Torture

Trump administration moves to keep full CIA 'torture' report secret (6/3/2017)

Why Release the Torture Report Now (1/6/2017)

Torture works. OK, folks? You know, I have these guys "Torture doesn't work!” believe me, it works. And waterboarding is your minor form. Some people say it's not actually torture. Let's assume it is. But they asked me the question: What do you think of waterboarding? Absolutely fine. But we should go much stronger than waterboarding. That's the way I feel. They're chopping off heads. Believe me, we should go much stronger, because our country's in trouble. We're in danger. We have people that want to do really bad things!  Donald Trump

“The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (Torture Convention), ratified by the United States in 1994, appears to require the United States to investigate possible torture committed within its jurisdiction,” Conyers’s report.

IRCT

“The torture was far more brutal than we thought, and the CIA lied about that. It didn't work, and they lied about that too. It produced so much bad intel that it most likely impaired our national security, and of course they lied about that as well. They lied to Congress, they lied to the president, and they lied to the media. Despite this, they are still defending their actions.” Mother Jones quoted at Telesur

" In the United States, the Senate report on torture in the context of counter-terrorism operations is courageous and commendable, but profoundly disturbing. For a country that believes so strongly in human rights to have swiftly abandoned their fundamentals at a time of crisis is as astonishing as it is deplorable... Under international law, the report’s recommendations must be followed through with real accountability. There is no prescription for torture, and torture cannot be amnestied. It should also lead to examination of the institutional and political causes that led the US to violate the absolute prohibition on torture, and measures to ensure this can never recur." U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.(3/5/2015)


"The Nuremberg Trial of the German war criminals was tacitly based on the recognition of the principle: criminal actions cannot be excused if committed on government orders; conscience supersedes the authority of the law of the state." Einstein on Politics, Rowe and Schulmann.

“There is a pressing need to bring the United States into the legal community of nations, where it must be held accountable for its actions. Let us be clear: the scale of US crimes in the war on terror comes nowhere near the genocidal war-making of the Nazis. But ever since World War II, the American empire has put its heavy boots on every continent. Even in imperial decline—after disastrous wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and facing long-term challenges from China and Russia—it remains the world’s preeminent military and economic power. If the most powerful country in the world—a country that still, decades after the end of the Soviet Union, calls itself “the leader of the free world”—can violate international laws of war and human rights with complete impunity, then why should any other nation be constrained? For the sake of the victims of the war on terror, for the sake of our national soul, but even more for the future of humanity, we need a full accounting and real accountability for American war criminals. We need an American Nuremberg.” American Nuremberg
In the case of torture, the Bush-Cheney White House was clearly involved. It pushed for and approved the program; it was complicit in obtaining the deeply flawed legal opinions that redefined the ban on torture to meaningless nothings. White House officials forgot that both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln barred torture in perilous times when Americans were hard pressed in their fight to create the nation or to save it. They also forgot that after World War II the United States led the way in drafting the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit torture and other forms of inhumane treatment. They locked out voices of experience from the State Department and the military who would have warned of harm to America’s reputation and risks to American captives. They failed to listen to FBI experts on interrogation who could have explained we were getting important intelligence through interrogation techniques other than torture. And they forgot, or nobody told them, that after World War II we had prosecuted Japanese officials as war criminals for using on American soldiers the same torture techniques the White House authorized and the CIA implemented after 9/11. Fritz Schwartz
"We know what the Founding Fathers believed. They believed in universal rights. And they believed in basic principles of human dignity. Above all, they did not think the government had the prerogative of behaving as it pleased. It doesn’t have the prerogative to torture." Juan Cole
'We've come to this ignoble moment.' 'We have become like Serbia.' 12 Jul 2008 'I never thought I would say this, but I think it might, in fact, be time for the United States to be held internationally to a tribunal. I never thought in my lifetime I would say that, that we have become like Serbia, where an international tribunal has to come to force us to apply the rule of law... So we've come to this ignoble moment, where we could be forced into a tribunal and forced to face the rule of law that we've refused to apply to ourselves.' --Constitutional Law expert Jonathan Turley, on MSNBC's Friday 'Countdown,' discussing accountability behind US war crimes at Guantanamo.
"Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America." William Blum
The United States is now relearning an ancient lesson, dating back to the Roman Empire. Brutalizing an enemy only serves to brutalize the army ordered to do it. Torture corrodes the mind of the torturer. James Risen: Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War
... "torture in reality has generated desired falsehoods to support wars, created lots of enemies rather than eliminating them, encouraged and directly trained more torturers, promoted cowardice rather than courage, degraded our ability to think of others as fully human, perverted our ideas of justice, and trained us all to pretend not to know something is going on while silently supporting its continued practice. None of that can help us much in any other ethical pursuit." David Swanson review of Mainstreaming Torture

This CIA Torture Story Is the Best Example of Our Post-9/11 Failings (9/9/2016)

New GOP Plans for Torture (2/14/2016)

Donald Trump: I'd bring back 'a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding' (2/7/2016)

Torture becoming a key campaign issue for GOP candidates (11/24/2015)

This Country Can Be America, or It Can Be a Country that Tortures. It Cannot Be Both (6/17/2015)

How Did TV News Talk About Torture in Coverage of the Torture Report? (1/9/2015)

How the Torture Could Start Again (12/15/2014)

CIA Torturers Should Be Prosecuted (12/13/2014)

No, Americans aren’t ‘fine with torture.’ They strongly reject it. (12/11/2014)

The One Man Jailed For CIA Torture Tried To Expose It (12/10/2014)

Senate Report Slams CIA Torture, Lies (12/10/2014)

Udall says CIA still lying and calls for purge of those linked to torture, including Brennan (12/10/2014)

CIA Torture Report May Set Off Global Prosecutions (12/9/2014)

Excerpts From the Torture Report that the CIA doesn't want you to see (12/9/2014)

The Senate Committee’s Report on the C.I.A.’s Use of Torture (12/9/2014)

UN Report Documents Torture, Police Violence in US (11/29/2014)

2014 UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) Review of the US Government

US Rendition Survivors urge Obama to Declassify Torture Report (8/28/2014)

Tortured Folks (8/5/2014)

The Truth about CIA torture in Poland (7/24/2014)

Dick Cheney's Sadistic America: Why Torture Persists Post-W (7/12/2014)

Judge Upholds Order Demanding Release of CIA Torture Accounts: Spencer Ackerman, Guardian UK (6/26/2014)

Top ten US aid recipients all practice torture (1/30/2014)

Bipartisan Report Concludes There's No Doubt US Tortured, Violated Law (4/17/2013)

American Torturers on Trial, But Not In the United States (2/2013)

Globalizing Torture CIA detention and Extraordinary rendition (2/2013)

When Will Americans Face the Truth: We're a Nation of Torturers (5/25/2012)

CIA Committed War Crimes, Bush Official Says (4/4/2012)

Republican Candidates Position on Torture (11/14/2011)

UN urges Full US Torture Investigation (11/19/2010)

Leading Republicans all support waterboarding.


The following quotes are from Glenn Greenwald's book "With Liberty and Justice For Some" in which he argues that the law does not apply to elites.

In April 2008,...an ABC news report detailing that torture techniques were not just approved but 'choreographed' by 'the most senior Bush Administration officials at a series of meetings in the White House situation room. Reportedly presiding at those meetings were, among others, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General John Ashcroft, CIA Director George Tenet and Secretary of State Colin Powell.


According to ABC, those officials agreed that detainees could be 'slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.' They also approved interrogations that combined different methods, pushing the limits of international law and even the justice Departments own legal approval” The torture policies being discussed were so extreme that even Ashcroft...observed 'History will not judge this kindly'.


“In April 2009, Scott Horton of Harper's reported that in Spain, 'prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates [John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Doug Feith, and William Haynes] over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantanamo.' Moreover, Spanish authorities 'advised the Americans that they would suspend their investigation if at any point the United States were to undertake an investigation of its own into these matters.”


Under international treaty that the US has signed: the US is legally required to investigate allegations of torture and to bring the torturers to justice. Not doing so is itself a criminal act. The Third Geneva Convention, which was enacted in the wake of severe detainee abuse during World War II, obliges each participating country to “ search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and...bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.


The Convention Against Torture explicitly bars considerations of national security or fears of terrorism from being offered as an excuse for perpetuating torture or refusing to prosecute the torturers. Nor is taking orders from one's commanders considered a valid defense.


Lies of the Pro-Torture Lobby (video about 11 minutes.)

President Obama's refusal to bring former officials to account confirms that high-level politicians are above the law. Greenwald makes the case.

Torturing Democracy (PBS video) did not play on all PBS stations. You can play it on-line though. (10/16/2008)

The Power of Nightmares (BBC video) Highly recommended. You can view it on-line.

Wikipedia on Torture

Media that sells torture.

Arvin Hill

Everyone Should See "Torturing Democracy"

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Truthout: "No political party would dare make torture a cornerstone of its rejuvenation if people really understood what it is. And lest we forget, we're not just talking about waterboarding, itself a trivializing euphemism for drowning. If we want to know what torture is, and what it does to human beings, we have to look at it squarely, without flinching. That's just what a powerful and important film, seen by far too few Americans, does."

Links

Mainstreaming Torture

US Profile

CIA Torture Report

Witness Against Torture

Al Shimari v. CACI et al.

The Lucifer Effect

Politics of Torture

Stop Torture Campaign

Center For Constitutional Rights

Center For Victims of Torture

Abu Ghraib Torture Was Ordered By Top Ranking US Officials

About Renditions

A guide to Salon's investigation of torture, American-style

Torture See also ACLU documents,UN report, and this.

General Taguba

Bibliography

American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes: Rebecca Gordon

Cheating Justice, How Bush and Cheney Attacked the Rule of Law, Plotted to Avoid Prosecution - and What We Can Do About It. Elizabeth Holtzman

A Question of Torture: Alfred McCoy

Mainstreaming Torture: Rebecca Gordon

The Dark Side: Jane Mayer

The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the American Media by Lila Rajiva

Standard Operating Procedure: Philip Gourevitch

Truth, Torture, and the American Way: Jennifer Harbury

Guantanamo Diary: Larry Siems

Drawing Blood: Molly Crabapple

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