Monday, September 25, 2006

At Home or Abroad -- Torture Simply Doesn't Work

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
A man who confessed to a crime he didn't commit after allegedly being handcuffed to a wall for five days by Chicago police has won a new trial ***

Lopez sued police detectives in federal court last year after claiming he confessed to a 2000 murder because he suffered abuse by detectives. ***

Chicago Police officers arrested Lopez in 2000 for the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy. They arrested him without a warrant based on one eyewitness identification.

Lopez claimed that while in custody he was handcuffed to a wall for five days, denied bathroom breaks, punched in the face and only given food once. He then confessed. But the details of his confession didn't match details of the crime. The real culprit was later caught and Lopez was set free.

So a man falsely confesses to murdering a 12-year old boy after being cuffed and punched -- and I'm still supposed to believe that the Bush Administration is getting useful, truthful information from waterboarding?

Update 9/26/06 - Molly Ivins weighs in on American torture:
The safe position is, "Torture doesn't work."

Well, actually, it works to this extent -- anybody can be tortured into telling anything that's true and anything that's not true. The more people are tortured, the more they make up to please the torturer. Then the torturer has to figure out when the vic started lying.
And if the prisoner being tortured really doesn't know anything -- only seven of the hundreds of prisoners at Gitmo have ever been charged with anything -- the lying begins almost immediately.


NW burbs said...

I thought Thomas Jefferson put torture in the Bill of Slights... It's like Amendment C or G or something.

Karen Hughes said so on Fox News. Supreme Court Chief Justice George Bush agrees.

Wait... Oops. Crap.

That's not how it goes?

In all honesty, it's kinda weird how Republicans are for torture in the White House, but want to ban books about it.

Vote Republican - they like rape and torture.

Windypundit said...

I think this is a poor argument. Torture works. The police wanted Lopez to confess, and he did. They got what they wanted.

The CIA-ish folks are torturing people for information, not a confession, so they'll use a different approach. In particular, they'll be careful not to tell their subjects what they want them to say. They're already trained in this for normal interrogations. I'm guessing torture will get them the information they want, and most of it will be correct.

I'm not sure how to convince the torturers that they're wrong, don't you agree that torture is wrong, even if it DOES work?

So-Called Austin Mayor said...

I would oppose torture even if it worked. But no one has to guess about torture's utility for gathering factual information, one just has to read the available information on the subject to see that it doesn't work.

For instance, from the Washington Post’s review of Ron Suskind's "The One Percent Doctrine":

Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?"

Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep.

Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each…target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."

You don't have to read the entire book -- but I recommend it -- to understand that, because it has such a terrible signal-to-noise ratio, torture does not and cannot work in the interests of the United States.

Carl Nyberg said...

What's fucked up is that the Bushies want to use torture whether it works or not.

NW burbs said...

Carl Nyberg said...

What's fucked up is that the Bushies want to use torture whether it works or not.

It's clearly some sort of conservative fetish. They were ok with the @#$*& violations at Abu Ghraib and other forms of depredation and degradation. And now they want to codify it and make it our nation's law.

But God forbid you touch your love's butt in your own bedroom -- that'd be bad. So bad we'd need a Constitutional Amendment or something.

Say, maybe we should have a Constitutional Amendment ... forbidding torture.


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