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Bush et. al.'s Legal Guidance on Acceptable Torture

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by insane man, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. insane man

    insane man Member

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    the bush administration on its own accord could arrest pretty much anyone including US citizens and those in the US (padilla) and beat, torture, degrade them wily nilly without any sanction or oversight.

    yet obama and company are letting the people who created this policy and those who implemented this policy of institutionalized torture and human degradation in heinous violation of federal laws and the geneva convention go free. essentially condoning those who created the framework and those who brought to fruition these atrocities by euphemistically addressing their actions as legal guidance and working within the proverbial four corners of said legal guidance.

    [rquoter]As the session begins, the detainee stands naked, except for a hood covering his head. Guards shackle his arms and legs, then slip a small collar around his neck. The collar will be used later; according to CIA guidelines for interrogations, it will serve as a handle for slamming the detainee's head against a wall.

    After removing the hood, the interrogator opens with a slap across the face -- to get the detainee's attention -- followed by other slaps, the guidelines state. Next comes the head-slamming, or "walling," which can be tried once "to make a point," or repeated again and again.

    "Twenty or thirty times consecutively" is permissible, the guidelines say, "if the interrogator requires a more significant response to a question." And if that fails, there are far harsher techniques to be tried.


    ...


    As outlined in the memo, the agency's psychological assault on a detainee would begin immediately after his arrest. With blindfolds and earmuffs, he would be "deprived of sight and sound" during the flight to the CIA's secret prison. He would have no human interaction, except during a medical checkup.

    In the initial days of detention, an assessment interview would determine whether the captive would cooperate willingly by providing "information on actionable threats." If no such leads were volunteered, a coercive phase would begin.

    The detainee would be ushered into a world of constant bright light and high-volume "white noise" at levels up to 79 decibels, about the same volume as a passing freight train. He would be shorn, shaved, stripped of his clothes, fed a mostly liquid diet and forced to stay awake for up to 180 hours.


    "Establishing this baseline state is important to demonstrate to the [detainee] that he has no control," the memo states.

    Interrogations at CIA prisons occurred in special cells outfitted on one side with a plywood wall, to prevent severe head injuries. According to the agency's interrogation plan, the nude, hooded detainee would be placed against the wall and shackled. Then the questioning would begin.

    "The interrogators remove the [detainee's] hood and explain the situation to him, tell him that the interrogators will do what it takes to get important information," the document states.

    If there was no response, the interrogator would use an "insult slap" to immediately "correct the detainee or provide a consequence to a detainee's response." If there was still no response, the interrogator could use an "abdominal slap" or grab the captive by his face, the memo states.

    Each failure would be met with increasingly harsher tactics. After slamming a detainee's head against the plywood barrier multiple times, the interrogator could douse him with water; deprive him of toilet facilities and force him to wear a soiled diaper; or make him stand or kneel for long periods while shackled in a painful position. The captive could also be forced into a wooden box for up to 18 hours at a stretch.


    ...
    [/rquoter]

    wapo
     
  2. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Contributing Member

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    Power of pride. Literally.
     
  3. MoonDogg

    MoonDogg Member

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    <object width="480" height="430"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.theonion.com/content/themes/common/assets/onn_embed/embedded_player.swf?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theonion.com%2Fcontent%2Ffiles%2Fimages%2FMINATOUR_MAZE_article.jpg&videoid=97618&title=Is%20Using%20A%20Minotaur%20To%20Gore%20Detainees%20A%20Form%20Of%20Torture%3F" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.theonion.com/content/themes/common/assets/onn_embed/embedded_player.swf"type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowScriptAccess="always" allowFullScreen="true" wmode="transparent" width="480" height="430"flashvars="image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theonion.com%2Fcontent%2Ffiles%2Fimages%2FMINATOUR_MAZE_article.jpg&videoid=97618&title=Is%20Using%20A%20Minotaur%20To%20Gore%20Detainees%20A%20Form%20Of%20Torture%3F"></embed></object><br /><a href="http://www.theonion.com/content/video/is_using_a_minotaur_to_gore?utm_source=videoembed">Is Using A Minotaur To Gore Detainees A Form Of Torture?</a>
     
  4. Major

    Major Member

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    While it's certainly morally repugnant, is there any clear conclusion that the people who created these policies actually did anything illegal under US law? If so, what laws were violated? Everything I see/read is that it's gray area at the very most, and it would be a bit of a political witchhunt to try to prosecute those people. I'm honestly not familiar enough with the laws to really know any better.
     
  5. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    Agree. Further, it opens the door to future witch hunts. I wonder how Holder will feel, if for instance, the GOP wins back power in 2010 and prosecutes him and other Democrats for, say, fiscal mismanagement or profiteering. As in his current witch hunt, it won't matter whether the charges hold any truth -- but the defense in civil and/or criminal court will cost both sides a fortune.
     
  6. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    It's Amnesty International, for whom I don't have a lot of respect, but they provide a good rundown of the legality of torture. I'll leave it to someone else to debunk if they can. The argument is mostly that all sorts of ill treatment are covered by the Geneva Conventions (easily including the assaults and humiliations described by the CIA); the US has formally ascribed to the protocols and have appealed to the Bill of Rights as a guarantee against torture.

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/war-on-te...briefs/torture-and-the-law/page.do?id=1107981
     
  7. STIX

    STIX Member

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    Irrelevent as to weather torture garnered usable information. Torture is inhumane and illegal. Period. It’s use, for any reason, is barbaric and a civilized human would not use do it. Therefore the Bushes administrations, and any administration prior the used it covertly or otherwise, and the current administration for their unwillingness to persue the issue, should stand in front of a civilized court charged with crimes against humanity, and if convicted, punished to the full extent of the law.

    However this will not happen due to UN complicity in the bigger picture.

    We, the common men and women, (NOT PERSONS), must seek justice.
     
  8. STIX

    STIX Member

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    Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. We know 9/11 was an inside job so why torture all those people who didn’t have anything to do with it?

    Just part of the smoke screen of confusion thrown up by the perps. All the hoops they make everybody jump through at airports, same thing. They did the crime, stole your rights with the patriot act and are amused by hearding you around like cattle for the crimes that they did.

    For them it’s been kind of a win win type of deal.

    For us, it’s been a lose, lose, lose situation.

    Isn’t it time for good to win over evil for a while?
     
  9. Major

    Major Member

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    But:

    1. Are Geneva Conventions legally binding within US law? Or is that something primarily in the domain of international law?

    2. The people the original poster was talking about are the policy makers and lawyers, as opposed to those actually doing the torturing. Is giving a legal brief that a particular method is legal (I'm simplifying, obviously) an act that can be prosecuted? What law does that violate?

    That's the type of stuff I'm interested in - I don't have remotely enough of a legal background to know any of the answers.
     
  10. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    We signed the Geneva Conventions, approved by the Senate, and as such, it is supposed to be legally binding.
     
  11. Major

    Major Member

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    Right - it's legally binding as a nation. But if I go commit a Geneva Convention violation, is that a criminal offense in US law where I would be tried? For example, you can be tried for any number of things: murder, burglary, assault, etc. What would a lawyer who wrote a brief saying waterboarding is legal be tried for? Is "violating the Geneva Convention" a US criminal offense? If so, would writing a legal brief fit the definition of that act?
     
  12. Rashmon

    Rashmon Contributing Member

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    I agree with everything you say other than it being a witch hunt.

    If the consensus of evidence and legal opinion answers your questions in the affirmative, it is not a witch hunt.

    If my government was run by individuals who violated the law, I want to know, and I want them prosecuted.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. Major

    Major Member

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    Oh - I absolutely agree here. My only issue is that if there is no clear answer to those questions (I haven't seem them here or elsewhere, though that's not to say that there aren't any), then it seems prosecuting them on relatively flimsy grounds would be a sort of witchhunt. If they clearly did violate some law, then they should deal with the repercussions.
     
  14. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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  15. Rashmon

    Rashmon Contributing Member

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    In order to get a clear answer, much to the consternation of some posters, we must open Pandora's Box and follow where the evidence leads.
     
  16. Major

    Major Member

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    To an extent, yes. But at a basic level, you have to have an idea of what law they violated first. For example, let's say I'm suspected of murder - yes, it takes research to figure out whether I actually did it or not, but it doesn't take that much to know that murder is the basic crime.

    My question, on a very surface level, is whether or not writing a legal brief espousing an opinion is a violation of a criminal act depending on what the opinion is.

    From that link:

    The law defines a war crime to include a "grave breach of the Geneva Conventions", specifically noting that "grave breach" should have the meaning defined in any convention (related to the laws of war) to which the U.S. is a party. The definition of "grave breach" in some of the Geneva Conventions have text that extend additional protections, but all the Conventions share the following text in common: "... committed against persons or property protected by the Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health."

    OK, so this would clearly apply to people actually doing the torturing. What about the authorizers and the legal brief writers? Do they qualify or not?

    Also, that link mentions that this act was specifically created in response to the War Crimes act:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Commissions_Act_of_2006

    It also says that Section 7 of the MCA was ruled unconstitutional, but I don't know what exactly Sec 7 covers and if that is relevant to the War Crimes Act.
     
  17. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    I'm not sure that rendering a legal opinion that leads someone to breaking the Geneva Conventions is a violation of the Geneva Conventions in the first place. I'm pretty sure it isn't covered by the law.

    There is a pretty strong bias against the "just following orders" defense since Nuremburg.
     
  18. DcProWLer277

    DcProWLer277 Rookie

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    I hate this kind of thing as much as anyone, and of course before 9/11 this wouldn't have been tolerated, but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, it's human suvival instincts that kick in more than anything I believe. You wanna suicide bomb us? You wanna crash planes into our civil buildings? OK we're gonna make all the rest of the "suspected" terrorist we can find pay for your actions...by torturing you.
     
  19. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    The German and Japanese generals who were executed during WWII weren't actually doing the torturing I believe..
     
  20. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    I think you would need to set up a UN War Crimes tribunal to get Bush, etc. And I don't exactly see that happening, given US pull at the UN.
     

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