Saturday, December 15

How Many Times do we have to prove that Waterboarding is Torture?

From Tonight's Countdown Senator Kit Bond claims that...

Waterboarding is like Swimming... Freestyle, Backstroke.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Apparently not, because Congressman Duncan Hunter on O'Reilly claimed those who oppose Waterboarding..

Are part of the "Blame America First Crowd"

This all besides the fact that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 specifically prohibits any interrogation techniques not included in Army Field Manual. And the Army Field Manual specifically prohibits Waterboarding.

From the DTA.

(a) In General- No person in the custody or under the effective control of the Department of Defense or under detention in a Department of Defense facility shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by and listed in the United States Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation.

The Army Field Manual States:

5-75.If used in conjunction with intelligence interrogations,
prohibited actions include,but are not limited to —

    • Forcing the detainee to be naked,perform sexual acts,or pose in a

    sexual manner.
    • Placing hoods or sacks over the head of a detainee;using duct tape
    over the eyes.
    • Applying beatings,electric shock,burns,or other forms of physical
    • Using military working dogs.
    • Inducing hypothermia or heat injury.
    • Conducting mock executions.
    • Depriving the detainee of necessary food,water,or medical care.

It can and has been argued that these prohibitions apply only the the Military and not neccesarily to CIA staffers or Contractors however it is also still true that grave violations of Geneva are a War Crime - even if committed by non-military personnel.

(c) Definition.— As used in this section the term "war crime" means any conduct—
(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or

And just what is a "Grave Breach of Geneva"? Well...

Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

In what dimension does deliberately drowning someone not count as "willfully causing great suffering"?

Let's also not ignore the fact that several courts have specifically required the preservation of interrogation tapes prior to Nov 2005, yet these tapes were still apparently destroyed.

Today the ACLU has filed a motion in it's ongoing FOIA request over detainee treatment to hold the CIA In Contempt for destruction of these tapes.

The CIA’s secret destruction of these tapes displays a flagrant disregard for the rule of law," said Amrit Singh, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. "It must be sanctioned for violating the court’s order and the obligation to preserve records that fell within the scope of our Freedom of Information Act requests.

"These tapes were clearly responsive to the Freedom of Information Act requests that we filed in 2003 and 2004, and accordingly the CIA was under a legal obligation to produce the tapes to us or to provide a legal justification for withholding them," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. "By destroying these tapes, the CIA violated the statute as well as an order of the court. In the circumstances, it would be entirely appropriate for the court to hold the agency in contempt."

It's called Obstruction of Justice - it's the destruction of evidence in several ongoing cases. It is completely OUTRAGEOUS - whether you agree with the GOP Magical Thinking justifying Waterboarding or not.

However if you listen to Fox News this is a bad thing for Democrats.

The claim of course is based on the idea that we received some "Good Information" from Abu Zubaydah after subjecting him to this treatment.

Yet again it's The Ends Justify the Means. Nevermind Geneva, Nevermind the Army Field Manual, Nevermind the Law, Nevermind the U.S. Constitution.

Amendment 8 - Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

And it's not as if we couldn't possibly have discovered this information ANY OTHER WAY - because frankly we could have. It's not like much of the information that we now know was provided by Zubaydah - such as the allegation of links to Al Qeada by several members of the Saudi Royal Family, all of whom ere mysteriously died not long after being accused - remained unproven.

American interrogators used painkillers to induce Zubaydah to talk -- they gave him the meds when he cooperated, and withdrew them when he was quiet. They also utilized a thiopental sodium drip (a so-called truth serum). Several hours after he first fingered Prince Ahmed, his captors challenged the information, and said that since he had disparaged the Saudi royal family, he would be executed. It was at that point that some of the secrets of 9/11 came pouring out. In a short monologue, that one investigator told me was the "Rosetta Stone" of 9/11, Zubaydah laid out details of how he and the al Qaeda hierarchy had been supported at high levels inside the Saudi and Pakistan governments.

He named two other Saudi princes, and also the chief of Pakistan's air force, as his major contacts. Moreover, he stunned his interrogators, by charging that two of the men, the King's nephew, and the Pakistani Air Force chief, knew a major terror operation was planned for America on 9/11.

It would be nice to further investigate the men named by Zubaydah, but that is not possible. All four identified by Zubaydah are now dead.

And has everyone forgotten the minor little detail that Zubaydah is Crazy!

Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be. CIA and FBI analysts, poring over a diary he kept for more than a decade, found entries "in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3" -- a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. All three recorded in numbing detail "what people ate, or wore, or trifling things they said." Dan Coleman, then the FBI's top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality."

So let's get this straight, we tortured a crazy man - got a bunch of information from him that apparently led first and foremost to the deaths of everyone he fingered - and then in violation of several court orders destroyed the interview tapes - yet no matter how many clear and obvious crimes were committed by members of the Bush Administration this is all a "big problem for Democrats" and therefore they refuse to even bother to call for a Special Counsel?

Does that just about cover it?

I think it does and I think that these days will remain a sad stain on the American Conscience for decades, if not centuries.

For shame - truly, for shame.

But the worst thing is how O'Reilly spun this entire issue completely out of wack claiming that the President has "a responsibility" to use Waterboarding to save American Lives - never mind the law.