February 14, 2008

Torturegate: DoJ's Bradbury says waterboarding NOT Legal

Let's look at the implications of the "new" "news" below -

Bush might just veto it the Senate bill, or he can do another of his famous signing statements to take the sting out of the provisions of the bill.

But the Senate vote seems like a good first step in the right direction. After the FISA debacle, I really thought this would be another poke in the eye for the rule of law - but I think those who testified in the committee did a really great job. I sat and watched it and took notes. I felt proud, actually proud, of everyone who testified, too, as if the America I once knew was still really alive.

Why did John McCain voted against this amendment even though it is almost exactly the same as one he proposed 6 months ago. One can guess he's appealing to the Dominionists to lock up his nomination. Must must torture the arab brethen not ready for the Rapture!! Give them one more dose of hell so that they convert or something.

The right wingers still have their knickers in a twist - they THINK that waterboarding (in particular) and other torturous techniques gets information in a short space of time and would like their ability to show their superiority to the "captured" by gagging them to death and we shall hear further complaining from their quarters - you can trust me on that. The concept of a LEASH is foreign to them.

Tis true that many of the forms of torture are left unmentioned - the ones that they used to accuse Fidel of using when I grew up. But the British have ALWAYS used grueling horrifying methods - peeling back fingernails, cutting off fingertips, things that when you just hink about them make you reel in pain. The IRA has many horriying tales to tale!!

And why woud I possibly think that the CIA will actually stop doing any of the extreme methods or having someone else do the dirty work for them as they so often do? I think this whole thing as been of huge PR campaign to make up for Abu Ghraib and to make it look as if something had CHANGED when in fact it's more likely they will say: "oh, it couldn't be US doing it, we did away with that!" The sudden comments by Bradbury seem to confirm my speculations, too. God knows that the Office of Legal Counsel always has something "up its sleeve" for the past seven years, why change now at this late date? It's a mere tool of Dick Cheney. Cheney's comments on torture were to let the world know that no matter what legal opinion anyone came up with, no matter what Congress did - he is the ROUGH TOUGH guy who would waterboard himself and everyone who "works for him" will still be doing it business as usual. {Will someone PLEASE impeach this guy and indict him and imprision him for an eon? Such a JERK.}

From Guantanamo to Bagram to other black sites, the torture continues. To deny people the arms of their loved ones when they have no idea that this loss can ever be changed is bitter torture. The Senate decision and Bradbury are NOT changing this because they see the humanity in others - they did to look superior. Nothing has changed, business of getting what you want as usual. They did it to look as if their world dominance is justified because they are so completely logical while concerned with the fate of US servicemen and women. Were they so kind to veterans returning home ..

Following the conventions is not there to work out some new rationale to appear weak to the enemy - they are there so society can progress but somehow in the past seven years of high minded arrogance the concept of being civilized enough to agree on a cooperative code of conduct seems to have gotten lost. The ability to have Joe Potato understand the importance of Geneva has been lost. We must fight on until we get it back in both the United States as well as Canada.

What makes people think that this kind of torture is happening on the other side? At least now we can bring to heel those who would make other nations and entities think that some in the US will not abide by this inhumanity. Too bad it took so much work to get the Senate to follow the rule of law when the law was clear along.

We can only wait to see what he Decider in Chief decides to do - is HE the last word on the law?


Justice Says Waterboarding Not Legal

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Justice Department official says laws and other limits enacted since three terrorism suspects were waterboarded has eliminated the technique from what is now legally allowed, going a step beyond what CIA Director Michael Hayden has said.

"The set of interrogation methods authorized for current use is narrower than before, and it does not today include waterboarding," Steven G. Bradbury, acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, says in remarks prepared for his appearance Thursday before the House Judiciary Constitution subcommittee.

"There has been no determination by the Justice Department that the use of waterboarding, under any circumstances, would be lawful under current law," he said. It is the first time the department has expressed such an opinion publicly.

Bradbury in 2005 signed two secret legal memos that authorized the CIA to use head slaps, freezing temperatures and waterboarding when questioning terror detainees. Because of that, Senate Democrats have opposed his nomination by President Bush to formally head the legal counsel's office.

Bradbury's testimony comes as majority Democrats in Congress try to clamp down on interrogation methods that can be used on terrorism suspects.

Congress on Wednesday moved to prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh tactics, despite Bush's threat to veto any measure that limits the agency's interrogation techniques.

The prohibition was contained in a bill authorizing intelligence activities for the current year, which the Senate approved on a 51-45 vote. It would restrict the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. That manual prohibits waterboarding, a method that makes an interrogation subject feel he is drowning.

The House had approved the measure in December. Wednesday's Senate vote set up a confrontation with the White House, where Bush has promised to veto any bill that restricts CIA questioning.

The legislation bars the CIA from using waterboarding, sensory deprivation or other harsh coercive methods to break a prisoner who refuses to answer questions. Those practices were banned by the military in 2006.

Bradbury's comments go a step further than Hayden's last week. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, the CIA director acknowledged for the first time publicly that the CIA has used waterboarding against three prisoners.

Hayden said current law and court decisions, including the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, cast doubt on whether waterboarding would be legal now. Hayden prohibited its use in CIA interrogations in 2006; it has not been used since 2003, he said.

The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 prohibited cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for all detainees in U.S. custody, including CIA prisoners.

Waterboarding is still officially in the CIA tool kit but it requires the consent of the attorney general and president on a case-by-case basis.

see also: http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/15447266.html


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