Thursday, January 8, 2009

"The law ought to be King and there ought to be no other" Thomas Paine

If you will remember, Gonzales would not answer the question at his confirmation on whether or not he thought 'Waterboarding' was torture, nor was he made to answer that question. There was a good reason why he wouldn't respond to that simple question. Will the new AG be asked the same question and what will his answer be?

With Dick Cheney's admission on National TV to being a war criminal, can we afford to turn the other way and pretent his admission was not heard? That is the decision that the Obama Administration will have to make.

When asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl whether he approved of interrogation tactics used against a so-called "high value prisoner" at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, Mr. Cheney, in a break from his history of being press-shy, admitted to giving official sanctioning of torture.

"I supported it," he said regarding the practice known as "water-boarding," a form of simulated drowning. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were tried and convicted of war crimes in US courts for water-boarding, a practice which the outgoing Bush administration attempted to enshrine in policy.

"I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do," Cheney said. "And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it." He added: "It's been a remarkably successful effort, and I think the results speak for themselves."

ABC asked him if in hindsight he thought the tactics went too far. "I don't," he said.

The exercise of a presidential pardon to protect war criminals would violate international law and would not be respected outside the territory of the United States. Under the Constitution, however, Bush’s pardon power is nonetheless nearly absolute. Those advocating a pardon hope that it would put an end to questions about criminal conduct, but historical experience suggests that a pardon might have just the opposite effect. It would implicitly concede that serious crimes were in fact committed, (leaving the US no choice but to prosecute.)

If the United States wishes to demonstrate to the world, and to itself,
that its abdication of human-rights principles was an anomaly, it will have to do so under its own auspices. Until such time, we have lost our right to single out and condemn any country for the practice of torture and human rights violations.

There's more below!

No prior administration has been so systematically or so brazenly
lawless. Yet it is no simple matter to prosecute a former president or his senior officers. There is no precedent for such a prosecution, and even if there was, the very breadth and audacity of the administration’s activities would make the process so complex as to defy systems of justice far less fragmented than our own. But that only means choices must be made. Indeed, in weighing the enormity of the administration’s transgressions against the realistic prospect of justice, it is possible to determine not only the crime that calls most clearly for prosecution, but also the crime that is most likely to be successfully prosecuted. That crime is torture.

There can be no doubt that torture is illegal. There is no wartime exception for torture, nor is there an exception for prisoners or “enemy combatants,” nor is there an exception for “enhanced” methods. The authors of the Constitution forbade “cruel and unusual punishment,” the details of that prohibition were made explicit in the Geneva Conventions (“No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever”), and that definition has in turn become subject to U.S. enforcement through the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the U.S. Criminal Code, and several acts of Congress.

In addition to being illegal, torture is profoundly un-American. The central premise of the American experiment is the belief, informed by Enlightenment principles, that the dignity and worth of the individual is at least as important as that of the state. Nor can there be any doubt that this administration conspired to commit torture: Waterboarding. Hypothermia. Psychotropic drugs. Sexual humiliation. Secretly transporting prisoners to other countries that use even more brutal techniques. The administration has carefully documented these actions and, in many cases, proudly proclaimed them.


Judith said...

I wanted to write more in my own words, but gave up. I could not get the left margin right. Once I hit block quotes, anything thereafter stays in block quotes. Help.

Judith said...

There was a serious discussion on this subject yesterday on NPR, which prompted my post. It is my belief that we cannot afford to not prosecute Cheney and others. The fact that he is Vice-President should not suspend our belief
"that no man is above the law."

Judith said...

Taxi to the Dark Side is a new documentary by Alex Gibney that investigates some of the most egregious abuses associated with the so-called “war on terror.” It has just been nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary feature section. 2007

Movie can be bought at Yahoo movies.

iamcoyote said...

I'm working on it right now, but can't tell which ones are your words!

iamcoyote said...

Okay, how's that? Gotta go to work, I'll try later. I have a post from Shirin as well...

Judith said...

Thanks Iamcoyote. I have to take the time to read the instructions. I'm one of those people who never reads instructions, because it is easier for me to just learn by trial and error. Unfortunately, error is the operative words here.

iamcoyote said...

We could set up a time where I'll call you and walk you thru a post - I got a friend coming in from out of town today, and I'll be pretty busy, but we can put something together, I'm sure. The instructions are nice, but it's sometimes easier to understand what the instructions are saying when you see it in real time.

And I'd rather you post an imperfect post than not post at all!

Judith said...

Thanks Iamcoyote for the offer. Anjha has also offered to help me by phone. I am not feeling well today. I may be coming down with the flu. I'll deal with it next week.

iamcoyote said...

Gosh, Judith, sorry to hear that! We have something going around here, too. Hope you feel better soon!

Maheanuu Tane said...

First off, I would like to apologize for not having made a post in the past couple of weeks since I was invited in. I have been distracted by a cousins passing, and another cousin who has been given weeks to 4 months to live. Both were younger than I, and both left families. Both of the cousins are daughters of my Mom's sisters and so as she is the last living member of her branch of the Darrar family, I am designated to inform all of the relatives that are my cousins and 2nd cousins (many of whom I have never met)who live spread out across the State and across the Continent, and after sorting thru moms 3 personal telephone organizers I made a list of all the cousins I have left alive on that side of the family and called each and every one to inform them of the situation here in OR and in Iowa.

Now, on the subject of torture.

I, still being a Navy Chief Petty Officer (Retired), feel anger, embaressment, shame, resentmet, revulsion........ I don't know, every time I think about what is going on in the various prisons and detention centers/areas and our involvement in these crimes another word pops a light in my brain.

Damn, I despise what these people have done to our country, our Constitution and Bill of Rights, our prosperity and retirements and college funds all wiped out.

Torture tho is the most insidious of crimes, this is something that above all else needs to be addressed, and those who are and were involved in knowing of or sanctioning of this torture and not bringing it to the attention of the proper authorities, be it the Congress or the FBI to investigate it, in my opinion, are accomplices and do not deserve to be serving in our government, but should be serving some time for war crimes. The young troops serving time for the crimes of torture did NOT do these things on their own! I know the military, and there is no way any E-2 through E-4 would ever do any of this without orders.. Nah, 20+ years in the Military, NO junior rate does anything out of the ordinary without an order.

As I used to tell my younger sailors, "You fuck up, your ass is grass and I'm the lawnmower". It was that way when my father and uncle were in, hadn't changed when I was on active duty, and my Grandnephew says it is still the same and he just got out... It is one of the intrinsic basic tenants of the Military Law..

Besides how many noncoms and low level noncoms do you know or have known carry dog leashes girls panties, etc in their sea/duffle bags as they head off for duty in an area that is still having war and strife..... Just an innocent question, doncha think????

I mighta been born at night, but it wasn't Last Night!

I think we should turn the dogs (Justice) loose, and follow each and every trail to its honest end. I am looking for complete open Justice, This has nothing to do with political party, strictly Human Rights and our Constitution and Bill of Rights... To me that is enough to fight for, period.

Maheanuu Tane said...

Oh, Judith, I wanted to say thank you for a very thought provoking post. I will post some more of my thoughts on this on down the line, but gonna sit back and think and see what kind of "Goat Locker" Wisdom I have on torture and also sorta want to go look at some old navy vets and see if anyone there has written on torture that is taking place today. When I was in the nam, I had heard about it, but never saw any evidence of it. No senior NCO would ever tolerate something like that, or none that I ever knew or talked to would.

iamcoyote said...

So sorry to hear about your cousins, Chief; I was afraid your absence would mean something had happened. Warm thoughts to you and your family. You've done so much for them, I'm sure it's great comfort to everyone.