4
   

EXTRACTING INFORMATION: A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT

 
 
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:01 am
Let us imagine, for the sake of argument,
that the Army has captured an alien Moslem in Iraq who knows of where a nuclear bomb
has been built or smuggled somewhere in an American population center, to go off on the 4th of July,
and imagine that the CIA is curious about that, but the Moslem is less than forthcoming with it.
What to do . . . ? Wait until the 4th of July and ask everyone to listen carefully? Evacuate America ?

Aliens on alien territory have no rights under the US Constitution.
As to extracting military information from them,
the question arises of whether the US Government has more loyalty
to the well being of alien prisoners or more loyalty to the well being of American citizens.

What if we find out that the nuke has been set to detonate on Mothers' Day?
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:07 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Let us imagine, for the sake of argument, that the FBI has captured a radical Christianist abortion clinic bomber who knows of where a nuclear bomb has been built or smuggled somewhere in an American abortion clinic to go off on the 4th of July, and imagine that the FBI is curious about that, but the radical Christianist is less than forthcoming with it. What to do....?

Is your answer to the first scenario the same as your answer to the second? Why or why not?
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:18 am
Why would one have any confidence there would be any reliability to the intelligence gathered, whatever the means?

Torture does not produce reliable information.
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:25 am
@DrewDad,
There are so many points at which to attack this fallacy that it's hard to pick just one.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:29 am
I would like to experiment as to how long we would have to water board David before we got him to renounce the second amendment.

OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:30 am
@FreeDuck,
FreeDuck wrote:

Let us imagine, for the sake of argument, that the FBI has captured a radical Christianist abortion clinic bomber who knows of where a nuclear bomb has been built or smuggled somewhere in an American abortion clinic to go off on the 4th of July, and imagine that the FBI is curious about that, but the radical Christianist is less than forthcoming with it. What to do....?

Is your answer to the first scenario the same as your answer to the second? Why or why not?

In that scenario,
I most fervently hope that the captured anti-abortion bomer
is an alien on alien territory so that he has no constitutional rights
(specificly, no 8th Amendment rights).

The way u wrote that,
I suspect that u think that I am anti-freedom of abortion.
That is certainly NOT the case; I take a pure laissez faire point of vu
toward any woman's or girl's unlimited right of self defense from all intruders.





David
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:32 am
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

Why would one have any confidence
there would be any reliability to the intelligence gathered, whatever the means?

Torture does not produce reliable information.

The reason that one 'd have CONFIDENCE in the intelligence gathered
is that the bom squad woud be sent to confirm it.





David
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:33 am
@Green Witch,
Green Witch wrote:

I would like to experiment as to how long we would have to water board David
before we got him to renounce the second amendment.



I got a good laff out of that; best all day.





David
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:39 am
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

Green Witch wrote:

I would like to experiment as to how long we would have to water board David
before we got him to renounce the second amendment.

I got a good laff out of that; best all day.
David

But you know that you would, right? I heard an excellent interview with an Air Force colonel who was an expert in "harsh interrogation" and headed up the interrogations in Iraq during the early part of the war. His whole take on torture in general and waterboarding in particular was that the purpose of such techniques was to get someone to say what you wanted them to say. That is why it was used on our servicemen in Vietnam; they wanted them to say the rejected the United States. It wasn't about getting information. They would have you rejecting the second amendment in a heartbeat, but they wouldn't find out about the bombs you planted.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:47 am
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:
The reason that one 'd have CONFIDENCE in the intelligence gathered is that the bom squad woud be sent to confirm it.

Day 1: Torture suspended while bomb squad is sent to a warehouse in Miami.
Day 2: Torture resumed.
Day 3: Torture suspended while bomb squad is sent to a warehouse in New York.
Day 4: Torture resumed.
Day 5: Torture suspended while bomb squad is sent to an abandoned factory in Detroit.
Day 6: Torture resumed
....

Torture does not develop reliable intelligence. Period.
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 09:06 am
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

In that scenario,
I most fervently hope that the captured anti-abortion bomer
is an alien on alien territory so that he has no constitutional rights
(specificly, no 8th Amendment rights).

Ok, but lets assume that he isn't. What's your answer then?

Here's the deal, David. You have two arguments going on here. Well, maybe more than that, but I'll deal with two. One is that it's ok to torture people who aren't US citizens. The answer to that is that no, it's not, because the US is a signatory to the Geneva conventions which don't allow it and because it is against US law. So in that sense my scenario and yours are identical though referencing different laws. The other is that, regardless of the law, torture is required because the threat to a significant number of Americans weighs more than the rights of the one individual. My scenario is identical to yours in that respect too.

Leaving aside the thorough body of evidence that suggests that torture would not give you the information you seek, and the persistent questions as to how you could have so much information about the plot except for the most significant piece, and whether you got that information itself through torture, making it tainted, why would you have a different answer to your scenario versus mine? Or do you?

Quote:
The way u wrote that,
I suspect that u think that I am anti-freedom of abortion.
That is certainly NOT the case; I take a pure laissez faire point of vu
toward any woman's or girl's unlimited right of self defense from all intruders.

I don't assume anything about your stance on abortion. I am interested mainly in whether your "moslem" qualifier has anything to do with your stance on the question and whether it would change with a different face on it. Maybe I should have used a second amendment militant arms dealer to Mexican drug lords who planted a nuclear bomb under a federal building somewhere in America. Would that change your answer?
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 01:27 pm
@FreeDuck,
FreeDuck, I like how u have formulated some of your arguments.
U have demonstrated an ability to marshal arguments
that surpasses that of the average denizen of this forum
and is fun to deal with. I love FREEDOM and I am also a pro-duck person.

FreeDuck wrote:

OmSigDAVID wrote:

In that scenario,
I most fervently hope that the captured anti-abortion bomer
is an alien on alien territory so that he has no constitutional rights
(specificly, no 8th Amendment rights).

Quote:
Ok, but lets assume that he isn't. What's your answer then?

The controlling principle is that
self defense outranks ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.



Quote:

Here's the deal, David. You have two arguments going on here.
Well, maybe more than that, but I'll deal with two.
One is that it's ok to torture people who aren't US citizens.
The answer to that is that no, it's not, because the US
is a signatory to the Geneva conventions which don't allow it

I am not an expert on the Geneva Convention.
However, I am cognizant of an argument that by its terms,
it is confined in its application to military or naval forces
of a government, as distinct from private individuals.
If u have anything to offer on this point,
I will be interested to listen.







Quote:
and because it is against US law.

If u claim that something is against "US law" then u shud cite
the specific law and quote the operative language
that allegedly establishes the point that u seek to make,
so that we can evaluate the merit of your legal analysis.

WHICH law ?





Quote:

So in that sense my scenario and yours are identical though referencing different laws.

(Unless u r referring to my assertion that aliens on alien territory
have no rights under the US Constitution), I have not referred to any laws.



Quote:

The other is that, regardless of the law, torture is required because the threat
to a significant number of Americans weighs more than the rights of the one individual.
My scenario is identical to yours in that respect too.

Please take note of my denial that the alien prisoner has any rights
of which we take cognizance. As to moral rights, I have not yet
made the point that from the standpoint of a victim
(e.g., residents of an American city that has been blessed with
a clandestine Moslem nuclear bom) their predator or tormentor has no rights.





Quote:

Leaving aside the thorough body of evidence that suggests
that torture would not give you the information you seek,

I believe that is conspicuously in error.
I challenge your factual allegations that it does not work.
Even if we assume that some prisoner somewhere
woud hold out recalcitrantly, I believe that many
of the Moslem prisoners have successfully been successfully persuaded to co-operate.
Admittedly, I have no statistical facts to support my position,
so if u counterchallenge me on that u can win by default.





Quote:

and the persistent questions as to how you could have so much information
about the plot except for the most significant piece,

It is perfectly logical and of very common experience
that one can receive incomplete information.
I am sure that u don 't need ME to tell u that.

Quote:

and whether you got that information itself through torture, making it tainted,
why would you have a different answer to your scenario versus mine? Or do you?

Tainted HOW? As to veracity?
If u r impugning its truth, the answer is to send the bom squad
wherever he claims the bom to be and have them see if thay find a nuclear bom there.
If thay find one, then the information is UNtainted,
regardless of how it was obtained.


Quote:
The way u wrote that,
I suspect that u think that I am anti-freedom of abortion.
That is certainly NOT the case; I take a pure laissez faire point of vu
toward any woman's or girl's unlimited right of self defense from all intruders.



Quote:

I don't assume anything about your stance on abortion.
I am interested mainly in whether your "moslem" qualifier
has anything to do with your stance on the question and whether
it would change with a different face on it. Maybe I should have
used a second amendment militant arms dealer to Mexican drug
lords who planted a nuclear bomb under a federal building
somewhere in America. Would that change your answer?

I am a little skeptical as to how much the 2nd Amendment says
about selling weapons to Mexicans.

Anyway, as I posted hereinabove, self defense trumps EVERYTHING.
Not even your own mother gets a free pass on wiping u out.
For instance, if one of Andrea Yates' children had succeeded
in grabbing a gun, a knife or any weapon, if he had taken her out,
that woud have been better than finding his end in her bathtub.





David
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 02:48 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

The controlling principle is that
self defense outranks ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

So the FBI should be able to torture the would-be abortion clinic bomber or the arms dealer? You didn't quite answer my question on that point.



Quote:

I am not an expert on the Geneva Convention.
However, I am cognizant of an argument that by its terms,
it is confined in its application to military or naval forces
of a government, as distinct from private individuals.
If u have anything to offer on this point,
I will be interested to listen.


The Geneva conventions cover both combatants and civilians. I could argue with you about whether they apply, but different prisoners fall under different clauses. For instance, a goat herder who was sold to the US by his girlfriend's suitor could not be considered a combatant. Neither could the guy we kidnapped off of a bus in Albania on his vacation from Germany.


Quote:

WHICH law ?

Luckily I don't have to go looking because joefromchicago just posted it for me on another thread.

http://able2know.org/topic/132129-1#post-3644012

Quote:

Please take note of my denial that the alien prisoner has any rights
of which we take cognizance.

Does he not have certain human rights?

Quote:

I challenge your factual allegations that it does not work.

I would rather say the burden is on you to support your assertion that torture would elicit the location of the bomb that we know so much, yet so little, about. But ok, we have asked this question before about whether torture works.
Quote:
Or listen to Army Col. Stuart Herrington, a military intelligence specialist who conducted interrogations in Vietnam, Panama and Iraq during Desert Storm, and who was sent by the Pentagon in 2003 -- long before Abu Ghraib -- to assess interrogations in Iraq. Aside from its immorality and its illegality, says Herrington, torture is simply "not a good way to get information." In his experience, nine out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk with no "stress methods" at all, let alone cruel and unusual ones. Asked whether that would be true of religiously motivated fanatics, he says that the "batting average" might be lower: "perhaps six out of ten." And if you beat up the remaining four? "They'll just tell you anything to get you to stop."


Quote:
I believe that many
of the Moslem prisoners have successfully been successfully persuaded to co-operate.
Admittedly, I have no statistical facts to support my position,
so if u counterchallenge me on that u can win by default.

To my knowledge torture supporters have used only Abu Zubayda as an example of getting useful information from torture. Unfortunately, since the FBI interrogated him first and claims that they got all of the useful information from him before he was tortured, that claim is in question. If you have other facts at your disposal I am all ears.

Quote:
Quote:

and whether you got that information itself through torture, making it tainted,
why would you have a different answer to your scenario versus mine? Or do you?

Tainted HOW? As to veracity?

Yes, as to veracity. If you're torturing me because you want to know about plots against Americans, I'm quite sure I can come up with something like a nuclear bomb scheduled to go off on July 4th, the location of which I can't remember.

Quote:
If u r impugning its truth, the answer is to send the bom squad
wherever he claims the bom to be and have them see if thay find a nuclear bom there.

See Drewdad's post. Anyway, I was speaking about the background information, not the location you are trying to get from torturing the guy you have. You said "you know" there's a bomb plot. I'm saying that if you got that information from torture, you don't know anything except that the person you tortured wanted you to stop badly enough to tell you what you wanted to hear: that there's a bomb plot.


Quote:

Anyway, as I posted hereinabove, self defense trumps EVERYTHING.
Not even your own mother gets a free pass on wiping u out.
For instance, if one of Andrea Yates' children had succeeded
in grabbing a gun, a knife or any weapon, if he had taken her out,
that woud have been better than finding his end in her bathtub.


The problem with self defense trumping everything the way you state it is that the victim of your self defense has no way to contradict you judgment. But self defense does not trump everything. I can't go to your house and kill you because I believe you are plotting my death. Well, I can, but it wouldn't be legal and would be questionable morally.

But I am still curious as to whether your answer is the same for your scenario versus mine. You haven't answered that yet. Can the FBI torture the arms dealer? Would they be justified?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 07:22 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
The weakness of your hypothetical is that you're assuming your conclusions. By your assumption, we already know that there is a nuclear bomb. By your assumption, we already know the prisoner knows its whereabouts. By your assumption, this one implicit, the prisoner is more likely to give truthful information under torture than under non-coercive interrogation tactics.

The conclusion, given your assumptions, is that the captors should torture their prisoner. But your assumptions are likely to be wrong in practice, so your thought experiment doesn't tell us much about the real world in practice. The only thing it demonstrates is this age-old koan of logical reasoning: "garbage in, garbage out".
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 07:18 am
@DrewDad,
I'll add that one can probably disrupt a gullible enemy by providing disinformation during an interrogation.

Day 1: Torturer asks, "tell me about plots against America!"
Day 2: Prisoner says, "there's a bomb, I don't know where. I don't know when. But it is in a state capital."
(OmSigDavid orders a house-by-house search of all state capitals, leading to massive economic disruption, lawsuits, and five deaths from armed Mensa members defending their homes.)

Day 3: Torturer asks, "tell me about plots against America!"
Day 4: Prisoner says, "we've poisoned a major metropolitan water supply!"
(OmSigDavid decides he cannot keep this information from the public. Result is hoarding water bottles, water rationing, two people die rioting at FEMA trucks.)

Day 5: Torturer asks, "tell me about plots against America!"
Day 6: Prisoner says, "we've infiltrated your organization at the highest levels! I do not know exactly who, but his code name is 'David'!"

Day 7: Torturer asks OmSigDavid, "tell me who else is involved in the plot!"
Day 8: David says, "auuuughhhhhhhhhhhh!"
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 08:39 am
@DrewDad,
Laughing
0 Replies
 
 

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