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Torture debate:

January 20th, 2010
10:49 PM ET

A lively discussion with Professor Philippe Sands of University College London and Marc Thiessen, former Chief Speech Writer to President George W. Bush:

Filed under:  1 • Torture • U.S. Politics
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Jennifer NC

    Wow! Great segment Christiane. Can't believe what Thiessen accused you of. How did he get such a warped perspective?

    January 20, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  2. Michelle @ CoffeeBreakDMV

    Waterboarding IS torture.
    Just because one acts aloof and dismissive does not change this from being FACT.

    January 21, 2010 at 12:04 am | Reply
  3. Monique Furuta Gomes de Barros

    This is a very complicated and delicate subject. But somebody asked my opinion, so I'm gonna tell it.

    I am totally against any form of torture, no matter what it is. But, when we are talking about security things get a lilttle bit confusing. I understand that every nation has the right to protect its own citizens, but I think Bush administration was too self centered.

    It's weird to realize that somehow the USA wants to close itself and care only about their internal interests, forgetting that we live in a globalized world. This behavior turned USA into a politically isolated nation, and it seems that part of the American population still wants to remain that way.

    That is economical suicide!

    Why do I say it? Well... the same ways Americans don't want their citizens to go through suffering in other countries, the rest of the world won't allow USA to mistreat their own citizens. That's not something we can negociate.

    For example, some years ago 2 American pilots were flying a Legacy, when their crashed with a passenger airplane in the air, and hundreds of people died in the accident, but the American pilots survived. It happened in my country, it happened in Brazil. People wanted answers, they wanted investigation. And they deserved it.

    But the USA in order to protect their own citizens simply forced their way to take both pilots back to American territory, what bring troubles to the local investigation. If they were so innocent, why the need of running?

    The Nigerian boy tried to put down a plane, and failed (thank Gosh he failed), and he was sentenced to life in prision.

    The airplanes crashed, and the Americans got free from it! No further investigation, no punishment to any of them. And many effectively people dead!

    What the USA expects the rest of the world to think about it? Could you please wear our shoes a lil bit? Imagine... what if it was the opposit?

    I know there are good Americans, very good people. But this policy brings hate. It makes the rest of the world feel unfairly treated. And they are right! The sensation is that Americans can do anything they want to the others, and can run away from it unpunished! And in the other hand... nobody can dare even think of harming an American citizen! Why?

    We are so unequal like that?

    We are all humans, we have feelings, family, we love, we have fear, we suffer, we fight, we celebrate, we learn, we teach, we have values to share... just like you!

    I think that USA has to review its policy of interrogation. I trust they are smart enough to find the RIGHT solution, not any solution! And it is time to see that the world is globalized, connected, united thru a bond that can not be broken anymore, and we all have to get used to it.

    The more violence you give, the more violence you will receive.

    And just be fair, USA has been violent towards other nations thru long times... don't you think it is time to put it in the past? To start a new beginning of peace, without fear, without people going after you for revenge, trying to harm you and you're loved ones?

    That's what I want. That's what I think.

    January 21, 2010 at 12:36 am | Reply
  4. Fernando F.

    Are you sure Mark's name is Mark?... because he sounds more like a Dick to me.... like Cheney.
    I heard interviews in Montreal on the radio with the expert that performed interrogations on terrorists, and he says that he can get information faster and more reliable using techniques without using torture. Marc is just an enabler for an Authoritarian Government. He hasn't water-board anybody.
    Also, interrogating the person that trie to bring the airplane down on Christmas is useless. He doesn't know future plans. He is a foot soldier. Most probably a puppet. He can tell you who gave them the bomb and where, but he doesn't know anything beyond that. If he knew it will mean that the terrorist are idiots, and they are not. They adapt, they can disperse themselves, they have flexibility to move around. Is a mistake to think they are idiots.

    Plus, Osama bin Laden want the US military bases out of the Middle East. That's the reason they kill those more than 200 marines a while ago. That's the reason they attack the ship USS Cole. I don't see anybody asking the terrorist why are they attacking the US, what makes me think that is because we already know: those US military bases. If the US doesn't close them, the US will keep paying the price with civilians dead. Is obvious that the US thinks is still worthed to keep those bases over there.

    January 21, 2010 at 12:38 am | Reply
  5. Manuel Kasp

    Marc Thiessen is obviously not a complete fool and defends his point with conviction, bur he clearly misses the core issue : a nation that calls itself civilized can not support the physical/mental harm of any individual period.

    January 21, 2010 at 1:39 am | Reply
  6. maya

    Geneva convention against torture, article 2/2 states:"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture". That is directed to Mr. Marc Thiessen who speaks of Geneva convention without knowing its articles.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:18 am | Reply
  7. Kevin Eubanks

    It's really not that complicated to me at all. The "experts" at torture say it doesnt really produce good intel. It's most effective use is as a deterrent to opposition, or as a tool to extract false confessions.

    The Jack Bauer "24" scenario is a myth. And, intelligence professionals, all around the world, strongly state that other forms of interrogation are MUCH more likely to produce quality actionable information.

    This is not even to mention the moral questions involved in using such barbaric behavior.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:59 am | Reply
  8. Michaeljwjr

    I am a fan of torture. You want to pick up arms to fight, then by all means you are subject to violence. You are against all forms of torture, trust me there are always instances where someone will condone torture.

    Like for example if torturing someone would save your child's life, you would.

    Like examples given in the series 24, if torturing someone to get information about a weapon of mass destruction, or to save lives... for damned sure violence should be used.

    It's REAL easy to sit around and be indignant, because you're isolated in a bubble, but there is always a use of violence, and torture is a viable way of getting information.

    If you pick up a weapon to cause violence, you should not be surprised when violence is used against you.

    Torture has many different forms. Even on the battlefield.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:04 am | Reply
  9. Ngure Githinji

    Hi Christian,

    Wonderful and exciting debate yesterday. I totally disagree with Marc Thiessen on his perspective that it is permissible to use water boarding, which from his point of view is not torture, in any circumstance. Compounded is that he does not want the same technique to be used on American citizens. If he truly feels that this is a permissible way of getting information he should not try and obfuscate the issue by saying that the Geneva convention can be suspended for certain combatants. If he feels it is ok with America to use water boarding, then shouldn't that be the same for any other nation.
    His argument that water boarding is used in the SERE training and hence is not torture was rather hilarious. SERE training is used to train military personnel on how to resist extreme interrogation techniques, including water boarding. This training is for men and women who will go into hostile territory, are likely to get captured and are likely to get tortured, hence the kind of preparation they get. It does not mean that it becomes alright to use it on anyone else.
    I think that the way forward as Monique Furuta Gomes de Barros has said above (and she has captured alot of what I was thinking) is for the US to find a solution to protecting itself, and not just any solution. Barrack Obama said that peace does not come at the price of suspending our freedoms. That is entirely true. By treating other citizens of the world as though their rights are subordinate to the rights of the Americans, then you create the situation of hatred that leads to a fertile ground for terrorist recruitment.
    And I think it was a pretty poor show for Marc to try and accuse you of spreading untruths.

    January 21, 2010 at 5:30 am | Reply
  10. Cat West

    Thiessen ignores some really basic 'facts" about terrorism.
    First, to keep America SAFE, we would have had to have had a president that both read and understood the PDBs AND one that had not ignored, mocked and marginalized his Chief Security Advisor, Richard Clark, who was trying desperately to convey the warnings about impeding Al Qaeda attacks.

    Further, the FBI interrogators, the professionals, got more information from these captives with a cookie and conversation than all the torture put together. That information STOPPED when torture began.

    Torture has only ONE purpose: To gain propaganda. No one in their right mind, would use torture to get 'reliable information' .

    And I always laugh when some Bush era moron names all these attacks that were prevented... including the "Library Tower in LA..." There IS NO LIBRARY TOWER IN LA!

    So, how accurate was that torture information?

    We are seeing and will see more of this 'rewriting of history' and of 'ignoring the facts' by the disgraced Bush Cheney sock puppets.

    We need more like Amanpour, who will challenge them as they attempt to inject false memories, fictional 'facts' and worse, into the public discourse.

    January 21, 2010 at 5:49 am | Reply
  11. Thuong

    Oh, It's really an arguement :), so great

    January 21, 2010 at 8:47 am | Reply
  12. Aminullah A Lucman

    I think that radicalization have all been products of the intelligentsia, since the industrial revolution, the invention of wheels and burrows, people of intellect as always have all but been wanting of supremacy in deference to power and more wealth. I am tortured by the fact of people still obviously deeply attached to same old cold war dogma of torture as tools to extract strategic intelligence, is this methodical subjugation of the human being an acceptable attitude for purposes of defense or offense?

    Because if by waterboarding is to be believed effective in winning for the West its armed engagements over terrorism, then there would have been no need to be sending more troops. More troops to send is essentially a military measure to respond to military type problems, you win wars by fighting them, not torturing prisoners.

    The Geneva Conference on the decorum engaging in wars should be put in place because nations external to the West are the one at war, and each nations who may be 'connected' to this conflicts should rightly have the voice say its piece and be responsive to the rules of engagement, let the Geneva thing extricate the innocent and prosecute the guilty parties whoever they may be.

    January 21, 2010 at 8:52 am | Reply
  13. Nicola Lecca

    I saw the full program yesterday. On a number of occasion I was under the impression that some of the information provided by Mr. Marc Thiessen were not 100% true.
    How can he really prove that waterboarding prevented bomb attacks?

    Waterboarding is torture. And it is not by torturing people that we will end terrorist attacks. Maybe it is true that contrary.

    Instead we should be setting the standards ang giving the example of a non violent society who respect the dignity of each individual.

    January 21, 2010 at 9:05 am | Reply
  14. danny

    When a terrorist choses his path he waves the rights that other humans deserve. If I have to torture ONE MAN to save maybe thousands or more, I would not hesitate for a fraction of a second.
    Leaders should not listen to cowards and weeklings, the world is not run by them, never was, never wil.
    The Western world is now in trouble because there are too many spoiled people out there that can afford to be weak and ultra-liberal, because they have lived in freedom and wealth for so long they have lost their survival instincts or they have muted them.
    On truth, historic truth is: as soon as empires became weak, liberal, indulgent, spoiled, they have dissapered. However, the tougher and more non-compromising they were the longer they lasted.
    Look at the Roman empire, the Austro-Hungarian, the Otoman. cruel, tough, long-lasting. As soon as they became self-indulgent, they dissapeared in favour of their rivals. Roman to Otoman, Otoman to Austrian & British, them to American/Western.
    The West has lost the plot lately and if it continues like this....HERE COMES CHINA!
    Let me see you asking them about torture!
    There will come a day when everybody will regret the decline of the American empire. I'll be old by then but I'll be laughing my butt off at all those liberals crushed under the chinese (or islamic) boots.

    January 21, 2010 at 9:34 am | Reply
  15. Marc

    wow! what a great debate! thanks Christiane for putting things into perspective!

    January 21, 2010 at 10:23 am | Reply
  16. bjoern jespersen

    on torture:

    I think the typical dilemma is this: "if you had a person, who had planted a (neuklear) bomb, set to go off in a short time and killing a large number of people, would you use torture to get information about how to dismantle that bomb?"

    I think most people would.

    But is it be possible to legislate in a way that will CONTAIN torture to be allowed in only such an extreme situation, and prevent innocent persons from being tortured.


    January 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  17. Pierce

    Way to go Marc. Christiane has been a terrorist sympathizer for years. We are at war with these people. They will stop at nothing to kill our innocent women and children and half of the country has turned into pathetic effeminate pacifists. Marc is right that those weakest among us show a near total ignorance of the purpose of the Geneva Convention they so like to cite. It was not created to give comfort to military individuals, but in doing so, hoped to give them incentive to follow the rules of war. Very telling that neither of these 2 liberal buffoons are willing to call the same technique used on thousands of military personnel torture, but only when used on 3 terrorists. Really, whose side are you people on anyways? These people that are incessantly whining about torture and violence sound like those same people who fail to spank their children when they need it. The fact is that these techniques WERE investigated and designed NOT to cross the line to torture and that they did, IN FACT, save lives by procuring information on major terrorist plots that were in the planning phase. Until people stop reasoning with their emotions on this topic and start paying attention to the facts, we will continue to become more vulnerable to these animals.

    January 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  18. Lathesha L. Andrews

    I was wondering about Haiti and the rebuild, especially in the poor areas. I was thinking it would be good for us as a nation if we put our green rhetoric into action and promoted and planned sustainable permaculture communities.Permaculture is a bit of everything. To some it is architecture, to others, organic farming. Permaculture is a design system, but the engineering principles it follows are those of life.A garden you can eat, a garden you can wear, a garden you can use as your medicines, a garden you can use as fuel and to build your houses… a garden full of purposes, and a garden you can enjoy as well – that you can sit in – and a garden that doesn’t take up all your time. You can actually, for a few hours of work each week, produce the things that you need.

    January 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  19. Jim

    Christiane, Kudos and Shame. First, thank you for airing so many controversial subjects and trying to present both sides of an issue. However, as perhaps the world's "most respected" journalist, you owe it to the world to be objective. The issue of waterboarding is debatable as are many others that are equally controversial. Your behavior during the interview was very biased and consequently shameful. Please buck the showbiz trend in news today and give us truly "fair and balanced" reporting.

    January 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  20. Charlie

    It is so frightening to see the republicans re-emerge in the US. Therir approach does much to encourage sympathy for anyone who dislikes the US. The world has always lived a level of terrorism from PLO, IRA etc etc. The US overreaction is scarier than they ever were and spreads the impact around the world. Eventually world leaders will negotiaite with some form of Al quaida representative just as Yassar Ar Afat and IRA leaders were invited to the Whitehouse.

    January 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  21. Paul Maskens

    It is not because somebody call you a "terrorist" that you are one.
    During World war II the nazis called a lot of people "terrorists". After the war they were considered as heroes in their country. "terrorist" is just an excuse for torturing an human being.
    Paul Maskens fromBelgium

    January 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  22. Lutz

    Dear Christiane, I rarely write but was upset the way you cut off the guest on waterboardding. I visited the SS 21 torture center in Phnom Pen and saw the water troture they used. It has absolute4ly nothing to do with waterboarding. The people's head was held underwater where they could not breather, in horrible metal bathtubs. I oppose waterboarding but as a reporter you have to stick with the facts. Those SS21 drownings are completely different from waterboarding. You really should have given the man a chance to speak and considered what he said. It was painful to hear both of you jumping on the guy when he was right .

    January 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  23. Kevin McCarthy

    It is easy for everyone to criticize methods that are being used by our intelligence community. My opinion is that terrorists do not have any rights. If someone is planning on blowing up buildings with innocent children, they have no rights. If someone is planning to explode a device to kill innocent people flying 30,000 miles above the sky, they have no rights. Why do we need to treat these people with any respect when they would never do the same for the people that they are planning to harm.

    They are not soldiers. Soldiers where uniforms and have rules of engagement. Soldiers can be tried in court when they violate other peoples rights.

    The liberal media will be the downfall of our nation and the world. You are trying to minimize or marginalize the tragedies and actrocities which are being committed by muslim extremists and somehow make it the fault of America and the Western powers. Were it not for the Western civilized world, you would not have your comfty job sitting in the newsroom asking silly questions. It is only because of the Western civilized world you are able to open your mouth and criticize what you don't think is fair.

    What is fair when an innocent child is killed by a terrorist bomb? What rights were they given?

    January 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  24. Nasir Danmaliki

    Throughout the rise of America as a super power it has projected itself as a champion of democracy,freedom and respect for human right, but the conduct of which it carry out it campaign for the war on terrorism demonstrate otherwise and leave many people astonished by the barbaric act of Bush administration, that projected America as nation that has no regards to international law and places it own interest before that of international community , this makes me wonder those the world super power lied to the whole world and projected a false image or are their few individual that likes to use the corridors of power to disgrace the very values that America is build on .

    January 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  25. Gene Moss

    If waterboarding saves one American life then I say do it. Marc keep up the good work.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  26. Rob


    He got it from her own words little girl. Get a clue.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  27. Glaucia Arruda

    I am a big fan of this great, intelligent and brilliant woman! Congrats and keep up the good work!

    January 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  28. Rob

    Oh you wacky liberals. You are so funny!

    January 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Reply

    It was really an interesting debate , but the point is how can someone talk of Human Rights for terrorists who plan deadly attacks on innocent people across the globe. The people who kill innocent people by slitting their throats , dose they deserve any human treatment ? The only argument can be what if the people captured are innocent , for that we need to believe our intelligence agencies.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  30. bjoern jespersen

    – chocked by the possibility that Theissen was talking about a nonexisting tower, I had to check. According to internet info, it does exist and is also known as the U.S Bank Tower, Los Angeles.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  31. Peter watson

    I am always amused by how the USA has managed to box itself into the damned if they do, damned if they don't corner.Imagine having the chief International reporter for CNN interviewing a chinese politics professor about chinese prison methods and how they could help combat global terrorism.We are always quick to condemn the USA and slow to thank Americans.Now I know that some bright spark will write a million words on why the USA is not deserving of any thanks but while they are doing so let them think about the fear that many citizens of the world live in for just thinking the critisms about their governments that we can write with impunity.
    I can understand the frustrations of dealing with captured terrorists and sometimes that frustration will boil over.But the USA knows that if they step over the line ONCE the world's press will through its arms up in the air in a massive outpouring of self righteous indignation.Thank goodness that they donot just say the hell with everyone else and let the terrorists have it all>>>>ARMAGEDON!!!!!!

    January 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  32. George Carlson

    You and your followers don't have a clue. Water boarding is not torture. I was water boarded during Marine Corps training over 40 years ago, as have tens of thousands of US service men and women since then, including one of our children who is still serving.

    You should spend more time on research than bashing the US around the world. It is no wonder that FOX garners more viewers from all political views than CNN.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  33. Nnaemeka

    The debate was really "my words against your own" Anyway Christiane you are biased in today's debate. Although you think waterboarding is torture but it should not a reason to be biased. I think terroist should be treated differently.I think Prof. Sand contradicted himself during the online conversation because in other words it seems he saying that in extreme cases torture will help. So I think it depends the situation on ground at any given time.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  34. priya bery

    Okay that was hilarious, but also extremely frightening. No civilized people can condone torture, and whatever happened to, not stooping to their level. How can they allow torture and retain their moral high ground. Mr. Two-Face!

    January 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  35. Mark H.

    Thiessen handily exposes Amanpour's dishonesty in this segment, and shows the essential unseriousness of Sands to boot.

    Amanpour's sputtering that what she described in her article Thiessen quotes from is in any way equivalent to the technique used on the three captured terrorists, tens of thousands of military personnel, and over a dozen (and still counting) journalists was one of the most entertaining parts of this bit. Her contention is that if it involves water, it is ipso facto torture, and she refuses to let Thiessen explain the very real differences between them – probably because she knows full well how big a fool she will look if she lets him continue.

    Thiessen is also of course quite correct that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to unlawful combatants, as anyone who has taken the time to actually read the Conventions will discover for themselves. The Conventions are dead simple to find online, so Amanpour and Sands have no excuse for their intellectually dishonest attempt to misuse them as cover for their wrongheaded convictions.

    The refusal of Sands to answer Thiessen's question as to which of the thwarted attacks he would have preferred to see go forward was another chuckle-inducing moment. And his cherry-picking of selected "experts" he claims pooh-pooh the value of information obtained through the use of these techniques is transparently biased, given the prominence of the many, MANY officials involved who have gone on record to state the invaluable quantity and quality of information coughed up by the waterboarded trio and the roughly three dozen other terrorists who underwent less controversial enhanced interrogation techniques.

    The single HONEST issue brought up by either of Thiessen's opponents was Sands' hypothesis that waterboarding these terrorists somehow encourages otherwise peaceful Muslims to join the Jihad. No informed, rational person can pretend to be unaware of the raft of OTHER excuses (including but not limited to the loss of Andalusia several centuries ago) these freaks already parrot for indulging in self-detonation in public venues, but let's for the sake of argument assume that there actually are some out there who are pushed over the edge solely by the discovery that three of their ilk were once waterboarded by agents of the Great Satan. The question then becomes –

    Are these new, rookie, potential murderers MORE of a danger than the actual, active conspirators who were thwarted by the information coughed up by the waterboarded "martyrs"?

    Now THAT would be a serious debate worth watching. Too bad Amanpour will never host it.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  36. Nnaemeka

    Hi Christiane, today is the first I'm joining your online conservation though I have been watching Amanpour right from day one. I think you are doing a great job please keep it up. You are one of the best not just in the US but in the world over. I'm sorry I did not leave this sincere compliment but went ahead to join the online conservation.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  37. Michael

    Sands and Amanpour argue that closing Guantanamo would deprive Islamic Extremists of their ability to recruit more followers. That would ignore the fact that thousands have been recruited for decades prior to Guantanamo opening. In the 90s, bin Laden complained about sanctions against Iraq and US troops on Saudi territory. Close Guantanamo and they will simply come up with another excuse.

    Sands also argues that Britain is not less safe because it doesn't use Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. Since the same Islamic Extremists have threatened both Britain and the US, one can use the same evidence to argue that both Britain and the US were made safer through the use of those techniques.

    I really didn't understand why Sands was even there. There was no discussion. It was simply Amanpour and Sands making accusations in lockstep with no evidence to back any of it up. She could have done that by herself and saved CNN the satellite time.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  38. bardbart

    "A rose by any other name is still a rose" and so it is with torture. Thiessen's reasoning is tortured. One does not overcome evil with evil only with good, which is what Christ preached. Thiesen's position, along with his former bosses Bush and Cheney, is anti-Christ as all hell. Their lies and deceit on the subject is actually terrifying. However this is only the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to overcoming terrorism first we have to recognize "the elephant in the living room" so we can lay the axe to the root: Jim Crow mentality is behind our phony "drug war" which is really drug prohibition: marijuana was made illegal 'cos many Mexicans smoked it and wealthy landowners in the southwest wanted to get rid of them during depression years. Plenty of cheap native labor around then. Same racial profiling behind banning of cocaine. It was directed at African Americans so they wouldn't be going around "violating innocent white women". History channel has programs on this. Solution is "For a healthy America take the crime out of drugs." This would pull the rug out from underneath the drug gangs here, Latin America, Afghanistan and elsewhere. A peaceful revolution. What a way to honor Martin Luther King! Stop house invasions and the rape of young women in the inner cities. For more on this one can go to youtube, self broadcast and search athomewithapoet (at home with a poet ). Video essays there "still condemnin' galileo".

    January 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  39. Fernando F.

    for Michael January 21st, 2010 1630 GMT

    so you think is ok for the US to have military bases in Saudi land, helping the Government over there because the US wants their oil, and maybe stopping a Revolution that will stop the abuses and the keeping of all those rich people in power.... that for you is just an excuse.
    so maybe you wouldn't have mind Mexico helping the British (for a nice amount of money) and stopping the independence of the American people. If Americans had kill Mexicans in the US territory at the time you would have call them terrorists.
    you need to put more analysis in your arguments.
    I have seen cars in the Middle East made with pure Silver. Maybe people are tired of seeing those displays of money.

    January 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Reply
  40. Sashland

    Chrissy purposely conflates torture and interrogation.

    Please, not all interrogation is torture and not all torture is interrogation. Not all waterboarding is the same and not all waterboarding is torture. Hers is not an honest argument and she does not listen to her guest. Moderator fail.

    The comments here, expressed as "fact", have the same type of serious shortcomings as the logic and "facts" from Sands and Chrissy. I was going to respond but seeing a comment on the subject elsewhere saved me the effort, and directly from someone who actually knows what they are talking about; he backs up Thiessen as the one with the real facts. Understanding requires some nuance and analysis; jumping to overreaching conclusions based on selective facts is not insight.

    comment by hossierteacher:

    I was waterboarded as a part of my SERE training. It was terribly unpleasant, and I have no shame admitting that I was terrified and that the technique was very effective on me (as it was on everyone that was in my class). Still, it was not torture by any means.

    The newswoman (whom I won’t dignify by mention of her name), is full of ignorance on this issue.

    Number one, despite her protestations, at NO POINT is somebody whom is subjected to waterboarding submerged in a box or barrel. I had a cloth (like a towel) placed over my face, and water was poured over that. After a few seconds of resisting, I was inclined so that my head was slightly lower than my feet (I was lying supine, or “face-up”). Despite the fact that no water ever entered my mouth or nostrils, there was a tactile illusion that there was water going up my nose and onto my throat. No matter how sure I was that this wasn’t happening, my brain just panicked, convinced that there was water going down my throat. What she saw was “water torture”, an entirely seperate technique (used in asia and the middle east). I never saw the technique used nor trained. Unlike waterboarding, “water torture” carries physical risks, and to my knowledge, is never used by the CIA or US military personnel.

    Second, she (and her British friend) are horribly misinformed about the Geneva Convention (a convention that I used to teach about while in the service). The Convention itself is explicit – protections of the Convention are ONLY extended to uniformed members of a national military force operating in a military operation. Terrorists (who are not state sponsored, do not wear a uniform, are not in a recognized military force, and are carrying out operations against civilians instead of legitimate military targets) are expressly denied protections by the Convention. Neither of the idiots on CNN opposing Mr. Thiessen have read nor undesrtand the Convention. It labels actors (such as Al Quida) as “illegal combatants”, and (under the convention) those actors are afforded NO protection.

    So when these two idiots try to ask if Americans abroad should be waterboarded, they entirely miss the point. Americans in the military operating in uniform in a military operation are protected by the Convention. Terrorists (whether attacking airliners or attacking our troops) are not given Geneva Convention protections. According to what? Why, the Convention itself!

    Clearly, only one person in the two videos was informed about what waterboarding is, and what the Convention actually says.

    “Greater is an army of sheep led by a lion, than an army of lions led by a sheep” – Defoe

    January 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  41. Fernando F.

    George Carlson ,
    maybe you were water boarded 40 years ago, but the difference is the intensity and the number of times. Did somebody do it to you day after day, for long periods of time? You were subjected to a demo, so you understood what was the idea. You didn't accuse your mother with false information just to stop them, did you?

    January 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  42. b.jmcl

    Hard to swallow the liberal slant on this subject. We are NOT fighting someones uniformed army. We are fighting ruthless terrorists who think no more of ending your life or my life than stepping on an ant. They hide behind innocent people to do their dirty deed deeds. How many of us, who really care about protecting our country, would be really surprised if these terrorists finally planted and detonated a nuclear device here that killed many thousands. THEN, these libs would say, "why didn't we stop that"! It's just dandy to piss and moan about water boarding terrorists, but when it comes to protecting our country, most of you libs DON'T HAVE A CLUE AS TO WHAT IT TAKES, OR WHAT IS INVOLVED, even if you think your do. This country is living on borrowed time with such attitudes. Security ignorant people like Amanpour are unwittingly aiding and abetting our deadly enemies, in my opinion!!

    January 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  43. Steve-O


    "Further, the FBI interrogators, the professionals, got more information from these captives with a cookie and conversation than all the torture put together. That information STOPPED when torture began."

    Really, what do you think that these guys are just waiting around to give us information once they get caught? That is a completely naive statement!

    I'm for anything that will stop people from wanting to harm to Americans or American interests. These individuals are knowingly taking up arms against us and you want to offer up 2cents for their thoughts. You do know lives are at stake?

    We can continue to discuss the techniques but as long as this administrator will not release the information that is obtained, the point is mute.

    January 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Reply
  44. Cog

    I think the biggest issue raised in this debate has nothing to do with "torture" or waterboarding, but that one party in a conflict (or several parties) is attempting to abide by the Geneva Convention and the accepted laws of armed conflict, and one party (or several decentralized parties) are making no attempts to abide by the Geneva Conventions, and in fact are actively flaunting their ability to attack civilians, medical workers, journalists and other non-combatants.

    The media and the international community need to firmly draw lines between lawful and unlawful combatants. Unlawful combatants (terrorists targeting civilians, aid workers, journalists) should not be afforded rights under the Geneva Convention or under the international criminal court or U.S. Justice system.

    The problem is that Bush and his adminstration took this grey area and used it to their own devices, which turned out about as well as their planning for other operations. There needs to be a new code of conduct for treatment of prisoners who are unlawful combatants. Only after this step, can countries come together to form agreements on what form of treatment is and is not acceptable on a wider scale. In the interim, unfortunately many countries are going to pick and choose based on their best interests.

    January 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  45. KS Coona$$

    THANK YOU Marc Thiessen!!!! You put Philippe and Christiane in their place..... to bad they are not able to see past their left wingbad bias and understand that they are trying to compare apples to carrots!

    January 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  46. Gene Moss

    I'll ask all you bleeding hearts one question "HOW DO YOU WIN A WAR?" In my opinion you fight evil with evil. They kill one of mine, I kill a thousand of their's. After awhile they'll get it.

    There's a sure fire way to stop all torture. Don't take any prisoners.

    To bad there's not more Jack Bauers or John Wayne's in this Country's leadership.

    January 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  47. Zack Petrucci

    After seeing the interview Theissen gave I thought I'd drop and and check out the comments. Wow~ this place is a cesspool of ignorance! I guess I found where all those long lost Obama voters have been congregating...

    You guys can carp all you want about the Geneva convention but it doesn't have any application when dealing with terrorists. It's like you are all chasing unicorns around here. Do you honestly believe that if we just treat jihadi terrorists nicer they will stop their war against the infidel? Do you honestly think the fact that we interrogate terrorists is a recruiting tool? And lastly, Theissen's final point about which attack you would have preferred to happen is a dead on accurate question. Without the info gleaned from KSM and the others there is no way we would have stopped all of the plots we have in the last year. If you think they can stop threats without good intel, look at Fort Hood and the Christmas day underpants bomber. Those situations are what happens when we DO have good intel – so what about the rest?!

    I Know you guys are too busy chasing leprechauns and rainbows to think critically about this, so I don't expect there will be much rational discussion on this. But someone had to point out the obvious.

    January 21, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Reply
  48. MIKE L.

    I miss the days of objective journaism. Have you forgotton 9/11?" Do You remember the shock, disbelief, horror, violation of Our country? These people want to do it again! I just can't believe my ears when I hear people, especially one like Ms. Amanpour, who has a venue for reaching many people, when they try and find more ways to make it easier for enemies to harm Us. While terroists use their collective reasoning, influence and resources to plan new and deadlier methods of attacking our innocent citizens, some here would counter by making it easier. Common sense and justice itself suggest that there should be deterants to make these peoplethink long and hard about harming us. I can't believe that any sane person would in any way whatsoever relieve them of the consequences of their actions!

    January 21, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  49. Stan

    I've been to the S21 prison as well, and Christina was dishonest to portray the water torture there as being the same as water boarding.

    To compare Gitmo to the S21 prison is an insult to the 17,000 people who died in that prison and the dozen or so who survived.
    Is Gitmo truly the same as a prison where 17,000 people went in and 12 came out alive?

    Educate yourself please.

    January 21, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  50. Fernando F.

    I'm going to assume that the last comments are written by the same person. Is almost the same rant against the "soft" people that don't want to torture. They are tough people that don't mind torturing people to save one American.

    Should I remind you that Osama Bin Laden was trap in Tora Bora. American soldiers were closing in. They request help from the Politicians in turn. They recommend 2 different options on how to close in and capture or kill Bin Laden. What was the answer? NO. They say no. I heard one of the leaders of those soldiers that were trying to finished their objective of killing Bin Laden. They were stop. Why? Why not send 5,000 marines right away? There excuse given was something like "is too dangerous" or some stupid thing like that. Where was the toughness? .... now, of course, there is this thing that is called Iraq. The US hasn't invade Iraq yet.... and it seems somebody in the White House wanted to go there... and if Bin Laden was killed in Afghanistan there wouldn't be an invasion in Iraq..... so, just maybe.... somebody decide to let him go by refusing to help with reinforcements in Tora Bora..... That is for me the only logical explanation on why more help was not send immediately. The W.H. didn't want to risk the live of some marines, but didn't have a problem sending thousands of soldiers to invade Iraq and live in a "quagmire" for years to come.

    So, don't come to me with lets torture terrorists. Go and investigate why Cheney was erasing all those emails to cover his tracks first.

    January 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  51. N.P Jackson

    Your bias (and CNN's) towards people who are actually trying to protect my country and the rest of the world is very apparent.

    I caught this debate by accident, and I always enjoyed being able to switch channels when U come on. I am now giving up on watching CNN (and their continual plugs on how good CNN is).

    BBC and CCTV for me from now on.

    January 22, 2010 at 12:18 am | Reply
  52. Harry Pool

    A few years ago, Amanpour stated that US troops were using hand grenades loaded with nerve gas, grenades which can be thrown around thirty meters and, if they existed, would disperse the gas over maybe a ten meter radius circle. Such a weapon would be too dangerous to the troops using it to ever be seriously considered for development, and she believed those who told her they'd used the grenades.

    Frankly, I don't care how we treat captured terrorists. Unlawful combatants have NO rights. If they give us useful information, they may EARN favorable treatment. Otherwise, ...

    January 22, 2010 at 12:28 am | Reply
  53. Fred Brun

    Extremely good debate. Christiane tried very hard to keep the discussion logical. Marc Thiessen is the typical example of the arrogant American that the world despises. He basically believes that the US is the only country to correctly understand the Geneva Convention and the rest of the world are idiots. He actually believes the intellectual disingenuous myth he spews as fact. History has shown us that there were many examples of people in power positions who criminally interpret International Law to suit their interests. American neglect to address source problems of its malaise universally, will not place it in good standing in the world of nations. Propaganda agent’s likeThiessen just emphasizes the demise of America’s moral stature in the world.

    January 22, 2010 at 12:52 am | Reply
  54. jflarouche

    From Canada, A really good interview from Ms Amanpour.

    January 22, 2010 at 2:47 am | Reply
  55. Rob W

    There is more than one method of what has been refered to as waterboarding. The specific example brought up in this discussion involved submerging the persons head underwater. This was just one method used by the Khmer Rouge. Another method involved restraining the person, lying down, face up, with a cloth placed over his face. Water was then poured over the face, giving the person the feeling of drowning.

    The second method has been used countless times since at least the middle ages. In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer with war crimes for using this method on a U.S. civilian. The officer was sentenced to 15 years hard labor. This was the method used by a U.S. soldier interogating a North Vietnamese soldier in 1968. The U.S. soldier was courtmartialed for this act. It was also the same technique used by a Texas sherif and three of his deputies on Texas state prisoners in 1983. All four were sentenced to prison for doing this. Any reasonable person can clearly see that this act is not tolerated in our society, yet this is the exact same technique used by U.S. interogators on suspected terrorists.

    Now the claim that terrorists are not protected under the Geneva Convention might be debatable, however, the meaning in the United Nations Convention Against Torture is unquestionable. This treaty, which was ratified by the United States of America on October 21, 1994, states that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked to justify torture, including war, threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime, or any form of armed conflict. By ratifying this treaty, torture was made illegal according to the U.S. Constitution, which states; "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land".

    So, Mr. Theissen, you are wrong. We the people who follow the law of the U.S. Constitution, are ready to accept your retraction and apology.

    January 22, 2010 at 4:55 am | Reply
  56. priya bery

    deterant = torture, very slippery downward slope for humanity.

    January 22, 2010 at 10:21 am | Reply
  57. Jeff

    I especially liked how the British guest claimed there hadn't been any attacks in five years. I guess the subway bombings were "manmade disasters".

    January 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  58. Jim Flahive

    Waterboarding is not what Christiane describes. I wonder what those against it will say when we have a Terrorist who refuses to provide a mirandized statement and days, weeks or months later, other American Citizens are killed/injured. These people are intent on harming the US and are willing to die killing as many as they can. This is a war and gathering intelligence is critical to protecting the loss of American and other Countries citizens.

    January 22, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  59. maya

    No justification is acceptable for torture. Torturing offends its users by questioning their human decency. Wrong doing can never be justified by another wrong doing. May terrorists never succeed to dehumanize their potential victims.

    January 22, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Reply
  60. Karen

    Christine deliberately distorted and misrepresented waterboarding, and I'm glad Mark Thiessen called her on it. Would she rather have Americans killed in more terrorist attacks than make a few terrorists uncomfortable??? It seems so! How can I believe anything this reporter tells us if she's going to distort the truth and completely give a false impression of the actual waterboarding procedure? Her reporting is not accurate. What a shame! THank you, Mark. She has lost my trust!

    January 23, 2010 at 2:32 am | Reply
  61. J Parkin

    People who say that waterboarding and the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA is torture are the same people who say that those who use the methods are no better than the terrorists, or that these methods lower their advocates to the same level as the terrorist, however they will never acknowledge that the people who do advocate the use of or engage in these interrogations have never gone around the world slaughtering innocent people, they do not want to go to far away countries and terrorise the citizens. They simply do their best to protect free people from the savages who thankfully the vast majority of us would never have the nightmare of encountering in real life.

    January 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  62. Brian Patrick O'Malley


    Thank you for conducting this interview of Philippe Sands and Marc Thiessen. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia used many forms of water torture. The Cambodian image shown by CNN during the interview with Thiessen is, in fact, not the bucket method but the Khmer Rouge technique also used by the CIA–only the CIA reportedly used cellophane instead of cloth.

    In any case, water torture disrupts breathing. This sensation of imminent death constitutes torture.

    The charge that detainees are not "prisoners of war" and therefore can be treated uncivilly should anger those Americans who might recall reading that many Tories and Redcoats believed that "rebels taken in arms" were not real soldiers, and therefore had no rights.

    January 23, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  63. Kyle

    I feel I must state the obvious to start. CNN is an extremely liberal news outlet, and just like Fox on the other side, it skews their reporting/interviews. This would have been 2vs1 if Professor Philippe Sands was not so well-mannered.

    I am for gathering intelligence with enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorists. The problem lies in properly classifying individuals as terrorists or not, which it seems was attempted to be solved by a particular set of low pain enhanced interrogation techniques. This is not so black and white as people who say "xxx/yyy/etc. = torture, always" wish it was. It's safe to never say always, from my experience.

    Conspiracy theorists like Fernando are frightening. Maya... dehumanizing? Since when has being a human not been about self-optimization and survival? This part of us is activated at different levels for different situations, it seems. For us sitting in front of our computers, we can afford to be so aloof and kind.

    January 24, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  64. bardbart

    These comments run the gamut of varying degrees of enlightenment and varying degrees of ignorance.
    On the enlightened view Maya's last statement hit the nail on the head. Torture is wrong .Evil.End of story as to morality of that behavior. Again she's dead on as to what it does to one doing torturing and one being tortured. Dehumanizing. At that hellish stage both are terrorists. Fighting terrorists with terror is throwing fuel on the fire. End result
    is both are victims of succumbing to evil. I'm afraid it's already too late Maya once torturing begins.The line of turning your back on humanity has been crossed. No mercy allowed. Sick mentality.
    Jack Nicholson's character colonel Nathan Jessup in the movie "A Few Good Men" is an excellent portrayal of that mindset. Which is know nothin' nativist truculent bloviatin' barbaric demagoguery. O'Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh epitomize same.
    As do quite a few comments. Mike L.: Not a clue what justice
    is, to him it's just us: Zack P.:crowing about " liberals" being in a cesspool of ignorance, ironically he's one wallowing in it: Gene Moss' petty tyrant is definitely out of control; mow 'em all down if they disagree with you, which is how Mye Lai's come about: b.jmol accusing "libs." of unwittingly aiding and abetting enemy. You deserve
    some credit for intelligence, at least you said unwittingly and not wittingly so there's hope for you. Still , joke's on you "cos you're one unwittingly helping. Sashland , do yourself a favour and read Rob W's comment, he has scholarship on the subject as opposed to your pathetic ignorance (although I gots me a sneakin' suspicion you and scholarship parted company a long time ago). Same is true of Lutz, painful way you defend evil. But for sheer ignorance first prize goes to(drum roll please)-–Danny! Empire is way to go. American empire has taken over from British and "wimps" should get out way while we go and kick ass. That way empire won't get soft and will last and last. Thousand year reich Danny?
    Apparently you never heard of "The declaration of Independence". It declared independence ,not just from the British empire, but from empire period. And to help bring that phenomenon about a constitution evolved providing a framework. Dismantling empire ain't easy so a Bill of Rights was formulated. So there you go Danny, abc,s of our constitutional democratic republic,our American form of government. I guess you were absent from school when all this was being taught.
    We've got the same job today as our founding fathers ( with all their faults and weaknesses) – dismantle empire ( home grown this
    time) and rebuild our constitutional democratic republic.
    Fernando F. hits key point about our troops on Muslim soil. Osama bin Laden said so himself ( know the enemy and know yourself and you win a thousand battles) when he said " We didn't attack Sweden " . Bruce Springsteen's song " bring 'em home "
    ( originally by Arlo Guthrie ) is the way to go. Then we won't have a Jihad against us 'cos we won't be behaving like European medieval crusaders, which is the case right now. Connect the dots. It requires intelligence and rare in agencies. Cannot be centralized.
    Along with bringing our troops home ( how sweet that sounds ) we have to take the crime out of drugs for a healthy America. See my earlier comment for elucidation. Then we'll have a model to show the rest of the world, and that's when they'll start listening to us, when we set a good example.

    January 24, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  65. maya

    To bardpart 🙂
    A healthy America enriches the whole world

    January 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Reply
  66. woody

    The Geneva convention covers those countries that signed the document, those that wear a uniform of a recognized state. Al Qaeda never signed nor did the taliban, I don't believe they wear a uniform either and thus are not provided the protections of the Geneva convention.

    January 25, 2010 at 10:27 am | Reply
  67. Kevin S


    I'm quite certain this comment wont make it to light of day, but feel free to email me and we can talk, if you need confirmation of one of the facts Mark Thiessen cited, that of "thousands of service people being waterboarded over the years".

    I'm one of them, a young Navy pilot who went thru SERE training in the 70s- who tried to "John Wayne" it, and held out until beyond I should have- passed out, then woken be being "dragged away for a beating in solitary"- little did I know I was being monitored the whole time by a corpsman, and my next stop was the office of the training commander, for a stern lecture, our training was to resist as long as possible, but not to the point of being killed or badly hurt.

    In the same way, I am quite sure the CIA would not allow their valuable resource, the detainee, to suffer permanent damage either.

    What is amazing to me is how you and your guest, were so desperate to avoid the HUGE revelation Mr Thiessen provides,
    that is,
    it was exactly this same sort of psychological "limit" that was the RELIEF for the jihadi's, as understood by them in their interpretation of their religious training to this same test,
    so they could give in- "you must do this for all the brothers"

    In other words, IT WASNT TORTURE- not of the sort you saw in Cambodia- where people were drowned or damaged- burning oil, etc

    and exactly to Professor Sands point- its NOT NECESSARY to do serious harm to get results.

    Instead of acknowledging those facts, and how those validate the enhanced interrogation approach, and perhaps go one step further – how the same clinging to the torture meme is wrong, and how it may be a sign that the closing of Guantanamo might be just as mis-informed, and how poorly this administration is acting upon its own guidance- see Dennis Blairs blunder blaming the FBI for failing to refer the Christmas bomber to the not-yet-started High value unit,

    This is the common thread that any moderately well informed newsreader already gets, and any newsperson worth their salt, would be jumping all over, to discuss, explore, proclaim.

    January 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  68. Fernando F.

    Kevin, you mentioned the time that you were waterboard. Great, part of your training. But you are talking in singular. The detainees are being waterboard often. I imagine daily or even more. What if something goes wrong and the detainee is killed.... "another terrorist dead" you will say. What if the person is innocent and somebody gave false information about him, maybe to collect some cash reward? There are some Canadians that were sent to prisons in the Middle East just for the convenience and they have been proven innocent after years of torture (beyond waterboarding). The US says that they only waterboard, but to me if you send somebody to another prison were they bit and apply electricity is as good as if the US was doing the torture themselves.
    You called the detainee a "valuable resource". You might thing Al-Qaeda is stupid. If I'm one of them, and I know they capture one of the group, I will move to another location asap. You think that if Al-Qaeda has a list of targets, and the next target is learn, they can't move to another target and do the same damage anyway. Is known for years that they work in cells (groups of 5) to guarantee the safety of the other cells. Is known that they enlist people without a past, so they will be completely safe to move around. You don't think they have an address book with the names and addresses, and that waterboarding your way you'll get that information.
    I think you just have a false sense of security. You might be just applying revenge in the detainee because he tried to kill Americans, but I doubt your intelligence is going to be useful at all.
    People that torture and that are giving interviews explain how useless and slow is the torture process to get information. I doubt that you have studied torture techniques that don't require violence. I'll take my chance in this issue with the experts.

    January 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  69. Rob W

    Thank you Fernando, bardbart, Maya and the others who have posted intelligent comments. It gives me some hope for the world when I realize that not all people are sheep who believe whatever they are told.

    To the rest of the posters,
    Don't you realize that all these people who have been tortured are just suspects? They have not been tried or convicted of any crime. Do you honestly think that the U.S. "intelligence" agencies are infallible? Look at the U.S. court system itself. How many innocent people have been released from death row? Guilt is not easily determined, and yet you blindly believe that the same people who have placed children on the "terrorist-watch list" can somehow pick a terrorist out of a crowd. WAKE UP!

    January 26, 2010 at 3:20 am | Reply
  70. maya

    Kindly, do not forget how many Guantanamo detainees committed or tried to commit suicide while there. Yes, they might be guilty but they are still human beings. Torture is never admitted as "fair sentence" by any legal system.
    From an academic point of view, torture goes under peremptory norms (jus cogens) which has universal jurisprudence rationale (meaning who commits torture is seen as an enemy to humanity and therefore should be held accountable).
    Obama, by making public the use of torture in Gitmo, honored his promise of transparency. Though he did not honor his promise of accountability.

    January 26, 2010 at 3:34 am | Reply
  71. Tom

    Amanpour's total lack of objectivity was clearly revealed for all to see. However, she is still being defended. This just reiterates my loyalty to FOX news.

    January 26, 2010 at 3:51 am | Reply
  72. bardbart

    You got it maya and expressed it beautifully. I'm going to be quoting you. Thanks.

    January 26, 2010 at 4:23 am | Reply
  73. Fernando F.

    Tom, I don't think you watch FOX news... I think you work for them... no American that watches Fox News comes to CNN to express their opinion about a subject that they already decided is bias. I wouldn't be surprise if you are posting again and again using different aliases (very clever... how much 'they' pay you?).
    People are expressing their opinions about the subject and question, but you prefer to question the host (Christine Amanpour), recognize by Presidents around the World for her Intelligence (she hardly ever read a question from a piece of paper).
    You should post your resume on-line so we can check who doubts about Christine objectivity... until then, just talk about facts.

    January 26, 2010 at 4:25 am | Reply
  74. Rob W

    Did you mean FAUX news (We deceive, you believe)?
    When you watch it, do you just open your eyes and simply absorb it all without thinking? I thought so.

    January 26, 2010 at 5:23 am | Reply
  75. John N

    Amanpour repeatedly interrupts Thiessen's points, but lets Sands ramble on and on. This is objective journalism? No, this is propaganda. CNN at it's worst.

    January 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  76. Brian Patrick O'Malley

    Thiessen cannot decide on his defense: Does think waterboarding is less than torture, or does he think the status of the victim permits lower standards of conduct for US personnel?

    January 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  77. Rob W

    Exactly, Brian. If either of the points Thiessen is trying to express were valid, the other would be unnecessary.

    January 27, 2010 at 1:14 am | Reply
  78. bardbart

    Welcome aboard Brian Patrick O'Malley and you're just in time (by the way good comments). We're going to need your help and even with your help things look bleak .
    News from the castle is terrible. Our imperial presidency is in dire danger. These Jihadists' have a new and deadly weapon called asymetrical warfare, so our intelligence folks tell us. And we all know how reliable they are.
    Apparently three terrorists (and we know they are, the justus dept. said so, were able to were able to fill their beds with materials they got from nowhere ( I told you these guys are unbelievable). This right under the guards nose who were guardin' them 24/7, walkin' past their cells every ten minutes or so.
    Well thats just the beginnin' of their terrifyin' acts. Next they stuffed rags ( just think of these guys as ninja's with magical powers) down their throats. The folks with the uneviable task of extracting them had to use a pliers. Then in such shape tied their feet , put hoods on, tied their hands, and this is the part that really gets me: fully gagged, hoods on, bound hands and feet and leapt into their nooses hangin' themselves. What chance have we got gainst the likes of them? The years of trainin' it took to get those moves down! Now maybe you're beginnin' to understand my despair.
    Actually there is hope. Guys on guard duty that night have come forward, led by sergeant Hickman. Just when we need heroes the most. Story was in Harpers magazine.
    Christiane, haven't heard from you on this, or did I miss it ? Keep up the good work.

    January 28, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  79. maya

    U.S. Named in U.N. Report on Secret Detentions

    Published: January 26, 2010
    The United States is among dozens of countries that have kidnapped and held terrorism suspects in secret detention over the past nine years, violating their basic human rights, a United Nations report charged Tuesday. It said that Algeria, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Russia, Sudan and Zimbabwe were also detaining security suspects or opposition members in unknown places. “On a global scale, secret detention in connection with counterterrorist policies remains a serious problem,” investigators said in a yearlong study that will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March.}

    January 29, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  80. bardbart

    maya, obama didn't honor his word and bring transparency to the secret police tactics of bush/cheney and their attempted usurpation of constitutional rights with behavior such as thiessen's: absolutist authoritarianism: "i was there, i know, trust me; i spoke to the people in charge and they told me the real deal...". facts not gonna get in the way there. sands and his evidence based remarks brushed aside unable to penetrate apparently insurmountable ignorance. this is the same perverse mentality handin' down absurdities like three guys commitin' suicide simultaneously as a terrorist act under impossible circumstances. check out my previous post.
    truth is they were tortured and murdered and obama's justus dept. is tryin' to cover it change there just more of the same ol' same ol' . fodder for the masses from our ignoble class. story was on keith olberman january 20th. he interviewed prof. denbeaux from seton hall law dept.
    looks like it doesn't take long for power to corrupt. gots me a poem about barack on my youtube channel– athomewithapoet . a poem can be a whole lot better in makin' a point.
    it's the feelin' of betrayal by barack. so far he's betrayin' compassionate liberalism just as bush betrayed compassionate conservatism.
    one of the ironies of the interview was sands doin' what he busted thiessen for doin': splittin' hairs. british learned hard way torture was self defeatin' after they tried it on some irish people only they didn't call it torture. instead it was something polite like enhanced interrogation. same question to sands as he posed: would you want any of these interrogation methods used on you? i'm sure he'd say of course not.
    hey, where's fernando? rob w? brian? this conversation just's beginnin' not endin', i hope.

    January 30, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  81. Fernando F.

    bardbart, I'm not going to blame Obama just yet. If he is not doing things he promise, like in this case against torture and being transparent, might be because he is trying to protect the institutions. I think he is trying to point them in the right direction. Of course he could release documents and make life very tough for some employees. I don't really care for low level personal. I'm sure Rumsfeld and Cheney orchestrated all this torture thing. Putting them in trial might be too much for Obama (or the Media... they might side with the perpetrators). I'll wait a little longer to condemn Obama.
    By watching the Senate trying to dismantle the Health Care Plan tells me that maybe 90% of them are in the pockets of the Health Industry and they will vote anyway they are ordered to do. Even switching parties (done that). They is just an obscene amount of money involve and this guys must be so guilty that maybe they are being black mail to force their votes. Stop re-electing these Senators. Elect a monkey instead (he can only be bribe with bananas by American people).

    January 31, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  82. Brian Patrick O'Malley

    Bardart complains of "more of the same"

    I have to share your sentiments on that. Both John McCain and Barack Obama consider waterboarding torture, and express hopes for closing Guantanamo. The backward slide of the Republican party on this point is appalling. Cheney has re-emerged as if he is a credible voice on the subject.

    Military interrogators with decades of experience oppose mistreating captives, and recommend kind, respectful treatment. Retired Army Colonel Stuart Herrington, for instance, wrote an excellent opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Two Problems with Torture," which is, as of this afternoon, still available online.

    I am hoping for someone to bring the "gospel" of good treatment to the people. Consider the World War II interrogators who took Nazi prisoners out for steak dinners. In a 2007 Washington Post article, "Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on World War II," Petula Dvorak quoted Henry Kolm, who said, "We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture."

    Thank God for their service!

    January 31, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  83. maya

    I desire to imagine a new world full of empathy, noble behavior and tranquility.
    To Bardpart: I have limited info because I do not live in USA. Though I give credit to Obama for making public the torture tactics used in Gitmo while interrogating detainees. Good luck on your poetic journey.

    January 31, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  84. bardbart

    fernando f.: i'm not givin' up on obama yet either but as an independent i'm reservin' judgement. he has to protect the constitution first and foremost,not the institutions of government. doin' the latter is akin to those roman catholic bishops protectin' the institution of church rather than its principles hence the innocent were betrayed to pedophile priests . right now he's a prisoner of the military industrial complex. we, those who elected him, have to rescue him, with our votes if need be. kinder and gentler of bush/cheney don't cut it.
    brian: truth in that old folk metaphor " you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar" . the stories you tell reinforce the principle one overcomes evil with good not with more evil. torturers should no more be protected than pedophiles.
    maya: dream on maya dream on-that's the vision of poets, philosophers, artists, leaders and so many more down thru the ages. are you familiar with martin luther kings' "i have a dream"speech? i know it's on youtube. beautiful piece of work.
    story i told about 3 guys tortured and murdered can be found by going to http://www.msnbc.msn their lineup of commentators is at top of page, click on keith olberman's "countdown". there go to previous. when dates pop up 1/20/10 is one you're lookin' for. "what really happened at gitmo" is the clip.
    now a question for all of you: what did you think of the proposition "for a healthy america take the crime out of drugs?" i submit there's a dream to ponder.

    February 2, 2010 at 1:25 am | Reply
  85. bardbart

    christiane asked sands the way forward twice and got same answer each time, basically if someone is taken in field of battle, say afghanistan, they're accorded minimum human rights such as right not to be tortured. waterboarding is clearly recognised as torture. individuals captured in places like pakistan, england, u.s. should be tried within the respective criminal justice systems.
    sands is right about minimum rights, no torture and due process. see that as on one leaf of a shamrock. in another leaf "for a healthy america take the crime out of drugs" and in the third leaf "bring "em home".
    were those policies to be enacted we would be able to turn this ship of state around. and for the record this ship of state was designed to be a constitutional democratic republic.
    grace and peace in pursuin' your dreams maya. yourself, fernando, brian, rob w. and myself did a good job clearin' the field of lies and deceit. best to everyone.
    thanks christiane.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:13 am | Reply
  86. maya

    Appreciation for this platform of free speech

    P.S to Bardbart: Check out what imagination means to me on Amanpour "Veiled Hatred?" blog 😉

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  87. Aminullah A Lucman

    Wars are lost because we allow ourselves be losers. You engage in battle and in so doing, you quantify and resolve to employ strategies to be able to gainfully achieve footholds.

    Cold War protagonists are now the one in need of help, and so are we innocent people of the world regardless of station or faith.

    In this world of pure evil, the innocent may not be easily identified in a land where government may be authoritarian. Saddam Hussein should have died in the Hague for the War Crimes Tribunal to reward all those that he ordered killed using chemical weapons, not thugs in Iraq roping this vain man to death. What is the gain for having hanged Saddam Hussein? Nothing.

    February 9, 2010 at 11:20 am | Reply
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