Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 07:09 am
Mukasey's Nomination Runs Into Trouble
The Associated Press

Thursday 25 October 2007

Washington - Judge Michael Mukasey's nomination for attorney general ran into trouble Thursday when two top Senate Democrats said their votes hinge on whether he will say on the record that an interrogation technique that simulates drowning is torture.

"It's fair to say my vote would depend on him answering that question," Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told reporters Thursday.

"This to me is the seminal issue," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, another member of Leahy's panel. Asked if his vote depends on whether Mukasey equates waterboarding with torture, Durbin answered: "It does."

Leahy has refused to set a date for a vote on Mukasey's nomination until he clarifies his answer to that question.

Separately, a Democrat familiar with the panel's deliberations said Mukasey may not get the 10 committee votes his nomination needs to be reported to the Senate floor with a favorable recommendation unless he says, in effect, that waterboarding is torture. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak more freely.

Mukasey's confirmation shifted away from being a virtual certainty last week when he refused to say explicitly whether waterboarding amounts to torture and is unconstitutional.

Others in the Senate won't go that far, and no one said Mukasey's confirmation was in doubt unless he answered the question the way many Democrats want him to. Only one lawmaker, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has announced he will vote against Mukasey's confirmation in part over his answer on torture.

On the second and final day of his confirmation hearings last week, Mukasey refused to say that waterboarding is torture, frustrating senators with no tolerance for legalistic hedging after dozens of non-answers on that and other subjects by the man Mukasey would succeed, Alberto Gonzales.

"It is not constitutional for the United States to engage in torture in any form, be it waterboarding or anything else," Mukasey answered at one point.

But during terse questioning by Whitehouse, Mukasey said he did not know if waterboarding is torture because he is not familiar with how it is done.

"That's a massive hedge," Whitehouse responded incredulously. "It either is or it isn't."

"If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional," Mukasey answered.

"I'm very disappointed in that answer," Whitehouse said. "I think it is purely semantic."

Committee members of both parties quickly demanded that Mukasey answer the question, and Leahy has refused to set a date for the panel to vote on the nomination until he does.

"I believe it is necessary for you to respond in detail as to your views on the legality and propriety of water-boarding and the appropriate scope of interrogation under U.S. law and the Geneva Convention," ranking Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania wrote to Mukasey this week.

Congress has prohibited cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of terror suspects, that lawmakers have said includes waterboarding. The Bush administration has refused to say whether waterboarding is among the interrogation techniques prohibited in an executive order last summer.

But it's not just Democrats whose support wobbled after the confirmation hearings last week.

Leahy said he advised White House adviser Harold Kim, who is handling the nomination, that Mukasey should answer the question plainly when he submits follow-up responses to the committee.

"I've heard from a couple of Republicans on the committee and that they're extremely troubled," Leahy told reporters Thursday after a Senate vote.
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 10:28 am
We prosecuted both Germans and Japanese for torture for waterboarding, back in the days before we had a bunch of tortorous bastards running our government.

http://www.worldproutassembly.org/images/Waterboard.jpg

Waterboarding is torture. It makes you feel as if you are dying. You cannot resist it. The Marine Corps is on record as saying that the toughest members they have cannot hold out for more then a few seconds. There's no difference between waterboarding, and holding a gun to someone's head and pretending to kill them.

It is amazing to me that anyone could defend such a heinous practice.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 10:43 am
Cycloptichorn wrote:
We prosecuted both Germans and Japanese for torture for waterboarding,


Source?
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 10:53 am
McGentrix wrote:
Cycloptichorn wrote:
We prosecuted both Germans and Japanese for torture for waterboarding,


Source?


Japanese:

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/10/22/Columns/We_sentenced_Japanese.shtml

Quote:
Bush was strident in asserting that the CIA chamber of horrors or "program" could be open for business again. But at the same time, the president gravely assured us: "The United States does not torture."

Interestingly, we weren't nearly as blithe about waterboarding when it happened to our own guys during World War II. Then, we considered it a war crime and a form of torture.

In "Drop by Drop: Forgetting the History of Water Torture in U.S. Courts," Judge Evan Wallach of the U.S. Court of International Trade has documented the trials in which the United States used evidence of water-boarding as a basis for prosecutions. The article, still in draft form, will be published soon by the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law.

Among the numerous examples, Wallach cites one involving four Japanese defendants who were tried before a U.S. military commission at Yokohama, Japan, in 1947 for their treatment of American and Allied prisoners. Wallach writes, in the case of United States of America vs. Hideji Nakamura, Yukio Asano, Seitara Hata and Takeo Kita, "water torture was among the acts alleged in the specifications ... and it loomed large in the evidence presented against them."

Hata, the camp doctor, was charged with war crimes stemming from the brutal mistreatment and torture of Morris Killough "by beating and kicking him (and) by fastening him on a stretcher and pouring water up his nostrils." Other American prisoners, including Thomas Armitage, received similar treatment, according to the allegations.

Armitage described his ordeal: "They would lash me to a stretcher then prop me up against a table with my head down. They would then pour about 2 gallons of water from a pitcher into my nose and mouth until I lost consciousness."

Hata was sentenced to 25 years at hard labor, and the other defendants were convicted and given long stints at hard labor as well.

Wallach also found a 1983 case out of San Jacinto County, Texas, in which James Parker, the county sheriff, and three deputies were criminally charged for handcuffing suspects to chairs, draping towels over their faces and pouring water over the towel until a confession was elicited. One victim described the experience this way: "I thought I was going to be strangled to death. ... I couldn't breath."

The sheriff pleaded guilty and his deputies went to trial where they were convicted of civil rights violations. All received long prison sentences. U.S. District Judge James DeAnda told the former sheriff at sentencing, "The operation down there would embarrass the dictator of a country."


But not our president. He's just about as proud as can be of the "program," boasting about all the fine intelligence we've extracted from the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, while conveniently ignoring all the bad information that spilled out of him that sent our law enforcement on wild goose chases.


In fact, upon research, I see that the Nazi's didn't use waterboarding as part of their Verschärfte Vernehmung; they considered the information gotten from the practice to be too unreliable, as people would say anything to end it.

But we charged and found Nazis guilty for many lesser instances of torture, which are still practiced today.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:00 am
I appreciate the link. I'd point out that Japanese water torture and what is now referred to as water-boarding are not the same.

At no time during the current use of water-boarding is the "victim" in danger beyond the psychological effects. Actually pouring gallons of water up someone's nostrils and mouth can actually kill them.

Oh, and this part:
Quote:
According to Fred Hitz, former CIA inspector general and veteran CIA operations officer: "There's nobody out there in the CIA that I can imagine who wants to be governed by a set of standards that is different from those in the Army Field Manual." Under that manual, abusive techniques are strictly barred.

So it's really the president and vice president and their minions who are pushing for interrogation techniques that Dr. Allen Keller, who directs a program for torture survivors in New York, calls "torture" and the infliction of "serious physical or mental pain and suffering."

Our leaders think the Military Commissions Act gives them the thumbs-up. But morality, common decency and history surely won't.


is just a line of BS spoonfed to the anti-Bushies.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:03 am
Cycloptichorn wrote:
We prosecuted both Germans and Japanese for torture for waterboarding, back in the days before we had a bunch of tortorous bastards running our government.

http://www.worldproutassembly.org/images/Waterboard.jpg

Waterboarding is torture. It makes you feel as if you are dying. You cannot resist it. The Marine Corps is on record as saying that the toughest members they have cannot hold out for more then a few seconds. There's no difference between waterboarding, and holding a gun to someone's head and pretending to kill them.

It is amazing to me that anyone could defend such a heinous practice.

Cycloptichorn


not amazing at all.... you can't really mean that. look at who these people are...and look at the idiots just on this board who support them and their tactics...
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:07 am
McGentrix wrote:
I appreciate the link. I'd point out that Japanese water torture and what is now referred to as water-boarding are not the same.

At no time during the current use of water-boarding is the "victim" in danger beyond the psychological effects. Actually pouring gallons of water up someone's nostrils and mouth can actually kill them.

Oh, and this part:
Quote:
According to Fred Hitz, former CIA inspector general and veteran CIA operations officer: "There's nobody out there in the CIA that I can imagine who wants to be governed by a set of standards that is different from those in the Army Field Manual." Under that manual, abusive techniques are strictly barred.

So it's really the president and vice president and their minions who are pushing for interrogation techniques that Dr. Allen Keller, who directs a program for torture survivors in New York, calls "torture" and the infliction of "serious physical or mental pain and suffering."

Our leaders think the Military Commissions Act gives them the thumbs-up. But morality, common decency and history surely won't.


is just a line of BS spoonfed to the anti-Bushies.


You're wrong about the danger. Waterboarding most certainly can kill someone if done improperly.

And what more, it doesn't matter - it is universally agreed that faking executions as part of interrogation is torture. Waterboarding is the equivalent of faking executions. Do you think they tell the guys before they strap them down 'hey, just chill out, you aren't in any real danger of drowning?'

Get real. It's f*cking disgusting to me that you would defend torture.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:09 am
I don't defend torture.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:14 am
McGentrix wrote:
I don't defend torture.


Do you deny that mock executions are torture? Yes or no.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:20 am
The Germans didn't use waterboarding.

But:
- water and bread,
- no bed,
- dark cell,
- sleep deprivation,
- exerciese to get tired,
- caning

Source (Scanned original document as PDF)
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:25 am
I read somewhere and I can't remember where that the germans would, after using the methods Walter mentioned... call a prisoner in and put him in front of an officer who would have a hot bowl of stew in front of him and would give the idea that if the prisoner talked it was his and that was effective...now this may or may not be factual but I certainly admire the subtlety of it...
0 Replies
 
Zippo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:26 am
McGentrix wrote:
I don't defend torture.


Reading your posts is torture.
0 Replies
 
blueflame1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 02:06 pm
Rumsfeld hit with torture lawsuit while visiting Paris by Jason Rhyne
Published: Friday October 26, 2007


Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's jaunt to France was interrupted today by an unscheduled itinerary item -- he was slapped with a criminal complaint charging him with torture.

Rumsfeld, in Paris for a discussion sponsored by the magazine Foreign Policy, was tracked down by representatives of a coalition of international human rights groups, who informed the architect of the US invasion of Iraq that they had submitted a torture suit against him in French court.

The filed documents allege that during his tenure, the former defense secretary "ordered and authorized" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military's detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The head of one of the groups responsible for bringing the charges, the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights, told RAW STORY today by phone that the suit was a long time coming.

"We've been working on cornering Rumsfeld and getting him indicted somewhere going on three years now," said the Center's president, Michael Ratner. "Four days ago, we got confidential information he was going to be in France."

Joined by activists, attorneys for the human rights groups caught up with Rumsfeld on his way to a breakfast meeting. "He was walking down the street with just one person," said Ratner.

"Around 20 campaigners gave Rumsfeld a rowdy welcome...yelling 'murderer,' waving a banner and trying to push into the building," reports AFP.

Ratner, who wasn't personally at the scene, says his sources told him that the former defense secretary made some pre-scheduled remarks at the meeting before ducking through a door leading to the US Embassy.

According to Ratner, France has a legal responsibility under international law to prosecute Rumsfeld for torture abuses.

"If a torturer comes into your territory," he said, "there's an obligation to either prosecute the person or return him to a place where he will be prosecuted."

The rights groups notably cite three memorandums signed by the defense secretary between October 2002 and April 2003 "legimitizing the use of torture" including the "hooding" of detainees, sleep deprivation and the use of dogs.

Although his group has been a part of previous attempts to bring charges against Rumsfeld, including two former tries in Germany, Ratner believes French court has the highest chance of success.

"There are Guantananamo detainees who were tortured that are living in France," he said. "It gives French courts another reason to prosecute."

Ratner says Europe is "getting very hot for Rumsfeld," and suggests a French court could at least issue its version of a subpoena.

"We hope that this case will move forward," he said, "especially as the US says it can continue to torture people."

Other groups involved in the complaint include the International Federation of Human Rights, the French League for Human Rights and Germany's European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

More details about the lawsuit are available at the website of the Center for Constitutional Rights. link
0 Replies
 
blueflame1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Oct, 2007 09:47 am
Why I Will Vote "No" on Mukasey by Sen. Bernie Sanders

Posted October 26, 2007 | 03:13 PM (EST)

The attorney general of the United States must be a defender of our constitutional rights. Because President Bush thinks he can do whatever he wants to do in the name of fighting terrorism, we need an attorney general who can explain to the president what the Constitution of this country is all about. We need an attorney general who does not believe the president has unlimited power. We need an attorney general who will tell President Bush that he is not above the law. We need an attorney general who clearly understands the separation of powers inherent in our Constitution. Regretfully, I have concluded that Michael B Mukasey would not be that kind of attorney general. That is why I will be voting against his nomination.

Let me be clear. Of course the United States government must do everything that it can to protect the American people from the dangerous threat of terrorism, but we can do that in ways that are effective and consistent with the Constitution and the civil liberties it guarantees. The Bush administration and the lawyers who have enabled it for the past seven years cannot be bothered with such technical legal niceties as the Bill of Rights. This administration thinks it can eavesdrop on telephone conversations without warrants, suspend due process for people classified as enemy combatants and thumb its nose when Congress exercises its oversight responsibility. That is why I called on Alberto Gonzales to resign. I had hoped that the confirmation process for a new attorney general would give the president and the Senate an important opportunity to refocus on the core American principles embedded in our Constitution.

Unfortunately, Judge Mukasey doesn't get it. At his two-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he suggested that eavesdropping without warrants and using "enhanced" interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects might be constitutional, even if they exceeded what the law technically allowed. He said Congress might not have the power to stop the president from conducting some surveillance without warrants. He even, incredibly, claimed to be unfamiliar with the technique known as waterboarding.

Waterboarding is a "very exquisite torture," according to no less of an authority than Senator John McCain of Arizona, a former prisoner of war. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, provided Murkasey a graphic description of the practice. He told the nominee that it ''is the practice of putting somebody in a reclining position, strapping them down, putting cloth over their faces and pouring water over the cloth to simulate the feeling of drowning." Still, Mukasey refused to say it was tantamount to torture or to venture an opinion on whether it is constitutional. Torquemada's ghost might be smiling somewhere. I am not.

Without diminishing that issue, Mukasey's lawyerly obfuscation on the point is not the biggest or even the most basic problem I have with his nomination. There is an even more important reason why he should not become the next attorney general.

Mukasey should not be confirmed because he could not muster a simple, straightforward answer at his confirmation hearing when he was asked the simple, straightforward question: Is the president of the United States required to obey federal statutes? "That would have to depend," he weaseled, "on whether what goes outside the statute nonetheless lies within the authority of the president to defend the country."

As it happens, the Supreme Court, one of those pesky other branches of government, reaffirmed just last year that the president must comply with a valid federal statute. In a case involving military commissions, the majority even took note of the fact at the time that the Justice Department "does not argue otherwise." Mukasey evidently would argue otherwise. "If Judge Mukasey cannot say plainly that the president must obey a valid statute, he ought not to be the nation's next attorney general," wrote Jed Rubenfeld, a professor of constitutional law at Yale Law School who appeared before Judge Mukasey as a prosecutor. He's got that right.

It has become an American aphorism that ours is a government of laws, not men. We need an attorney general who understands that, so he can explain it to a president who does not.
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 02:44 pm
Quote:
Mukasey at first declined specifically to declare waterboarding torture, saying, "I think it would be irresponsible of me to discuss particular techniques with which I am not familiar when there are people who are using coercive techniques and who are being authorized to use coercive techniques. And for me to say something that is going to put their careers or freedom at risk simply because I want to be congenial, I don't think it would be responsible of me to do that." Durbin pressed on, citing cases where Americans and foreigners alike have been prosecuted and convicted for waterboarding. Finally Mukasey said, "It is not constitutional for the United States to engage in torture in any form, be it waterboarding or anything else."

source
0 Replies
 
Zippo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 02:51 pm
revel wrote:
Quote:
Mukasey at first declined specifically to declare waterboarding torture, saying, "I think it would be irresponsible of me to discuss particular techniques with which I am not familiar when there are people who are using coercive techniques and who are being authorized to use coercive techniques. And for me to say something that is going to put their careers or freedom at risk simply because I want to be congenial, I don't think it would be responsible of me to do that." Durbin pressed on, citing cases where Americans and foreigners alike have been prosecuted and convicted for waterboarding. Finally Mukasey said, "It is not constitutional for the United States to engage in torture in any form, be it waterboarding or anything else."

source


Because it's written by George W. Bush, it must be true? ha! ha! ha! Very Happy

Didn't they also say Iraq had W.M.D's?
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 03:08 pm
Zippo wrote:
revel wrote:
Quote:
Mukasey at first declined specifically to declare waterboarding torture, saying, "I think it would be irresponsible of me to discuss particular techniques with which I am not familiar when there are people who are using coercive techniques and who are being authorized to use coercive techniques. And for me to say something that is going to put their careers or freedom at risk simply because I want to be congenial, I don't think it would be responsible of me to do that." Durbin pressed on, citing cases where Americans and foreigners alike have been prosecuted and convicted for waterboarding. Finally Mukasey said, "It is not constitutional for the United States to engage in torture in any form, be it waterboarding or anything else."

source


Because it's written by George W. Bush, it must be true? ha! ha! ha! Very Happy

Didn't they also say Iraq had W.M.D's?


Perhaps you missed the point? The point is that at first Mukasey refused to declare waterboarding as torture and finally (I guess he broke down; maybe he didn't mean it Laughing ) admitted waterboarding was torture.
0 Replies
 
Zippo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 03:21 pm
revel wrote:
] you missed the point? The point is that at first Mukasey refused to declare waterboarding as torture and finally (I guess he broke down; maybe he didn't mean it ) admitted waterboarding was torture.


Oh, man! I'm sorry, i had missed my medication. Laughing

I get it now!

See, there folks! waterboarding is torture.

But not as bad as Mr Bush's televised address.
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 04:06 pm
I have to wonder...
How many of you that are attacking the use of waterboaring would support it if it was your family in danger?

How many of you would use whatever methods needed to save your own families?
0 Replies
 
blueflame1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Oct, 2007 04:31 pm
Torture In History
19 Oct 2007 08:37 pm

The notion that "torture" has never meant forms of coercive interrogation short of electrocuting someone's balls or tearing their fingernails out (this seems to be Bush's and Bret Stephens' comic book position) is simply disproved by history. I've proved beyond any doubt or rebuttal that the United States itself treated Bush's torture techniques as torture and prosecuted them as war crimes during the Second World War. But the understanding that torture is indeed the precise term for hypothermia, stress positions, confinement, extreme isolation and the like goes back a long, long way.
link
0 Replies
 
 

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