Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Breaking Mr. Rauf

Word is leaking out that one of the suspects apprehended in Pakistan in the British airliner bomb plot gave up his information under conditions of duress. The liberal Guardian doesn't know what to think of this:

Reports from Pakistan suggest that much of the intelligence that led to the raids came from that country and that some of it may have been obtained in ways entirely unacceptable here. In particular Rashid Rauf, a British citizen said to be a prime source of information leading to last week's arrests, has been held without access to full consular or legal assistance. Disturbing reports in Pakistani papers that he had "broken" under interrogation have been echoed by local human rights bodies.

The Guardian has quoted one, Asma Jehangir, of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who has no doubt about the meaning of broken. "I don't deduce, I know - torture," she said. "There is simply no doubt about that, no doubt at all." If this is shown to be the case, the prospect of securing convictions in this country on his evidence will be complicated. In 2004 the Court of Appeal ruled - feebly - that evidence obtained using torture would be admissable as long as Britain had not "procured or connived" at it. The law lords rightly dismissed this in December last year, though they disagreed about whether the bar should be the simple "risk" or "probability" of torture.

But none of this stops governments acquiescing in torture to acquire information, rather than secure convictions, as British as well as American practice has shown. It has been outsourced to less squeamish countries and denied through redefinition: but it is still torture and still illegal.... The defence ....[is that] it works. But does it? Torture and other illegality can offer authorities a short-term seduction, perhaps even temporary successes. Information provided by torture may have helped foil the alleged airliners plot. But evidence provided uder torture is often unreliable, sometimes disastrously so - and its use always pollutes the broader credentials of torturers and their allies. This battle must be won within the law. Anything else is not just a form of defeat but will in the end fuel the flames of the terror it aims to overcome.

It's hard to tell whether this is an argument for legalizing torture so that when it's done it's done within the law, or throwing out the case against the terror suspects because the information against them was gained illegally. At any rate, it certainly looks as if the claim that torture doesn't work, a different claim, to be sure, than the claim that it is never right, has been refuted in the case of Mr. Rauf.

With regard to the claim of those like Andrew Sullivan, who argue that torture is absolutely, categorically wrong, here's a thought experiment: Imagine that Mr. Rauf's evidence was crucial to uncovering the plot to blow up ten airliners. Imagine, too, that Mr. Rauf could not be enticed to yield his knowledge of the plot through any means other than being subjected to whatever measures the Pakistanis brought to bear. Finally, imagine that the person you love most of all, in all the world, would have been aboard one of those planes. Would you insist that, these hypotheticals notwithstanding, if you had your way Pakistan would not have been permitted to employ the methods they apparently did to persuade Mr. Rauf to talk? A simple yes or no will suffice.

If you answered yes, try this: look your loved one directly in the eyes and tell him or her that.

Off With Her Head!

This video clip gives us a good insight into the sort of tactics used by modern universities to ensure intellectual conformity on the matter of Darwinian evolution.

Free speech and academic freedom are values cherished only in the event that one's opinions converge with the materialist zeitgeist. Genuine dissent is often crushed by the academic brown-shirts whose pious professions of tolerance and celebrations of diversity are intended only to encompass opinions which flaunt the traditional worldview of whites, males, and Judeo-Christian believers.

The instructor in the video had the temerity to suggest that perhaps one of the strongest acids employed to corrode that worldview is not all that it's cracked up to be. For this heresy the poor woman was led to the academic guillotine.

HT: Uncommon Descent

Agreeing With Cynthia

I'm glad to see the back of Cynthia McKinney, who did nothing but disgrace the House of Representatives through her sundry lunacies, most notably her asseveration that George Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11, and her assault on a Capitol Hill policeman.

Nevertheless, I find myself in agreement with her about one thing. Open primaries are absurd. It makes no sense to allow voters of one party to select the candidates of the other party. I don't know how many states besides Georgia have open primaries, nor can I imagine what the argument is for keeping them, but they should be banished from our electoral system forthwith.

Vacillation and Timidity

Bill Roggio offers his "after-action report" of the Israeli/Hezbollah war. His conclusion is that Israel blew it. We concur. It is especially shameful that the United States, which claims to be at war against terrorists, which lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which has suffered grievously at the hands of Hezbollah terrorists, nevertheless voted for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 which permits Hezbollah not only to survive, but grants them legitimacy, and allows them to keep their arms. This is no way to fight a war on terrorism.

The Olmert government in Israel is not expected to survive a no-confidence vote and will thus pay the price for its vacillation and timidity. It should. We're afraid that the U.S. will pay a much more severe price for ours.

Rebuttal of the Rebuttal

Last week we linked to Joe Carter's three part series on Ten Ways Darwinists Help ID. Since then atheistic Darwinian PZ Myers at Pharyngula has undertaken a rebuttal which Carter claims is actually a better argument for Carter's position than his original three posts. He offers his rebuttal of Myers' rebuttal here.

Speaking of the Darwin debates, Telic Thoughts links to a blogger who warns that ID is a leading cause of cancer. TT offers a warning sticker that pro-ID bloggers can post on their sites to caution readers who might carelessly be taken in by the claims of those shameless ID hucksters.

Consider yourselves warned: