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Tags jesse ventura , torture , waterboarding

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Old 20th April 2017, 05:10 PM   #81
Tony Stark
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
What do you mean by "effective", then?
It is unlikely to result in useful information and very likely to result in stories that were made up to stop the torture.

Regular interrogations produce better results.

Again, this isn't an opinion. The CIA ran a torture program and it was basically useless, even counterproductive while useful information was gained through normal interrogation methods.
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Old 20th April 2017, 05:40 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
And? It changes nothing of what I'm saying. Torture has been used on hardened combattants and spies but also on innocent civilians and crooked politicians throughout history. Pointing out that it probably won't work against hardened spies doesn't mean it won't work against the other groups.



Perhaps you missed it but I gave an example. Because apparently no one can look this stuff up by themselves.
Your missing one of the points Torture is very good at getting the victims to tell the torturer what the torturer wants to hear. That is not necessarily the truth. For example if torturers tortured a completely innocent person who was not involved in a terrorist act. I have little doubt that torture will produce a confession of involvement in terrorism by that person. The same is true in the case of torturing someone who is involved in terrorist acts and whom the torturers are convinced knows X. Only this terrorist doesn't know X. Guess what I have little doubt this terrorist will confess to knowing X and give X only it is completely made up to stop the torture.

The result is that the use of torture has frequently flooded the torturer with a sea of crap information from the victims of torture with the true information sort of lost in it and hard to distinguish from the crap. To give a real world example during the horrific purges in Russia during the purges. The authorities, including Stalin, seemed to genuinely believe that a vast conspiracy to over throw and subvert the government. Via torture, threats to self and family they elicited acres and acres of detailed confessions. It was all crap elicited out of terrified people. I just don't see how recent efforts that involve the use of torture have safeguards to prevent the generation of crap information in large quantities. I could also give the example of Argentina's Dirty War.

Of course torture sometimes work, but then all sorts of dubious crap also sometimes works. The point is torture has a vast potential to generate crap information in huge amounts and historically it has from all appearances never failed to do so. So I would rate the effectiveness of torture in terms of generating useful information has very low.
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Old 20th April 2017, 05:42 PM   #83
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DAMMIT! Now I am 147% sure this guy died a couple of years ago. Who the hell brought him back to life?


Very drunk, I laughed for 45 minutes the night he was elected governor of Minnesota. Good times.
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Old 20th April 2017, 05:47 PM   #84
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The Gunpowder Plot? As in the Guy Fawkes thing? As in 1605? After the plot itself was foiled and they wanted detailed confessions? I thought getting confessions out of people was the bit that torture is acknowledged to be good for. Presumably some of the other conspirators were named? How do we know how much of this was truthful? I don't know anything like enough about what information they got through torture and how useful/true it was, to know how much weight to give this four hundred year old example.

Have you got any others?
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Old 20th April 2017, 06:37 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Moral arguments aren't arguments from fact, but from emotion.
No, that's not a fair characterization. They are arguments from axioms. People can and often do get very emotional about those axioms, but it's not actually a requirement for a moral argument. But all morals ultimately rest on axioms, and we don't all share the same moral axioms. So in that sense, they're irrefutable: you can't refute an axiom. But you can reject it.
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Old 20th April 2017, 08:44 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
It is a fact that torture isn't an effective form of interrogation. The CIA tried it not too long ago. The program was a failure.
You're asking us to assume that the CIA are so competent at their job that their results are meaningful. You're also asking us to assume we have enough data about the CIA's work to make an informed assessment of their results. Neither of those assumptions seem warranted, to me.
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Old 20th April 2017, 09:10 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You're asking us to assume that the CIA are so competent at their job that their results are meaningful.
Ah, so the problem with the CIA's illegal torture program was that the CIA wasn't competent at torturing people. Next time they need to find competent torturers. Surely that will fix the problem. Except for the problem is that torture doesn't work, and so there is no such thing as a competent torturer.

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You're also asking us to assume we have enough data about the CIA's work to make an informed assessment of their results. Neither of those assumptions seem warranted, to me.
The Senate did an investigation on it and released a report. There was dissent from Republicans but that's to be expected. They don't want to admit that a Republican administration's criminal torture program didn't work.

What would be surprising is if the CIA's criminal torture program did work. Torture has never been effective. Hell the CIA itself used torture in Vietnam. Didn't work.

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In the wake of the Senate report cataloging a whole lot of torture committed by the CIA, Dick Cheney has been reduced to arguing that torturing people — even innocent ones — is worth doing if you eventually get good results. The ends justify the means.

I can see why he makes this argument — he's simply got no other option. It is now obvious that what the CIA did was illegal, brutal torture. Claims that it kept the nation safe are all that Cheney has left.

But Cheney is wrong: Torture doesn't work and never has.

I have referenced the work Torture and Democracy, by Darius Rejali of Reed College, many times in the past. It is widely agreed to be a benchmark work on torture — perhaps the most thorough investigation and analysis of the subject available. Here's what Rejali says, to put this question to rest for all time.

Over 12 years of research, Rejali examined the use of torture in the U.S., Great Britain, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, South Vietnam, and Korea. He looked at torture inflicted during the French-Algerian War, as well as at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay. His research found that there is no record of any successful use of torture to gather intelligence, not even in totalitarian states.
http://theweek.com/articles/441396/w...finitive-guide

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Old 21st April 2017, 02:33 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
It is unlikely to result in useful information and very likely to result in stories that were made up to stop the torture.
How likely?

Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
Your missing one of the points Torture is very good at getting the victims to tell the torturer what the torturer wants to hear. That is not necessarily the truth.
I'm not missing that at all. I'm very well aware of this. Why do you think I'm missing this?

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
No, that's not a fair characterization. They are arguments from axioms. People can and often do get very emotional about those axioms, but it's not actually a requirement for a moral argument.
Of course they are. Morality is based on what we think is right or wrong, which is based on our values, which is based on how we respond to various events. Yeah, it's emotional alright. That doesn't make it "bad". It's entirely natural.
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Old 21st April 2017, 02:34 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
The Gunpowder Plot? As in the Guy Fawkes thing? As in 1605?
I was asked for real-life examples. Now it doesn't work because it's from the 17th century? Well, I'm sorry but we don't tend to torture much anymore so obviously my examples will be a bit old.

Quote:
After the plot itself was foiled and they wanted detailed confessions? I thought getting confessions out of people was the bit that torture is acknowledged to be good for. Presumably some of the other conspirators were named? How do we know how much of this was truthful?
They actually caught all the conspirators and got a full, consistent account of what happened. I'd say it was successful.

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Have you got any others?
Why? Are you planning on dismissing all of them in sequence? The point is that torture sometimes works. You're all reacting as if that means I think it's moral. It isn't.
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Old 21st April 2017, 02:49 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
They actually caught all the conspirators and got a full, consistent account of what happened. I'd say it was successful.

Can you show where you have this information from.

All I can find is that he was tortured, confessed and gave up the names of his co-conspirators. none of this indicates the usefulness of torture, the documentation, understandably, is crap. We know he confessed, we don't know if the names of his co-conspirators are something he gave up under torture or merely establishment suspicions that he was forced to confirm.

I'm afraid I too reject this as evidence that torture works. do you have anything with better documentation or more recent. One example, some 400 years ago with, as far as I can find, only the vaguest documentation, is not going to convince me, I'm afraid.

I am open to the argument, I simply don't accept that the evidence you've presented supports your argument in any reliable way.
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Old 21st April 2017, 04:48 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Can you show where you have this information from.

All I can find is that he was tortured, confessed and gave up the names of his co-conspirators. none of this indicates the usefulness of torture, the documentation, understandably, is crap. We know he confessed, we don't know if the names of his co-conspirators are something he gave up under torture or merely establishment suspicions that he was forced to confirm.
And what's the difference? You admit he was tortured and gave reliable information, but are desperately trying to find a way to ignore this. Why?

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I'm afraid I too reject this as evidence that torture works.
Why? Merely being morally opposed to torture isn't enough.

I have a nagging impression that no matter how many examples I find, they will be rejected because torture is apalling.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:25 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
And what's the difference? You admit he was tortured and gave reliable information, but are desperately trying to find a way to ignore this. Why?
No, I admit he was tortured and gave up the names of his co-conspirators. There's no mention in any of the documention I can find that indicates he wasn't fed these names as a 'sell ouot these people and we'll stop hurting you' sort of a way.

Now, if you had any other instances of successful torture then this one we're discussing might be corroboration, but, as you haven't, I am not going to take one, undocumented, four-hundred year old example as evidence at all.

If you are so sure it works, surely you can find another, better supported instance.

My point still stands, this single data point is neither well documented or, incidentally, statistically significant enough to demonstrate your argument.



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Why? Merely being morally opposed to torture isn't enough.
Nothing to do with being good enough or otherwise, it's to do with your, in my opinion, insufficiently supported claim that torture works sometimes. I do not think you have validated your claim in any way sufficiently to convince me and your paucity of example strengthens my belief that what you claim has not been proved.


Quote:
I have a nagging impression that no matter how many examples I find, they will be rejected because torture is apalling.

So far you've found one poor example. Find one that's reasonably documented or another few with this level of documentation and I'll read the evidence. At the moment, you've produced one poor example and you're now using my rejection of that as some sort of predictor that I'll reject them all which is not at all true and I will demonstrate that once you come up with one or more further examples.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:35 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
No, I admit he was tortured and gave up the names of his co-conspirators. There's no mention in any of the documention I can find that indicates he wasn't fed these names as a 'sell ouot these people and we'll stop hurting you' sort of a way.
Ok so you're therefore saying that you don't think those people were the actual co-conspirators?

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If you are so sure it works, surely you can find another, better supported instance.
I was asked for a real-life example and I provided one. I think we all have the ability to look these things up, and as it seems that no amount of examples by me will be accepted, I'm not going to continue spoon-feeding you.

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So far you've found one poor example.
You have not explained why it's poor except that it's old, as if that somehow makes it irrelevant, and "poorly documented", which is odd considering the information we do have.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:44 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
DAMMIT! Now I am 147% sure this guy died a couple of years ago. Who the hell brought him back to life?

Very drunk, I laughed for 45 minutes the night he was elected governor of Minnesota. Good times.
One of the great facts of 20th century America is that two state governors starred in Predator.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:45 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
One of the great facts of 20th century America is that two state governors starred in Predator.
The most manly movie ever.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:48 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Ok so you're therefore saying that you don't think those people were the actual co-conspirators?
No, I'm saying there's no evidence at all that this was an instance of torture to obtain information not already known rather than an instance of torture that successfully got the victim just to say the names written on the piece of paper in front of him


Quote:
I was asked for a real-life example and I provided one. I think we all have the ability to look these things up, and as it seems that no amount of examples by me will be accepted, I'm not going to continue spoon-feeding you.
I've looked. I looked up the torture of Fawkes and discovered it was poor evidence. What do you mean 'no amount of examples'? You've supplied exactly one. If torture is as effective as you think it is then there must, surely be more. If there aren't then isn't that an indication that you maybe should start to question your conclusion?


Quote:
You have not explained why it's poor except that it's old, as if that somehow makes it irrelevant, and "poorly documented", which is odd considering the information we do have.
It's old, and all I can find is that he gave up the names of his co-conspirators. given the nature of politics at the time and the fact that this is the only example of torture working that you can come up with, Occam's razor would suggest that it is more likely in this instance that Fawkes was tortured to say what he was told to say rather than him providing any evidence that was previously unknown.

Once again, you have produced one example which is tremendously weak evidence both in volume and in quality. Failing other examples, which will be subject to scrutiny but not instantly dismissed, I reject your hypothesis.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:51 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
No, I'm saying there's no evidence at all that this was an instance of torture to obtain information not already known rather than an instance of torture that successfully got the victim just to say the names written on the piece of paper in front of him
How is that relevant? The point is that torture can yield true information, whether or not the torturer knows that information beforehand.

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What do you mean 'no amount of examples'? You've supplied exactly one.
I supplied one off the top of my head because I was asked for one. But seeing how it was dismissed I don't have much confidence that _any_ example would satisfy you, hence my comment.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:55 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
How is that relevant? The point is that torture can yield true information, whether or not the torturer knows that information beforehand.
There's a great deal of difference between 'name these people as conspirators and we'll stop hurting you' and 'What are the names of the people we don't know you were associating with. One is simply hurting someone until they say what you want, the other is actually obtaining new, reliable information as a result of torture. In the absence of any other instances of torture being used to collect new, reliable information, Occam's razor suggest the former.


Quote:
I supplied one off the top of my head because I was asked for one. But seeing how it was dismissed I don't have much confidence that _any_ example would satisfy you, hence my comment.

Well, at the risk of sounding a little trite, why don't you do that and find out. Your reluctance to do so, I'm afraid, leads me to believe that you, like I, have looked and can't find any and you're now fighting a backwards battle against your own cognitive dissonance.


Rather than stating that examples you haven't presented will be rejected, why not simply supply them and see what happens?

If you can't then, as I say, I think you need to revisit your own conclusions.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:55 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
... snipped for relevance ...

Ok. The co-conspirators in the gunpowder plot gave consistent and accurate accounts of the conspiracy. Hell, in most cases the mere threat of torture was enough.

... snipped for relevance ...
Thanks for the thought, but I would have to say that this case actually supports my argument.

In this case the torture applied to the gunpowder plot was done after the gunpowder plot was discovered and one of the people involved was caught.

The use of torture did not help the authorities discover the plot in advance.
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Old 21st April 2017, 06:58 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
There's a great deal of difference between 'name these people as conspirators and we'll stop hurting you' and 'What are the names of the people we don't know you were associating with.
Sure, but now you seem to be assuming, without any evidence, that this is what happened. And you're saying that _my_ information is poor?

Quote:
Rather than stating that examples you haven't presented will be rejected, why not simply supply them and see what happens?
Because I have the nagging impression that I'll be wasting my time, something I'm not particularily fond of doing. But if it'll make you feel better because you can't bother to do it yourself, I'll look it up when I have more time later today.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:00 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
Thanks for the thought, but I would have to say that this case actually supports my argument.

In this case the torture applied to the gunpowder plot was done after the gunpowder plot was discovered and one of the people involved was caught.

The use of torture did not help the authorities discover the plot in advance.
Why are you all being so narrow in your requirements? Fawkes was caught and then gave up his co-conspirators. Isn't that useful and accurate information?

This is what I was talking about earlier; torture is bad, ergo let's use every excuse to make it look even worse than bad: useless. And when presented with a clear -- albeit admittedly a bit old -- case of useful torture, let's change the requirements so that it doesn't qualify.

Don't you think that this is a bit unfair?
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:00 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Um.... that doesn't tell you anything about the efficacy of torture. There's no reason to believe that interrogations of any sort were determinative in the final outcome of the war.
I never tried to claim that any sort of interrogations were deterministic in the final outcome of a war.

Instead, I claimed that torture is a very poor way of collecting data, and the historical record shows this to be the case.

Quote:
Also not relevant. When you go searching for a specific pre-determined answer by any interrogation technique, you're likely to find it even when it's not true. That's not even peculiar to torture.

Why are you latching on to the worst arguments against it, when there are much better ones?
On the contrary, it is quite relevant.

It goes to show just how much bad information can be produced by torture.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:01 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Of course it does. That doesn't change the fact that it often works.
Feel free to substantiate that claim. You will notice that there are plenty of articles and studies contradicting that claim.

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It provides reliable results some of the time. (I don't know how often)
You don't find that to be a major problem for your argument? Let's say it provides "reliable" results 20% of the time and completely wrong and misleading information 60% of the time. Do you consider that "working"?

Let's say you had a test for HIV that gave the correct result sometimes, maybe 1/5, and false positives at a frequency twice that. Would you call that "working"?

This is central to this discussion.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:02 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Sure, but now you seem to be assuming, without any evidence, that this is what happened. And you're saying that _my_ information is poor?
I'm saying that all our information is poor about a technically illegal but supported by the king, undocumented piece of torture in a politically charged environment 400 years ago. What I'm saying is that this piece of evidence, such as it is, is not, on it's own, sufficient to convince anyone of the efficacy of torture.

IO'm not the one holding this up as the one and only piece of evidence to support my conclusion - that's you. you now appear to be complaining about the quality of evidence you've supplied?




Quote:
Because I have the nagging impression that I'll be wasting my time, something I'm not particularily fond of doing. But if it'll make you feel better because you can't bother to do it yourself, I'll look it up when I have more time later today.

As I say, I looked and couldn't find anything.

I shall look forward to your further evidence.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:09 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
Feel free to substantiate that claim. You will notice that there are plenty of articles and studies contradicting that claim.
This may be because we're using different definitions of "works". As I agreed earlier, it doesn't work very well, but it does extract accurate information from people. How often is a good question, but there's no way to perform an ethical study on this.

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You don't find that to be a major problem for your argument?
No. It's a given. If you can't test it, you have to deal with less reliable evidence, but that works both ways.

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Let's say it provides "reliable" results 20% of the time and completely wrong and misleading information 60% of the time. Do you consider that "working"?
Yes. As long as my car starts, it works, even if it often doesn't start and I have to try several times before it does.

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Let's say you had a test for HIV that gave the correct result sometimes, maybe 1/5, and false positives at a frequency twice that. Would you call that "working"?
Yes. It wouldn't be reliable, mind you, just like torture.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:10 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
you now appear to be complaining about the quality of evidence you've supplied?
That's a very uncharitable and dare I say borderline dishonest reading of my post. You're the one complaining about my example, not I.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:20 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
So noted! Thanks for the info.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:24 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
That's a very uncharitable and dare I say borderline dishonest reading of my post. You're the one complaining about my example, not I.

A fair point. I withdraw the comment and apologise. I should be in less haste to respond.

I still, in the absence of further evidence, reject your hypothesis.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:28 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Why are you all being so narrow in your requirements? Fawkes was caught and then gave up his co-conspirators. Isn't that useful and accurate information?
This is such a circular claim. What information did they have about the co-conspirators that wasn't obtained through torture and confessions? You're relying on a story obtained through torture to validate the effectiveness of torture.

The historical use of torture has been to extract false confessions. The only countries that engage in systematized torture do it for that reason.

Let's look at how they caught the conspirators:

Anonymous letter hints at the plot. Searches are started.

First search, they catch Fawkes with firewood. Fawkes mentions the name of a known Catholic agitator, Percy. Second search catches Fawkes in the act. Now they know both Fawkes and Percy are involved, no torture.

Fawkes is interrogated, gives up nothing. They learn his name from a letter addressed to him that was on his person.

The next day, the servants of Rookwood are interrogated. Rookwood was chosen because of his relationship to Catholic agitators, Fawkes had still revealed nothing. Those servants gave the authorities the names of many of the other conspirators: Catesby, Rookwood, Keyes, Wintour, John and Christopher Wright, and Grant.

The rest of the conspirators are fleeing and begging friends and family to help them raise an army. They get denied as people don't want to participate in treason, meaning there are literally dozens and dozens of people who are now witnesses to this specific group of people essentially confessing to participation in a plot, the news of which is now spread far and wide.

Most of them are captured by a company of 200 troops who followed their path - which was known not from torturing Fawkes, but because the morons were publicizing their presence as they went.

THEN they start torturing people. Only Fawkes had been tortured before they were all captured, and Fawkes had no idea where they were.

Now, notice how the torture worked: they had a bunch of information from a ton of witnesses, so when they said, "Were you part of the conspiracy, we have proof that you were with so and so..." The tortured party, just admitting to whatever they needed to, was simply agreeing to information obtained by other means.

In fact, it's all the information obtained from the torturing - the extended networks of the conspiracy - that is the LEAST useful information in the gunpowder plot. The confessions were suspicious, with different handwriting between the narrative and signature.

What value did the torture add? From the state's perspective it allowed them to drastically expand the conspiracy so they could break the back of the Catholics. This is what torture is great for, but what evidence validates the stories that were told under torture?

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Old 21st April 2017, 07:33 AM   #110
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I believe I understand and agree with what Argumemnon is saying:

Torture can and has elicited truth from victims, therefore it has "worked".

It is also established that quite often victims will say anything to get the torture to stop. I'm unsure of the rate of such lies, but it is sufficient to make unverified information received under torture dubious [and therefore not actionable] at best.

Until this thread, I wasn't really aware of the belief that 100% of torture yields 100% lies. It seems rather obvious that almost nothing about human nature is 100%. I've read a bit about torture, and even sources stridently opposed to torture don't make the claim that torture yields 100% lies.

If even only 99.9% of information extracted through torture are lies, then Argumemnon is correct: Torture has and will work some amount of the time. Still doesn't make it useful. I am very sure that the actual % of lies is far, far short of 100%.

While torture can "work" on occasion, it is not generally useful, and it is morally repugnant.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:34 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Yes. It wouldn't be reliable, mind you, just like torture.
Any process that generates results that must be confirmed with a better process seems wholly unnecessary.

Interrogation often gives clues to start an investigation. Both torture and more humane means yield information that must later be confirmed. Humane interrogation yields more accurate information with far fewer red herrings. Torture almost only produces red herrings unless you know the answers to the questions before you ask them.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:35 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
While torture can "work" on occasion, it is not generally useful, and it is morally repugnant.
It seems to me that this is the essence of the disagreement: different notions of what "works" means with regard to interrogation.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:41 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
How much of the time?
Yep, this is an important statistics issue.

If it gives 100% reliable information but only 50% of the time, how good is it? Since there is a 50/50 chance of your information being correct?

That makes it about as valuable as being only 50% correct.

Of course, we don't know the actual numbers.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:43 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
It is also established that quite often victims will say anything to get the torture to stop. I'm unsure of the rate of such lies, but it is sufficient to make unverified information received under torture dubious [and therefore not actionable] at best.
All information obtained from interrogation of an enemy, regardless of the interrogation method, is potentially a lie. Torture isn't fundamentally different from other methods in this respect.

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While torture can "work" on occasion, it is not generally useful, and it is morally repugnant.
The relevant question isn't whether it's generally useful, but whether it's specifically useful, and whether that usefulness in those specific cases outweighs its moral repugnance and other associated costs.

One of the arguments against torture I have yet to see made, but should be if people are serious (and many here aren't), is that there's no good way to train people in the effective use of torture. Not that it can't in principle be done, but the costs of doing so are prohibitive.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:54 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
A fair point. I withdraw the comment and apologise. I should be in less haste to respond.

I still, in the absence of further evidence, reject your hypothesis.
I'll try to provide you with more data later today, as I said earlier.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:56 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
I believe I understand and agree with what Argumemnon is saying:

Torture can and has elicited truth from victims, therefore it has "worked".

It is also established that quite often victims will say anything to get the torture to stop. I'm unsure of the rate of such lies, but it is sufficient to make unverified information received under torture dubious [and therefore not actionable] at best.

Until this thread, I wasn't really aware of the belief that 100% of torture yields 100% lies. It seems rather obvious that almost nothing about human nature is 100%. I've read a bit about torture, and even sources stridently opposed to torture don't make the claim that torture yields 100% lies.

If even only 99.9% of information extracted through torture are lies, then Argumemnon is correct: Torture has and will work some amount of the time. Still doesn't make it useful. I am very sure that the actual % of lies is far, far short of 100%.

While torture can "work" on occasion, it is not generally useful, and it is morally repugnant.
But doesn't this beg the question of what it means to "work"?

If you get information through torture, but you don't know if it is true or not, and in order to determine whether it is true or not, you have to confirm it through a different means.

But if you have the ability to confirm it through a different means, can you really say that you got the information through torture?

Meanwhile, how many false leads have you wasted time on ....
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:56 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
This is such a circular claim.
In what way is it circular?
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Old 21st April 2017, 08:03 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
But doesn't this beg the question of what it means to "work"?

If you get information through torture, but you don't know if it is true or not, and in order to determine whether it is true or not, you have to confirm it through a different means.

But if you have the ability to confirm it through a different means, can you really say that you got the information through torture?
You don't know if any information obtained by any interrogation method is true until you confirm it by other means. And for a lot of information, confirming it by other means is much, much easier than discovering it by other means.
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Old 21st April 2017, 09:07 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by TraneWreck View Post
It seems to me that this is the essence of the disagreement: different notions of what "works" means with regard to interrogation.
Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
But doesn't this beg the question of what it means to "work"?
Yes, I think folks are arguing different meanings of "work".

If work = extracting truth, yes truth is often/sometimes extracted.

if work = extracting truth as actionable information, yes actionable information may sometimes be extracted.

if work = extracting truth as actionable information that cannot be extracted in other non-torture ways, yes this just by the volume of victims this must happen at least occasionally.

if work = extracting truth as actionable information that cannot be extracted in other non-torture ways AND the torturer knows all this at the time, then no I'd say torture doesn't "work".

Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
If you get information through torture, but you don't know if it is true or not, and in order to determine whether it is true or not, you have to confirm it through a different means.

But if you have the ability to confirm it through a different means, can you really say that you got the information through torture?

Meanwhile, how many false leads have you wasted time on ....
Right. I like my longer-winded version, though.

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
All information obtained from interrogation of an enemy, regardless of the interrogation method, is potentially a lie. Torture isn't fundamentally different from other methods in this respect.
Obviously, anyone can lie at any time. Does that even need to be said?

However, most definitely NO, torture *IS* fundamentally different. If you are asking me questions, I can choose to stay silent, or honestly say "I don't know." Under torture, that choice is less realistic. A new lie is extracted.

This is something often ignored, innocent people are also being tortured.
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
The relevant question isn't whether it's generally useful, but whether it's specifically useful, and whether that usefulness in those specific cases outweighs its moral repugnance and other associated costs.
I disagree. The moral repugnance will not be outweighed by the useless information torture will extract. It's useless because it's likely a lie, likely unverifiable, which makes it definately not actionable.

It's possible one could create an unrealistic hypothetical situation where the real repugnance is outweighed by hypothetical lives saved, but unrealistic hypotheticals are not the stuff real torture should be based on.

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
One of the arguments against torture I have yet to see made, but should be if people are serious (and many here aren't), is that there's no good way to train people in the effective use of torture. Not that it can't in principle be done, but the costs of doing so are prohibitive.
You haven't seen it because it's a morally bankrupt argument. "The morally repugnant torture doesn't work because we aren't willing better train people to perform the morally repugnant torture."

We don't throw money at better torture because torture is morally repugnant.
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Old 21st April 2017, 09:14 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
In what way is it circular?
You're saying: "Look, Fawkes was tortured and gave true, valuable information."

How do you know it's the true and valuable? Because you compare it to a story gathered from the torture of his co-conspirators.

It's no coincidence that all the stories of the tortured people in the gunpowder plot line up. They would have been tortured until they did. Any contradictory information would have resulted in more torture. The only new information from the various tortured people was the implication of more people in the plot. This is something torture is really great at.

As I pointed out, a great deal of the plot was known prior to anyone being tortured, meaning the torturees were confronted with that info. That's not an example of useful information being obtained through torture. It is, however, a great example of how torture is mostly used: to force someone to tell the story the torturers want to hear.
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