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Archive for December, 2008

Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods used by the CIA, and that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should remain open indefinitely….

“I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared,” Cheney said in an interview with ABC News.

Asked whether he still believes it was appropriate to use the waterboarding method on terrorism suspects, Cheney said: “I do.”

His comments come on the heels of disclosures by a Senate committee showing that high-level officials in the Bush administration were intimately involved in reviewing and approving interrogation methods that have since been explicitly outlawed and that have been condemned internationally as torture.

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The Senate committee report also indicates that Bush himself was involved in the authorization of torture tactics.

So Cheney (still) thinks Waterboarding is appropriate? Too bad U.S. law doesn’t agree with him.

Torture is prohibited under 18 U.S.C. ยง 2340.

Torture in all forms is banned by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which the United States participated in drafting. The United States is a party to the following conventions (international treaties) which prohibit torture: the American Convention on Human Rights (signed 1977) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed 1977; ratified 1992).

…International law defines torture during an armed conflict as a war crime. It also mandates that any person involved in ordering, allowing and even insuffuciently preventing and prosecuting war crimes is criminally liable under the command responsibility doctrine.

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Even the 2006 U.S. Army field manual mentions waterboarding as a prohibited act and defines it as torture:

In late 2006, the military issued updated field manuals on intelligence collection (FM 2-22.3. Human Intelligence Collector Operations, September 2006) and counterinsurgency (FM 3-24. Counterinsurgency, December 2006). Both manuals reiterated that “no person in the custody or under the control of DOD, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, in accordance with and as defined in US law.”[9] Specific techniques described as prohibited in the intelligence collection manual include:

* Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner.
* Placing hoods or sacks over the head of a detainee; using duct tape over the eyes.
* Applying beatings, electric shock, burns, or other forms of physical pain.
* Waterboarding
* Using military working dogs.
* Inducing hypothermia or heat injury.
* Conducting mock executions.
* Depriving the detainee of necessary food, water, or medical care

So the question is… will our newly elected politicians, especially Obama and crew, live up to their moral obligations? Will the American people keep them in check if they falter?

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