The CIA didn’t just torture…

The CIA didn’t just torture… December 18, 2014

they experimented on human beings.

Torture Defenders: Why die on this hill? Why go on defending this? Repent. Receive the mercy of God, and move on.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Andy

    This from the article just frightens the hell out of me:

    As Americans from the Beltway to the heartland debate—again—the legality and efficacy of “enhanced interrogation,” we are reminded that “torture” has lost its stigma as morally reprehensible and criminal behavior. That was evident in the 2012 GOP presidential primary, when more than half of the candidates vowed to bring back waterboarding, and it is on full display now. On Meet the Press, for example, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who functionally topped the national security decision-making hierarchy during the Bush years, announced that he “would do it again in a minute.” The Golden CIty on the hill – must be gold leaf I guess.

    • Rob B.

      More like iron pyrite on a molehill…

      • Andy

        So true.

    • Ken

      Dick Cheney said on Fox news that they used these “techniques” because they were proven to work. That was a lie. It wasn’t challenged by anyone on the network because they were too busy fawning over his “courage” of getting other people to perform evil. The FBI is well versed in questioning people with much better results. There is a proven science to the way that they do it and it is very effective.

      • Andy

        Which is why the FB ran from what the CIA was doing.

  • JmcBoots

    That is really a bit of over-dramatization, considering they didn’t specify any actual experiments. Only that they were messing with their mind to get them to talk in a reverse SERE manner. For all we know this “experimentation” could have been to make them listen to Justin Beiber for 24 hours a day.

    With that said, let me also say this. I believe torture is wrong and immoral and we shouldn’t be doing it. But waterboarding is not torture.

    As the docs clearly state, the point of these efforts is the same as that of good cop, bad cop. Make the bad cop annoying enough to get the subject to talk to the good cop. And they don’t even beat people like the cops do in the movies.

    And also note what the end of the article says. to paraphrase:
    We can’t prove what they did was torture and illegal and thus we are loosing the battle. So lets change the argument and see if we can gain the sympathies of the ignorant masses with a new phrase… “Human Experimentation.”

    • chezami

      The pathetic attempt to cling to “waterboarding is not torture” at this late date is absurd. Waterboarding was but one of a menu of tortures inflicted on prisoners. It is a lie to say that we can’t know that anal rape, standing on a man’s broken leg, freezing him to death and threatening to murder wives and children are torture. Stop lying.

      • carlzilla

        Waterboarding is part of basic training to be a Navy Seal, just sayin’.

        • Adolfo

          Yes, for the bazillionth time, WE KNOW. We do it in order to train the Seals how to withstand it should they ever be captured and tortured by it. There is a qualitative difference to what we do in order train Navy Seals and what we did to prisoners.

          • Rob B.

            I assume such training also accustoms the SEALs to know what it’s like to be drowning so that they keep their heads if something happens during an underwater operation.

            • Ken

              The Navy Seals volunteer to learn this training. People in captivity not so much.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Actually, no. Drownproofing (the proper term for the training evolution which mimics waterboarding) is done precisely only to introduce the pupil to the horrors of torture.

              SEALs are trained in how to avoid drowning by very different methods. Drowning is a mental and physical state resulting from the triggering of the mammalian dive response. Once you start drowning, there’s no coming back by force of will, there is only grasping for something solid and trying to inhale as much as possible. You don’t train to avoid the response by triggering it.

              Also, drowning doesn’t look anything like Hollywood depicts it. That’s one big reason so many drown in front of a crowd with no one noticing, the crowd has been trained to look for shoutin and waving hands instead of gulping and horizontal flailing of limbs.

              • Rob B.

                Oh I see! Thank you for the clarification. I apologize for my earlier ignorance.

        • chezami

          Another desperate lie. SERE training is done in order to build our troops up and strengthen them. Waterboarding prisoners is done in order to tear them down and destroy them. You might as well say that a man making love to his wife is the same thing as rape since the physical actions are the same. Stop lying.

        • Jonk

          Is anal rape part of that training? Or week-long hanging sleep deprivation?

        • kenofken

          Pain is also a basic part of life for the BDSM crowd. There are people who have themselves hung by hooks through their flesh, zapped with electrical devices so powerful they burn the hair off of their bodies, bruised from head to toe, stuff you can scarcely imagine. I have personally witnessed a full-on Passion of the Christ whipping.

          The difference is prisoners don’t have a safe word….

    • Andy

      I love the good cop – bad cop comparison — SO we should be thankful that we don’t have movie cops? A dubious DOJ memo, the author of which has said the CIA went to far, says that what the CIA did was not torture, yet we prepare our armed forces to face the torture of waterboarding, through SERE training. ANd I read we can’t prove its torture.

      • Ken

        We should base all of our moral decisions on TV shows. They’re real right?

    • David Naas
    • kenofken

      So the systematic study of how to break a human being isn’t problematic for a democracy to be engaging in so long as it doesn’t get you know, too out of hand?

      I don’t know why we wasted so many lives fighting WW II and the Cold War. It turns out we really had no fundamentally incompatible visions for humanity. The whole thing could have been sorted out by lawyers and cartographers.

  • HenryBowers

    I think we only care about “cruel” experimentation, just like we only care about “cruel” torture. Waterboarding doesn’t appear cruel, even if unbelievably harrowing. People feel instead of think, and emphasizing experimentation won’t reverse that.

    • Dave G.

      Says who? It seems pretty cruel to me.

      • HenryBowers

        Have your feelings swayed national policy?

        • Dave. G.

          Frequently. :). Since you said we, I thought it was meant to include us all.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Torture apologists please tell me: How is this any different from Mengele?

    • kenofken

      Mengele had access to more identical twins and kept better notes. Other than that……

  • Mark Neal

    “…thirty-eight people were subjected to psychological and physical torments, and the results were methodically documented and analyzed. That is the textbook definition of human experimentation.”

    Really now! This torture debate has gone completely off the rails.

    If somebody thinks that water-boarding, sleep deprivation, and isolation are intrinsic evils, then I can respect their position. If they can give coherent, satisfactory reasons for it, then I’m ready and willing to hear them. However, calling it “torture” is a stretch (to put it mildly), and to then put it in the same category as Christ’s Passion and Death is simply ridiculous.

    But “human experimentation”?!

    Get a grip!

    • T

      You are flat out wrong.

      • Mark Neal

        How so?

        • T

          If you can’t see that’s wrong, you’re morally bankrupt.

          • Mark Neal

            Please explain.

        • antigon

          Mr. Neal:
          Forgive if unjustified for suspecting your respect is a little like that granted opponents of abortion by Andrew Cuomo when he reluctantly allowed they could live in New York.
          Nonetheless since John McCain, for all his (considerable) faults, thinks ‘waterboarding is torture,’ & could be said to have some perspective about the subject, it is possible what you call the ‘stretch’ of that view merits less exercise than you propose.
          But in the off chance you aren’t just assuming the role of an immoral lawyer, one of the many reasons your examples fail has to do with the intention in them of the stronger. Straitjackets or handcuffs aren’t employed – I speak of policy, not abuse – with even a secondary purpose of degradation, nor spanking either. The latter practice is of course seriously debated & perhaps a developed view will someday obtain, or not; but some weight belongs to the historically universal practice & understanding that denies spanking violates a child’s intrinsic dignity precisely due to the nature of childhood. As distinct for example, however satisfying, from spanking Donald Rumsfeld.
          Your chief error in reasoning, tho, is the non sequitur that because there is debate about what qualifies as human dignity, it’s therefore impossible to call its violation intrinsically evil. Not so on the face of it, as well as according to the Catholic Church & all those international agreements. To be sure, we should collectively seek a deeper grasp of what constitutes & particularly what violates it, morally above all of course, but also intellectually; & this despite the often tendentious pretense to be exploring either, solely as a means to avoid doing so.
          One fears your chief moral error may be that you fall into that latter & only contemptible category, even as one hopes the problem is but poor judgment, however arguably culpable you may be in that regard as well.

          • Mark Neal

            “One of the many reasons your examples fail has to do with the intention in them of the stronger. Straitjackets or handcuffs aren’t employed – I speak of policy, not abuse – with even a secondary purpose of degradation, nor spanking either.”

            Ah, but you see, water-boarding – speaking of policy, of course, not abuse – is not employed for degradation either. It’s purpose is to gather information.

            “Your chief error in reasoning, tho, is the non sequitur that because there is debate about what qualifies as human dignity, it’s therefore impossible to call its violation intrinsically evil.”

            No, I think it’s impossible to call water-boarding intrinsically evil.

            • antigon

              ‘I like to think I’m being sincere.’
              The obfuscation posted above, if no surprise, contradicts the pretense of the quote here, even as it vindicates Mr. Shea’s accusation – save perhaps for those inclined endlessly to debate whether tendentiousness can be sometimes considered sincerity.

    • Andy

      How about those actions you listed above remove form the tortured human dignity? Does that work? The churches pretty clear about the need to maintain human dignity – that dignity deserved because you, I,they are children of God.

      • Mark Neal

        “Does that work?”

        Well, to put it simply: no, I don’t think it does.

        Think about a mentally ill or just extremely dangerous convict being moved about in a strait jacket. How humiliating must it be for him to watch strangers stop and stare at him, wondering what he must have done?

        Or better yet, think about a man being led through a crowd in simple handcuffs. He feels so rotten about what he is being put through that he keeps his eyes fixed on the ground in front of him – he can’t even bare to look at the crowd. Is that not an undignified state to be in?

        Or how about a child bent spanked for disobedience? He is bent over his father’s knee with his butt sticking up in the air. Does that not detract from his dignity as a human being?

        I think that in both cases, it could be argued that it is quite undignified indeed, but certainly neither of those is an intrinsic evil.

        The problem that I see here is that “human dignity” is too vague – different people have different understandings of what it means. Some people think spanking is an affront to the dignity of a child, others don’t.

        Now, I’m all for human dignity – meaning that we all should treat others as beloved, fellow children of God. But exactly what that entails, and what it forbids, is precisely the point of disagreement on this issue.

        If something is going to be established as an intrinsic evil, it has to be based on something more specific than “human dignity.” The phrase is simply leaves too much up to personal interpretation.

        • T

          Since you can’t seem to understand what grave evil is with your ridiculous examples, I’ll have to explain. Water-boarding is torture because one is trying to break the other person’s metal state by threatening them with death (like pointing a gun or sticking a knife at their throat). Do it a little to much and the person will drown. Sleep deprivation, another way to try to break someone by ruining their ability to function and think properly. It’s all about breaking the other person and making them a slave.
          Isolation, aka solitary confinement is considered torture by anyone who knows anything about it.

          This doesn’t even mention all the horrible other stuff done.

          • chezami

            Fake confusion over the definition of torture is the chief tool of liars who seek to justify torture.

            • Mark Neal

              I am not a liar.

              What’s the matter with you?

          • Mark Neal

            Alright, perhaps I should clarify myself a bit.

            The issue I have is with saying that water-boarding/sleep deprivation/isolation are intrinsic evils. Are they evils? Sure they are, in a sense – killing is an evil too, but it’s not intrinsically evil. That makes a tremendous difference, because an intrinsic evil (sodomy, for instance, or blasphemy) can never be used for good under any circumstances whatsoever, whereas evils that are not intrinsic (like killing) sometimes can be.

            Now, you have taken the position that water-boarding is intrinsically evil. Please believe that I am trying as best as I can to understand your position, precisely BECAUSE it’s different than mine. If I’m being “ridiculous,” it’s not on purpose. I like to think I’m being sincere.

            As far as I can tell, your argument runs something like this:

            Water-boarding is torture.
            Torture is intrinsically evil.
            Therefore, water-boarding is intrinsically evil.

            The reason I’m so caught up on the definition of torture here is because, as you can see, it literally makes all the difference in the world. Define it too broadly, and spanking and yelling become intrinsic evils, which is silly – that was the point of my examples. So far, all the definitions of torture I’ve been given from those in your camp seem to include too many things that obviously are not torture, and that’s what those in my camp have a problem with.

            Does that clear things up any?

    • Joseph

      I’ve read an interview with a man whom the Bolsheviks interrogated in 1955, when he was 26 years old. They subjected him to sleep deprivation until he started to hallucinate. Today, almost 60 years later, this man still deals with the after-effects on his brain. Computer imaging shows “a tumor” in an area of his brain, whereas there’s no real tumor there. Clearly, something was messed up in his brain, on an anatomical-physiological level, and it never recovered. He also suffers, to this day, from nausea, headaches, and poor concentration in the morning, and those symptoms appeared precisely after he was subjected to sleep deprivation in 1955.
      He also received old-fashioned beatings, but the beatings healed in a matter of weeks. Thus, it was actually not the beatings that disabled him for a lifetime, but the sleep deprivation.
      Torture defenders falsely claim that such things as prolonged sleep deprivation do not cause irreversible harm to the person’s body and health.

      • Mark Neal

        “Torture defenders falsely claim that such things as prolonged sleep deprivation do not cause irreversible harm to the person’s body and health.”

        Apologies in advance if the following sounds uncharitable. It’s not meant to be rude, but this needs to be said:

        When somebody talks about “torture,” most average people think of pulling a man’s guts out, or snapping bones one at a time, or cutting limbs off, or frequent and severe beatings, or something like that. You know: real, no-kidding torture. Now those things unquestionably constitute torture, and are definitely not justifiable for any reason. And nobody on this forum, labeled a “Torture Defender” by people like you, actually defends those things.

        Isn’t that ironic?

        It would be far more accurate to call us “Severe Interrogation Method Defenders,” or something along those lines. But, of course, that wouldn’t have quite as much rhetorical effect. And it sure seems to me that rhetorical effect is the first and only goal. After all, the main point of the original post was that even the word “torture” doesn’t have enough rhetorical effect, so we need to start calling it “human experimentation!!!”

        Can I coin a phrase? If we’re going to be called “Torture Defenders,” then how about if we dub you guys the “Waterboarding-is-the-Same-as-Disembowelment Crowd?” Do you think that would contribute to a mutual understanding of each other’s points of view, or would it be a detriment?

        Ok, my rant is finished.

        As to your actual point: I agree with you insofar as causing permanent harm is going too far. I think that sleep deprivation can, in limited circumstances, be justified (unlike disembowelment), but going so far as to cause permanent harm cannot be.

  • Jonk

    They couch the program’s source in a decent idea: to discover how to create an environment that encourages prisoners of war to provide necessary information. That’s how they’ve justified the horrors to themselves, and how they’ll try to justify it to the American people. The problem is they included no controls, and went straight to eleven on the methods of extraction, so it sounds more like post hoc excuse-making rather than legitimate science.

  • David Naas

    I have noticed a perplexing similarity. Torture defenders and abortion advocates and militant atheists have a surprising number of features in common.

    *Their narrative is based on incomplete or erroneous (bogus) information.
    *They deny refutation, made with fact and logic, as being, “just your opinion”.
    *They adamantly declare their limited version of the world as Reality and yours as Fantasy because (insert appropriate shibboleth here.)
    *They tell you to shut up and go away.
    *They become insulting and hysterically mean-spirited nasty when you do not go away.
    *They are prone to one word rebuttals or lengthy statements IN ALL CAPS.

    Merely substitute a few phrases and their “arguments” are remarkable similar. But why?

    Upon reflection, it is a commonality of self-loathing and the inevitable contempt for and hatred of all else that IS which derives from the hidden factor: all are anti-Life. It was Saint John Paul 2 who first spoke extensively naming the coalition of darkness the Culture of Death. He was quite familiar with its several manifestations in the National Socialist thugs of Hans Frank and the Communist thugs of Stalin.

    It is well to remember always the core motivations of the enemies of Life are the same as their master Lucifer, regardless of how masked by “front groups” they might be — to destroy all that IS, including themselves.