Now, and from the most unexpected source, we have information on the futility of torture. According to information released to the press, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that torture, euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques," did not help the American government find Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Paradoxically, by chance, I had earlierread the poem "Now Sing" by James Scully, a noted American poet, on the brutal death of Victor Jara, a Chilean singer and composer who died at the hands of Augusto Pinochet's goons. Legend says that Jara, a guitar player, was shot after his hands were smashed with the butt of a rifle so that he couldn't play any longer, while his killers mockingly asked him to continue singing.

A friend of mine, the world-renowned pianist Miguel Angel Estrella, was tortured in a smilar way. While imprisoned in Uruguay's Libertad prison, military men taunted him: "We are going to smash your hands as they [the Chilean military] did to Victor Jara in Chile so that you won't be able to play any longer."