Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 12/Jun/2004: "Film and Reality"

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Film and Reality

Interesting how sometimes fictional events from films also happen in reality:

Yesterday evening I watched Dirty Harry on DVD.

At some point Dirty Harry threatens a kidnapper and puts physical pressure on him to obtain information about the whereabouts of his victim. Later he is called to the prosecutors office where he is told that the evidence is inadmissable and that they have to let the criminal go because his human rights have been violated. To which Callahan replies "And what about the human rights of the girl?"

This reminded me of a case two years ago in Germany, where police threatened a suspect with intense pain to find out where a kidnap victim was. It later turned out that the kidnapped boys had already been dead when the suspect was arrested, but the police didn't know that at the time. I'm not sure of the outcome, but the officer who gave the instructions was investigated for his actions.

Which in turn leads to the question if torture could ever be justifiable. Some say it is as long as defined in the law, others other say no, under no circumstances. A Google search leads to a lot of opinions. I'm struggling to make up my mind. I agree that we are moving down a slippery slope if certain types of torture are allowed in certain situations, where will the line be drawn? At the same time I'm thinking of the innocent victim(s) or potential victim(s) of a criminal or terrorist. Shouldn't their human right to live or be unharmed have priority?

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