Thursday 25th of July 2024

wet works .....

wet work .....

Late last night, when respectable people were fast asleep, the Senate confirmed Michael Mukasey, a pro-torture/anti-Constitution, ultra-partisan reactionary as bushit’s Attorney General. This was engineered by two people, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Whatever Mukasey does wrong should be lain on their doorsteps: 

The 53-to-40 vote made Mr Mukasey, a former federal judge, the third person to head the Justice Department during the tenure of the war criminal bushit, placing him in charge of an agency that members of both parties say suffered under the leadership of Alberto R. Gonzales. 

meanwhile …. 

Testifying to the House Judiciary subcommittee yesterday, Malcom Wrightson Nance, a former Navy instructor of prisoner of war and terrorist hostage survival programs, unequivocally stated, "Waterboarding is torture, period."  

Nance called the technique a "terrifying, painful, and humiliating tool" and said that it often results in subjects lying to interrogators to make the torture stop. "Contrary to popular opinion, it is not a simulation of drowning. It is drowning," he said.  

The subcommittee had also called on Lt. Col. Stuart Couch, a former Guantanamo Bay prosecutor, to testify about his observations of interrogations at the prison camp, but Pentagon counsel WIlliam Haynes blocked his testimony at the last minute. 

Nevertheless, following the hearing, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the subcommittee chairman, and Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) introduced a bill mandating that all U.S. interrogations - including those run by the CIA - conform to the Army Field Manual on Interrogation, which explicitly bans waterboarding and other forms of torture.

semantical arm twisting

From the American Conservative

We Have Ways…

The Bush administration continues to disavow torture—and to officialize its practice.

by James Bovard

On Oct. 4, the New York Times blew another ten-foot hole in the Bush administration’s torture cover-up. The Times revealed that the Justice Department produced a secret legal opinion in early 2005 permitting CIA interrogators to use “combined effects” on detainees, including head slapping, waterboarding, frigid temperatures, manacling for many hours in stress positions, and blasting with loud music to assure sleep deprivation. The Times labeled the memo as an “expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Within hours of the paper hitting the streets, President Bush issued the same moth-eaten denial he has used many times since Abu Ghraib: “This government does not torture people. You know, we stick to U.S. law and our international obligations.” But it is the “law” as contorted by administration lawyers who rubberstamp whatever methods Bush or Cheney demand. The same lawyers who tell Bush he has “inherent authority” to wiretap Americans’ phone calls also tell him he has authority to redefine torture, regardless of the English-language precedents dating back to Chaucer.

 

Gestapo, US style...

Tom Ricks's Inbox

Sunday, November 11, 2007; B02

Here retired Army Col. Stuart Herrington, a veteran military intelligence officer, writes to a friend to explain why he opposes the practice of waterboarding, even though many Americans appear to endorse its use in interrogations of suspected terrorists:

* * *

Here is my take on your specific question concerning why some out there think it (waterboarding) works, and what might you be missing. In the interests of disclosure, I have seen waterboarding attempted in a hostile environment once, against a 19 year old rural woman who had the misfortune to live in an area regularly frequented at night by Viet Cong units. With her entire family wailing in the courtyard of their straw home, she writhed on the ground, trying to throw off the four men who had her pinned down with a poncho over her face while the team leader poured water onto the poncho. She told the PRU who were doing it nothing, insisting she did not know, and appeared close to death before they stopped. It could not be determined whether she knew nothing, or was just willing to die rather than provide the nightly visiting schedule of the local VC cadre.

I told both the PRU leader and his Agency advisor that I would not accompany them again if they were going to treat villagers in this manner. It is inconceivable to me that anyone who has ever witnessed this tactic would not consider it torture. I also think the debate about whether a given harsh interrogation practice is technically "torture" or merely a "coercive interrogation technique" is the kind of hair splitting, legalistic smokescreen argument that folks love to toss out these days.