The boundary between torture and legitimate interrogation techniques is not universally agreed. As an example I can refer to the case of an elderly sick man who is exposed to a harsh treatment—after being given several blows and beaten to the floor, he is dragged and kicked on the floor for several hours.
I would say without hesitation that the poor man has been tortured. Where do you draw the line? Enhanced Interrogation Techniques 4. Cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment CIDT 5. Severe pain and suffering or equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, severe loss of mental faculty or even death.
Enhanced interrogation techniques or alternative set of procedures are terms that describe a George W. Bush administration authorization and use of certain severe interrogation methods including hypothermia, stress positions and waterboarding. In both President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder stated that certain of these techniques are torture, and repudiated their use. These psychologists relied heavily on experiments done by American psychologist Martin Seligman in the s on learned helplessness.
In these experiments caged dogs were exposed to severe electric shocks in a random way in order to completely break their will to resist.
Mitchell and Jessen applied this idea to the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. Many of the interrogation techniques used in the SERE program, including waterboarding, cold cell, long-time standing, and sleep deprivation were previously considered illegal under U.
The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees Fahrenheit 10 degrees Celsius , while being regularly doused with cold water in order to increase the rate at which heat is lost from the body.
This creates an intense amount of pressure on the legs, leading first to pain and then muscle failure. Doctors consulted over the matter advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage. To capture the multiple behaviors used by those conducting interrogation, any of which may casually be referred to as torture, so researchers created a pyramid of coercive interrogation practices as seen in Figure above.
Classic torture, prohibited under international law and U. Physical behavior of this type would include beatings that break bones, whipping, burning, electric shock, and violent shaking of the suspect. Because it involves detainees in custody, classic torture may also involve acute limitations on food or sleep and even sensory deprivation or extreme discomfort, such as that caused by forcing the detainee to occupy a physically uncomfortable position for a prolonged period of time.
Located directly below classic torture is cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment CIDT is a category that has legal meaning grounded in international law. Like classic torture, it is prohibited by international law. Cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment amounts to behavior that, while similar to torture, lacks its severity. Cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment might include beatings in which detainees sustain fewer injuries, beatings that are not repeated, or beatings that do not last for a long time.
Psychologically coercive interrogation practices occupy the bottom level of the pyramid. Behavior in this category is not severe, cruel, inhuman, or degrading. Widely practiced in U. A research article seeks to clarify the distinction between torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
The author argues that the decisive criteria for distinguishing torture from CIDT is not, as argued by the European Court of Human Rights and many scholars, the intensity of the pain or suffering inflicted, but the purpose of the conduct and the powerlessness of the victim and that as such the distinction is primarily linked to the question of personal liberty.
Here, only excessive use of police force constitutes CIDT. In a situation of detention or similar direct control, however, no proportionality test may be applied. Any use of physical or mental force against a detainee with the purpose of humiliation constitutes degrading treatment or punishment and any infliction of severe pain or suffering for a specific purpose as expressed in Art.
In various national and international laws, e. Convention against Torture CAT , a distinction is made between torture and inhumane treatment, albeit torture is a species of inhumane treatment. Such a distinction needs to be made. For one thing, some treatment, e. For another thing, some inhumane treatment does not involve physical suffering to any great extent, and is therefore not torture albeit, the treatment in question may be as morally bad as, or even morally worse than, torture , e. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority.
Murder; extermination; torture; rape; political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Torturous inflictions of severe physical or mental sufferings are frequently a component of systematic policies and attacks against individuals or groups, in peacetime or in time of war. Torture is used variously as a weapon of war, as a means of soliciting information or confession, as a technique to humiliate or punish, as a tool of repression or intimidation, and as a form of sexual violence.
In response, international law has prohibited torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in absolute terms. The prohibition of torture and other forms of ill treatment ranks among the most firmly entrenched principles of international law regarding human rights and of international humanitarian law.
The right not to be tortured is based on the principles of human dignity and integrity of the person that underlie these bodies of law. Torture is also considered a crime under international law. It is one of a small number of acts considered so heinous that all countries must play their part in pursuing the perpetrators.
We need to distinguish torture from coercion. As this example shows, coercion does not necessarily involve the infliction of physical suffering or threat thereof. So coercion does not necessarily involve torture. Nor does coercion, which does involve the infliction of physical suffering as a means, necessarily constitute torture. Consider, for example, a South African police officer in the days of apartheid who used a cattle prodder which delivers an electric shock on contact as a means of controlling an unruly crowd of South African blacks.
On the other hand, if—as also evidently took place in apartheid South Africa—a person was tied to a chair and thereby rendered defenseless, and then subjected to repeated electric shocks from a cattle prodder this would constitute torture.
Does torture necessarily involve coercion? No doubt the threat of torture, and torture in its preliminary stages, simply functions as a form of coercion in this sense.
However, torture proper has as its starting point the failure of coercion or that coercion is not even going to be attempted. As we have seen, torture proper targets autonomy itself, and seeks to overwhelm the capacity of the victims to exercise rational control over their decisions—at least in relation to certain matters for a limited period of time—by literally terrorizing them into submission.
Hence there is a close affinity between terrorism and torture. Indeed, arguably torture is a terrorist tactic. However, it is one that can be used by groups other than terrorists, e.
In relation to the claim that torture is not coercion, it might be responded that at least some forms or instances of torture involve coercion, namely those in which the torturer is seeking something from the victim, e.
This response is plausible. However, even if the response is accepted, there will remain instances of torture in which these above-mentioned conditions do not obtain; presumably, these will not be instances of coercion.
Torture needs to be distinguished from excruciatingly painful medical procedures. These kinds of case differ from torture in a number of respects.
Moreover, unlike torture, corporal punishment will normally consist of a determinate set of specific, pre-determined and publicly known acts administered during a definite and limited time period, e. There are ordeals involving the infliction of severe pain. Consider Gordon Liddy who reportedly held his hand over a burning candle till his flesh burnt in order to test his will.
Moreover, ordeals—as the Liddy example illustrates—can be voluntary, unlike torture. Research over the past 50 years, starting with the Milgram experiment vide infra , suggests that under the right circumstances and with the appropriate encouragement and setting, most people can be encouraged to actively torture others. When torture takes place, people believe they are on the high moral ground, that the nation is under threat and they are the front line protecting the nation, and people will be grateful for what they are doing.
Confidence in the efficacy of torture is based upon the behaviorist theory of human behavior. When American and Indian media started blocking my comments on internet, they were mentally torturing me. So even educated persons with good family background can torture innocents for their sadistic goals. Human beings are predators. We are at the top of every food chain and we know it. The reward of the hunt and the human ability to devise new challenges to exercise this instinct is a natural state for us.
On top of this is our intellect demands to be stimulated by understanding how things work. Our own children are well known to be cruel to each other and must be taught to be civilized. Look at our mammal cousins. Cats will toy with their rodent victims. So when cats play with their pray this ritual is probably useful from an evolutionary perspective and it makes a lot of sense.
Also torture is a term that is only sensible with regard to beings with higher cognitive powers. It only makes sense to talk about torture if the main objective is to inflict pain but at the same time, cruel non-consensual human experiment is a torture even if the main objective might not be to inflict pain.
So I would not call the rituals cats perform torture since their main objective is not to inflict pain. I am not sure concerning other apes though. I have read articles that suggest chimps for example can be very vindictive. They for example seem to do raids against other flocks that are probably some form of vendettas and take revenge on each other. Some traditional notions of interrogation suggest that fear can be a powerful motivator, and that fear of an aversive consequence often affects behavior even more than actually delivering the consequence.
Research — not conducted in interrogation contexts — seems to suggest that under certain conditions fear can facilitate compliance; however, it does not adequately address whether fear leads to more accurate and useful information in, for example, an intelligence interrogation situation. Compliance seems most likely when the appeal to fear is high and the recommended behavior is perceived to be highly effective Witte and Allen, This means the source must consider the threat credible and must believe that the educer will withdraw it if the source complies.
For example, some experienced interrogators have suggested that threatening a source with death is not particularly effective because the source may believe that an educer who is willing to kill him might be willing — even likely — to kill him whether he complies or not. Sadism is the derivation of pleasure as a result of inflicting pain or watching pain inflicted on others. Aspects of it include: Sadism and masochism as medical terms, sadism and masochism as paraphilia 3.
Sadistic personality disorder, nonsexual sadism 4.