“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution. [...]
“I sympathize with the intelligence gatherers in those days after 9/11, not knowing what was coming next and trying to gain information to keep us safe,” said Crawford, a lifelong Republican. “But there still has to be a line that we should not cross. And unfortunately what this has done, I think, has tainted everything going forward.”
This is the bottom line right here, techniques specifically authorized by former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld as well as President Bush violated the law and has denied justice for those who mourn the many people lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
This is what Crawford said via the Washington Post:
Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani's health led to her conclusion. "The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge" to call it torture, she said.
Crawford's comment put the lie to Bill O'Reilly's claims from the other day as he discussed this with Christopher Hitchens.
I have three points on this...
1) Bill argues that people not in uniform are not covered by Geneva, this is false - the Geneva has a default position that anyone captured in a combat zone and suspected of being a fighter is to covered by the convention.
2) This view was reaffirmed by the SCOTUS in Hamdan V Rumsfeld. The President does not have the authortiy to violate Geneva or the 8th Amendment at will - Period.
3) This type of action has acted as a recruitment tool for our enemies and cost American Lives as was stated by one of the senior interrogators recent. (Looking for link!)
And what's worse is that Qhatani isn't the only one whose case has been derailed.
Qahtani is hardly the only detainee whose charges have been dropped due to improper treatment. In October, the Pentagon dismissed cases against five terror suspects, including Binyam Mohamed, a former British resident accused in the “dirty bomb” case:He has claimed he was tortured while in American custody or in countries to which he said the United States sent him. His lawyers argued Tuesday that the government was trying to avoid having to answer his accusations.
“They have been cornered into doing this to avoid admitting torture,” said Clare Algar, the executive director of Reprieve, a legal organization that represents Mr. Mohamed.
The last point, is that what Crawford alleges as illegal activity - authorized by Rumsfeld and Bush - IS DEFINED AS A WAR CRIME under the U.S. Federal Codes. Her determination in this case, and the Pentagon's similar determination has opened the door for War Crimes prosecution of Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and probably - Alberto Gonzales who was the first to provide a bogus rationale for these techniques.