Thursday, October 04, 2007

THE BUSH REGIME, THE THORNY QUESTION OF TORTURE, WAR CRIMES AND ACCOUNTABILITY

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Will we ever see Bush, trial and dentencing over, TV cameras shhoting, being offered a last cigarette and blindfolded? In my dreams. But will we ever see him behind bars-- and not just Bush and Cheney, just the entire foul regime that has evolved around their 2000 coup and the ensuing years of criminality disguised as government? I hope we're not reducing to seeing him dragged off for some tawdry felony like selling a presidential pardon to GOP contractor Thomas Kontogiannis for $400,000 (via Randy "Duke" Cunningham). No, it should be one of the big issues-- the ones that involve the Constitution, like subverting Democracy. What about the use of mercenaries? Or torture?

Today's NY Times brings up the pesky torture thing again the Bush Regime is so assiduously trying to put behind itself.
When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

Well, the world has learned of it. Are Americans ashamed? Well... do you consider Republican to be Americans? They're not ashamed. Well, that isn't fair; some of them are ashamed. But when the University of Ohio's Scripps Center did a survey in 2006, 66% of respondents who identified themselves as "strongly Republican" endorsed torture. (Only 24% of those self-identifying as "strongly Democratic" endorsed torture. How you going to expect weak and ambitious politicians like John Boehner, Howdy Doody and Norm Coleman to behave like civilized human beings if this is their base of support?

The Bush Regime has done all it could to blur the definition of torture and confuse Americans into a state of uncertainly about what it is. Most Americans know it's something the bag guys in foreign places do... not us. Wikipedia is clearer than the Bush Regime about what it is.
Torture, according to international law, is "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."

...In the 21st century, torture is widely considered to be a violation of human rights, and discouraged by article 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Signatories of the Third Geneva Convention and Fourth Geneva Convention agree not to torture protected persons (POWs and enemy civilians) in armed conflicts, but some nations are still not signatories.

International legal prohibitions on torture derive from a philosophical consensus that torture and ill-treatment are repugnant, abhorrent, and immoral.

And the United Nations-- and now you'll see a reason right-wingers have always hated it so-- has also had some things to say about torture, "things" largely shapaed by American diplomacy and signed by a succession of legitimate (unlike the current one) American presidential adminstrations. The key provisions of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment are 1, 2, 3, and the first paragraph of Article 16.
Article 1
1. Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

Article 2
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to
prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Article 3
1. No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

Article 16
1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article I, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Although Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership has made themselves complicit by taking impeachment off the table, both "Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques. But the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics... a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance and detention into turmoil."

Associates at the Justice Department said Mr. Gonzales seldom resisted pressure from Vice President Dick Cheney and David S. Addington, Mr. Cheney’s counsel, to endorse policies that they saw as effective in safeguarding Americans, even though the practices brought the condemnation of other governments, human rights groups and Democrats in Congress. Critics say Mr. Gonzales turned his agency into an arm of the Bush White House, undermining the department’s independence.

After the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Geneva Conventions applied to prisoners who belonged to Al Qaeda, President Bush for the first time acknowledged the C.I.A.’s secret jails and ordered their inmates moved to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The C.I.A. halted its use of waterboarding, or pouring water over a bound prisoner’s cloth-covered face to induce fear of suffocation.

But in July, after a monthlong debate inside the administration, President Bush signed a new executive order authorizing the use of what the administration calls “enhanced” interrogation techniques-- the details remain secret-- and officials say the C.I.A. again is holding prisoners in “black sites” overseas.

Back to Wikipedia for a moment:
Many countries find it expedient from time to time to use torturous techniques; at the same time few wish to be described as doing so, either to their own citizens or international bodies. A variety of devices bridge this gap, including state denial, "secret police", "need to know", denial that given treatments are torturous in nature, appeal to various laws (national or international), use of jurisdictional argument, claim of "overriding need", and so on. Many states throughout history, and many states today, view torture as a tool (unofficially and when expedient and desired). As a result, and despite worldwide condemnation and the existence of treaty provisions that forbid it, torture still occurs in two thirds of the world's nations.

Torture remains a frequent method of repression in totalitarian regimes, terrorist organizations, and organized crime.

Is the Bush Regime a totalitarian regime? Is the Bush Regime a terrorist organization? Is the Bush Regime an organized criminal operation? If you're a regular DWT reader you already know how I would answer those three questions. Hopefully impartial juries in courts of law will get to answer them in the not too distant future.


UPDATE: CHRIS DODD CONDEMNS BUSH REGIME TORTURE AND DECEPTION

"The law is crystal clear-- torture is illegal. It is 'abhorrent' that the Bush Administration would publicly disavow torture, while its Office of Legal Counsel is secretly interpreting settled law to reach the opposite conclusion. It is imperative we understand the extent of this deception. The Office of Legal Counsel must release how many other secret opinions they have produced during the Bush Administration that justified violations of the Constitution, federal statutes, the laws of war, and international human rights.

"Congress's Constitutional authority is the power of the purse. And should the Justice Department not comply, I intend to use that authority by drafting legislation defunding the Office of Legal Counsel."



UPDATE: EVEN REPUBLICANS ARE ASKING WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT THE WAR CRIMINALS IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Whatever Nancy Pelosi accomplishes, she will always be tarred as the Speaker who took impeachment off the table and disgraced Democrats by not even trying to hold the war criminal accountible-- or trying to stop him from committing more war crimes.

Andrew Sullivan to the right of Pelosi thinks Bush should be held accountable-- but so does Steve Porter, to her left.
“Pelosi and the Democrats had their chance to impeach this administration-- to rid us of their arrogance, their lies, their policies of death and greed. They chose not to do so. Rather, they have given Bush everything he has asked for and only feigned opposition by saying that they would try to overcome his policies and vetoes ‘at a later date.’ How does one say that and look in the face of a family whose child will be killed in Iraq between now and a later date? How does one say that to a mother whose child might die between now and a later date for lack of health care?

“War and health are big, big businesses and the people in Washington who take political money from those businesses-- and they are on both sides of the aisle-- will never, never vote for the people they are supposed to represent before they vote for the special interests who pay and own them.
 
“It is hard to know which is worse, the people in government who betray us or the electorate itself for continuing to put them there. Perhaps in 2008 the public will awaken to new voices, voices which are not owned and which have the courage to speak out on behalf of the citizens of our nation."

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2 Comments:

At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man you are a cunt. Adios loser.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger aek all over said...

We now are officially and publicly informed that in our names terrorism is being carried out by our government and its agents.

We have a choice to make:

Impeach.

Call a Constitutional convention - restore government under the Constitution.

~OR~

Continue to aid and abet terrorism with the full knowledge that the US is the most powerful terrorist state on the planet.

 

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