Monday, February 07, 2005

TORTURE DOES NOT WORK, if the goal is to get accurate information. Torture is very effective at breaking the human spirit, at terrifying and traumatizing people, at crippling them physically and psychologically, and all too often, killing them. And torture is quite effective at extracting confessions. But a confession is not the same as the truth.

The three British prisoners who were recently released from Guantanamo after two years of detention, sans charges, trial, or legal review, are just one demonstration of how effective torture is at getting people to admit to what their interrogators want them to admit to, and of how far those admissions usually are from the truth. These three men confessed -- after months of isolation in tiny cells with no human contact at all -- to being part of a group of several men who were visible in a videotape showing Osama bin Laden; and to having been at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. The three men were released from Guantanamo after British intelligence agents proved that neither of these admissions was true.

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