Torture Is Wrong: Israel's Supreme Court Weighs In

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by americanexpo, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. americanexpo
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    americanexpo Guest

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    Old news, but thought I'd remind this bunch of folks who seem to have no problem with America adopting the very tactics of the regimes its fighting and has fought against.

    note to these folks by the way: I WILL NOT LET YOU DISHONOR THE MEMORIES OF THE PEOPLE WHO FOUGHT AGAINST THESE REGIMES. I WILL NOT LET YOU DIMINISH AMERICA'S MORAL AUTHORITY ANY LONGER.

    (from today's Washington Post)

    Israel's Example

    By Sadiq Reza
    Monday, June 14, 2004; Page A17


    Is it ever right to torture a captured terrorist -- for instance to obtain information about a future attack that could result in the deaths of American civilians? While the public, the press and politicians debate this issue in light of recent disclosures about how the United States has interrogated captured Iraqis, Afghans and al Qaeda operatives, a look elsewhere in the Middle East is instructive. A few years ago Israel's High Court of Justice considered this question with respect to Palestinian terrorists and Israeli civilians. Its answer? Almost never.

    In 1987, after Israel's General Security Service (GSS) came under fire for trying to cover up two incidents of abuse by its agents -- the beating death of two Palestinians who had been arrested for hijacking a civilian bus and the extraction of a false confession of spying from an Israeli -- a body called the Landau Commission was formed to investigate GSS interrogation methods. That commission concluded not only that the GSS employed "coercive" methods of interrogation but also that those methods were essential to Israel's security. Obtaining information from captured terrorist suspects to prevent further attacks was necessary to protect Israeli citizens, the commission said, and effective interrogation requires "moderate physical pressure" when nonviolent methods fail.

    What the commission meant by "moderate physical pressure" was not publicly disclosed, but the approval expressly covered existing GSS practices, the nature of which were revealed over the next several years.

    Those practices included "shabach" -- binding the prisoner to a small chair that is tilted forward so he cannot sit stably, covering his head with a sack and playing loud music; "qambaz," or the "frog crouch," in which the suspect has to crouch on the tips of his toes for five-minute intervals; and more pedestrian methods, such as violent shakings, excessive tightening of handcuffs and sleep deprivation.

    Brain damage and permanent disability, along with death, were among the results of these methods.

    Israel's high court rebuffed challenges to these practices until 1999, when it ruled on complaints brought by two Israeli public interest groups and six individuals who had faced GSS interrogations. In two of the individual cases, the court acknowledged the government's assertion that the interrogations, employing methods described above, resulted in information that thwarted planned terrorist acts. Nevertheless, the court declared all of the methods unlawful, given their proven harm to life or limb and their infringement of "human dignity."

    "The State of Israel has been engaged in an unceasing struggle for both its very existence and security, from the day of its founding," began the Israeli high court's opinion, but "[a] democratic, freedom-loving society does not accept that investigators use any means for the purpose of uncovering the truth." The "destiny of democracy" is often to fight "with one hand tied behind its back," the opinion eloquently concluded, and "not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it."

    One can oppose Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza and still applaud this stand by its high court -- and learn from it. Surely the U.S. interest in combating terrorism is no greater than that of Israel. Nor is our commitment to democracy any less staunch or robust. True, the court left open the possibility that an interrogator who used force against a captured terrorist to get information to prevent an imminent attack -- the hypothetical "ticking bomb" scenario -- might be able to avoid criminal liability under the standard criminal-law "necessity" defense. Israel's parliament, the Knesset, can also overrule the court with legislation authorizing force in interrogations. (It has not done so.) And regrettably, human rights groups allege that the banned interrogation methods have returned, particularly since the start of the second intifada in September 2000. But even with these caveats, the court's decision remains a powerful testament to the essential moral dimension of democracy and its core principle that security is subordinate to, indeed meaningless without, dignity.

    We know that force in interrogations -- whether employed by U.S. captors or by foreigners to whom we send detainees for its use -- yields unreliable information. We also know it endangers Americans captured abroad. Let us decide too that it is anathema to our concept of democracy, as it is to Israel's.

    The writer, an associate professor at New York Law School, will be a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School's Islamic Legal Studies Program this fall.
     
  2. Mustafa
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    If the enemy uses torture and murder on our soldiers should America or Israel be bound by the Queensbury Rules of Fair Play?

    During the recent Vietnam War, do you think that America gave the Viet Cong strawberry jam or did they throw them out of hellicopters so that the remaining few would give up their own mother's eyes?
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    No. Fire with fire, but stop at the line. We ARE better than them. Dogs chewing on legs and other parts, No.
     
  4. Mustafa
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    No. Fire with fire, but stop at the line. We ARE better than them. Dogs chewing on legs and other parts, No.

    I love it.... We are better than them....

    Unfortunately war is abominable and it brings out the worst in civilized mankind. But in war, the normal constraints in a civilized society must be put aside in order to prevent your own destruction.

    Unless you have lived through a war or have your family fed to dogs; can have little understanding that WE can BE BETTER THAN THEM. War is said to be hell......

    Geneva conventions and Roberts Rules of Order must by necessity but be voided in a time when your innocents are being murdered and tortured.

    That is the nature of this reality in times of war. The truth is that no pictures of the savagery used on the Iraqi killers should have been used by the leftist media trying to bring about their own agenda.

    Return to civility can return once the enemy is destroyed and resign themselves to total surrender. Then and only then will civilization return.
     
  5. menewa
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    These thoughts are dangerous and un-American. I bet you would have been a big fan of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    Police officers in America are in a war against crime and a war against drugs. Should they start employing torture methods on local drug dealers and pickpockets.

    In order to win a war should one throw aside all the principles they are supposed to be defending? No way. Because then what is one fighting for in the first place?

     
  6. Mustafa
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    These thoughts are dangerous and un-American. I bet you would have been a big fan of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    Yes and I bet you forgot how dangerous and un-American the US Army and ally intelligence services were during WW1, WW2, Korean War and Vietnam. Although not officially sanctioned by Washington, the enemies of this country were tortured to get vital information to preserve our brave soldiers and freedom for society. Deny it if you will but in all probability you have no idea of these necessary war time 'atrocities' perpetrated by our own intelligence services.

    Police officers in America are in a war against crime and a war against drugs. Should they start employing torture methods on local drug dealers and pickpockets.

    Trying to redefine wars are you? Crime waves (war) and drug selling (wars) are not wars waged between countries or religious ideologies. As we speak, the Patriot Act is taking the sacred civil liberties of Americans and enemies of America away in order to protect us from annihilation.

    In order to win a war should one throw aside all the principles they are supposed to be defending? No way. Because then what is one fighting for in the first place?

    What is being defended is our way of life and our people. War is unlike all other peacetime activities when the rule of law and civility is preserved just because conventions were disregarded in war time in order to save lives and humanity.

    If you ever studied history or even the Bible you use on Sunday, you would only begin to understand that mankind is not as civilized as we would like to believe in times of barbarism called wars.

    How many Japanese lives were lost to atomic bombs at the end of WW2 in order to save millions upon millions of Japanese and allied soldiers. We, the United States, used barbaric weapons of mass destruction and against all rules of the Geneva Convention and Queensbury rules. And thank G-d these rules were ignored.
     
  7. menewa
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    There is no proof that these atrocities were necessary to win any of those conflicts.

    Ronald Reagan and GW already did this for me. Besides, no war has been declared by Congress.

    So why sell out the civil liberties that are our way of life for a quick fix to a complicated problem?

    We're not even really defending our way of life. There are no armies of militant Muslims attempting to conquer America. This is fear-mongering. This war is more like the Muslims defending their way of life against the secular materialism of the West.
     
  8. ajwps
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    There is no proof that these atrocities were necessary to win any of those conflicts.

    I guess if those atrocities were omitted in previous wars, you would now know for certain of their necessity. You'd be speaking German or Vietnamese.

    Ronald Reagan and GW already did this for me. Besides, no war has been declared by Congress.

    How about the fact that even Senator John Kerry and Congress voted for George W. Bush's war on the 'axis of evil.' We were attacked which by definition we are at WAR.....

    GW Bush and Ronald Reagan did not start a war against crime or narcotics. Those battles were not wars but simply police actions to protect our citizens from internal harm.

    So why sell out the civil liberties that are our way of life for a quick fix to a complicated problem?

    Quick fix or permanent fix, you seem to fail to appreciate how complicated war is when you have millions of enemy sleepers in your country. Fixes are just that, they prevent 9/11s from happening every day. Take a look at Columbus, Ohio today and how those quick fixes just prevented a shopping center from being bombed where hundreds could have been killed.

    We're not even really defending our way of life. There are no armies of militant Muslims attempting to conquer America.

    Are you a comedian?

    This is fear-mongering. This war is more like the Muslims defending their way of life against the secular materialism of the West.

    May Allah the moon-god protect you. The Muslims are not defending anything except their fear of civilization and their being left behind in the 14th century of the beneficient prophet Muhammad. """"Secular materialism of the West""" You've got to go on Saturday Night Live. Your a laugh riot....
     
  9. Shazbot
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    HOLY HELL!!! Did he actually say this?

    -Douglas
     
  10. SPIKESMYGOD
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    I say we break out the panties & dog leash!
     

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