Judiciary Dems Want Mukasey to Condemn Waterboarding
Ten Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey today. You can read it here.
Shorter version: stop mincing words and condemn water boarding:
Your unwillingness to state that waterboarding is illegal may place Americans at risk of being subjected to this abusive technique. If the United States does not explicitly and publicly condemn waterboarding, it will be more difficult to argue that enemy forces cannot waterboard American prisoners. It also makes it more difficult for the United States to condemn repressive governments that use waterboarding on their own citizens. We are particularly troubled by recent reports that the Burmese military has used this form of torture against democracy activists. Human rights abuses such as this have rightly prompted the Administration to impose additional sanctions against the Burmese regime.
Please respond to the following question: Is the use of waterboarding, or inducing the misperception of drowning, as an interrogation technique illegal under U.S. law, including treaty obligations?
My latest thoughts on Mukasey and waterboarding are in a post I wrote this morning for Firedoglake on the mistrial in the terrorism funding charity trial.
Once Mukasey refused to say that waterboarding is torture, he lost his way home. I can just picture him leaving the confirmation hearing. He’s got a piece of the waterboard stuck on the sole of his shoe, like you know what, and no matter how many times he tries to scrape it off, it’s still there. The piece won’t leave Muckasey. It’s there to remind him that he’s one of them now. He’s solid with the Administration’s refusal to promise to discontinue waterboarding.
Mukasey has no more robes to hide behind as he did in New York as a federal judge. He’s in too deep now. Once he’s confirmed, Mukasey will be front and center at DOJ public hearings and meetings, justifying the Bush party line and policies so many Americans find abhorrent.
Outside the courtroom, things will be no easier for Mukasey. He’ll be meeting with a frustrated Congress through the wall of secrecy the Bush Administration erected when it refused to turn subpoenaed documents over to Congress. Documents that relate to the U.S. Attorney firings, the missing RNC e-mails and voter suppression. Mukasey is stepping into the Lion’s den and by all appearances, seems to accept his fate. I have an uneasy feeling that my future posts about Mukasey will be accompanied by a graphic showing him tethered to a ball and chain.
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