The Torture of 'Suspects'

I see that the assassins of the Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh used fake British passports while plotting the deed.  The Daily Mail has an interview with one of the people who had his identity cloned.

A British man in Israel with the same name as an alleged member of a hit squad that assassinated a top Hamas militant in Dubai said his identity had been stolen.

Melvyn Adam Mildiner said he was ‘angry, upset and scared’ over what he called a misidentification.

During the recent debate about MI5 complicity in torture, I noted with dismay how many people used the phrase ‘terror suspects’ quite comfortably when discussing people they might put on a waterboard.  This incident in Dubai is a timely reminder that ‘terror suspects’ covers day-tripping British tourists.  Anyone who endorses torture due to a hypothetical ticking bomb scenario must also endorse the torture of innocent British holiday makers.  That a British tourist might be mistaken for a terrorist is also a hypothetical – but one that is just as probable, if not more probable, than the ticking bomb thought-experiments.

Endorsing the water-boarding of innocent tourist is the only consistent position for those who would justify the torture of other ‘suspects’ such as Binyam Mohammed.  It is this internal consistency, taken to its logical conclusion, which highlights the ultimate absurdity of the pro-torture posturing.

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