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Torture...is it necessary?


Are you for or against the use of torture to gain intelligence that could thwart a terror attack?  

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  1. 1. Are you for or against the use of torture to gain intelligence that could thwart a terror attack?

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In the wake of his recent admission that he gave the green light to the CIA to use 'waterboarding' while interogating suspects, George Bush has insisted that this prevented attacks on both Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf which could have killed hundreds maybe thousands.

Do we feel that it is right to use such techniques as 'waterboarding' to gain valuable information that could thwart an act of terror?

Or should we consider the prisoners human rights?

Here is an article from todays Mail detailing what has gone on over the last couple of days.

Security chiefs denounced George Bush’s defence of torture yesterday and disputed his claim that information obtained by subjecting prisoners to simulated drowning had thwarted Al Qaeda plots to blow up Canary Wharf and Heathrow airport.

The former President’s defence of so-called ‘waterboarding’ as a legitimate tool in the war on terror met with widespread revulsion.

And lawyers warned last night that by having sanctioned the controversial interrogation technique, he could now be arrested for breaking international law if he travels abroad.

Mr Bush launched his memoirs with the admission that he gave the CIA the green light to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, with the words: ‘Damn right.’

He added that a team of U.S. lawyers had said the practice was not illegal.

‘Their interrogations helped break up plots to attack American military and diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets in the United States,’ Mr Bush said. ‘Using those techniques saved lives.’

Tony Blair sent tanks to Heathrow in February 2003 after intelligence warnings that terrorists were plotting to bring down aircraft with rocket propelled grenades.

And in 2004 the Daily Mail revealed claims that an air attack on three towers at Canary Wharf in London was planned. It is these two incidents Mr Bush is thought to be referring to.

But his claims that waterboarding saved the day were dismissed by a series of senior officials familiar with counter-terrorism activities at the time.


Mr Bush reveals the first time the U.S. used waterboarding – to make an Al Qaeda leader talk.

In 2002, the U.S. had arrested a close associate of Osama Bin Laden, Abu Zubaydah (above). Frustated CIA chiefs believed he was hiding information. Mr Bush claims he told his national security team that ‘we need to find out what he knows’ and asked to know their options.

The CIA drew up a list of interrogation techniques that had not yet been tried, including waterboarding.

Mr Bush insists that he knew an interrogation programme ‘this sensitive and controversial would one day become public’ and that ‘when it did, we would open ourselves up to criticism that America had compromised our moral values’.

Mr Bush has defended its use, saying: ‘Three people were waterboarded and I believe that decision saved lives.’ He even claims that Zubayda urged the Americans to use it on his captured ‘brothers’.

Zubaydah later told interrogators that ‘his understanding of Islam was that he had to resist interrogation only up to a certain point’.

Mr Bush adds: ‘Waterboarding was the technique that allowed him to reach that threshold, fulfill his religious duty, and then co-operate. “You must do this for all the brothers”, he said.’

Although they conceded that some U.S. intelligence had been important in the fight aganst terror they believed that the President was exaggerating.

Kim Howells, who was chairman of the Commons intelligence and security committee, said: ‘I doubt torture actually produced information which was instrumental in preventing those plots coming to fruition. I’m not convinced of that.’

Former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said: ‘I know President Bush has made these claims. I don’t know what evidence there is for it. I didn’t hear that at the time.’

He said of waterboarding: ‘I think it is torture. It is mental and physical suffering. It’s not simulated drowning. If it carries on it will actually cause drowning.’

Lord MacDonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, said: ‘These stories about waterboarding thwarting attacks on Canary Wharf and Heathrow – I’ve never seen anything to substantiate these claims. These claims are to be treated with a great deal of scepticism.’

However, security sources conceded that information passed by the Americans in the years after 9/11 did help prevent some Al Qaeda attacks in the UK.

In a speech last year MI5 director general Jonathan Evans said: ‘Details of some of these plans came to light through the interrogation of detainees by other countries, including the U.S.

‘Subsequent investigation on the ground, including in the UK, substantiated these claims. Such intelligence was of the utmost importance to the safety and security of the UK. It has saved British lives.’

Mr Evans has publicly said that some intelligence was obtained as a result of ‘abuses’ but British spies did not always know where it came from because they were ‘slow to detect’ what the Americans were doing.

Mr Bush was prepared to approve waterboarding but he claims there was a longer list of proposed techniques. He adds: ‘There were two that I felt went too far, even if they were legal.’ He does not elaborate on them.

It was only last year that U.S. Justice Department memos revealed the CIA had waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times in March 2003, and fellow Al Qaeda commander Abu Zubayda at least 83 times in August 2002.

MI6 boss Sir John Sawers said last month that his service had ‘nothing whatsoever’ to do with torture, though he admitted that intelligence chiefs have ‘a professional and moral duty to act on’ information that may save lives.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘We stand firmly against torture and the cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. We don’t condone it or ask others to do it on our behalf.’

Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said Mr Bush’s admissions leave him open to arrest for breaking the international convention on torture when he travels abroad.

‘Ignorance of the law is no defence,’ he said. ‘There are countries where proceedings might be instituted against him.’

On 9/11, I saw more Americans die than any President in historyBy Tom Leonard in New York

George Bush’s first reaction to the terror attacks of 9/11 was to find the culprits and ‘make them pay’, he writes in his book.

‘My blood was boiling. We were going to find out who did this and kick their ass,’ he says.

But with eloquence and emotion, he tells how this gave way to a realisation of the scale of what had happened to his fellow countrymen, and the extent of their loss.

‘An enemy had struck our capital for the first time since the War of 1812. In a single morning, the purpose of my presidency had grown clear: To protect our people and defend our freedom that had come under attack.’

Of the victims he writes: ‘I felt their agony and despair. I had the most powerful job in the world, yet I felt powerless to help them.’

Grave news: The moment a White House aide informs George W Bush about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center

Mr Bush’s memoirs, Decision Points, written with Christopher Michel, a young former White House aide, were published in the U.S. yesterday.

He says the book is an attempt to explain the ‘critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life’.

Although he claims not to care about public opinion, the book is seen as an attempt to rehabiliate a tarnished political reputation.

Mr Bush was memorably told of the 9/11 atrocity while visiting a school in Sarasota, Florida.

He caught glimpses of the horror on television as he flew to a secure base in Air Force One, and writes: ‘I was certain I had just watched more Americans die than any president in history’.

With more reports of attacks coming in, Mr Bush’s first thought is: ‘My God, when is this going to end?’

It wasn’t until he arrived at the White House that the full reality finally hit him.

‘I looked out on an abandoned, locked-down Washington. In the distance I saw smoke rising from the Pentagon. The symbol of our military might was smouldering.

‘I was struck by how skilled and ruthless the Al Qaeda pilot must have been in order to fly directly into the low-lying building.’

That night sleep ‘did not come easily’.

The twin towers: Mr Bush said he was 'struck by how ruthless the pilot must have been'

‘My mind replayed the images of the day: The planes hitting the buildings, the towers crumbling, the Pentagon in flames. I thought of the grief so many families must be feeling.

‘I also thought about the heroism – the flight attendants on the hijacked planes who calmly called supervisors to report their status and the first responders who raced towards the flames at the World Trade Centre.’

But just as he was dozing off a figure appeared at the doorway breathing heavily and – in what proved to be a false alarm – shouted: ‘Mr President, Mr President, the White House is under attack! Let’s go!’

‘I told Laura we had to move fast. She didn’t have time to put in her contact lenses so she held on to me.

‘I grabbed her robe and guided her with one arm while I scooped up Barney, our Scottish terrier, with the other.

‘I called Spot, our English springer spaniel, to follow. I was barefoot and wearing running shorts and a T-shirt. We must have made quite a sight.’

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Would desperately like to say No, in no circumstances is torture acceptable.

However, am I a happier man knowing that torture is helping to prevent attacks on our country? Yes.

Am I happy for the US to torture someone who means harm to our country in order to protect it? Undoubtedtly.

So unfortunately, I cant criticise as much as Id like to.

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Yes ..

if you become a terrorist then you over step a line and as such fore go the right to be treated as human .... I wouldn't advocate torture for example on unpaid parking fines but for Terrorists then absolutely as it has been proven on countless instances that torture has saved lives

if you want to fight a war under a Geneva convention type method then fair enough but blowing up planes etc and killing innocents then you don't deserve to be treated as human

Dubya deserves more praise and history will eventually treat him kindly even if the liberal woollies won't

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Always FOR the use of whatever neccesary when dealing with terrorists. They leave their human rights at the door when they start putting innocent lives at risk

Chop things off for all I care. But best leave their head til last obviously

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In situations where it could save thousands of lives I agree with it. As long as the intelligence gathered on the person is done thoroughly and enough evidence links them with an attack. The human rights issue to me is complete nonsense, if these people are willing to commit these attacks and take away what I see as the most important human right, the right to life from thousands of people they don't deserve to have those rights.

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(1) THEY are perpetrating terrorist acts, which gives US the right to practice torture

(2) THEY are practicing torture, which gives US the right to perpetrate terrorist acts

(3) Go to (1)

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Never ever.

inhumane, should question what it is we're defending, reducing ourselves to those practices, abhorrent and surely unreliable. I'f im tortured i'll say whatever the **** is wanted to be heard to stop it.

Shameful practice.

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They (the terrorist) had no problem with killing or planning to kill innocent civilians, yet some people dont think that submitting these terrorists to a bit of pain (not killing) to save these innocent peoples lives is necessary!?!?

Someone explain that one to me?

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