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Interrogations and Torture in the 21st Century

            A young Canadian citizen was on his way home after a vacation in the Middle East. He has a layover in New York and while there is taken into custody by US agents in plain clothes. He is questioned for days on his purported terrorist affiliations, all of which he vehemently denies. He is then cuffed, thrown on a plane and sent to Amman, Jordan where he is met by more agents and beaten repeatedly with two inch thick electrical cables (Jane Mayer, "Outsourcing Torture"). The individual was then driven into Syria and kept in a shallow, windowless, underground jail cell. During his time in Syria, he was beaten repeatedly and eventually succumbed to the pressure and confessed to anything his interrogators accused him of to make the pain stop. The interrogators likely felt justified in their actions because he eventually confessed making the ends justify the means. Ironically enough, Mayer states that the individual was released a year after his capture and no charges were filed against him. .
             How is torture defined? Merriam-Webster defines torture as the act of causing severe physical pain as a form of punishment or as a way to force someone to do or say something. The United Nations Convention Against Torture describes torture as, any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person, has committed, or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. This is an obviously distasteful, not to mention illegal act. So why, in the twenty- first century, are people from a so-called enlightened country advocating such techniques?.

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