Forget Morality, Humanity or Legality: Torture DOESN'T WORK

A recent poll showed that 44% of Americans support torture on "terrorist suspects".

Why so many?

A key architect of America's torture program, Doug Feith, testified under oath to Congress today that torture is necessary because - otherwise - we couldn't get any information out of the "bad guys". Several Congress people agreed.

Why do any Congress people support this argument?

Because many people mistakenly assume that torture works, and is thus a necessary evil.

Let's put aside questions of morality, humanity, and legality . . . Let's just focus on one question: does torture work?

In fact, the professional FBI, CIA and army interrogators all say no.

They say that people will say anything to stop the pain . . . specifically, they'll say what they think the torturer wants to hear. Moreover, they say that the way to actually get useful information about of prisoners -- including information helpful to stopping future terrorist attacks -- is to build trust and rapport with them, or to outsmart them in ongoing conversations.

See for yourself:

  • Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1 says:
    "Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."
  • The FBI interrogators who actually interviewed some of the 9/11 suspects say torture didn't work

Still don't believe it? These people also say torture doesn't produce usable intelligence:

  • Former high-level CIA official Bob Baer said "And torture -- I just don't think it really works ... you don't get the truth. What happens when you torture people is, they figure out what you want to hear and they tell you."
  • Rear Admiral (ret.) John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General for the Navy, said "Another objection is that torture doesn't work. All the literature and experts say that if we really want usable information, we should go exactly the opposite way and try to gain the trust and confidence of the prisoners."
  • Michael Scheuer, formerly a senior CIA official in the Counter-Terrorism Center, said "I personally think that any information gotten through extreme methods of torture would probably be pretty useless because it would be someone telling you what you wanted to hear."
  • Dan Coleman, one of the FBI agents assigned to the 9/11 suspects held at Guantanamo said "Brutalization doesn't work. We know that. "

Many other professional interrogators say the same thing (see this, this, and this).

Torture is certainly immoral, inhumane, and an illegal war crime. However, until people realize that it doesn't work, it will not stop, and those responsible will not be held accountable.

Orang posted

to Reddit here:

(thanks, Orang).

And it destroys the people doing it.

Sorry, no point in mincing words. Yeah there are degrees, but I will never trust a person who engaged in torture willingly. Yes, I do understand no win situations where they put a gun to your head and its him or you.

Not talking about that. I'm talking about the "Private Lynndie Englands" and anyone else who went along, didn't object or speak out or even just say "fuck no, I can't stop YOU, but I'M not doing that!".

Yeah, the people higher up putting them in that sitch are more responsible and should be beaten in public(IMHO)--but the people doing it are still responsible. You can never trust someone like that again--someone who inflicted pain on someone who was no threat--and in many cases enjoyed it. Just look at the pics. Those people are GONE.

Omar Khadr, Canadian citizen.

This is not exactly torture but it is a CSIS agent (Canadian version of CIA) interrogating a 16 year old kid who allegedly killed an American medic in a firefight.
There are no reports of him being tortured but he has been languishing in Guantanamo for 6 years now without a fair trial. Nobody in the Canadian government or any of the opposition parties has the courage or compassion to ask for a fair trial for Omar. These interrogation tapes were made public today. At least there is some hope for our justice system and the Canadian people are showing compassion. It's hard to imagine this kid as a hardened terrorist.

putting aside morality, humanity, and legality

9/11 worked.

Torture Works for Neo-Con Agenda Only

It gives legs to the enemy combatant stories by providing confessions from tortured victims who might never have agreed they were enemies. It's exactly what the administration wants - confessed Guantanamo enemies.
And, members of Congress all know torture doesn't work and they're mocking the public to say it does.

Right-on marzi

These Neo-Con criminals aren't stupid. They know that a person being tortured will confess to anything, including 9/11, just to stop the agony. So does congress. If you really want the truth, torture is the worst way to get it. Obviously they don't want the truth. They want confessions and don't give a damn how they get them. What monsters. Well they will get theirs in the end. The law of retribution never fails. What goes around comes around. It's karma folks.........................I also agree with the people who pointed out that the scum who do the torturing are just as guilty as their superiors who order it. There is no excuse for it. They also will get theirs. Damn sick souls. Makes me want to puke.

Torture: Act 2 in the Terrorism Political Theatre

Two points to keep in mind here, the real reasons for torture in general, and the reasons this group wants it this time.

The best explanation in general: torture is like terrorism. It's political theatre, not meant for the victims of the moment, nor for the reasons given as its cover story. The real subject of torture is the public that is meant to know about it: whether through official acknowledgements or through leaks and rumors later denied, torture is meant to terrify and cow the populace which knows that they are within reach of the state that practices it. You might as well equate the two, since terrorism by definition is violence whose primary intention is to terrify its audience and prepare them for further molding by the perps. As such, state torture may be the purest form of "state-sponsored terrorism."

The effects on the victim(s) are, politically speaking, "overburden" -- an incidental but necessary cost of the business. The effects on the material authors of the acts, the actual persons carrying out the torture acts, simply run the gamut from dehumanization to sadistic entertainment.

Keeping in mind the central message of (which I believe to be true), the perps of the US torture policy aren't seriously looking for information from the prisoners. They could care less about the efficiency of any "intelligence" thus gathered, and they care not one bit about the prisoners themselves. They may care something about the effects on the military, from the people given the job of torturing, to the chain of command ordered to accomodate it, to the more general military, intelligence, and governmental organizations gradually corroded by it presence. If they do care, it's precisely because they DO want people to be seduced and corrupted, or cowed into acquiescence, as a part of the general program of turning such organizations from defense against external threats to oppression of internal dissent.

I also believe the US public has been meant to know of the torture, in order to get us used to the idea of the US government acting with brutality against whoever it deems an "enemy", essentially a big experiment in the efficacy of the "Stockholm effect" -- to get us used to approaching the government as supplicants, not citizens. Actually, it's important to note that this can work both psychologically on those who don't question the cover stories, and rationally on those who don't believe a word the government says.

There is some slight possibility some of those in the chains of command think they're actually doing some good by ignoring the experience of the "mainstream" military and intelligence institutions. To the extent they really do think they "know better," we can be sure these institutions are having their readiness and performance degraded as well, for that means in any investigations where information really is needed, these useless policies of sadism disguised as realpolitick will continue to allow their adherents to blindly spin a fictional world for themselves, incapable of performing real defense against real threats. They will only be capable of turning every real-world challenge into another bit actor in their psycho-drama, with every failure becoming another excuse to look for "sabotage" by imagined traitors. They will be blind to seeing that the reason for their inability to effect the world effectively lies in the myth they've trapped themselves in.
The more they believe their own BS, the faster they will consign themselves to failure.

With any luck, we will figure out how to keep from being dragged down with them. I sincerely hope those who are not moved by the defense of our freedom will understand this is also a threat to power. A power structure that plans on surviving via "synthetic terror" and institutionalized torture is a power structure that has stopped growing, stopped adapting, and is rapidly becoming politically neurotic. It is an expression of the elite's failure of imagination in engaging its real environment. It means the elite has no realistic plans for exploration, development or investment in new resources and capital. It is turning in on itself, and consuming as resources that which it used to relate to as capital -- the cultural equivalent of kwashiorkor. Adoption of these policies is an implicit admission of failure as an elite, and a subtle hint at their intentions of taking everyone on a slow, collective suicide.

I sincerely hope those still in a position of some influence would think very seriously about this, for the lack of ideas about survival on the part of such an elite does not mean such ideas don't exist; merely that the elite under question has forbidden themselves from considering or acting upon them.


"The real subject of torture is the public that is meant to know about it: whether through official acknowledgements or through leaks and rumors later denied, torture is meant to terrify and cow the populace which knows that they are within reach of the state that practices it."

So the torture psyop fails if the public refuses to be properly cowed and terrified.

"Fear is the mind killer." Outrage is the healthy response and the best defense.

“On the altar of God, I swear eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man."--Thomas Jefferson

What do you mean. torture doesn't work?

If you want confessions, it works great!

Waterboard W for 20 minutes and I bet he'd admit that he put the explosives in the twin towers himself!

Torture works

it makes people say what you want them to say.

I agree.

Torture is being used as intimidation

I even think that they don't care that torture is reliable.

I think that torture is being used as an intimidation weapon. Possibly as a weapon to be used against US citizens in the future. I've even come across certain dubious 9/11 activists making threats of this kind.
Arabesque: 911 Truth


its meant to scare us . . . . self censor

Hell Hole Gitmo

A few weeks back I attended a Laurie Hawn town hall meeting here in Edmonton(Canada's MP Secretary to the Defence) , The question of the 15 year old Omar Khadr came up " Why was Canada not trying to get Omar out of Gitmo someone asked? Other countries such as Briton and Australia have rescued their young citizens ..why not Canada? ..Laurie's eyes lit up as he began condemning this young man for having a bad family involved with terrorism ...Laurie promised his government has absolutely no intentions of interfering with the U. S. over his detention (torture) at gitmo.
Someone from the audience bellowed...BUT HE'S A CANADIAN! ...didn't matter...Laurie remained silent and gave the impression he did not give a shit if he was Canadian or not...I wondered to myself if a white guy or anyone other than a Muslim would have gotten the same treatment by our government...This kid was alleged to have killed an American Medic... He says he didn't kill anyone...(If he's proven guilty ...he should do his time in jail in my opinion) but Its interesting to note that most average folk up here in Canada don't give a dam about his situation regardless of the excellent efforts by main stream media giving this kid a break with coverage and sympathy over his torture..Perhaps the racism US networks (FOX NEWS and CNN News) imported via the Glenn Becks and Bill O Reilly's has created a hateful spin into the living rooms and into the hearts of most to be a Muslim and dark skinned in Canada these days...Today the Edmonton Journal gave Omar front page and 2 pages that followed Omar's sad story...ask around and you'll find folks here don't give a shit about Omar and quickly judge him as a terrorist... I have always felt Omar was just another victim of 9/11..a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time and most likely the wrong color skin". Sad to be Canadian these days friends, sad to be Omar...he needs help as time is quickly running out for this lad !

Gitmo rescue

Britain hasn't rescued any young citizen from 'Gitmo'. What little it did do was only what it was embarrassed into doing.

Mark Twain on torture

From the current Time magazine article:

"To make them confess--what?" Twain asked. "Truth? Or lies? How can one know which it is they are telling? For under unendurable pain a man confesses anything that is required of him, true or false, and his evidence is worthless.",9171,1820166,00.html

works for convicting innocents

Great article,

I'd like to add a paradigm explanation on the situation:

It works, if your aims are:
- To force false confessions.
- To force false testimonies.

So, if what you are looking are people to blame (your) crimes to, torture is the only way to go.

Of course, this isn't what people think of when discussing the validity of "interrogation techniques", but to those in the know, it is easy to lie about it, just because to them, "they work" means a different thing than to the rest ;) -and they do it with a half-smile in their face, because they are laughing at you.

Former CIA head William

Former CIA head William Colby
Torture is ineffective (doesn't work)

McCain perfect example of torture as not working. He was captured by the enemy, tortured, then produced propaganda for the enemy. Supposedly he didn't give any information. So, straight talk from the biggest potential supporter of the criminals of 911, the neocons own words against torture.