February 05, 2008

torturegate: BBC: CIA admits waterboarding inmates

If they are inmates they should be afforded the right to due process! Also, it was Abu Zubaydah who's tapes were destroyed ... or are there more tapes ??

CIA admits waterboarding inmates

file picture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
The CIA says it used waterboarding on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
The CIA has for the first time publicly admitted using the controversial method of "waterboarding" on terror suspects.

CIA director Michael Hayden told Congress however that it had only been used on three people, and not at all for the past five years.

He said the technique had been used on high-profile al-Qaeda detainees including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Waterboarding is an interrogation technique in which the detainee is put in fear of drowning.

Mr Hayden was speaking as National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell presented his annual threat assessment.

We used it against these three detainees because of the circumstances at the time
Michael Hayden
CIA director

Some critics describe the procedure as torture and Congress has been debating banning its use by the CIA.

President Bush has threatened to veto such a bill.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is accused of masterminding the 11 September attacks on the United States.

The two other men Mr Hayden said the CIA had also used waterboarding against are also top al-Qaeda suspects, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Catastrophe fears

He told Congress: "We used it against these three detainees because of the circumstances at the time.

US National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell (l) and CIA Director Michael Hayden
Michael Hayden (R) spoke as Mike McConnell reported to Congress

"There was the belief that additional catastrophic attacks against the homeland were inevitable. And we had limited knowledge about al-Qaeda and its workings.

"Those two realities have changed."

In his report, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell focussed attention on al-Qaeda and its leadership based in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Al-Qaeda remains the pre-eminent threat against the United States, both here at home and abroad," he said.

His report said al-Qaeda enjoyed many of the same benefits from its bases in the border areas as it had when it was in Afghanistan proper, and was able to:

  • use the region as a staging area for attacks outside
  • maintain a group of skilled operators able to direct operations around the world
  • pass on morale-boosting messages from Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri
  • improve its ability to attack the US itself.

Despite this, Mr McConnell praised the Pakistani authorities, saying they had done more to "neutralise" terrorists than any of the US's other partners - despite more than 860 members of their security forces being killed by bombs in 2007.

And although al-Qaeda had suffered some reverses, he said, it remained active and dangerous in Iraq, in North Africa, in the Arabian peninsula, Lebanon, East Africa, Pakistan and South- East Asia.

Other worries outlined by Mr McConnell included:

  • Russia, China and oil producers using their wealth to advance political goals
  • nuclear proliferation, especially Iran and North Korea
  • computer system vulnerabilities.

"The threats we face are global, complex and dangerous," he wrote.

"We must have the tools to enable the detection and disruption of terrorist plots and other threats."




cia logo Water-boarding
Paul Reynolds examines the practice and legality of simulated drowning


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that George Bush and Michael Hayden have publicly confessed to government waterboarding in a press conference on February 6, 2008, and in testimony before Congress on February 5, 2008, you may find the following information useful:

The law review article referenced below (available at no cost at: http://www.law.utah.edu/_webfiles/ULRarticles/150/150.pdf ) makes clear that waterboarding is torture and is a crime and a war crime punishable under a number of treaties to which the United States is a party and several U.S. statutes.

The article also explains that there is no defense available due to either (1) prior legal advice, or (2) circumstances (including, without limitation, terrorist acts – see citations in Footnotes 21 and 25 in the article), contrary to the claims of Bush and Hayden.

The law review article (see pages 359 to 374) also establishes that under a number of treaties to which the United States is a party, the U.S. has an obligation to initiate an official investigation regarding confessed acts of torture. For example, the 1984 U.N. Convention Against Torture, (1465 UNTS 85), Article 12 reads as follows:

“Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.” (NOTE: The article also explains why “territory under its jurisdiction” includes GITMO and all DOD and CIA secret detention sites for the United States.)

The following case, among others, has held that waterboarding is torture:

In re Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos Human Rights Litigation, 910 F. Supp. 1460, 1463 (District of Hawaii, 1995)

Waterboarding is torture regardless of the surrounding circumstances – there is no circumstantial or necessity defense to torture claims.

It is time for the appointment of a special prosecutor – General Mukasey must recuse himself because of his refusal to publicly state that waterboarding is criminal torture. As explained in the law review article and elsewhere, the following individuals played primary roles in the authorization of waterboarding and should be immediately identified as the primary subjects of the investigation:

George W. Bush
Richard “Dick” Cheney
John Ashcroft
Alberto Gonzales
Donald Rumsfeld
George J. Tenet
John E. McLaughlin
Porter Goss
David Addington
Jay S. Bybee
John Yoo
Jack Goldsmith
General Ricardo Sanchez
General Geoffrey Miller
General Janis Karpinski

Bush/Cheney Pardon Calendar

Under the circumstances – a public confession of criminal acts by George W. Bush -- you should expect that immediately after the November elections George W. Bush will pardon all of the people listed above, then resign. At that point, Richard “Dick” Cheney would become President, and you should expect that in that capacity Cheney will immediately pardon George W. Bush.

Immediate Appointment of Special Prosecutor

As a result of the expected pardons, a special prosecutor should be appointed immediately

Commencement of Impeachment Proceedings

As a result of the expected pardons, on the day after the November elections, the House of Representatives should impeach George W. Bush and Richard “Dick” Cheney for high crimes -- torture -- violating the following statutes, among others:

18 USC 3231
18 USC Sections 2340-2340A
18 USC 2441

Please note the strategic importance of simply presenting the impeachment to members of the House with no hearings and an immediate vote on the day after the November elections. There is no reason for hearings or delay, since George W. Bush has admitted the criminal act that is the basis of the impeachment.

International Crimes Not Subject to Pardon Power

It is worth pointing out that torture violations of the Law of War and international treaties are not subject to the Presidential pardon power. We will see these individuals on trial in the Hague for their publicly confessed war crimes.

“Above the Law: Unlawful Executive Authorizations Regarding Detainee Treatment, Secret Renditions, Domestic Spying and Claims to Unchecked Executive Power,” Jordan J. Paust, Utah Law Review, 2007, Number 2, Pages 345 to 419

Article available free at: http://www.law.utah.edu/_webfiles/ULRarticles/150/150.pdf