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Author: jimicarlos100 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 22694  
Subject: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 11:23 AM
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After reading Jonah , and some commentaries about the short book , I wondered about torture . I heard that one of the reasons Jonah did not want to preach to the Assyrians was due to their torturing their captives . I've never read of Israel ever using torture as a rule , though a few misguided soldiers may have done so on their own .

After listening to John McCain awhile back ( not that I hang on to his every word ) , he said that he was against the practice due to the fact that the tortured will admit to doing things they've never done .

I understand that Pres. Bush allows torture , though to what degree I don't know .

I thought I'd give you scholars something else to chew on instead of the "did to , did not" squabbling that sometimes goes on . I hope that this post doesn't promote more chaos .
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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11147 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 11:51 AM
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After listening to John McCain awhile back ( not that I hang on to his every word ) , he said that he was against the practice due to the fact that the tortured will admit to doing things they've never done .

McCain's argument doesn't really fly. If the Viet Namese tortured American's to force them to go in front of TV cameras and say America is evil, then yes they would "admit" to anything. I would expect anyone to admit to anything his captors want under the threat of torture.

But if you want to find out where a bomb is hidden, or who someone's accomplices are in a terrorist act, they can't admit to something they don't know.

Still I'm against torture because there are no realistic examples of the second type but there are thousands if not millions of people who have suffered torture of the first type. So ultimately McCain is right, because the license to torture will inevitably be abused.

Elan

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Author: markr33 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11148 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 12:06 PM
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Still I'm against torture because there are no realistic examples of the second type but there are thousands if not millions of people who have suffered torture of the first type. So ultimately McCain is right, because the license to torture will inevitably be abused.

I think the license to kill will inevitably be abused (and has been on numerous occasions in the past). Therefore, in the process of warfare, killing ought to be outlawed.


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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11150 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 12:08 PM
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I think the license to kill will inevitably be abused (and has been on numerous occasions in the past). Therefore, in the process of warfare, killing ought to be outlawed.

Debating team dirty trick number 1.

:-)

Elan

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11151 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 12:24 PM
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Still I'm against torture because there are no realistic examples of the second type but there are thousands if not millions of people who have suffered torture of the first type. So ultimately McCain is right, because the license to torture will inevitably be abused.

I think the license to kill will inevitably be abused (and has been on numerous occasions in the past). Therefore, in the process of warfare, killing ought to be outlawed.


The difference is that torture is known to be unreliable. It's like convicting people on the basis of lie detector tests.

Except more morally repugnant.

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11152 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 1:31 PM
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The difference is that torture is known to be unreliable.

Is that the same as 'unproductive?' Or do you mean, "it sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't work'?

I have to believe that it must sometimes work. My reasoning: if everyone knew that it never worked, then there would be no advocates of torture (except for sadists).

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11153 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 1:46 PM
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Is that the same as 'unproductive?' Or do you mean, "it sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't work'?

I have to believe that it must sometimes work. My reasoning: if everyone knew that it never worked, then there would be no advocates of torture (except for sadists).


You are confusing reality with the acknowledgement of reality.

That said, I haven't heard about any advocates of torture in the mainstream US. What the current administration tries to do is say that it is using techniques that are NOT torture.

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Author: TVKFool Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11154 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 1:46 PM
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Is that the same as 'unproductive?' Or do you mean, "it sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't work'?

It works too well. Everyone talks, innocent and the guilty the same, making it very hard to figure out who's telling the truth and who isn't.

For example we start with questions like "are you a terrorist, or part of organization X". The person says no. Bring in some torture...some time later everyone says yes. Then we move on with "who is your contact" or "who else is in your organization". Then three things can happen. First is that the guy is guilty and he eventually gives up the names. Second is the guy is innocent and he just makes something up, like the donut shop guy is totally guilty, so we bring the donut shop guy and repeat the procedure. The third is that the guy doesn't say anything because he's not guilty, and so the torture continues.

Amongst it all it's kinda hard to figure whether the guy is innocent or guilty, and whether you just caused him to condemn another innocent man (the donut shop guy) to torture.

There are too many false positives for torture to be an effective tool. It may take longer with other techniques, but all in all you gain on time by not having to sift through false allegation, and of course the moral karma of not torturing innocents.

-TVK



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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11155 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 1:51 PM
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I understand that Pres. Bush allows torture , though to what degree I don't know .

Bush critics say that, but his own administration is on the record as rejecting it.

I'm not aware of any documented cases of torture approved by the president.

But part of the problem is defining it. Certainly we'd all agree that physical beatings are torture, but what about leaving the lights on 24-hours a day?

What about desecrating a Koran? What about implied threats? (Like allowing a detainee to hear what sounds like the screams of a 'torture' victim in another room?)

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11156 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 1:55 PM
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The difference is that torture is known to be unreliable.

Is that the same as 'unproductive?' Or do you mean, "it sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't work'?


Further clarification: No, I mean that it is widely acknowledged to produce unreliable results.

There are many and well-established incidents of people confessing to crimes they did not commit and supplying information that is false under torture because they want the torture to stop.

This information is unreliable because you can't know if it is real information or false information. Relying on it may result in false convictions and, of course, the concomitant danger that the actual guilty parties go free.

There's no statistical data about the 'reliability' of torture under controlled conditions, of course, because torture is a human rights violation forbidden under international law.


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Author: markr33 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11157 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 2:31 PM
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<<<Still I'm against torture because there are no realistic examples of the second type but there are thousands if not millions of people who have suffered torture of the first type. So ultimately McCain is right, because the license to torture will inevitably be abused.>>>

<<I think the license to kill will inevitably be abused (and has been on numerous occasions in the past). Therefore, in the process of warfare, killing ought to be outlawed.>>

The difference is that torture is known to be unreliable.


So is killing. We killed lots of Vietcong and we still didn't win. We've been killing lots of "insurgents", but there always seem to be more of them coming at us.

It's like convicting people on the basis of lie detector tests.

We aren't talking about convicting people in a court of law, but rather getting information about dangerous events to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Except more morally repugnant.

I am unclear about this statement - are you saying that torture is more morally repugnant than killing?


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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11158 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 2:54 PM
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The difference is that torture is known to be unreliable.

So is killing.


Not really. If you kill someone, they are dead. They might have been innocent, but there is no ambiguity about their deadness.

If you extract information via torture, you still need to find out whether that information is any good.

It's like convicting people on the basis of lie detector tests.

We aren't talking about convicting people in a court of law, but rather getting information about dangerous events to prevent them from happening in the first place.


I know that. It was an analogy. Torture is an unreliable way of getting information for the prevention of such events (and of prosecuting those who plan them).

I am unclear about this statement - are you saying that torture is more morally repugnant than killing?

Yes. This is generally considered to be the case. That's why torture is illegal under the Geneva Convention (among other treaties), which recognizes the legitimacy of killing in many circumstances (such as combat).

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11159 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 3:13 PM
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Without too much difficulty, I can construct a scenario under which I think the vast majority of Americans would condone torture.

I bet you could, too, even if your scenario wouldn't convince you.

(I can give you an example, if you think it's necessary.)

I have no interest in exploiting false confessions as was typical done by the Khmer Rouge, for example.

I am very interested in saving lives by preventing future terrorist acts and catching terrorists who are at large.

It's just not clear to me how torture can be used to effect that end.

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11160 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 3:31 PM
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Without too much difficulty, I can construct a scenario under which I think the vast majority of Americans would condone torture.

I bet you could, too, even if your scenario wouldn't convince you.

(I can give you an example, if you think it's necessary.)


Given the right kind of propaganda, I think it would be quite possible to convince the majority of Americans of anything at all.

Questions of morality, legality, etc. are not decided by popular vote. Thank God, or all the Jews would be long dead.

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11161 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:00 PM
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Given the right kind of propaganda, I think it would be quite possible to convince the majority of Americans of anything at all.

You misunderstand. I meant only that I can create a test case under which I suspect most folks would condone (and even encourage) torture.

Imagine the following events take place within the United States:
#1 A team of terrorists raids a military convey and steals a nuclear weapon.
#2 A confidential informant informs the FBI of the location and phone numbers of the plotters.
#3 Court-ordered wiretaps reveal conversations that leave no doubt that they have the bomb, and plan to use it in an American city within a short period of time -- maybe 24 or 48 hours.
(And I mean the conversations are truly incriminating and unambiguous.)
#4 With court-ordered search warrants, the FBI raids the place and arrests everbody there. But the team with the bomb isn't there. (But they do find things like weather maps with nuclear fallout projections penciled in, and possible denotation sites marked in 1 or more major cities.)
#5 They have 24 to 48 hours to find the bomb.

I think if you presented this scenario to a broad cross-section of Americans, a very high percentage would endorse any means necessary, including torture, to stop the nuke from being detonated in a US city.

Of course, real life is rarely ever so clear-cut and unambiguous, but given this scenario, do you think I'm wrong about what most Americans would want?

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11162 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:05 PM
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I have to believe that it must sometimes work. My reasoning: if everyone knew that it never worked, then there would be no advocates of torture (except for sadists).

Sure it worked. It worked to convert many Jews to the pagan religions of the Greeks and Romans. It worked for the Spanish Inquisition to convert many Jews (and Muslims) to Christianity. It worked to convict many people of crimes against Communism.

I'm not aware of any documented cases of torture approved by the president.

I think it would be more accurate to say that you're not aware of any cases admitted to by the president. But that veil of deniability was pretty thin to begin with and has been shredded quite a bit. We know that independent contractors were hired to "interrogate" prisoners in Iraq, so that no government employee or soldier could be accused of using approved torture. We know that other countries have operated prisons for people sent there by the U.S. How convenient. Send a prisoner to Egypt or Pakistan or Slovakia and get back a clean and tidy report of all the information he "voluntarily" disclosed.

Elan


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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11163 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:11 PM
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Imagine the following events take place within the United States:
#1 A team of terrorists raids a military convey and steals a nuclear weapon.
#2 A confidential informant informs the FBI of the location and phone numbers of the plotters.
#3 Court-ordered wiretaps reveal conversations that leave no doubt that they have the bomb, and plan to use it in an American city within a short period of time -- maybe 24 or 48 hours.
(And I mean the conversations are truly incriminating and unambiguous.)
#4 With court-ordered search warrants, the FBI raids the place and arrests everbody there. But the team with the bomb isn't there. (But they do find things like weather maps with nuclear fallout projections penciled in, and possible denotation sites marked in 1 or more major cities.)
#5 They have 24 to 48 hours to find the bomb.


I have an equally likely scenario:
1. Aliens land from outer space with a message from god.
2. The aliens present convincing evidence that the message is real.
3. The message says that all those who do not worship god should be tortured until they do.

I think if you presented this scenario to a broad cross-section of Americans, a very high percentage would endorse any means necessary, including torture, to make everyone worship god.

Elan

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11164 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:12 PM
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I think if you presented this scenario to a broad cross-section of Americans, a very high percentage would endorse any means necessary, including torture, to stop the nuke from being detonated in a US city.

Of course, real life is rarely ever so clear-cut and unambiguous, but given this scenario, do you think I'm wrong about what most Americans would want?


No.... but I fail to see the relevance.

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11165 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:16 PM
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It worked for the Spanish Inquisition to convert many Jews (and Muslims) to Christianity.

Not that it detracts from your point, but this statement belies a common misconception.

The Spanish Inquisition had no authority to force conversions; it's scope was limited to baptized Catholics. If you didn't claim to be a Catholic, you were beyond their reach. True, many of the victims were born Jews, but only Conversos were subject to their authority.

I think it would be more accurate to say that you're not aware of any cases admitted to by the president.

I stand by my original statement.

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11166 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:20 PM
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No.... but I fail to see the relevance.

I wrote my little scenario in response to your statement, "Given the right kind of propaganda..."

My point is that no propaganda at all is needed; most people agree that sometimes the ends do justify the means.

By the way, you can include me in the group that would endorse torture under the somewhat tortured scenario I presented. (Pun intended.)

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Author: dovbaer6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11167 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:40 PM
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The Spanish Inquisition had no authority to force conversions; it's scope was limited to baptized Catholics. If you didn't claim to be a Catholic, you were beyond their reach. True, many of the victims were born Jews, but only Conversos were subject to their authority.
===================

I think something is missing here.

Ferdinand and Isabella issued their decree to expel Jews and Muslims from Spain in 1492 (my brother attended the 500th anniversary of that event, in Spain, and heard the Spanish PM apologize for the expulsion).

Jews and Muslims were given three choices, leave, convert, or be burned alive (after being tortured). the ones who stayed HAD to convert, so if Jews and Muslims were forced to convert, then they would become subject to the Inquisition as Baptised Catholics.

It was also my understanding that the main targets of the Inquisition were Jews who were conversos who secretly practiced Judaism. The Inquisition wanted to eliminate the 'Judaizers' and thus went after the 'new christians'.

d v

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11168 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:42 PM
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It worked for the Spanish Inquisition to convert many Jews (and Muslims) to Christianity.

Not that it detracts from your point, but this statement belies a common misconception.

The Spanish Inquisition had no authority to force conversions; it's scope was limited to baptized Catholics. If you didn't claim to be a Catholic, you were beyond their reach. True, many of the victims were born Jews, but only Conversos were subject to their authority.


Technically true. The Spanish state decreed that whoever didn't convert to Catholicism had to leave the country. (And if that's not a forced conversion I don't know what is). The Inquisition was the enforcement arm that made sure there were no fake conversions. A proverbial one-two punch.

I think it would be more accurate to say that you're not aware of any cases admitted to by the president.

I stand by my original statement.


Millions of people are gullible. I thought you might not be one of those.

Or maybe you're technically right. Maybe Cheney told Georgie boy, I'll take care of this, you don't need to know anything. So Georgie can stand there with a straight face saying he never approved anything.

Elan

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11169 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:48 PM
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conversos

I've never heard that word before. Maybe it's modern Spanish. In Ladino it's meranos, which is related to the Hebrew word mumarim which means people who are forcibly converted.

Elan

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11170 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:50 PM
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Elan,

Your belief that W (or Cheney) is lying does not constitute evidence.

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11171 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:54 PM
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Your belief that W (or Cheney) is lying does not constitute evidence.

The evidence, which I noted, is that the administration has admitted to hiring contractors for interrogations in Iraq and admitted the existence of secret prisons in other countries as subcontractors for the U.S.

Elan

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11172 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 4:56 PM
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the ones who stayed HAD to convert ...

But they stayed by choice. Leaving was absolutely an option; Abrabanel estimated that 300,000 did exactly that. Spanish historian Juan de Mariana put the number at 800,000. Other sources put the Jewish population at just 80K, and estimate that half left (mostly to Portugual).

Keep in mind that the inquisition and expulsion were two different things; the former predated the later by 14 years.

Please don't think I'm trying to paint the Inquisition as innocent, or claim that they were anything other than thugs. It's just that I believe very strongly that we should not make up lies about our enemies. The truth is bad enough, and lying about them only brings our own credibility into question.

You can find more about the inquisition here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

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Author: MitsouR Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11173 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 5:07 PM
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I think coverso means convert and think it's both historical and modern.

Also, the word for Jewish converts who didn't really adopt Catholicism isn't merano, it's "marrano" - which, I believe in both old and modern Spanish, is a derogatory term that technically means "pig."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converso

(I studied Spanish for years, studied in Spain for a semester and lived there one summer - in Sevilla - with my then-boyfriend who is/was from there.)


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Author: dovbaer6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11174 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 5:08 PM
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the ones who stayed HAD to convert ...

But they stayed by choice. Leaving was absolutely an option;

=======================

sure, but to be told that you must convert or leave or die is not really a choice. it's a compulsion.



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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11175 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 5:11 PM
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The Spanish Inquisition had no authority to force conversions; it's scope was limited to baptized Catholics. If you didn't claim to be a Catholic, you were beyond their reach. True, many of the victims were born Jews, but only Conversos were subject to their authority.


Considering the policy of mass forced conversions, this is a meaningless distinction.

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11176 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 5:12 PM
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By the way, you can include me in the group that would endorse torture under the somewhat tortured scenario I presented. (Pun intended.)

Nice.

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11177 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 5:14 PM
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Elan,

Your belief that W (or Cheney) is lying does not constitute evidence.


How 'bout the itnernational red cross?

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/politics/30gitmo.html?ex=1259470800&en=825f1aa04c65241f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11178 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 5:15 PM
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the ones who stayed HAD to convert ...

But they stayed by choice. Leaving was absolutely an option; Abrabanel estimated that 300,000 did exactly that. Spanish historian Juan de Mariana put the number at 800,000. Other sources put the Jewish population at just 80K, and estimate that half left (mostly to Portugual).

Keep in mind that the inquisition and expulsion were two different things; the former predated the later by 14 years.

Please don't think I'm trying to paint the Inquisition as innocent, or claim that they were anything other than thugs. It's just that I believe very strongly that we should not make up lies about our enemies. The truth is bad enough, and lying about them only brings our own credibility into question.

You can find more about the inquisition here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition



But there are contemporaneous accounts of mass forced conversions. People herded into enclosed spaces, holy water tossed on them, BAM! You're Catholic!

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Author: dovbaer6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11179 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 5:34 PM
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Also, the word for Jewish converts who didn't really adopt Catholicism isn't merano, it's "marrano" - which, I believe in both old and modern Spanish, is a derogatory term that technically means "pig."

=================

I believe tht is correct.

when I was young (oh, so long ago) I remember people used the term Marranos when discussing the Jews who were forced to convert (and of whom many remained Jewish and practiced Judaism in secret).

later on the more politically correct term converso was adopted under the thinking that it is not fair to call the Jews who were forced to convert pigs.

it is estimated that about 5,000 'New Christians' who were Jews, came to the New World and many settled in the area that is now New Mexico. The Inquisition followed them to the new world, and many continued to practice ins ecret for fear of being denounced as hidden Jews.

The last auto-de-fey that the Inquisition did was to a Jewish man in Mexico around 1850, I believe. Amazing to think that the Inquisition was still burning people alive, in North America, as late as the 1800s (and of course the victim was a Jew).

d v

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Author: markr33 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11180 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 5:37 PM
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<<<The difference is that torture is known to be unreliable.>>>

<<So is killing.>>

Not really. If you kill someone, they are dead. They might have been innocent, but there is no ambiguity about their deadness.


I thought we were talking about "reliability" as a technique of warfare rather than dead or not.

If you extract information via torture, you still need to find out whether that information is any good.

This is, of course, true, but it doesn't mean that it is useless as a technique of warfare. To stretch the analogy, you also have to verify that the guy you are shooting at is a valid target or not, but that doesn't mean that shooting at the enemy isn't good.

<<<It's like convicting people on the basis of lie detector tests.>>>

<<We aren't talking about convicting people in a court of law, but rather getting information about dangerous events to prevent them from happening in the first place.>>

I know that. It was an analogy. Torture is an unreliable way of getting information for the prevention of such events (and of prosecuting those who plan them).


I agree that it is generally unreliable, that's why I don't think it should generally be used. But I do think that it should be used in some specific and rare cases. By specific, I mean cases in which time is of the essence and in which specific people or items are being searched for. Even if the technique of torture only reduces the search area, it could prove to be worth doing.

<<I am unclear about this statement - are you saying that torture is more morally repugnant than killing?>>

Yes. This is generally considered to be the case. That's why torture is illegal under the Geneva Convention (among other treaties), which recognizes the legitimacy of killing in many circumstances (such as combat).


I think that killing is sometimes more morally repugnant, and that sometimes torture is more morally repugnant, but that it depends on the circumstances involved.

Does the Geneva Conventions really sanction killing anywhere? Does anyone have such a reference in the text?

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11181 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 6:14 PM
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Does the Geneva Conventions really sanction killing anywhere? Does anyone have such a reference in the text?

You're allowed to execute people, you just have to give them a trial first.
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

"1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons: (...)

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. "

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11182 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 6:14 PM
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Well, well, well.

"A protected person/s shall not have anything done to them of such a character as to cause physical suffering or extermination ... the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment.

While popular debate remains on what constitutes a legal definition of torture (see discussion on the Torture page), the ban on corporal punishment simplifies the matter; even the most mundane physical abuse is thereby forbidden by Article 32, as a precaution against alternate definitions of torture. (See Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse.)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Geneva_Convention

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11186 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 8:38 PM
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Considering the policy of mass forced conversions, this is a meaningless distinction.

Actually, the policy was that you had to convert or leave.

If you've read my other posts on this topic, you should know that many Jews did, in fact, leave.

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11187 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 8:40 PM
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How 'bout the itnernational red cross?

You're kidding, right?

I'm sorry, but given their record, they don't have any credibility with me.

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Author: markr33 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11188 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 8:41 PM
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"A protected person/s shall not have anything done to them of such a character as to cause physical suffering or extermination ... the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment.

Perhaps torture can be used on those who are not "protected persons". If the writers of the fourth convention wanted the rules against torture to apply universally, why did they define "protected persons" instead of just stating "every person" in article 4?

Article 5 is even more illuminating -

Where in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security of such State.

Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.

In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with the security of the State or Occupying Power, as the case may be.


The first paragraph implies that certain people don't have all the rights of the convention depending on security. The second paragraph states that some people don't have the right of communication. And the third paragraph states that people covered in the first and second paragraph should regain their rights and privileges under the convention at the earliest time possible consistent with security.

So, it is clear that not only did the writers of the convention consider some people to be outside the aegis of "protected person", but they also added exceptions regarding protected persons due to security.

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11189 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 8:42 PM
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But there are contemporaneous accounts of mass forced conversions.

None of which you cite.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened, but I'd be amazed if the Office of the Inquisition did it.

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Author: markr33 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11190 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 9:10 PM
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<<Does the Geneva Conventions really sanction killing anywhere? Does anyone have such a reference in the text?>>

You're allowed to execute people, you just have to give them a trial first.


What I meant is where does it sanction soldiers shooting at each other with intent to kill.

But now that I actually read the convention (IV), there is an interesting section in Article 75 -

In no case shall persons condemned to death be deprived of the right of petition for pardon or reprieve.

No death sentence shall be carried out before the expiration of a period of a least six months from the date of receipt by the Protecting Power of the notification of the final judgment confirming such death sentence, or of an order denying pardon or reprieve.

The six months period of suspension of the death sentence herein prescribed may be reduced in individual cases in circumstances of grave emergency involving an organized threat to the security of the Occupying Power or its forces, provided always that the Protecting Power is notified of such reduction and is given reasonable time and opportunity to make representations to the competent occupying authorities in respect of such death sentences.


In the last paragraph of this article, yet another "security" exception is made with regard to executions. But this one I do not understand at all. How is it possible that if a power is already holding a person, that the person (or something outside) constitutes "an organized threat"? And that this "organized threat" is reason enough to execute the person before a proper appeal can be mounted.

Maybe the writers of the convention are recognizing here that in rare circumstances ("individual cases"), even a person that has already been captured can represent in a "grave emergency" to be "an organized threat". Those are just the cases, and only such cases, in which I would say that torture may be permitted.

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Author: MitsouR Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11191 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 9:14 PM
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Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened, but I'd be amazed if the Office of the Inquisition did it.

Steven, you seem to have a strange view of the Inquisition. Perhaps along the lines of - you never would have fake-converted - you surely would have left the country - ergo - those who fake-converted more or less deserved what happened to them.

Is this your view?



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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11192 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 10:35 PM
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Actually, the policy was that you had to convert or leave.

If you've read my other posts on this topic, you should know that many Jews did, in fact, leave.


You seem to imply that leaving was an easy choice. Jews lamented their deportation from Spain for centuries. It had been a thriving center of Jewish culture in the middle ages, perhaps the only such center at the time. The Sepharadic Jews boycotted Spain for hundreds of years afterward in memory of the expulsion.

What if a family had elderly or very young members who could not survive a long and dangerous journey to unknown lands? Or what if they had handicapped members to look after? Or what if they could not afford the cost of the journey? Many had no choice but to convert or die.

Of course, those that survived as Jews are those who left.

Elan

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11194 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/23/2006 11:06 PM
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Steven, you seem to have a strange view of the Inquisition. Perhaps along the lines of - you never would have fake-converted - you surely would have left the country - ergo - those who fake-converted more or less deserved what happened to them.

No. I don' believe in blaming the victim. I believe in blaming the criminal--but only for his crimes.

We could call Hitler a child molester, even though we have no evidence to support that claim.

Would such a baseless charge somehow make him even more of a monster?

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11195 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/24/2006 1:12 AM
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Steven, you seem to have a strange view of the Inquisition. Perhaps along the lines of - you never would have fake-converted - you surely would have left the country - ergo - those who fake-converted more or less deserved what happened to them.

No. I don' believe in blaming the victim. I believe in blaming the criminal--but only for his crimes.


I think you're splitting hairs. It was all one regime, well organized, with a certain division of responsibilities. I would understand that you don't blame Christopher Columbus, for example, who worked for that regime, for responsibility for the Jews' forced expulsion/conversion. But when it comes to the Inquisition, I think we can agree that fear of the Inquisition and what might happen to you if you cheated on conversion had an important role in forcing many Jews to choose expulsion. If Ferdinand and Isabela are guilty of ordering the expulsion, the Inquisition is guilty of enforcing it.

Elan

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Author: Silencer2480 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11197 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/24/2006 7:20 AM
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You seem to imply that leaving was an easy choice. Jews lamented their deportation from Spain for centuries. It had been a thriving center of Jewish culture in the middle ages, perhaps the only such center at the time. The Sepharadic Jews boycotted Spain for hundreds of years afterward in memory of the expulsion.

I think many went to portugal, until they were expelled from there too.

-silencer

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Author: mapletree7 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11202 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/24/2006 12:16 PM
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But there are contemporaneous accounts of mass forced conversions.

None of which you cite.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened, but I'd be amazed if the Office of the Inquisition did it.


The accounts I read were part of the biography Dona Gracia of the House of Nasi, by Cecil Roth.

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11203 of 22694
Subject: Re: Torture Date: 10/24/2006 12:44 PM
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I think you're splitting hairs.

i think that sort of behavior (hair-splitting) is endemic to our shared culture!

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