Enough About Me. Let’s Talk About Bastards For A Minute.

This cannot be allowed to continue. And before anyone starts feeling terribly smug that they’re British, and thus the government isn’t guilty of attrocities like that, I advise them to read this, too.

5 Comments

  1. Not that I’m disagreeing with your comments, nor those of , but a genuine question: if a state truly believes (and has confirmatory intelligence) that someone is a threat to national security, but revealing that evidence in a trial may by its revelation also put national security at risk, what is that state to do?

    (I accept 100% that’s not the case where the Canadian bloke is concerned, and once again second your and ‘s words.)

  2. I’ve got a greater tolerance for this sort of thing that most people – I have the advantage of having heard some of the stories of the quiet violations of people’s rights that various UK agencies have engaged in in the course of anti-terrorism work, and the good it’s done, and yes, I agree, there absolutely are times when the state has to act in a way that I wish they didn’t.

    I don’t think there’s *ever* an excuse for torture, or the sort of hell that man went through. Detain, yes. Question, yes. And I accept that part of that is going to involve shouting at them, and not treating them like your friend. Rotten, but just about acceptable. But full on torture and sleep deprivation?

    If they’re still saying “I’m frightened and confused” a day or two later, I suggest that that odds are good that what they’ve got is well, a frightened and confused innocent man, because the one unifying thing I can think of about all the terrorists I’ve heard about is that they’re not that bright. There’s no uber-terrorist, who is so well trained that they can act perfectly, and never let anything slip. That sort of thing is a myth.

    And, y’know, if you have to let someone go and you’re not sure, then that’s what surveillance is for…

  3. But full on torture and sleep deprivation?

    I’ve actually got less problems with the latter than the former.

    As for there ever being an excuse for torture, I’m nt prepared to go that far. I can think of circumstances, but the problem is that the moment you say “yes, but only…” what you’re really saying is… “yes”.

    Peter David once nailed it about censorship. If you say “I’m not in favour of censorship, except for…” what you’re really saying is that you’re in favour of censorship.

    So, yeah, I can justify torture on specific circumstances. How does that make me any better than a defender of a state that regularly uses it as part of normal policy? I dunno, to be honest. I’m hoping that someone will tell me.

    Because to take that absolutist a position on it strikes me (if you’ll forgive both the pun and the analogy) as like the argument on corporal punishment and equating ‘a smack’ on the one hand with ‘beating someone’ on the other, which to me is absurd.

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