to bring that up…

    So clearly you cannot answer my one little question that has been raised multiple times and that you never address in any form.

    ROFLMAO!

    What I think you mean is that I never address it in any form that you care to acknowledge. I’ve given you several forms of answer to that question. In brief they include things like legal precedent, empathic observation, pyschological and physical evaluation, survivor interviews. There’s also the DOJ’s standard that one should be able to “reasonably foresee” that certain practices lead to “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental”, and this is likely to be applied using a “reasonable person” test.

    I’ll give you a longer answer later. For someone as impervious to facts and logic as you, that takes a bit more time to assemble.

  146. shaneinqld,

    Thank you shane……Seems nobody here can say for certain (under the legal definition) whether it occured and indeed it will be up to a those with far more knowledge in this area to determine. However, some here have wanted to play “Judge, Jury and Executioner” since the start….FFS Joni, what the hell do you think I have been saying and trying to get across? Now can we put this thing to rest…We will undoubtedly have plenty more to say come “photo day”……

  147. Lotharsson………

    Yawn…….now it’s a straw man, utterly predictable…

    Yep, can’t look at the legal defintion of the event I say has occured…thats a straw man…are you kidding me…..LOL……………………………………………………………

  148. No Sparta, some here have said that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions in a court of law. Completely different from being judge, jury and executioner.

  149. Now I am having trouble reconciling these two statements…

    Seems nobody here can say for certain (under the legal definition) whether it occured and indeed it will be up to a those with far more knowledge in this area to determine. However, some here have wanted to play “Judge, Jury and Executioner” since the start….FFS Joni, what the hell do you think I have been saying and trying to get across? Now can we put this thing to rest…We will undoubtedly have plenty more to say come “photo day”……

    I know you and others see yourself as some sort of “crusade” but since you all keep missing the fundamentals, really what is the point in continuing this? You will get a commission or some other bone but I can assure you no GW officials are going to jail…….

    I will muse on that some more.

  150. “What I think you mean is that I never address it in any form that you care to acknowledge. I’ve given you several forms of answer to that question. In brief they include things like legal precedent, empathic observation, pyschological and physical evaluation, survivor interviews. There’s also the DOJ’s standard that one should be able to “reasonably foresee” that certain practices lead to “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental”, and this is likely to be applied using a “reasonable person” test.”

    Brilliant…..you’ve done it…..LOL……….

  151. Legion,

    Try context……

  152. Re what constitutes pain..try childbirth 🙂

  153. I would like to see any court try to define “severe pain and suffering” in the context of torture and water-boarding….

    Well, if I were a lawyer, and I am not, then perhaps I would start as follows.

    Proponents of waterboarding like to say that it “simulates drowning”. That’s a lie designed to sugarcoat the harsh reality. Waterboarding is the act of drowning the victim, and simulating death. There are variations in how the water is applied and breathing interrupted – but these are mere details. The victim is being made to experience being murdered by drowning, and reacts in the same way most victims of potentially fatal assaults do, especially those victims who have been rendered helpless to defend themselves by their captors.

    As far back as 1922 a US Judge found in White v. State, 129 Miss. 182; 91 So. 903 (1922) that strangulation by water was used to coerce a confession and that it “caused pain and horror”.

    In Fisher v. State, 145 Miss. 116; 110 So. 361 (1926), the Judge wrote that a Sheriff observed several parties “…administering the water cure, a species of torture well known to the bench and bar of the country“.

    In “United States vs Sawada”, a waterboarding practice remarkably similar to the one claimed to be used by the US today was described to the courts, who convicted a number of Japanese troops and officials of torture for waterboarding.

    On Feb 28, 1968 a US Soldier from the 1st Cavalry Division was court-martialed for waterboarding a detainee during interrogation.

    In United States vs Parker et al in 1963, a Texas Sheriff and three of his deputies were convicted of “water torture” against prisoners, which was upheld on appeal. “In the indictment the officers were charged with subjecting prisoners to “a suffocating ‘water torture’ ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning.” This case was documented in the NY Times, March 20, 1983.

    In Ferdinand E. Marcos Human Rights Litigation, 25 F.3d 1467 (9th Cir. 1994); 103 F.3d 767 (9th Cir. 1996), US Courts found the Marcos regime guilty of human rights violations, including but not limited to too “…[t]he ‘water cure’, where a cloth was placed over the detainee’s mouth and nose, and water producing a drowning sensation.”

    Proponents will argue that the physical pain experienced by waterboarding victims isn’t that bad compared to (say) bamboo shoots under the fingernails. But the question is not whether it’s better or worse than something egregious. The legal definition is “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental“, and we are expected to apply reasonable expectations of the outcomes of our behaviour in order to comply with law. I don’t know about you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, but I have a reasonable expectation that if I start murdering a tied-up unwilling victim by drowning and keep going until they convulse hysterically in front of me, that my behaviour is causing severe mental – if not physical – suffering. And that expectation is only enhanced by talking to US victims of waterboarding by other regimes. Victims such as Bob Baer, a former CIA agent, who was waterboarded and tortured in other ways.

    Proponents of waterboarding point to the use of a controlled voluntary waterboarding experience by friendly colleagues in the SERE program and claim that it can’t be torture. This is a legal dodge designed to baffle you. A torture conviction can only be made if the severe pain or suffering is inflicted for the purpose of coercion, obtaining a confession or producing propaganda, or the like. Clearly none of this is involved in a program designed to help prepare our military personnel for the possibility that they may fall into enemy hands – enemies who aren’t above stooping to torture.

    The SERE program is also claimed as evidence that waterboarding has no long-lasting effects. But this is a lie by omission. The mental effects of being tied down by unfriendly forces and given a high-intensity experience of being murdered by drowning with no end in sight are vastly different to the effects of being tied down by friendly forces after a thorough physical and psychological evaluation, given a signal that you KNOW will immediately stop the waterboarding, and then voluntarily going through a typically low-intensity version of the experience – once and only once. And the claim that there have been no negative mental effects in SERE waterboarding volunteers appears dubious at best. A 2001 study (see part way down this page) in the August 2001 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry “looked at dissociative symptoms, e.g., depersonalization, derealization, psychic or emotional numbing, general cognitive confusion (emphasis added):

    The current study was designed to assess the nature and prevalence of dissociative symptoms in healthy humans experiencing acute, uncontrollable stress during U.S. Army survival training. METHOD: In study 1, 94 subjects completed the Clinician-Administered Dissociative States Scale after exposure to the stress of survival training. In study 2, 59 subjects completed the Brief Trauma Questionnaire before acute stress and the dissociative states scale before and after acute stress. A randomly selected group of subjects in study 2 completed a health problems questionnaire after acute stress. RESULTS: In study 1, 96% of subjects reported dissociative symptoms in response to acute stress. Total scores, as well as individual item scores, on the dissociation scale were significantly lower in Special Forces soldiers compared to general infantry troops. In study 2, 42% of subjects reported dissociative symptoms before stress and 96% reported them after acute stress.

    And that was just due to friendly training! Knowing this, do you have a reasonable expectation that unfriendly higher-intensity, long-lasting imposition of these techniques would likely induce severe mental pain or suffering?

    And this SERE program argument completely ignores the physical effects. Waterboarding involves the repeated imposition of oxygen deprivation, which may be very dangerous. Documented medical effects include heart attacks and strokes (either during the experience or much later), permanent memory loss, brain damage, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, mental confusion, disorientation, a sense of hopelessness and more. Cortisol is a hormone that the body produces in response to stress. As reported in the June 2000 article, “Assessment of Humans Experiencing Uncontrollable Stress: The SERE Course,” in Special Warfare:

    As shown in the charts on page 7, SERE stress caused significant changes in students’ hormone levels. Recorded changes in cortisol levels were some of the greatest ever documented in humans. In some cases, the changes noted among the trainees were greater than the changes noted in patients undergoing heart surgery….

    Changes in testosterone levels were similarly remarkable: In some cases, testosterone dropped from normal levels to castration levels within eight hours.

    And this was just in the SERE trainees. Knowing that, what is your reasonable expectation of the effect of a high-intensity experience at the hands of hostile interrogators?

    But, ladies and gentlemen, there is one more point to consider. The “enhanced interrogation authorization memos” were predicated on the notion that only the imposition of “sheer terror” would be enough to get some of the US detainees to talk. That’s right, the entire purpose of this program was to inflict “sheer terror” on captives. Now, do any of you have a reasonable expectation that a program that does this with no end in sight will end up inflicting severe mental suffering? Has anyone read any research on what happens to humans who experience ongoing sheer terror?

    Other US laws prohibit treating prisoners in ways that shock the conscience. I note that one SERE instructor said that

    Having been subjected to them all, I know these techniques, if in fact they are actually being used, are not dangerous when applied in training for short periods. However, when performed with even moderate intensity over an extended time on an unsuspecting prisoner – it is torture, without doubt. Couple that with waterboarding and the entire medley not only “shock the conscience” as the statute forbids -it would terrify you. Most people can not stand to watch a high intensity kinetic interrogation. One has to overcome basic human decency to endure watching or causing the effects.

    . That instructor has a great deal more to say about the origins and classification of waterboarding and other techniques used at the SERE school, including a categoric statement that waterboarding IS drowning, some of the potential negative outcomes, and “when done right it is controlled death”. I urge you to read the whole thing. And I submit to you, ladies and gentlement, that any behaviour which most people can’t stand to watch is not behaviour worthy of our country, and which runs afoul of its laws. I don’t have time to point out all the laws that apply, but you can find some of them discussed here.

    [Well, that’s a partial attempt. Were I really a lawyer I’d have a lot more facts and argument…but I don’t have time for it today. That should give you enough to chew on though. And please read the links – they develop various lines of argument and evidence much further than I have time for.]

  154. For those nitipickers following along at home, I lost the quoted emphasis inside one blockquote. Go the original URL if you want to see the author’s emphasis.

  155. Min, on April 29th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Alas, I am not equipped for attempting childbirth, but I can empathise. 🙂

  156. And that’s precisely it isn’t Legion. Some people are empathisers whether it be regarding issues pertaining to torture, being a refugee, being unemployed and a myriad of other issues. Others just are not able to take a walk in another’s shoes.

    I did say ‘some’ people, however I think that it’s most people as without empathy the human race would have been extinct eons ago.

  157. If Bush and his warmonger party is ever put in front of a court it should be in another country as to make sure its fair, cause that wont happen in USA in this stage of anyones life.

    or was everyone else winging it with there laws till bush came and enlightened us.
    terrorists fighting terrorists fighting terrorists

  158. Brilliant…..you’ve done it…..LOL……….

    I’ll respond on the presumption that this is a sincere and considered response…a presumption that is admittedly dubious.

    If you mean that you now see these short points as an answer to your question, you look pretty silly – or in need of additional educational help – for not noticing the other dozen times one or more of these answers has been given to you. But better to look silly than to acknowledge something you can’t afford to acknowledge, eh?

    But since you’re LOLing I expect it’s more likely sarcasm used in another attempt to deflect. I reckon you won’t respond to the arguments in a substantive fashion…and you’re more likely than not to find it convenient to just leave this thread behind.

    At least we got a tacit agreement that both UN Convention Against Torture and US law seem to apply, even to those designated “enemy combatants” – so we can stop throwing those red herrings about, can’t we 😉

  159. Sparta,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agoge

    cultivating loyalty to one’s group(mind is made up), dancing.

    semi-mythical Spartan law-giver (or taketh)

    i knew i had something to look up. Sparta doing a naked dirty dancing with a shield.(should be your avatar) 😉

    i just read your comment.

  160. aquanut, on April 29th, 2009 at 5:17 pm Said

    Yes they were a real charming bunch…………………..much like the one we all know.!

  161. “Proponents of waterboarding like to say that it “simulates drowning”. That’s a lie designed to sugarcoat the harsh reality. Waterboarding is the act of drowning the victim, and simulating death. There are variations in how the water is applied and breathing interrupted – but these are mere details.

    In the Authors opinion and being a proponent and questioning the legal language are hardly the same thing either……

    “As far back as 1922 a US Judge found in White v. State, 129 Miss. 182; 91 So. 903 (1922) that strangulation by water was used to coerce a confession and that it “caused pain and horror”. “In Fisher v. State, 145 Miss. 116; 110 So. 361 (1926), the Judge wrote that a Sheriff observed several parties “…administering the water cure, a species of torture well known to the bench and bar of the country”

    Ok, where to begin with this brilliant prosecution, you can begin by dismissing White v. State, Fisher v. State and US vs Parker all cases in which “torture” is neither defined nor used in the context of “enemy combatants” in a time of conflict for starters. In short neither is applicable to the scenario in question and would certainly violate US law in regards to treatment of American civilians regardless if defined as torture or not. Perhpas you should look outside of Wiki for sources…

    • “In “United States vs Sawada”, a waterboarding practice remarkably similar to the one claimed to be used by the US today was described to the courts, who convicted a number of Japanese troops and officials of torture for waterboarding.”
    • -the results of that torture (although not its actual application) was included in the charges and specifications against the defendants.
    • You have to love the “writers own little input” here….Are you sure you didn’t write it?
    • Sawada and his co-defendants were not specifically charged with torture in the trial Charges and Specifications. Rather, Sawada was charged with causing “…Prisoners of War to be denied the status of Prisoners of War and to be tried and sentenced by a Japanese Military Tribunal in violation of the Laws and Customs of War”

    No, as you can see from above or by visiting the actual charges (this entry compliments of the same Wiki page you have scoured), they were tried for numerous violations of which one of them was “water-boarding”…..Again, stop seeing what you want to see and accept what is…..

    “On Feb 28, 1968 a US Soldier from the 1st Cavalry Division was court-martialed for waterboarding a detainee during interrogation.”

    Yes, he was to my understanding but where is the mention of torture here? This case and the others mentioned bring to light a reality you refuse to accept….The term torture, as I have said from the beginning has been used so often, the term seems to have lost any meaning….Some cases above even combine the two making it even more confusing for those of us trying to actually interpret the law, like “water-torture”. “Water-boarding” and “torture” are not synonymous no matter what you “feel” or others “feel”. Whether “water-boarding” constitutes torture as a matter of “law” is not “black-white”.

    “Proponents will argue that the physical pain experienced by waterboarding victims isn’t that bad compared to (say) bamboo shoots under the fingernails. But the question is not whether it’s better or worse than something egregious. The legal definition is “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental“, and we are expected to apply reasonable expectations of the outcomes of our behaviour in order to comply with law.”

    Well yes, that is the question genius; why else use “severe pain” instead of just pain? Are you saying they are equivalent then? Can we assume that words have no meaning then in your world? Can we now assume we can apply any meaning we would like to words in order to get them to fit our own personal agenda?

    “I don’t know about you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, but I have a reasonable expectation that if I start murdering a tied-up unwilling victim by drowning and keep going until they convulse hysterically in front of me, that my behaviour is causing severe mental – if not physical – suffering.”

    Well that is assuming ladies and gentleman you agree that said “technique” is the same as “murdering” and that said technique cannot be performed without causing convulsions. Apparently my “Red Herring” really isn’t anything of the sort as you seem to be able to read minds to determine “without a reasonable doubt” that you are causing “severe mental if not physical suffering now or pain or both”? Boy you are gifted…..

    “And that expectation is only enhanced by talking to US victims of waterboarding by other regimes. Victims such as Bob Baer, a former CIA agent, who was waterboarded and tortured in other ways.”

    Agian, I have no doubt it is an unpleasant experience and would certainly not discount anybody’s “personal” experience but again this is assuming the techniques were being conducted in the same manner as that conducted by US personnel…..

    “Proponents of waterboarding point to the use of a controlled voluntary waterboarding experience by friendly colleagues in the SERE program and claim that it can’t be torture. This is a legal dodge designed to baffle you.”

    Hardly a “legal dodge” but meant to highlight a point many like yourself continually miss….You are now claiming that water-boarding “THE ACT” is not torture but that it is a culmination of events which include “water-boarding” that now constitute “torture/sever pain and suffering”. In essence proving my point in regards to the Japanese case and others that you cite as evidence…

    “ A torture conviction can only be made if the severe pain or suffering is inflicted for the purpose of coercion, obtaining a confession or producing propaganda, or the like.”

    Yes, but first you must prove “severe pain or suffering” has occurred which again brings us back to my underlying question, “How does one determine that severe pain and suffering have occurred”. Something you have been unable to do……..

    “ Clearly none of this is involved in a program designed to help prepare our military personnel for the possibility that they may fall into enemy hands – enemies who aren’t above stooping to torture.”

    That is laughable, as in this day and age you would be lucky to just keep your head!

    ”The SERE program is also claimed as evidence that waterboarding has no long-lasting effects. But this is a lie by omission.”

    You have evidence of this as we are talking about a court of law here and not your “opinion”?

    “ The mental effects of being tied down by unfriendly forces and given a high-intensity experience of being murdered by drowning with no end in sight are vastly different to the effects of being tied down by friendly forces after a thorough physical and psychological evaluation, given a signal that you KNOW will immediately stop the waterboarding, and then voluntarily going through a typically low-intensity version of the experience – once and only once.”
    Again, that is assuming you know exactly what the training entailed, that you can provide evidence it is a friendly “high-intensity experience of being murdered”. Is it again the act now or culmination of acts?

    “And the claim that there have been no negative mental effects in SERE waterboarding volunteers appears dubious at best. A 2001 study (see part way down this page) in the August 2001 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry “looked at dissociative symptoms, e.g., depersonalization, derealization, psychic or emotional numbing, general cognitive confusion (emphasis added):The current study……….”

    Again, you seem to be having difficulty keeping some basic questions in mind…As you read this where is this in reference to “water-boarding” specifically? Seems the study was in regards to the effects of “survival training” as a whole, not that specific technique…

    “And that was just due to friendly training! Knowing this, do you have a reasonable expectation that unfriendly higher-intensity, long-lasting imposition of these techniques would likely induce severe mental pain or suffering?”

    This assuming the training is a big party and nothing like the real deal which I find hard to believe, hell I was gassed during my training in boot camp……Agian, you cannot even define when and how we determine “severe pain and suffering” yet continually throw it out there anyway…Hilarious using my “Red Herring” when it serves your case…..

    “And this SERE program argument completely ignores the physical effects. Waterboarding involves the repeated imposition of oxygen deprivation, which may be very dangerous.

    Well I am pretty sure the SERE does take into account the physical effects; hence the need for professionals and medical staff. Again, not a pleasant experience but debatable that it meets the criteria of “torture”……

    “Documented medical effects include heart attacks and strokes (either during the experience or much later), permanent memory loss, brain damage, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, mental confusion, disorientation, a sense of hopelessness and more. Cortisol is a hormone that the body produces in response to stress. As reported in the June 2000 article, “Assessment of Humans Experiencing Uncontrollable Stress: The SERE Course,” in Special Warfare:As shown in the charts on page 7, SERE stress caused significant changes in students’ hormone levels. Recorded changes in cortisol levels were some of the greatest ever documented in humans. In some cases, the changes noted among the trainees were greater than the changes noted in patients undergoing heart surgery….Changes in testosterone levels were similarly remarkable: In some cases, testosterone dropped from normal levels to castration levels within eight hours.”

    Again, are we talking about the training as a whole or specifically “water-boarding”? Seems relevant to keep track of what were discussing here, not what we would like to read from this….

    “And this was just in the SERE trainees. Knowing that, what is your reasonable expectation of the effect of a high-intensity experience at the hands of hostile interrogators?”

    You are assuming, with no proof otherwise that the training/and Gitmo was markedly different? You again have trouble distinguishing between what you “feel” and what is “evidence”……

    “But, ladies and gentlemen, there is one more point to consider. The “enhanced interrogation authorization memos” were predicated on the notion that only the imposition of “sheer terror” would be enough to get some of the US detainees to talk. That’s right, the entire purpose of this program was to inflict “sheer terror” on captives.”

    Well I guess again I would point to the SERE training and suggest we just offer a cake, balloons and singing to extract information from those that might have information that could save lives… Yes that’s it….Living in the theoretical is a very comfortable place indeed but nobody including you “Crusader” would hesitate to use such a “technique” if you thought it could save the life of a loved one….theoretical and “law” aside, I am confident of that…..Context is completely missing from your argument as well counselor……However, does “sheer terror” now rise to the level of “torture”? Well then we should never legally send soldiers to war as well…..

    “Now, do any of you have a reasonable expectation that a program that does this with no end in sight will end up inflicting severe mental suffering? Has anyone read any research on what happens to humans who experience ongoing sheer terror?”

    Yes, because as humans we all experience things the same way? We are carbon copies of each other and the experiences of us all are really extensions of the next…I think we can say from this debate this is not the case…..Are we debating the definition of “torture” in regards to “water-boarding or “sheer terror” now….Again, try to focus……

    “That instructor has a great deal more to say about the origins and classification of waterboarding and other techniques used at the SERE school, including a categoric statement that waterboarding IS drowning, some of the potential negative outcomes, and “when done right it is controlled death”. I urge you to read the whole thing. And I submit to you, ladies and gentlement, that any behaviour which most people can’t stand to watch is not behaviour worthy of our country, and which runs afoul of its laws. I don’t have time to point out all the laws that apply, but you can find some of them discussed here.”

    Well ladies and gentleman, as emotionally charged as the prosecution has been let me begin by highlighting some very fundamental aspects the prosecutor seems to completely miss time and time again. In a court of law we ask you all look at the “evidence” and from that evidence we ask that you make a “judgement” that either a law has been broken or it hasn’t. In this particular case we are asking you to answer some fundamental questions for which all of the Prosecutions argument rest:

    a) What is “torture” not what is “high intesity training, sheer terror etcetera” and is water-boarding a form of torture as defined.

    Torture is a term that is routinely thrown out there as fact yet the term does have a “legal definition” and whether we are referring to US law or International Law this “legal definition” is what is in question here…..If we are going to make the claim of “torture” under the law it seems fundamental we prove “torture” has been committed in regards to “water-boarding”…Let’s begin by dissecting the legal definition of the term:

    Severe: intensely or extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality
    Pain: a somatic sensation of acute discomfort
    Suffering: agony: a state of acute pain

    Now reasonable persons are going to disagree about what is severe pain v mild pain or what one person feels rises to suffering from the next. Those accused of committing “torture” as legally defined are accused of committing an act that rises to “severe pain and suffering” but how does one determine this? Without a reasonable doubt can you first of all tell me when “severe pain and suffering” has occurred? Some people can deal with more physically and psychologically then the next. The simple fact is, nobody can say for certain when and if “severe pain or suffering” has occurred in regards to “water-boarding” specifically. The prosecution has given you case after case in an attempt to confuse the jury by highlighting “water-boarding” in a vacuum and interchangeably using it in place of torture and vice versa without the reality of context….For example, a public official is bound by specific regulations in regards to his behavior or treatment of individuals in his custody (The US Constitution, local statutes etc
    ), an Army officer is bound by certain regulations in the field (Army Field Manual). In all cases the individuals were charged with deviating from these regulations. Water-boarding was neither defined nor extrapolated as having occurred in the “legal sense” as a matter of torture in any of these cases but as a matter of “personal” opinion or as an illegal act outside of the realm of approved interrogation for a given context . The same “opinion” you will be asked to give.
    All these cases simply highlight is that there is no consensus on the matter of “water-boarding” amounting to “torture” as legally defined; as evidenced to the fact that in some cases “water-boarding” is not considered specifically as “torture” but possibly when used in combination with other techniques it “may” reach the “legal definition of torture”. While in other cases it is in the context of the act of “water-boarding” itself being “illegal” without proving it is also torture.

    Again, we can all reasonably agree or disagree on what is “severe pain and suffering” but how and when do we determine it has occurred? It seems to me that if we are going to cast one technique or act as torture in one circumstance and not another we should remove the ambiguity of the language and reach a global consensus on which “tactics” are deemed “torture” and hence illegal…..Currently, there exists no such language only the “legal definition of torture” is here to guide us. Prosecuting individuals for their “interpretation” of said definition of torture, which as evidenced by the prosecutions mention of former cases, is hardly a “black and white” issue.

    The Prosecution would have you believe that this is simply the case. I would ask you, as reasonable human beings to question this reasoning in reaching your own judgment.

    b) Context

    The Prosecution will also have us believe that the US is bound by a legal definition of “torture” that also includes the term “harsh”, as defined as “sharply disagreeable; rigorous” interrogation techniques which are employed for the distinct purpose of making somebody uncomfortable in order to discern information from them in “extreme circumstances”. Information that may save lives in a time of war against and enemy that is not bound legally or morally by those same rules of war. Reasonable individuals can say we are pushing the “envelope” but again, nobody can say for certain that “water-boarding” rises to the legal definition of torture with certainty….I would again refer to the evidence provided by the Prosecution in regards to the SERE training. In that context, “water-boarding” is not defined as torture but training? But the Prosecution would have us believe it is torture and it isn’t? Than we must submit that we have been torturing our own service personnel over the last 30 years and as such all that have undergone “water-boarding” specifically experienced “severe pain and suffering” across the board? We must then look at prosecuting every official with knowledge of this training from its inception….I would submit again, that “water-boarding” is a technique nor is “torture” a term which is “black and white” easily attributed to every technique.

    The study cited didn’t look at “water-boarding” specifically but the training as a whole, hardly the same thing…
    However, the Prosecution would have us believe “water-boarding” is not torture as an act in this case now but is torture if used in a particular context now? But to be even more confusing, it isn’t on par with the technique/context used at Gitmo so it isn’t a valid example? Then the Prosecutions proclaims the study shows long term effects. Well then doesn’t this bring into question the matter of proving context and technique have been used now in such a way to cause “severe pain and suffering” or what exactly are they proclaiming? The training is either similar or isn’t? If they are proclaiming there are differences, it calls into question how we prove “torture” has occurred now given a hypothetical scenario, not the act of “water-boarding” itself? But wasn’t this their original contention? That “water-boarding” in itself is torture as defined under the law regardless of context?

    What about during times of war or combat? Do we not expect our politicians to use every possible power within the “law” to protect us? All they have at their disposal is the written law and it is up to them to determine what is lawful and what isn’t……..Executive privilege as written gives much room for interpretation in such times as evidenced by the use of the Atomic bomb by Truman, the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, the suspension of “Habeas Corpus” by Lincoln during the Civil War….all now considered controversial but in the context in which they were used as a measure to protect the American people form perceived threats…It is now coming to light that throughout the process the highest echelons of Congress were privy to the use of “water-boarding”; hardly an act of secrecy or policy of “torture”. Along this entire process the law has been referenced and scrutinized not ignored. The Prosecution cannot even tell you how to determine when “severe pain and suffering” have occurred but you are asked to make this determination on your own? They are hoping your personal opinion is similar to their own, not in regards to the legal definition as they too realize it highly subjective on all accounts. Are you confused ladies and gentleman, most would be…..

    In closing, what is clear without a reasonable doubt is that the term “torture” which is purported to have occurred with the “act” of “water-boarding” individuals rises to “severe pain and suffering”…The Prosecution can continue to insist it has occurred, provide as many witnesses as they like to too “affirm” it is torture but as a matter of law, “proving”, let me repeat that ladies and gentleman, “proving” severe pain and suffering have occurred is a completely different concept and entirely personal to the person experiencing it. As a matter of law, that is what you have been asked to do unfortunately. I would ask you to separate opinion from fact under the law and not make the mistake of blurring the two as the Prosecution has done. If we are to accept the Prosecutions definition of the term “torture” in regards to “water-boarding”, it suggests words no longer have any specific meaning and are to be interpreted via whatever personal attribute we would like to ascribe to them.

    I submit the current language is ambiguous and as such is clearly open to interpretation, especially in the context of eminent danger befalling American citizens in a time of war. One might agree or disagree that bamboo shoots under the finger nails is comparable to “water-boarding” I personally attest there is a difference and to insist both are on par in severity grossly underestimates the former but that is my opinion not the law. Words have meaning ladies and gentlemen. As a matter of law this becomes especially more important than personal “opinion”, especially in times of perceived eminent danger to a country’s citizens. Have the Prosecution “proven” without a reasonable doubt that “water-boarding” rises to the level of “severe pain and suffering”? Well that is for you to decide. I submit they have not but continuing on with this subject is coming remarkably close to “my definition” of severe pain and suffering….LOL…………………………

  162. …this entry compliments of the same Wiki page you have scoured…

    Strange. You’re so certain of so much. And yet so wrong on even little details like this. I’ve never been to any Wiki page on this case, or even as far as I recall on torture at all. And realisation of your wrongness never seems to sink in.

    You can begin by dismissing White v. State, Fisher v. State and US vs Parker all cases in which “torture” is neither defined nor used in the context of “enemy combatants” in a time of conflict for starters.

    You might, but the law doesn’t. Where precedent applies, and you seek to overturn it, the onus is on you to show why that should be the case. Merely invoking the magic incantation “enemy combatants” or “time of conflict” doesn’t work, UNLESS you can show there’s some actual legal implications to that term. Can you?

    Yes, he was to my understanding but where is the mention of torture here?

    You’re still not getting it. US laws and military regulations that pre-date the UN Convention Against Torture and US anti-torture laws apply, unless they’ve been removed from the books or somehow modified by additional legislation. Can you show that they don’t? Please explain your theory that says that detainee behaviour that used to result in a court-martial or execution for war crimes no longer falls under the laws that were used for such prosecutions in the past.

    Furthermore US anti-torture laws and the UN Convention both claim universal jurisdiction – they apply everywhere and always and to everyone, with no exceptions or excuses. You argue that they don’t. The onus is on you to show why.

    You keep asserting your beliefs that the laws now mean something different without providing any evidence. Why is that? Some might start to think that your assertions are based on nothing more than your “feelings”.

    The term torture, as I have said from the beginning has been used so often, the term seems to have lost any meaning….

    Holy dancing penguins! That’s rich and really too much, especially coming from you.

    You’ve got to be doing this as a form of performance art. Are you truly that self-unaware?

    You’ve been arguing all along that “Geez, I’m really not sure that waterboarding is torture” when it’s been blatantly obvious to pretty much everyone outside of the US and most inside of it for decades that waterboarding is. And the most bizarre thing about this comment is that it is in response to a bunch of US legal cases that CALL CERTAIN BEHAVIOUR “TORTURE”. And now you claim you are not sure it really is.

    The reason the word “torture” has lost its meaning is that the Bush administration and people like you who were happy to go along with and defend them tried to redefine it. Take a good look in the mirror. You’re part of the reason the word has lost its meaning.

    “Water-boarding” and “torture” are not synonymous no matter what you “feel” or others “feel”.

    Dude, you’re either not that smart, or you don’t WANT to comprehend what people are writing, or you don’t choose your words very well. Help me figure out which one it is.

    For waterboarding to be SYNONYMOUS with torture, it would have to be the ONLY form of torture. I assume you don’t actually think anyone is arguing that.

    I assume what you mean is “we really aren’t sure that waterboarding is always torture”, and “I think it’s just your personal ‘feeling’ that it is”.

    This argument has not been about what anyone “feels” is torture – except the victim. And there’s shitloads of evidence that they feel its torture. Have you bothered to read or listen or watch any survivors of hostile waterboarding? Have you read the words of the SERE instructor who says it is? (Remember, SERE, the program set up to help US soldiers prepare for cases where they were captured and tortured?) I posted the link to his article in my “defense” comment above. Dare you to go read it. For bonus points, you can tell him in comments on his blog why he’s wrong.

    Well yes, that is the question genius; why else use “severe pain” instead of just pain? Are you saying they are equivalent then? Can we assume that words have no meaning then in your world?

    This is a bizarre rant in response to what I actually wrote, and it highlights about 50% of the difficulty you have in debates.

    Look, Sparta, you’re obviously not very good at interpreting even slight amounts of nuance. By missing those details you turn them into something black and white which the author did not say and which most people wouldn’t read into it, and then get all upset at the straw man you have constructed. You’ve done this over and over again.

    In this case you argue that I’ve somehow redefined the meaning of words to suit myself. However, in mangling what i wrote, you’re redefining the meaning of the words that I wrote.

    Try and understand it again. I was saying that one argument people make – and you’ve made it – is that waterboarding isn’t as bad as other things you can imagine people doing. Note carefully that this is a RELATIVE judgement – that you (personally) “feel” that given a choice between two very bad things you’d prefer to suffer “waterboarding” to “bamboo shoots under the fingernails”. Just like you might prefer “chocolate” icecream to “vanilla”.

    My point was that this RELATIVE judgement tells us NOTHING about whether waterboarding falls under the ABSOLUTE standard defined by the law, you know, the one that goes “severe pain and suffering, whether physical or mental”, the one that you seem to think I’m redefining by quoting and using as the benchmark that we apply. Because, you know, you might actually hate vanilla and could take or leave chocolate icecream – so the relative judgment that you prefer chocolate doesn’t tell us whether or not you reach the absolute level of liking vanilla.

    How on earth can you twist it around in your head to interpret that use of the legal standard to mean that I’m NOT using that standard?

    Here’s another example. I wrote:

    ”The SERE program is also claimed as evidence that waterboarding has no long-lasting effects. But this is a lie by omission.”

    To which you responded:

    You have evidence of this as we are talking about a court of law here and not your “opinion”?

    Yes, I have evidence of “this” – because you misunderstood fairly plain English defining what “this” is. I was saying that people – including yourself – claim that because the SERE program volunteers experience an example of waterboarding, and because you assert that there is no evidence of long term harm as a result, that waterboarding is not torture.

    Here’s another response of yours that totally misunderstands the case:

    …that you can provide evidence it is a friendly “high-intensity experience of being murdered”.

    This one is just basic incomprehension. I wrote that the SERE program is a relatively LOW intensity version (administered by friends) of what a HIGH intensity waterboarding session administered by hostile interrogators would be like. I referenced (you know, provided evidence) a SERE instructor’s post providing this information.

    And you turn around and end up saying that the SERE version is “high intensity”? Dude, you’re not equipped for this argument if you keep doing this.

    Here’s another.

    You are now claiming that water-boarding “THE ACT” is not torture but that it is a culmination of events which include “water-boarding” that now constitute “torture/sever pain and suffering”.

    Once more for the terminally uncomprehending. This has been explained to you over and over again, but still you cling to your error.

    Waterboarding, the act of, is not torture under the UN Convention and the US law. Shock! I agree with you.

    But wait, there’s more. The torture laws say that the act has to be performed for certain purposes, NONE OF WHICH APPLY AT SERE. When waterboarding is applied for those purposes, precedent says that it is torture under the law.

    If you were a lawyer, at least you’d provide much amusement in the court. But your clients wouldn’t thank you for that.

    And after that you have the gall to assert that it’s not possible (and that I specifically haven’t pointed out how to) determine that “severe pain and suffering” have occurred.

    I went over this several times providing different ways to do this, and court cases have resulted in convictions under this definition. And yet you still assert, plainly falsely, that I have not.

    Do you have a cognitive defect that prevents you from retaining new information? Or are you incapable of saying “I disagree with your methods, and those of the courts” (and explaining why)?

    Here’s another.

    Well I am pretty sure the SERE does take into account the physical effects; hence the need for professionals and medical staff

    Dude, as you are fond of saying “words have meanings”. That’s why I wrote “The SERE program argument…”. In doing so I was talking about the argument that “we do it in SERE and they seem fine, so why can’t we do it to detainees”. I wasn’t talking about the SERE program itself.

    And by the way, stop while you’re behind. Your response supports my argument on this point.

    Again, are we talking about the training as a whole or specifically “water-boarding”? Seems relevant to keep track of what were discussing here, not what we would like to read from this….

    This, on the other hand is a good question. But IIRC one of the references to cortisol levels was specifically about waterboarding. And the SERE instructor who you have clearly not read implied that waterboarding was the icing on the cake for endurance in his post. He talks about packages of behaviours that don’t include waterboarding, and how waterboarding makes it much more severe.

    You are assuming, with no proof otherwise that the training/and Gitmo was markedly different?

    No. How many times do I have to explain this? I KNOW they’re different. They’re different even if the TECHNIQUES are exactly the same, BECAUSE they’re applied by hostile rather than friendly interrogators, to UNWILLING victims rather than VOLUNTEERS, with NO END IN SIGHT rather than a ONE SHOT DEAL, with NO WAY TO STOP rather than a code that means “STOP RIGHT NOW”, as part of a long term PACKAGE of abusive behaviour. And they’re different as that SERE instructor you didn’t read explained because the SERE version is LOW INTENSITY. What makes you think that the US had what it thought were “the worst of the worst” who weren’t giving them the answers they wanted so they kept it at low intensity, even as they did it 183 times?

    Are you truly that incapable of empathy that you can’t understand the difference it makes when the circumstances are THAT different? Are you so focused on the physical dimension that you can’t imagine there’s a mental pain & suffering dimension?

    I know some people have neurological impairment that makes them that way; others learn to block off empathy. What’s your story? Do you have it or are you hiding it?

    Yes, because as humans we all experience things the same way?

    No, again you fail to comprehend. It must be frustrating.

    The FACT that we agree on is that some people experience things differently from others.

    You seem to think this gets the waterboarders off the hook. Heck, I had a childhood friend who had no feeling in one part of his body. Wow, just because he exists, waterboarding isn’t torture! Hey presto!

    These assertions you are making are meaningless on their own. Justify them.

    See, the law has the concept of “reasonable expectation” (as explained by the DOJ document section II way back, that you seemed to think supported your case). Reasonable expectation does not include the concept that there might be exceptional cases. It says you should have foreseen the likely outcomes of your behaviour, and that you are responsible for those. The fact that you applied a torture practice to my childhood friend and he couldn’t feel the pain doesn’t mean you didn’t torture someone else by applying exactly the same practice.

    …that said technique cannot be performed without causing convulsions…

    LOL.

    Look, this is the crux of one of your main lines of argument, so have at it.

    You seem to think you have some information that the rest of us don’t have – that your country has invented a new form of waterboarding, and this new and improved version is somehow different from all the others, including all of those forms of asphyxiation by water that appeared in those court cases I quoted. Either that, or you think it’s a KILLER legal argument that MAYBE they were doing something different that means that the result isn’t torture – an assertion for which you haven’t presented any evidence.

    The amazing thing is that they created this “new waterboarding” by reverse engineering the old waterboarding techniques used at SERE to show US soldiers how despotic regimes might treat them. Very clever, those US interrogators. They redefined the word “reverse engineering” to mean “figured out what the torturers did that was so horrible that victims will tell you anything – and then took the torture bit out”.

    Please enlighten us.

    Because all those other cases drown the victim by cutting off his airflow using water (and sometimes cloths, bags and the like). I’m betting the new and improved technique does too. Feel free to show me that it does not.

    And if you can’t do that, you might like to explain how cutting off the airflow using your new and improved method is not torture (and won’t result in the convulsions you seem to think are necessary for it to be torture), whereas cutting off the airflow using those other methods is. References to hypoxia and how it doesn’t occur with the “new” technique might be useful, along with an explanation of how the victim’s psychological state is affected differently by the new waterboarding to just any old barbaric form of controlled drowning.

    Well I guess again I would point to the SERE training and suggest we just offer a cake, balloons and singing to extract information from those that might have information that could save lives…

    Ah, the false dichotomy, so beloved of those whose arguments are sh*t and who think so rigidly they can only see two alternatives (at best) at any one time.

    Once more. SERE training is to prepare for possible torture at the hands of enemies. SERE training is SPECIFICALLY NOT designed to be an effective interrogation program; in fact they DEMONSTRATE that waterboarding isn’t effective for “extracting information”. They even wrote that down in memos when they were first approached about interrogation methods.

    Here we see part of your core philosophy, free of any attachment to that “reality” that you think you’re so keenly seeing. You pretend that cakes/balloons/singing are the only alternative to waterboarding, thereby denigrating every hardworking honest cop and military/special agency interrogator your country has ever produced who have been far more effective at extracting information than your beloved waterboarders. Wow, that’s real patriotic (and honorable) of you!

    And you have the gall to claim I’m “living in the theoretical”. Dude, there’s little evidence that waterboarding “extracts information” and a lot that it doesn’t. Your government was told the same, and yet they persisted in believing in their “theoretical” that it would. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    That’s all I have time for now.

  163. Oh, and dude, you hang a lot of your argument on the concept of “not being able to tell with certainty” (my emphasis). You should talk to some lawyers about the legal standard that applies in criminal cases – “beyond a reasonable doubt”. It might freak your little black and white view of the world out. (That, and “reasonable expectations”.)

    Or next time you get caught speeding, tell the officer (or the judge) that he can’t be certain you were speeding because the radar gun isn’t 100% accurate.

    Or maybe you could offer your services for the defense in a rape trial. We can’t be certain she didn’t want it, and we can’t be certain it was really painful, just like we can’t be certain waterboarding produced severe pain or suffering, physical or mental.

    Wanna bet how far you get with that defense?

  164. Oh, yeah, and while you’re talking to the lawyers ask them about civil cases and “on the balance of probability”.

  165. .
    Sparta and Lotharsson,

    Please watch the length of your posts or I’ll have to get Kamahl the Moderator to edit them.

    And you don’t want to mess with Kamahl.
    .

  166. Snore………………….

  167. Obama says “that waterboarding was torture”..

    Things should get a bit more interesting based on that declaration…

  168. Sparta, your defense fails to address all of the other laws that seem to prohibit waterboarding. If I were a prosecution lawyer, I’d bring charges under all of them. Do you think you can defend them all?

  169. Again, we can all reasonably agree or disagree on what is “severe pain and suffering” but how and when do we determine it has occurred?

    Still hanging your hat on that dodge, when US courts have been able to convict people for violating the torture laws, thus implying that they were able to answer that question?

    …we should remove the ambiguity of the language and reach a global consensus on which “tactics” are deemed “torture” and hence illegal.

    We already have a partial global consensus – you just can’t comprehend that we do. It’s called legal precedent. But we can’t catalogue all possible torture techniques, so your hope here is doomed. Give it up.

    Prosecuting individuals for their “interpretation” of said definition of torture, which … is hardly a “black and white” issue.

    Well, I can agree that it’s hardly black and white in all cases, just like many legal questions. But I note that we don’t prosecute people for their INTERPRETATION of the law, but we prosecute them for their ACTIONS as measured by the court and jury’s interpretation. The fact that you incorrectly interpret a law is no defense.

    And you seem to think this is a problem unique to the legal definition of torture, when as has been pointed out over and over again it’s widespread in the law.

  170. Interesting.

    Today I read a SERE instructor, Malcom Nance, who testified to Congress. He stated in e-mail to a journalist blogger that (to paraphrase) the US inducement of sleep deprivation was stupidity personified if the aim of the enhanced interrogation techniques was to extract information. SERE teaches US military personnel to WELCOME sleep deprivation tactics because it renders interrogations worthless.

    Given that, and that waterboarding extracts “whatever the victim thinks the interrogator wants to hear”, it’s almost like the point of “enhanced interrogation techniques” wasn’t to extract information at all, isn’t it?

    So either it was for standard tinpot dictator reasons – propaganda creation, manufacture of “evidence”, populace intimidation – or the people who created this program were somewhere between very stupid or blindingly negligent in their duties to protect national security. And in either case, that means they made America less safe because they prevented the extraction of useful information. And we still have people defending their execution of their duties. Astonishing.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammad said this about his experience to the Red Cross:

    During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop. I later told the interrogators that their methods were stupid and counterproductive. I’m sure that the false information I was forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop wasted a lot of their time and led to several false red-alerts being placed in the U.S.

    The guy who apparently ran the 9/11 plot, the worst of the worst, is telling his interrogators to their face that their methods are stupid and counterproductive. Way to go, US!

    Oh, and yes, Malcolm Nance has been waterboarded. He wrote that it:

    “…is an overwhelming experience that induces horror, triggers a frantic survival instinct. As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening: I was being tortured.”

    Others write that you are being killed by the process, but slowly enough that you have time to contemplate the full horror of it.

  171. The Prosecution will also have us believe that the US is bound by a legal definition of “torture” that also includes the term “harsh”…

    Can’t get more than a couple of paragraphs out without lying about my argument? Geez, that’s really something to be proud of.

    [I] refer to the evidence provided by the Prosecution in regards to the SERE training. In that context, “water-boarding” is not defined as torture but training?

    Wow, you’re really desperate if you think a prosecution lawyer won’t crap all over that fraudulent argument in ways that any jury can understand. Especially since the difference – both under the legal definition, and in terms of the victim’s experience – has been explained to you over and over again. And even more especially since your assertion is a clear and obvious lie about my argument.

    One might be tempted to conclude that you don’t have a plausible defense.

  172. The study cited didn’t look at “water-boarding” specifically but the training as a whole, hardly the same thing…

    Correct. But waterboarding didn’t take place in isolation, and you can be damn sure any prosecution will include the entire package of experience as a whole. And the prosecution will likely be able to show that the level of intensity of each and every element used in SERE training was experienced by some of the detainees at a much worse level. So, do you really want to make this argument when it’s so easily used against you?

  173. But to be even more confusing, it isn’t on par with the technique/context used at Gitmo so it isn’t a valid example?

    Sparta, you’re just not good enough at logic to do this. That might explain why you’re so confused.

    If a low-intensity version of some experience causes a certain amount of pain and suffering, then a high intensity version will cause AT LEAST AS MUCH, and probably a lot more. So if the low intensity version is bad enough to count, then the high intensity version will too – in spades. And if that holds true, that makes it a valid example.

    Analogy – if driving 30mph above the speed limit is bad enough to constitute dangerous driving, then driving 60mph above the speed limit MUST also constitute dangerous driving. Do you truly not understand this type of reasoning?

  174. That “water-boarding” in itself is torture as defined under the law regardless of context?

    No, you still have a fundamental misunderstanding, despite repeated explanations.

    SERE waterboarding cannot legally be torture under the UN Convention and US anti-torture laws because the “victims” are volunteers and they are not undergoing waterboarding for the purpose of extracting information. Go read the law again!

    This invalidates basically your entire paragraph of argument. If you can’t understand this…well, I don’t know what to suggest. You’re probably never going to understand it, and you’ll certainly not understand why any convictions are handed down should it come to that.

  175. What about during times of war or combat?

    Well, is it or is it not an official war? If it is, then basically the laws of war apply. And then a whole bunch of precedent you seek to ignore pretty obviously comes into play. If it’s not, then the exceptions you want to use for wartime don’t come into play.

    Do we not expect our politicians to use every possible power within the “law” to protect us? All they have at their disposal is the written law and it is up to them to determine what is lawful and what isn’t.

    Ever attended a civics class? It’s up to the COURTS to determine what is lawful and what is not. No wonder you’re having trouble here.

    It’s up to EVERYONE ELSE – including the President and all of his staff – to obey the law, and take reasonable precautions in doing so. Not knowing the law is no defense, and neither is badly interpreting the law.

    …the highest echelons of Congress were privy to the use of “water-boarding”; hardly an act of secrecy…

    You have got to have your head far up somewhere unpleasant.

    You don’t know much about your own recent history, let alone how Congress works. The highest echelons of Congress are briefed about these matters under the strictest secrecy rules, IIRC under pain of death if necessary. The White House did everything possible to prevent anyone from knowing that they had authorised waterboarding.

  176. The Prosecution cannot even tell you how to determine when “severe pain and suffering” have occurred…

    Man, another three or four sentences, another lie. What an impressive, almost inhuman capacity for self-deception! Must take a lot of mental energy to keep all the lies going in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    As a matter of law, that is what you have been asked to do unfortunately.

    What, it’s unfortunate that jurors are asked to determine whether a law has been violated? Like they are every day around the US? Even laws that have a subjective component? So you’re saying that there should be no laws that attempt to measure or proscribe the impact on another human being, unless that impact can be *objectively* measured?

    Wow, if that’s true, you’re a closet radical. You want to tear up a huge chunk of your laws, and possibly even parts of your beloved Constitution. Good luck with that – you’ll need it.

    I would ask you to separate opinion from fact under the law and not make the mistake of blurring the two as the Prosecution has done.

    You seem to be under the misapprehension that opinion has no place in law, and that by calling something merely an opinion held by the prosecution you can bounce it out of court. You also seem to be asserting that all the prosecution would have is a mere “opinion” that waterboarding is torture.

    But when a jury is asked to decide on a criminal case, the court is asking whether – in their opinion – the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the law has been broken. In forming that opinion they are to consider all of the evidence and argument presented by both sides, along with any instructions from the judge on how to interpret the language of the law.

    Yes, you heard that right. It’s a matter of opinion, informed by evidence and argument. And if any waterboarding-related trial goes ahead, you can be damn sure there will be plenty of evidence and argument from the prosecution – and a defense – and then the jury will form an opinion.

    And I would not want to be a defendant up on those charges.

  177. Snore………………….

    Wow, thanks for that trip down memory lane. That used to be a killer retort that stopped all argument when I was back in about 1st grade.

    Good times, man, good times 😉

  178. Lotharsson,

    Snore….scratch…..sigh….snore…………….

  179. And a very important distinction between the SERE training and the “enhanced techniques” is consent.

    And I have read that the US military actually had to issue an order for those who received SERE training to NOT use the techniques in Iraq.

  180. Snore….scratch…..sigh….snore…………….

    I see we’ve reached non-responsive disdain as the last defense of your argument. Yeah, sure, that ought to do it!

  181. And here are two very important points from the SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY:

    (U) SERE school techniques are designed to simulate abusive tactics used by our enemies. There are fundamental differences between a SERE school exercise and a real world interrogation. At SERE school, students are subject to an extensive medical and psychological pre-screening prior to being subjected to physical and psychological pressures. The schools impose strict limits on the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of certain techniques. Psychologists are present throughout SERE training to intervene should the need arise and to help students cope with associated stress. And SERE school is voluntary; students are even given a special phrase they can use to immediately stop the techniques from being used against them.

    (U) Neither those differences, nor the serious legal concerns that had been registered, stopped the Secretary of Defense from approving the use of the aggressive techniques against detainees. Moreover, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the techniques without apparently providing any written guidance as to how they should be administered.

  182. Another SERE volunteer tells people like “Cheney and his semi-literate boss, Short Bus George” – and their followers, and Obama that SERE wasn’t designed to show how to “extract” information – it was designed to show how to RESIST as best as possible.

    I guess that the faux-macho chickenhawk wingnuts all figure that if we torture, they will talk. Except they won’t. We learned that we could endure, that passing on nonsense brought about a cessation of ill-treatment, and that we would survive because we believed in something (getting done with training, god, the flying spaghetti monster, whatever) and kept our focus there.

    The professionals inside the FBI, and even the CIA, pretty consistently pointed out that the interrogation techniques they used which involved not only no torture, but treating the detainees as human beings, yielded far better results than waterboarding and “walling” (yes, it hurts. but it leaves you no more disposed to talk about anything meaningful than does the waterboard).

    Either the detainee abuse program was aimed at something other than getting information (which is even more damning than the apologists admit), or it was created by very stupid and deliberately ignorant people who actively hurt US national security by doing so.

    And the people who defend that program to this day and argue that it works are continuing to harm the interests of the US, as well as the human rights interests of humans around the world.

    But you know, this is really inconsequential, right? I mean, “Snore….scratch…..sigh….snore…………….” seems like an appropriate response, you know?

  183. North Korea may need to thank Cheney, Bush and their lawyers for justification for tort…er, for using enhanced interrogation techniques on Americans they have in custody. This is where the US policy gets you. If it’s fair game for US detainees, it’s fair game for anyone else holding US citizens. After all, they have national security interests at stake, don’t you know?

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