FAB / TORTURE-LIBERTY
TORTURE REMAINS OFFICIAL US POLICY.
International law is clear and unequivocal. Torture is illegal at all times, under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions.
It violates constitutional protections. They include the 8th Amendment’s guarantee against “cruel and unusual punishments.”
Treaties America signed prohibit torture and other forms of ill-treatment. They’re binding under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
“….all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
Earlier Supreme Court rulings condemned force and other forms of ill-treatment amounting to torture. They include harsh interrogations, threats, sleep and food deprivation, prolonged isolation, whipping, slapping, beatings, and other forms of abuse.
Laws prohibiting torture are jus cogens. They’re higher, compelling laws. No nation may pass legislation permitting it. No courts may justify it. Jus cogens prohibitions allow no immunity from criminal liability.
On April 16, The New York Times headlined “US Engaged in Torture After 9/11, Review Concludes,” saying:
The Constitution Project’s (CP) “sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been ‘the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.’ “
It’s “indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture.”
CP’s report is titled “Task Force on Detainee Treatment.” It followed “two years of intensive study, investigation and deliberation.”
It was undertaken “to provide an accurate and authoritative account of how the United States treated people its forces held in custody as the nation mobilized to deal with a global terrorist threat.”
“The events examined in this report are unprecedented in US history.”
“In the course of the nation’s many previous conflicts, there is little doubt that some US personnel committed brutal acts against captives, as have armies and governments throughout history.”
Nothing matched post-9/11 policies. They were authorized at the highest levels of government. Bush, Cheney and others around them did so.
Despite this extraordinary aspect, the Obama administration declined, as a matter of policy, to undertake or commission an official study of what happened, saying it was ‘unproductive’ to ‘look backwards’ rather than forward.
Crimes of war and against humanity were committed during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Extraordinary renditions began on Clinton’s watch.
Courts, including the nation’s highest, largely looked the other way. Instead of condemning war on terror lawlessness, they did little judicially to stop it.
On June 11, the Supreme Court denied certiorati for seven Guantanamo detainees. Doing so violated the Constitution’s Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2. It states:
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public safety may require it.
CP’s report said it’s “indisputable” that America practices torture. The nation’s highest officials bear full responsibility. What began earlier continues. Torture is globalized. Snatch and grab is policy.
In Afghanistan, dozens of abductions occur monthly. Imprisonment and torture follow. Guantanamo represents America’s public face. It’s the tip of the iceberg. It symbolizes US lawlessness.
Dozens of “black sites” operate globally. They do so extrajudicially. They do it out of sight and mind. “Enhanced interrogation techniques” became code language for torture and other forms of abuse.
Suspects are snatched and disappeared. Foreign governments are complicit. What began under Clinton intensified under Bush. Obama continues the worst of his practices.
CP discussed the following topics:
Detention at Guantanamo
Washington’s Post-9/11 “Legal Process”
Rendition and “black sites”
Medical professionals’ involvement in detention and interrogation practices
True and false confessions – most are forcibly extracted
Effects and consequences of US policies
The Obama administration
THE ROLE OF CONGRESS
Guilt at the highest levels of government is shared. They include the executive, congressional and judicial branches. The CIA and Pentagon are complicit. Torture and other forms of abuse became official policy. It remains so extrajudicially.
America crossed the line. CP called doing so unjustifiable. It violated fundamental rule of law principles. It damaged the nation’s standing. It’s legally, morally and ethically compromised.
It “reduced our capacity to convey moral censure. (It) potentially increased the danger to US military personnel taken captive.”