Friday, October 26, 2007



In his headlong, no-holds-barred quest to be the personification of a third Bush term, Rudy Giuliani (not to mention Bush's own execrable Attorney General nominee, Michael Mukasey) leaves plenty of wiggle room for the use of torture. Giuliani, when asked about waterboarding said he isn't sure if that would be considered torture. "It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it." He blames waterboarding's bad name on "the liberal media... But I have to see what the real description of it is."

Maybe he-- and his pal Mukasey-- can start their quest to find out about the real description by reading Jurist from the University of Pittsburgh's law school. Wednesday Gary Solis, an Adjunct Professor and former Marine Corps judge advocate and military judge, attempted to teach the willfully ignorant something about waterboarding. If Mukasey and Giuliani don't know what it is, "the U.S. Army has long known."
During the U.S.- Philippine War (1899-1902), five Army officers, Major Edwin Glenn, Captain Cornelius Brownell, 1st Lieutenants Julien Gaujot, Edwin Hickman, and Preston Brown, were convicted by courts-martial for employing the “water cure” in interrogating Philippine prisoners. Although Brownell’s victim, a local priest, died while being subjected to the water cure, Brownell’s conviction was set aside on jurisdictional grounds. Army juries rejected the defense of “military necessity,” recognizing the water cure for what it is. The Army’s Judge Advocate General, the reviewing officer of Glenn’s case, derisively noted, “the resort to torture is attempted to be justified…as the habitual method of obtaining information from individual insurgents.” In the Vietnam War, Army Staff Sergeant David Carmon was disciplined after he was pictured torturing a prisoner with the water cure. But Judge Mukasey doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture.

After World War II, several nations prosecuted former enemies for variations of waterboarding. The U.N. War Crimes Commission, in its Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, details convictions for the near-drowning of prisoners during interrogations. The Sawada case was a U.S. military commission in which “the water treatment” of captured Doolittle raiders was a basis for convicting Sawada and others. A Norwegian military court convicted Karl-Hans Klinge of the same torture. American military commission convictions reported elsewhere include, U.S. v. Chinsaku Yuki, U.S. v. Yagoheiji Iwata, and U.S. v. Hideji Nakamura and Others, all resulting from the water treatment of American or Philippine prisoners. The Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East says, “The practice of torturing prisoners of war and civilian internees prevailed at practically all places occupied by Japanese troops…. Among these tortures were the water treatment….” But Judge Mukasey doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture.

U.S. domestic courts describe “the water cure” and “water torture” as human rights violations, and a means to coerce confessions, in In Re Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos (D. Hawaii, 1995) and U.S. v. Lee (5th Cir., 1984). In Chile, the 2005 National Commission of Political Imprisonment and Torture, investigating abuses of the Pinochet era, documents the common use of water torture during interrogations. Argentine and Chilean criminal prosecutions continue today. But Judge Mukasey doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture.

I'm sure both Giuliani and Mukasey do know that waterboarding is torture. It's just that neither is willing to take on the Bush Regime which insists it isn't. Bush says "We don't torture" but he, Alberto Gonzales and Cheney have quite enthusiastically signed off on waterboarding. To admit it is torture could make them candidates for war crimes tribunals. Mukasey wants these people to employ him. Giuliani wants their supporters to vote for him.

The wikipedia entry on the word waterboarding is very clear. The first sentence (with 9 citations): "Waterboarding is a form of torture which consists of immobilizing an individual and pouring water over his or her face to simulate drowning. Waterboarding has been used to obtain information, coerce confessions, and also to punish, and/or intimidate. It elicits the gag reflex, and can make the subject believe his or her death is imminent while not causing physical evidence of torture."

During the Spanish Inquisition, probably the low-point for Christianity and surely one raison d'etre for the separation of Church and State so reviled by Republicans, waterboarding (toca or tortura del agua) was used during "trials." Since then, civilized nations, including the U.S. before Bush came to power, have agreed to the UN Convention Against Torture. It was signed and ratified by the U.S. in 1994. Among other things it states clearly that "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." Giuliani and Mukasey, in regard to the employment they are each seeking, ought to know that and ought to be able to deal with it. That neither does, speaks volumes about their respective suitability for the jobs they crave.

Former CIA officer and author Bob Baer has explained that waterboarding is "bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture's bad enough." According to today's Des Moines Register at least one of the pathetic pygmies™ agrees with this anti-Bush Regime view.
Waterboarding is a form of torture no matter how it is done and should be a prohibited among U.S. military interrogation practices, Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Thursday, taking issue with GOP rival Rudy Giuliani's recent remarks.

"Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak," said McCain after a campaign stop at Dordt College here. "People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that."

McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese military after his plane was shot down 40 years ago today, made it clear he disagreed with Giuliani.

McCain, likes to point out that his opposition to torture among Republican presidential candidates is based on military experience not shared by any of the other pygmies. And he echoes Baer, not Bush, Cheney or Gonzales (nor, apparently Giuliani or Mukasey) when he says "There are much better and more effective ways to get information. You torture someone long enough, he'll tell whatever he thinks you want to know."

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At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am guessing that if one believes one is about to die, even though they are not that they might want to come clean before meeting their make which could include telling the truth. I am not a scientist or statistician, but there is something intuitive about this here. The US military may be obligated to follow the Geneva Conventions, but is it clear that that our non-military intellegence agencies are also so bound. Former NSA Director and current CIA Director Michael Hayden says he does not believe so. And his commentsas such were made on under last weekes broadcasts.

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous imsmall said...


You tie some wrapping on his face and then you tie him down,
So fixed immobile he has no recourse,
Then when you pour the water it is like to make him drown--
As blind he neither understands the source

Nor can resist the awful press about to suffocate,
Controlled upon the incline to prolong,
Though in my vast experience it´s not too long a wait
If sometimes though the answers may be wrong.


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