Waterboarding, an interrogation technique that stimulates drowning, was endorsed by Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann. ‘They’re wrong,’ said Obama in a press conference. ‘Waterboarding is torture.’
Waterboarding is suffocation torture. Torture is a crime. It is years past time to hold the criminals accountable. No new laws would be needed. Just close Gitmo, arrest everyone responsible for the crime of torture, from prison guards who participated all the way up to Bush and Cheney. Then hold a fair trial before the eyes of the world, and implement checks and balances so no agency of the government rises to the status of being above the law, as some now are. This would be a great step in the evolution of our country.
The U.S. Military Code specifies that it is a crime to violate the Geneva convention: “Whoever, … commits a war crime, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, … and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death. … Definition: As used in this section the term ‘war crime’ means … a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949 [or acts] prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907 … ” (Section 2441: U.S. Military Code on War Crimes)
1945 Nuremberg Principles: After WWII, the U.S. led the formation of the ‘Nuremberg Principles,’ which form the United Nations Charter. Every country in the world is bound by that Charter.
Defines as a crime: “Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;”
… January 25, 2002 White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales writes a memo urging President George Bush to declare the war in Afghanistan exempt from the Geneva convention. In the memo, the White House lawyer references a 1996 law passed by Congress, known as the War Crimes Act, that law banned any Americans from committing war crimes – defined in part as “grave breaches” of the Geneva convention. The memo warns that the law applies to “U.S. officials” and that punishments for violators “include the death penalty.” [PDF of Gonzales memo] (NewsWeek, May 17, 2004)
Subsequent to January 25, 2002 Secretary Powell writes a memo arguing that Alberto Gonzales’ attempt to declare the war in Afghanistan exempt from the Geneva convention undermines more than a century of U.S. policy and practice. “It will reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practice in supporting the Geneva conventions and undermine the protections of the law of war for our troops, both in this specific conflict and in general. … It may provoke some individual foreign prosecutors to investigate and prosecute our officials and troops. … We will be challenged in international fora (UN Commission on Human Rights; World Court; etc.).” (Powell memo)
…March 19, 2003 Bush declares pre-emptive war in Iraq which constitutes a “grave breach” of the Geneva convention as Iraq posed no “imminent threat” to the U.S. “Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.” (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Fall 1990)
… October 11 , 2002 Department of Defense writes a memo which authorizes interrogation tactics for use at Guantanamo … Department of Defense approved: … Use of a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation.” (Torture memos) …
October 25, 2002 Memo written by a U.S. Army General in response to the torture memo put out by the Department of Defense. “I am particularly troubled by the use of implied expressed threats of death of the detainee or his family.” James T. Hill, General, U.S. Army Commander (Torture memos)
November 27, 2002 An FBI agent at Guantanamo writes a memo warning FBI legal counsel that many of the interrogation methods proposed on October 11, 2002 for use at Guantanamo violate the prohibition on torture. The first quote is one of the techniques being approved by the Department of Defense. (FBI warning memo) “Detainee will be sent off GTMO, either temporarily or permanently to Jordan, Egypt, or another third country to allow those countries to employ interrogation techniques that will enable them to obtain the requisite information.” “It is a per se violation of the U.S. Torture Statute. Discussing any plan which includes this category, could be seen as a conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. s. 2340. Any person who takes any action in furtherance of implementing such a plan, would inculcate all persons who were involved in creating this plan. This technique can not be utilized without violating U.S. Federal law.”