3 of 4
3
Harris on torture
Posted: 19 January 2007 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  277
Joined  2005-01-27

Maybe this is too simple an explanation, but maybe Sam is in so much trouble over the issue of torture because he doesn’t acknowledge the emotional content of the scenarios he presents. 

His presentation is logical; torturing one person with evil intentions to save the innocent, seems reasonable and justifiable on one level.  But on another, it seems totally unreasonable and indefensible, as he’s finding out. 

Maybe he’s in trouble because, in the case of torture, he has relied too heavily on reason at the expense of emotion when emotion is running at its highest.  Humans are never comfortable debating scenarios where one life is being traded for another. 

Maybe all this goes to show that the human capacity for emotion is actually stronger than our capacity for reason.  And if this is true, then shouldn’t we be addressing some of the more emotionally charged issues from a more emotional rather than logical point of view?  And wouldn’t religious belief qualify as an emotional charged issue?

Just a bunch of questions with no easy answers ...

Susan

 Signature 

“Believe those who seek the truth, doubt those who find it.”  Andre Gide

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 January 2007 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  775
Joined  2006-12-04

Rasmussen,

Sam got in trouble because he took an Ameri-centric view of torture.

That view is inherently emotional.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2007 02:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2807
Joined  2005-04-29

[quote author=“Rasmussen”]Maybe this is too simple an explanation, but maybe Sam is in so much trouble over the issue of torture because he doesn’t acknowledge the emotional content of the scenarios he presents. 

His presentation is logical; torturing one person with evil intentions to save the innocent, seems reasonable and justifiable on one level.  But on another, it seems totally unreasonable and indefensible, as he’s finding out. 

Maybe he’s in trouble because, in the case of torture, he has relied too heavily on reason at the expense of emotion when emotion is running at its highest.  Humans are never comfortable debating scenarios where one life is being traded for another. 

Maybe all this goes to show that the human capacity for emotion is actually stronger than our capacity for reason.  And if this is true, then shouldn’t we be addressing some of the more emotionally charged issues from a more emotional rather than logical point of view?  And wouldn’t religious belief qualify as an emotional charged issue?

Just a bunch of questions with no easy answers ...

Susan

I think you’re correct, Susan. I’m not sure exactly how to address the issue of torture vs. “friendly” fire, but it most certainly is an emotion-laden problem, cutting deeply into our psyches.

Both of Harris’ books certainly are logic- as opposed to emotion-based, and for that reason will by necessity have only a limited effect on readers. I’ll bet that some good old-fashioned muckraking will follow, though, by writers who are up to the task. I’m still crossing my fingers that forum member, Noggin, will do for the state of Utah (and other Mormon places) what Upton Sinclair did for people who eat meat and appreciate humane working conditions for laborers. And I’m actually counting on something very interesting arriving on the shelves of America’s bookstores written by Mia. We won’t necessarily know her name, but I’ll bet she’ll include some obvious hint of her identity to close readers of her pieces on this forum.

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 January 2007 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  12
Joined  2006-11-29

:shock:  rolleyes When he started talking about the drug laws (victimless crimes) in this counrty, then followed it up with the torture question,; The way I understood it, that drug laws (victimless crimes), based on values and morals, are just laws against sinfull behavior, based on Faith. With that in mind, he seguied into the torture issue arguing that we really have a problem with torturing people up close “face to face”, but from 30,000 ft. it’s not a problem. it’s the ol..“out of site, out of mind’ cliche’. He wasn’t condoning torture. Whats the difference between torturing someone 3 inches away from torturing alot of people from 30,000 ft? What I got out of that was, again..keeping with the idea of Faith, that we have a problem with seeing someone suffer up close because..of the dead guy nailed up on the cross with thorns sticking out of his head..that millions of people worship..it’s not a pretty site!..it’s grotesque actually!!..not a good thought..

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 February 2007 11:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  565
Joined  2007-01-30

If your country has concentration camps where torture is daily practice, if your country breaks and defies ALL international laws, if your country commits crimes against its own people and against humanity, if your country is stigmatized around the world as the “mother of all terrorisms” …..you better be very careful when talking about torture.  8)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 February 2007 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
[quote author=“Hippasus”]If your country has concentration camps where torture is daily practice, if your country breaks and defies ALL international laws, if your country commits crimes against its own people and against humanity, if your country is stigmatized around the world as the “mother of all terrorisms” …..you better be very careful when talking about torture.  8)

It is gratifying that you have so much attention to devote to the human rights abuses of the United States, particularly in view of the fact that Greece does not have a perfectly spotless recent record in the area of civil liberties even for its own citizens.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 February 2007 01:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  565
Joined  2007-01-30
[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“Hippasus”]If your country has concentration camps where torture is daily practice, if your country breaks and defies ALL international laws, if your country commits crimes against its own people and against humanity, if your country is stigmatized around the world as the “mother of all terrorisms” …..you better be very careful when talking about torture.  8)

It is gratifying that you have so much attention to devote to the human rights abuses of the United States, particularly in view of the fact that Greece does not have a perfectly spotless recent record in the area of civil liberties even for its own citizens.

LOL Spare me the drama …although they are not angels here* ..they are far from being a deranged fascistic state (with concentration camps etc.)
US have mutate into a global menace thanks to its marvelous administration.

*at least here habeas corpus is not suspended and they are not demolishing building with all the people inside…  8)

[ Edited: 15 February 2007 01:39 AM by ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 February 2007 01:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
[quote author=“Hippasus”] LOL Spare me the drama

I don’t say that you are wrong to point these things out. But the volume of material you bring on this single theme suggests you have a bit of a Messiah complex, out to save the world from the big bad wolf. With a healthy helping of straight-up paranoia on the side.

Your project is your business. Perhaps even literally. I only suggest you try to leaven it with some intelligence beyond that found in “The Conspiracy Theorist’s Handbook”.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 February 2007 01:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  565
Joined  2007-01-30

Our basic problem here is that we import the same “police state” that US and UK exports ... only here people are more political active and they react …though hopefully more and more people will start reacting in US.

Well the big bad wolf is out to get you … wake up Little Red Ridinghood because your constitution is almost gone LOL

“conspiracy theorist”?  nahh I don’t support that Osama was the villain.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 February 2007 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20

Questions about the next major attack and its aftermath:

Torture or not, all the experts - CIA, FBI, Homeland Insecurity - agree that there is going to be another attack of 9/11 proportions, or worse, in the U.S.  Almost all of them agree that Bush’s policies, including prisoner abuse and torture, are making things worse, making the enemy stronger, swelling his ranks, multiplying suicide bombers.

Suppose the next attack doesn’t come until the Democrats are in the White House, what do you think the U.S. response will be?

Will moderate Muslims who are U.S. citizens and who speak the languages of Muslim countries, volunteer to help infiltrate enemy training camps, and schools where radical mullahs train young suicide bombers?

Will we continue to finance terrorism by driving gas guzzlers and building huge houses with quadruple the energy requirements of a sensible house?  Can you imagine buying German and Japanese products during WW 2?

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 February 2007 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  565
Joined  2007-01-30

The US psychological torture system is finally on trial
America has deliberately driven hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prisoners insane. Now it is being held to account in a Miami court

London Guardian | February 23, 2007
Naomi Klein

Something remarkable is going on in a Miami courtroom. The cruel methods US interrogators have used since September 11 to “break” prisoners are finally being put on trial. This was not supposed to happen. The Bush administration’s plan was to put José Padilla on trial for allegedly being part of a network linked to international terrorists. But Padilla’s lawyers are arguing that he is not fit to stand trial because he has been driven insane by the government.

Arrested in May 2002 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, Padilla, a Brooklyn-born former gang member, was classified as an “enemy combatant” and taken to a navy prison in Charleston, South Carolina. He was kept in a cell 9ft by 7ft, with no natural light, no clock and no calendar. Whenever Padilla left the cell, he was shackled and suited in heavy goggles and headphones. Padilla was kept under these conditions for 1,307 days. He was forbidden contact with anyone but his interrogators, who punctured the extreme sensory deprivation with sensory overload, blasting him with harsh lights and pounding sounds. Padilla also says he was injected with a “truth serum”, a substance his lawyers believe was LSD or PCP.

According to his lawyers and two mental health specialists who examined him, Padilla has been so shattered that he lacks the ability to assist in his own defence. He is convinced that his lawyers are “part of a continuing interrogation program” and sees his captors as protectors. In order to prove that “the extended torture visited upon Mr Padilla has left him damaged”, his lawyers want to tell the court what happened during those years in the navy brig. The prosecution strenuously objects, maintaining that “Padilla is competent” and that his treatment is irrelevant.

The US district judge Marcia Cooke disagrees. “It’s not like Mr Padilla was living in a box. He was at a place. Things happened to him at that place.” The judge has ordered several prison employees to testify on Padilla’s mental state at the hearings, which began yesterday. They will be asked how a man who is alleged to have engaged in elaborate anti-government plots now acts, in the words of brig staff, “like a piece of furniture”.

It’s difficult to overstate the significance of these hearings. The techniques used to break Padilla have been standard operating procedure at Guantánamo Bay since the first prisoners arrived five years ago. They wore blackout goggles and sound-blocking headphones and were placed in extended isolation, interrupted by strobe lights and heavy metal music. These same practices have been documented in dozens of cases of “extraordinary rendition” carried out by the CIA, as well as in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many have suffered the same symptoms as Padilla. According to James Yee, a former army Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo, there is an entire section of the prison called Delta Block for detainees who have been reduced to a delusional state. “They would respond to me in a childlike voice, talking complete nonsense. Many of them would loudly sing childish songs, repeating the song over and over.” All the inmates of Delta Block were on 24-hour suicide watch.

Human Rights Watch has exposed a US-run detention facility near Kabul known as the “prison of darkness” - tiny pitch-black cells, strange blaring sounds. “Plenty lost their minds,” one former inmate recalled. “I could hear people knocking their heads against the walls and the doors.”

These standard mind-breaking techniques have never faced scrutiny in an American court because the prisoners in the jails are foreigners and have been stripped of the right of habeas corpus - a denial that, scandalously, was just upheld by a federal appeals court in Washington DC. There is only one reason Padilla’s case is different - he is a US citizen. The administration did not originally intend to bring Padilla to trial, but when his status as an enemy combatant faced a supreme court challenge, the administration abruptly changed course, charging Padilla and transferring him to civilian custody. That makes Padilla’s case unique - he is the only victim of the post-9/11 legal netherworld to face an ordinary US trial.

Now that Padilla’s mental state is the central issue in the case, the government prosecutors are presented with a problem. The CIA and the military have known since the early 1960s that extreme sensory deprivation and sensory overload cause personality disintegration - that’s the whole point. “The deprivation of stimuli induces regression by depriving the subject’s mind of contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in upon itself. At the same time, the calculated provision of stimuli during interrogation tends to make the regressed subject view the interrogator as a father-figure.” That comes from Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation, a declassified 1963 CIA manual for interrogating “resistant sources”.

The manual was based on the findings of the agency’s notorious MK-ULTRA programme, which in the 1950s funnelled about $25m to scientists to carry out research into “unusual techniques of interrogation”. One of the psychiatrists who received CIA funding was the infamous Ewen Cameron, of Montreal’s McGill University. Cameron subjected hundreds of psychiatric patients to large doses of electroshock and total sensory isolation, and drugged them with LSD and PCP. In 1960 Cameron gave a lecture at the Brooks air force base in Texas, in which he stated that sensory deprivation “produces the primary symptoms of schizophrenia”.

There is no need to go so far back to prove that the US military knew full well that it was driving Padilla mad. The army’s field manual, reissued just last year, states: “Sensory deprivation may result in extreme anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, depression, and antisocial behaviour” - as well as “significant psychological distress”.

If these techniques drove Padilla insane, that means the US government has been deliberately driving hundreds, possibly thousands, of prisoners insane around the world. What is on trial in Florida is not one man’s mental state. It is the whole system of US psychological torture.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 May 2007 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20

THE LUCIFER EFFECT by Philip Zimbardo
(understanding how good people turn evil)  (‘making darkness visible’)

Abu Ghraib and more.  Why were those photos on the WEB for so long before any in the military spoke up?

A person is packed in ice until near death from hypothermia.  They are then told that if they ‘talk’, they will be warmed up.  “This is not torture.”

Listen to NPR interview with Terry Gross.  Listen to BBC interview.

Philip Zimbardo is professor emeritus at Stanford University

http://www.lucifereffect.com/

unsmoked’s questions:

Since torture is unacceptable to so many, what ‘comfortable’ new word will the CIA & Co. come up with to describe what they do when they torture someone?  ‘Interrogation’ is already suspect.  Can you think what their new word will be?  ‘Questioning’?  Probably something more obtuse.

How much do our top officials know about the torture that is going on today in the U.S. and in ‘surrogate’ prisons around the world, as in Egypt or Turkey?  During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, tens of thousands of civilians, many of them poor farmers, were tortured to death and ‘disappeared’ in Guatamala.  In this activity, the Guatamalan military was financed and ‘advised’ by the CIA.  Did Reagan not know about this?  Chose not to know?  (this military dictatorship came to power when the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Guatamala).

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 May 2007 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27

[quote author=“unsmoked”]A person is packed in ice until near death from hypothermia.  They are then told that if they ‘talk’, they will be warmed up.  “This is not torture.”

Oh, it is torture. But before you launch into a long discourse about why it is so bad, please articulate some statement of the Purpose™ for which you are saving the human race.

The more I am tortured by people trying to squeeze mileage out of subpoetic nonsense such as “making darkness visible”, the more I like the idea of being extinct.

A day without sunshine is like… night.

Cripes. Why can’t we just go back to the subpoetic nonsense of “unbending the twig”?

[ Edited: 13 May 2007 08:14 AM by ]
 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 May 2007 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20

[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“unsmoked”]A person is packed in ice until near death from hypothermia.  They are then told that if they ‘talk’, they will be warmed up.  “This is not torture.”

Oh, it is torture.

However, the more I am tortured by people trying to squeeze mileage out of subpoetic nonsense such as “making darkness visible”, the more I like the idea of being dead.

A day without sunshine is like… night.

Salty, I think ‘making darkness visible’ is a quote from Milton, but I suspect you knew that, and don’t like Milton either.  I am trying to think of something funny, to draw you back from the brink . . .  Let’s see, have you read Carlos Castaneda?

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 May 2007 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27

[quote author=“unsmoked”]Let’s see, have you read Carlos Castaneda?

I used to have one good thing to say about Milton: It doesn’t suck. I had no idea Milton was such a hack on occasion.

Re: Castaneda: Maybe about ten pages, before I pitched it into the wood-burning pizza oven, along with some crust, sauce, cheese, mushrooms, and onions. I’m embarrassed to admit that I read any of it. :D

The mushrooms were superb. Pizza on earth.

I think you could pretty much tease out veracitatus’ “sapience” along the lines of “lack of susceptibilty to hallucinagenic™ plants”. These substances deprived me of the need to care about what I was saying about “reality”, but never convinced me that I was “flying”. Woo-hoo.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 4
3
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed