October 22, 2001

The FBI is toying with the idea of torturing suspects. See the article by Damian Whitworth for the Times of London: FBI considers torture as suspects stay silent.

Will the United States be the next country on Amnesty International's list of campaigns?

The world has changed immeasurably since AI first began denouncing torture at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, but torture continues and is not confined to military dictatorships or authoritarian regimes; torture is inflicted in democratic states too.

Like the United States of America, if we're not careful.

Here's an excerpt from the Times of London article:

Under US law, evidence extracted using physical pressure or torture is inadmissible in court and interrogators could also face criminal charges for employing such methods. However, investigators suggested that the time might soon come when a truth serum, such as sodium pentothal, would be deemed an acceptable tool for interrogators.
The investigators have been disappointed that the usual incentives to break suspects, such as promises of shorter sentences, money, jobs and new lives in the witness protection programme, have failed to break the silence.
"We are known for humanitarian treatment, so basically we are stuck. Usually there is some incentive, some angle to play, what you can do for them. But it could get to that spot where we could go to pressure . . . where we don't have a choice, and we are probably getting there," an FBI agent involved in the investigation told the paper.

If we allow our FBI to torture suspects in the cause of safeguarding our freedom, we'll be descending into tyranny even as we seek to defeat it.

These men are easy to hate because of the crimes they are accused, but remember, these men are not convicted felons. They are only suspects and in our country that means they are innocent until proven guilty.

Who will be the next suspect that the authorities will decide is witholding information? You? Me? The guy that the National Guard and United Airlines wouldn't allow to fly because he was readingi Harry Potter books?

Our due process should not be taken lightly. Its checks and balances were put in place to protect us -- not terrorists. We cannot yeild its protections for any reason.

We're talking about people who are only *suspected* of committing crimes and withholding information. Mistakes happen all the time. Are we ready to risk torturing innocent people? Of course not. That's why we are a civilized country that has laws against these kinds of practices. Right?

Right?