Giuliani: Not Sure Waterboarding is Torture

Rudy Giuliani joins his pal Michael Mukasey in declaring that he isn't sure waterboarding is torture. Speaking last night in New York City,

Well, I’m not sure it is either. I’m not sure it is either. It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it. I think the way it’s been defined in the media, it shouldn’t be done. The way in which they have described it, particularly in the liberal media. So I would say, if that’s the description of it, then I can agree, that it shouldn’t be done. But I have to see what the real description of it is. Because I’ve learned something being in public life as long as I have. And I hate to shock anybody with this, but the newspapers don’t always describe it accurately.”

Rudy also left no doubt where he stands on wiretapping: In bragging about the thousands of people he put in jail, particularly mob guys in the U.S. and in Italy, he said:


You know how I put hundreds of Mafia people in jail? And I helped to put thousands in Italy in jail? You know how I did it? I did it by electronic surveillance and aggressive questioning. None of them wanted to give me the information. They didn’t walk into my office and say, ‘I want to tell you about all of those Mafia murders…”

On the line between aggressive questioning and torture:

And, sure we should be against torture. But we should not be against aggressive questioning. And the line between the two is going to require some really difficult decisions about drawing it and kind of trusting each other with the discretion for the president to make decisions about what has to be done in the interests of the American people.’’

Taking the opposite and more accurate view on waterboarding is law professor Jonathan Turley in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, writing about the inadequate response of Michael Mukasey at his confirmation hearing:

At first, he repeatedly stated that he does not support torture, which violates the U.S. Constitution. This is precisely the answer given so often by President Bush like a mantra. The problem is that Bush defines torture to exclude things like water-boarding.

It is like saying you do not rob banks, but then defining bank robbery in such a way that it does not include walking in with a gun and demanding money from the cashier.

Giuliani and Mukasey are two peas in a pod.

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    Poor Rudy (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Edger on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 10:49:47 AM EST
    One does not compromise with Straussians, neocons, chickenhawks or clueless bastards.  People who still support George W. Bush, torture and war profiteering at this late stage of human history are beyond reason or persuasion.  There is no point whatsoever in worrying about how such people see things, what they might say, or how they might characterize our actions or arguments.  These people should not be appeased or wooed, they should be marginalized and driven back under the rocks from which they have slithered.

    The Ghoul draws the wrath of God
    Evangelicals Crucfy Giuliani's GOP nomination bid:

    In a presidential candidate straw poll of 5,775 evangelical voters at the meeting and online, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney came out on top, narrowly ahead of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

    Giuliani trailed in eighth, with just 1.85 percent of the vote,

    They're not as stupid as he thinks they are.

    And the evangelicals crucify him because (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by scribe on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 12:29:57 PM EST
    it sure looks like he sold his soul to the Devil for his shot at the WH.

    No, seriously.

    From an article in the Providence (RI) Journal, last June:

    On another front: Giuliani relishes baseball. Though some New Yorkers are Mets fans, he's always strutted his Yankee allegiance. Red Sox fans find his Yankee ties, um, grating.

    I asked yesterday: If the devil said you can be president if you become a Sox fan, would you do it? He laughed and declared:

    "I'm a Yankee fan. My father made me a Yankee fan probably before I was born. I always believe it's a sign of my being straight with people, about not wanting to fool them, that I was one of the first mayors to be willing to say I was a Yankee fan. Most mayors pretended they rooted for both sides. I have great respect for Mets fans, Red Sox fans. I have great respect for people who really are fans of the team they say they are fans of. But probably that's a deal I could not make."

    And he laughed again.

    He made the deal and, as in the story, now that the deal is done there's talk of his going on to higher office.  I don't think Daniel Webster could spin Rudy out from under this whopper, once it finishes falling.


    these guys are actually (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by cpinva on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 11:09:41 AM EST
    pretty pathetic. they can't even do torture right. waterboarding? for pansies. at least do something worthwhile, like thumbscrews. whatever happened to the rack? red-hot branding irons leave a mark, but get the point across.

    if you're going to torture, don't be a wuss about it. sure, you probably won't get anything of value, but you'll show everyone that we can be just as brutal as the "bad" guys.

    If you walk the walk (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by john horse on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 05:36:29 PM EST
    re:"if you're going to torture, don't be a wuss about it."

    Can't agree with you more.  When asked directly if waterboarding is torture, Bush evades the question.  Guiliani says he is not sure.  This is BS.  

    They both know that it is torture but they lack the courage to say so.  If you are going to walk the walk you need to talk the talk.  What a bunch of wimps.


    ::Enough:: crap from these psychos (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 06:29:17 PM EST
    Enhanced Interrogation Methods? No, The Word Is "Torture"
    No matter how much lipstick and rouge we smear on the face of this war no matter how we attempt to  dress up the evil and bestial acts that have been performed in its unholy name, it still has the hideous countenance of an evil swine from hell.

    It is an illegal war, begun and conducted under false pretenses, by a group of criminal liars and thieves in the United States Government, abetted by a cowardly congress who abrogated their constitutional duties in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds and furthered by a complaisant press that ignored their obligation to remain independent from government, from their sponsors and report the facts.  
    There is no such animal as extraordinary rendition, nor do I know of the existence of any beasts called enhanced interrogation methods.

    The first is kidnapping, it is illegal, a felony and the second word is torture, its meaning is clear:


      1. Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion.
      2. An instrument or a method for inflicting such pain.
      2. Excruciating physical or mental pain; agony: the torture of waiting in suspense.
      3. Something causing severe pain or anguish.

    Torture is illegal in this country, a felonious act, it is illegal in the world at large, according to several conventions that we are legally bound by. Anyone committing torture, causing it to be committed, directing its commission, or training others in its techniques is guilty, guilty of war crimes, of crimes against humanity and crimes against "Nature's God.

    The people who lied us into this war are not statesmen, nor are they patriots acting out of a misguided love of country, as I have heard in some quarters. They are murderers, murderers, modern day Nazis or Fascists if you prefer, cold dispassionate sociopaths, heinous criminals, without conscience, without mercy, without humanity.

    New Rule (none / 0) (#13)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 03:21:01 PM EST
    No one can be in favor of waterboarding unless they have undergone a seven day training camp where they get to experience the technique firsthand, as delivered and moderated by their opponents.

    Anything Goes (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by squeaky on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 11:50:14 AM EST
    At a debate, he declared himself opposed to torture but refused to say whether he would outlaw waterboarding, instead offering that interrogators should perform "any method they can think of."

    From Rachel Morris' Washington Monthly picece well worth a read.

    "any method they can think of"? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Edger on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 11:51:24 AM EST
    Make them listen to Rudy.

    They'll spill their guts.


    Well, if he really wanted to know... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Dadler on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 12:00:16 PM EST
    ...he could just step up and volunteer to have it demonstrated on himself.  Will he?  Of course not.  For all his mafia-busting bravado, he won't get on the board and let "enhanced interrogation" makes its case to him.  Just another moral vaccuum fingerpainting with his own sh*t.

    He probobly already has (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 12:25:54 PM EST
    someone doing it to him. Right after the verbal humiliation.

    But, but, but.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 12:17:34 PM EST
    That would be torture. Why does "the left" hate America?

    Since it isn't (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 03:22:07 PM EST
    there would be no harm in trying it out, would there?

    Well... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 03:44:29 PM EST
    Rudy and George and Dick and Donald and some others I can think of should probably be treated better than prisoners are treated in places like Guantanamo and in the places they "rendition" prisoners to.

    I'm sure that the Right would agree. After all, they want America to set the standards for and be the most advanced society in the world, just like the left does.

    Don't they?

    Some of the Right should be along here in this thread any minute now to let us know.........

    Yoo ain't seen nuthin' yet.


    Rudy says that (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by roger on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 12:26:38 PM EST
    "it depends on who does it"???????

    I thought that only us lefties were into moral relativism!

    Not moral relativism (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 03:30:56 PM EST
    Its personnel relativism.

    Its OK for us to do it.

    Its ok for us to do anything, break any law, rape the constitution.

    But if you try to get a hummer in your office... WE WILL RAIN HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION ON YOU UNTO THE 13th GENERATION!


    It's funny that... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Packratt on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 02:05:30 PM EST
    When foreigners suspected of terrorism are tortured by American soldiers, Americans make a big fuss about it...

    But when Americans are tortured by American police and jails all over the US, especially in Chicago and Seattle, nobody says a word.

    It's as if their human rights were that much more valuable than an American's. Maybe someone can explain it to me?

    We do object (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Jen M on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 02:28:06 PM EST
    even on talkleft

    so do all the prison reform advocates


    Police are immune (none / 0) (#15)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 03:28:22 PM EST
    ...not in the legal sense, but in the jury nullification sense.

    Corrections officers at a boot camp in Florida beat a kid to death - on videotape. Their punishment? A reprimand in their files.

    You see Americans view their police and corrections officers as their protection from the predators among us - thus if they cross the line, NHI (no human involved, no harm involved). This road leads right to fascism. It may be a hard road to hoe, but its the road we're on.


    I can't help but agree (none / 0) (#18)
    by Packratt on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 03:49:09 PM EST
    Yet also I can't help but feel that there is a direct correlation between the federal government's attitude towards the justification of torture and the suspension of civil rights in regards to foreign nationals and the same trending on local levels towards mistreatment of civilians and the disregard for constitutional protections.

    Furthermore, it seems that there is now a reluctance on the part of the typical defenders of civil rights to oppose and fight this trend, perhaps out of fear of being branded unpatriotic or perhaps just for being overwhelmed by the upsurge in such cases.

    These points seem ignored in the debate, and I too agree that all we can do is sit back and watch as what America once stood for, a sense of liberty, equality, and justice... melts away into publicly welcomed tyranny.


    uhm (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jen M on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 06:37:47 PM EST
    I didn't say those things don't happen
    I never said I support torturing and killing in our prison systems

    I merely objected to someone saying we are silent.

    I'm not.


    The nesting here isn't obvious... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Packratt on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 07:31:28 PM EST
    I believe #15 was a reply to me, not you. So don't fret, it wasn't a judgement of you or your claims.

    oops (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jen M on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 07:35:43 PM EST
    {Emily Letila mode} Never mind

    Do you watch the news or read newspapers? (none / 0) (#23)
    by Nowonmai on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 07:28:13 PM EST
    But when Americans are tortured by American police and jails all over the US, especially in Chicago and Seattle, nobody says a word.

    Don't know what news blackout area you were living in, but whenever I have read/heard on the news about convicts being abused, or police abusing citizens, there is a very loud outcry against it. Not only on TV but on the internet too (Think YouTube and that kid being tasered by some cops)


    But... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Packratt on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 07:33:06 PM EST
    Is it as equally loud and persistent?

    beats me, (none / 0) (#27)
    by cpinva on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 10:31:17 PM EST
    how would you propose to quantify that?

    Is it as equally loud and persistent?

    of course, given the multi-front war being waged by our national, state & local governments, against everyone's rights, that's a lot of ground to cover. i suspect people start to suffer outrage exhaustion at some point, and aren't quite as loud as when they first started.

    this by no means indicates any less outrage, merely less energy.


    From what I have seen (none / 0) (#29)
    by Nowonmai on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 08:45:29 AM EST
    Not only yes, but hell yes.  

    that being said, I can only judge by what I have personally seen.


    I don't know... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Packratt on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 09:42:37 AM EST
    From my perspective, that of an innocent person who went through such things, it seems quite the opposite.

    In fact, it unfortunately seems that libertarians (who I don't really think of as liberal) have been the only ones that seem interested in speaking out and doing something about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques by local police departments and the abuse of pre-trial pisoners in jail in the US.

    Of course, as I said, that's just my perspective... everything is relative.


    For all the Politcians, their fan clubs and (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Nowonmai on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 06:53:43 PM EST
    Spin doctors, and paid mouthpieces:

    You can say fire isn't hot, but that doesn't make it true. You can say Water boarding isn't torture.. doesn't make it true.

    For those who insist water boarding (and other forms of 'intense interrogation') isn't torture, how about you sit through a few rounds of it personally. Better yet, if you have children/wives, let them be water boarded while you watch. See if that changes your views.

    Unless you are sick sadists, then you don't get to watch.

    The beating/torturing/water boarding of any human being, whether a nun, an 'enemy combatant', a POW, a convict, a boot camp juvie, is wrong. How much clearer can that be? Here, let me go hire a sky writer, maybe if it's seen written in the heavens it will get through some thick skulls.

    Is waterboarding torture? (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 04:37:22 PM EST
    This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like
    It's usually described in the media in a matter-of-fact manner. The Washington Post simply referred to waterboarding a few days ago as an interrogation measure that "simulates drowning." But what does waterboarding look like?

    Below are photographs taken by Jonah Blank last month at Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
    The crux of the issue before Congress can be boiled down to a simple question: Is waterboarding torture? Anybody who considers this practice to be "torture lite" or merely a "tough technique" might want to take a trip to Phnom Penh. The Khymer Rouge were adept at torture, and there was nothing "lite" about their methods. Incidentally, the waterboard in these photo wasn't merely one among many torture devices highlighted at the prison museum. It was one of only two devices singled out for highlighting (the other was another form of water-torture
    Bottom line: Not only do waterboarding and the other types of torture currently being debated put us in company with the most vile regimes of the past half-century
    These photos are important because most of us have never seen an actual, real-life waterboard. The press typically describes it in the most anodyne ways: a device meant to "simulate drowning" or to "make the prisoner believe he might drown." But the Khymer Rouge were no jokesters, and they didn't tailor their abuse to the dictates of the Geneva Convention. They-- like so many brutal regimes--made waterboarding one of their primary tools for a simple reason: it is one of the most viciously effective forms of torture ever devised.

    Jurisprudence: The law, lawyers, and the court. (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 07:27:34 PM EST
    All Wet
    Why can't we renounce waterboarding once and for all?
    What is it about waterboarding that makes the White House so reluctant to renounce it? It's an old torture technique from the Spanish Inquisition that consists of immobilizing your target on an inclined board, head down, with cloth covering their face. Pouring water over the face simulates drowning. The practice leaves no physical marks. It's illegal under the Geneva Conventions and has long been treated as a war crime by the United States. We even use this technique to train our own troops to withstand illegal torture by our enemies. As retired Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, a former top Navy lawyer and now dean of Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, N.H., testified at Mukasey's hearing last week, "Other than perhaps the rack and thumbscrews, waterboarding is the most iconic example of torture in history. It has been repudiated for centuries. It's a little bit disconcerting to hear now that we're not quite sure where waterboarding fits in the scheme of things."

    For starters, Bush won't renounce waterboarding because it violates the two choice cocktails of anyone drunk on executive authority: Absolut secrecy and Absolut power.

    First, secrecy. It has long been the view of the Bush administration that nothing can be deemed illegal so long as it remains a secret. Never mind that it's a secret only to people living in igloos without wireless service. That's why, even while there's a major movie out about rendition, we call it a secret. Since they have yet to make a movie called Waterboard, Mukasey could take the absurd position that he isn't sure precisely what it involves. Cute trick. Call it a secret, and there can be no legal debate. As the White House insisted Friday, "Judge Mukasey is not in a position to discuss interrogation techniques which are necessarily classified." If the soon-to-be-AG cannot hazard an opinion on the legality of waterboarding, even when he can read step-by-step accounts of it on the Internet, who are the rest of us to condemn it?

    The problem with this argument is that the administration's use of waterboarding on detainees has been known publicly since at least May 2004. Everybody knows what it involves, and even if you live in an igloo without wireless, you can tell it's illegal. The argument that you can't call it torture until you've been "read into" the torture program is just a lawyer's trick that justifies keeping bad conduct secret to end-run the laws.

    Next, there is the absolute authority argument. The real reason the Bush administration clings to its power to order waterboarding has little to do with any strategic argument and everything to do with the old standby assertion that to renounce his authority to waterboard would be to give away the president's power.

    Apply Golden Rule (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by john horse on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 10:20:28 PM EST
    My attitude on waterboarding is simple.  Lets apply the Golden Rule.  Suppose a foreign government were to waterboard American POWs or American citizens that they accused of "terrorism" (which in some countries means favoring democracy).  Is it torture?  

    For that matter, if it is not torture then why can't our police waterboard suspects?

    Not sure if it's torture? (none / 0) (#10)
    by Al on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 12:47:21 PM EST
    There's an easy way to find out.

    Republican Military Values (none / 0) (#28)
    by bernarda on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 05:09:31 AM EST
    Ghouliani is just restating traditional Republican Party values that go back at least to the Philippine occupation.

    "Given the difficulty of distinguishing the insurgents from the population, American soldiers began killing Filipinos wholesale. Stories of indiscriminate warfare, mass graves, "concentration" of civilians into camps (cf. "strategic hamlets"), and atrocities like the "water torture" began trickling home. In the end, about 220,000 Filipinos perished in the war. The greater number of these died from disease, disruption of food supplies, and other causes linked to the war, rather than from actual combat."


    Actually, I have read other estimates of a million Filipinos dying in the war, which would be more than 10% of the population at the time.

    What is Torture? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 10:38:40 AM EST
    I guess we can all say we are against torture - that the constitution bans it.

    Then the question turns on what is torture? Stress positions, loud music, sleep deprivation, aggressive questioning, hits, punches, waterboarding...

    What is torture? We are all against it, but what is it?

    Rudy seems to be saying that aggressive questioning works - that he has put a lot of mobsters in jail because of it. I have nothing against aggressive questioning, but where is that line? and, when is agressive questioning no longer effective? How do we know that the person being questioned even knows the answer and won't just make up an answer to stop the questioning?

    Questions, that probably hinge on determining when aggressive questioning become torture.

    To tell you the truth, I don't know where the line should be drawn. I'd like to think waterboarding is torture and the various means of aggressive questioning often cross the line of torture. That  sleep deprivation and humiliation by violating cultural norms and taboos (sexual and food, etc) are forms of torture. And even if they are not torture, that the US would take the high ground and treat people with a dignity above the standard in todays world and not set standards degrading human beings for others to follow.

    But, shouldn't the congress or somebody just step up and write laws that actually define what acts are torture so individuals like the attorney General and the President can no longer say, "The US does not torture - it is against the constitution" and then hide behind a transparent veil where torture is not defined and specific acts are ambiguous falling somewhere between aggressive questioning and torture.

    Who is going to finally define torture? where does it say that waterboarding is torture and who will make the US abide by this definition?  

    Rumsfeld charged (none / 0) (#32)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:08:34 AM EST
    October 26, 2007, Paris, France - Today, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) along with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the French League for Human Rights filed a complaint with the Paris Prosecutor before the "Court of First Instance" (Tribunal de Grande Instance) charging former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with ordering and authorizing torture. Rumsfeld was in Paris for a talk sponsored by Foreign Policy magazine, and left through a door connecting to the U.S. embassy to avoid journalists and human rights attorneys outside.

    "The filing of this French case against Rumsfeld demonstrates that we will not rest until those U.S. officials involved in the torture program are brought to justice. Rumsfeld must understand that he has no place to hide. A torturer is an enemy of all humankind," said CCR President Michael Ratner.
    This is the fifth time Rumsfeld has been charged with direct involvement in torture stemming from his role in the Bush administration's program of torture post-9/11.

    People who order, engage in, excuse or defend torture are not there to be "debated with" or legitimized by arguing with what they have to say as if it were "just another point of view as valid as any other". They are there to marginalized, treated as pariahs, and driven into the tar pits of extinction.

    Torture is anything you wouldn't want done to your mother.

    No Time Left To Compromise With Evil

    Some people believe we shouldn't complain too loudly, protest too vigorously or argue too passionately - the theory being that if we appear too leftist, too radical or too seriously committed to our beliefs that people who don't share those beliefs will be offended and therefore unlikely to become seriously committed radical leftists themselves one day.  Well I have big news; those dim bulbs are not likely to ever shine - certainly not in response to our stifling ourselves.
    Torture is an abomination, dropping bombs on babies is an outrage, people deserve healthcare and good treatment, and lying to the people is no way to run a democracy.  All of these things are true.

    Inquiring minds want to know. (1.00 / 2) (#43)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 01:24:59 PM EST
    Ah, mental masturbation strikes the radical europeans...again.

    BTW - Does anyone know if this intrepid group has condemned honor killings?? Fatwas?


    One good way to support torture (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by glanton on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 01:43:41 PM EST
    Is to call its actual opponents "radicals."  Another is to engage in extended parsing and debate over what constitutes torture.  Still another is to say hey, at least we're not cutting off heads.

    Notice that in the case of all three, torturers get to say they are against torture.

    I am for the most part anti-death penalty.  But the part of me that supports it leans towards supporting the death penalty for every Lawyer whose parsing and equivocating has enabled this and future governments to engage in torture.

    Stay alert, and stay with Fox.  


    Stay Alert Glanton (1.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 01:57:04 PM EST
    must be snoozing....

    BTW - Can you answer the question regarding honor killings??


    Is This A PPJ Thread Hijack (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 02:12:01 PM EST
    Or are you suggesting that Giuliani's views are equivalent to honor killings and therefore fine and dandy?

    What a stoopid question (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by glanton on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 02:59:22 PM EST
    The ole hey, at least we don't do honor killings bit.  As if that were the standard.  

    But honor killings is decidedly not the standard, however much moral and intellectual dwarves across the globe would like for it to be.


    Edger posted a comment in which (1.00 / 2) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 06:11:56 PM EST
    a group of Europeans want to punish someone for alleged violations of law in the international arena. Specifically Iraq and the US.

    My question is a mere attempt to determine if they are serious about trying to punish people for crimes committed in their own backyards.

    Honor killings.

    Obviously they are not trying to do this.

    They are interested only in attacking the US.


    Stay Alert Glanton (1.00 / 2) (#59)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 06:14:53 PM EST
    has a great ability to selectively misunderstand.

    It is an acquired talent.


    Misunderstanding (5.00 / 4) (#62)
    by glanton on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 07:54:16 PM EST
    You stated that wearing a brooch is a requirement in your mind for the Presidency in the United States.  What a mentality you have, it's amazing you can even look yourself in the mirror.

    In the supposedly free United States, you stand up for a frigging flag lapel pin.  

    How nauseating.    

    Now, for the zillionth time, you redirect questions of American torture to atrocities committed by other people.  Blame it on Edger's link, sure, it's not like you won't be saying hey, what abouit honor killings/beheadings etc. in the next TL torture thread.

    Your ignorance and your predictability define you.


    Smokin' (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 09:41:44 PM EST
    Stay Alert Glanyon opines. (1.00 / 0) (#67)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 04:44:59 PM EST
    Something about a "brooch."

    Given that a brooch is defined as a relatively large pin or clasp worn by women, I wonder if he is referring to the small lapel pins worn by man and women in lapels of suit and sport coats.

    You can never be sure.


    Really? (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by glanton on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 06:16:09 PM EST
    That's your response?  No wonder you think FEMA's response to Katrina was so magnificent.

    I repeat.  Here on Earth it is sickening to spew on behalf of the stoopid brooches; and equally sickening to respond to the subject of American torture by yammering on about what others do.

    What's sad is you seem to believe these positions have something to do with thinking.

    But then, you also joined the Shiavo lemondade standers, and counted yourself among those who thought Jackson's nipple was an "issue."  

    So no surprise.  


    Well, if we are going to start arresting people (1.00 / 1) (#68)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 04:47:33 PM EST
    for crimes, I wouldn't want to miss any.

    G (none / 0) (#45)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 01:54:29 PM EST
    I am not for the death penalty in any case and I am against torture and many acts that currently used in interrogations but are not considered torture by those using the techniques.

    Is asking the lawmakers to explicitly define acts that constitute torture considered parsing and debate. Am I a candidate for your legalized death penalty for wanting this debate to define explicit acts constituting torture. Or, does my lack of a legal background spare me from such a fate?

    Nothing is so simple that everyone can say they know it when they see it. Or that we should all know it when we see it. Unfortunately, everything regarding policy in democracies requires conversation and discussion. I thought you, of all people, understood this.


    What's To Debate (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 02:07:33 PM EST
    Article 1

    1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

    1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
    or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

    I am surprised, mostly the people that want to debate already long established laws on torture are wingnuts. You do not seem part of that community but are supporting their efforts to condone what any reasonable person would consider torture.


    Squeaky (none / 0) (#50)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 02:13:06 PM EST
    I'd be willing to adopt that as law. Can we get our lawmakers to do that?

    That is the question.

    I am not interested in the debate. I am interested in resolving the debate and putting the violators of law behind bars. But, to resolve the debate you have to first debate and convince others to endorse laws.

    So, tell congress to adopt the 1984 convention on torture as law. Case closed.


    I'm no lawyer either (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by tnthorpe on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 03:10:46 PM EST
    But the US is a signatory to that  UN Convention.

    The Convention was signed in 1988, and ratified in 1994.

    Upon signature :


    "The Government of the United States of America reserves the right to communicate, upon ratification, such reservations, interpretive understandings, or declarations as are deemed necessary."

    From the UN site:

    Upon ratification :


    "I.    The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following reservations:

    (1)     That the United States considers itself bound by the obligation under article 16 to prevent `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment', only insofar as the term `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' means the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

    (2)     That pursuant to article 30 (2) the United States declares that it does not consider itself bound by Article 30 (1), but reserves the right specifically to agree to follow this or any other procedure for arbitration in a particular case.

    II.     The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following understandings, which shall apply to the obligations of the United States under this Convention:

    (1) (a)     That with reference to article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.

    (b)     That the United States understands that the definition of torture in article 1 is intended to apply only to acts directed against persons in the offender's custody or physical control.

    in a footnote: On 26 February 1996, the Government of Germany notified the Secretary-General that with respect to the reservations under I (1) and understandings under II (2) and (3) made by the United States of America upon ratification "it is the understanding of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany that [the said reservations and understandings] do not touch upon the obligations of the United States of America as State Party to the Convention.".


    So, (1.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 03:35:57 PM EST
    Why can't these people answer the question. Why did the AG get approved by congress? If what seems so obvious to us - that waterboarding is cruel and unusual punishment - why wouldn't those who practice the act be held accountable and why wouldn't the candidate for AG say that Waterboarding is obviously torture.

    The answer that they are all wingnuts will only work for 2 more years. After that, the AG appointed by Hilary may not be asked about torture and where waterboarding stands as an interrogation technique, but I guarantee it, until someone writes a law explicitly banning this practice - people in custody for terrorism and other charges are going to be subjected to these techniques


    Yes, But (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 09:54:23 PM EST
    They have answered the question: Executive branch rules absolutely during war time, therefore perpetual war is good for maintaining permanent Republican majority.

    What do you generally call people who repeatedly (5.00 / 0) (#65)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 10:11:37 PM EST
    ask questions that have been repeatedly answered for them?

    Answers (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by glanton on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 02:55:14 PM EST
    Am I a candidate for your legalized death penalty for wanting this debate to define explicit acts constituting torture. Or, does my lack of a legal background spare me from such a fate?

    Certainly you are not a candidate, and it has nothing to do with legal backgrounds.  But I could easily see myself supporting the death penalty for lawyers who have crafted memos and policy directives desifgned specifically to enable the American government to legally torture prisoners.

    Remember, Peaches, the Memo that defined torture as only that which causes organ failure or death?  The man who wrote that Memo could quite credibly be executed.

    With a few exceptions, only those who would like to waterboard, put objects in the rectum, burn people, starve them, use sleep deprivation, ect, who bring such things to the table for debate.    

    You ask

    Is asking the lawmakers to explicitly define acts that constitute torture considered parsing and debate.

    Man, you can't cover everything, that's why these people want to "debate" it: it's the tantalizing possibility offered by loopholes.  Any effort to crystallize everything that torture is into law, is going to ironically lead to torture.  Period.

    The unfortunate reality of it is, the very pursuance of a debate over what is torture cannot easily, if at all, keep from representing pro-torture advocacy  (Can we do this to them?  No?  how about this? )as a legitimate point of view in our supposedly enlightened republic.

    Rather than holding debates and Congressional sessions to find out how low we can go, the Uniedt States Government now more than ever needs to find a way to get into the business of seeking high moral ground.  



    Defining everything (1.00 / 0) (#54)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 03:24:48 PM EST
    Its why I didn't pursue law school. In high school, I had a law and government class and the teacher read to us a law on what constituted obscene acts according to some statue. I assume it was from minnesota statue. The acts described were obscene in themselves. Damn right lawyers can write laws defining specific acts and still leave enough unsaid to cover acts not explicitly mentioned, but covering something that falls within or near an act mentioned.

    I just happened to catch the hearing with this yo-yo judge who was getting confirmed and his declaration that Torture is not allowed by our constitution, but his refusal say if Waterboarding was allowed. Obviously, there is some loophole there. I assume there are other acts that also fall within this loophole.

    I also don't believe it is just wingnuts looking for these loopholes. These loopholes exist for a reason and we were using techniques that I would consider torture for many years before the current Bush administration. If we were not doing these ourselves, or in US custody, we were certainly encouraging the use of these techniques by other countries at the very least.

    I am just asking to close the loopholes. End the debate once and for all. Write some laws that have some teeth and then enforce them. Congress was asking the judge questions, but I am sitting and listening and wondering why the question has to be asked at all. Why should the AG interpret what is torture. At risk of exposing my ignorance again, why is not congress asking the potential AG to enforce the law that is explicit written by those in congress.


    There are no limits (1.00 / 0) (#56)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 03:40:39 PM EST
    to the evil that men will do

    the Memo that defined torture as only that which causes organ failure or death?  The man who wrote that Memo could quite credibly be executed.

    I am in favor of prosecuting the person who wrote that memo. But, my first concern is whether or not there is a law to prosecute the memo under. In other words, what allowed such a memo to be produced in the first place and how can we prevent a similar memo from being produced in the future.


    Jack Goldsmith's (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by tnthorpe on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 06:41:58 PM EST
    book is an interesting account of the torture memo imbroglio.

    This NYT article gives some sobering background From that article:

    Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard.

    This is also a good article on Goldsmith.

    During his first weeks on the job, Goldsmith had discovered that the Office of Legal Counsel had written two legal opinions -- both drafted by Goldsmith's friend Yoo, who served as a deputy in the office -- about the authority of the executive branch to conduct coercive interrogations. Goldsmith considered these opinions, now known as the "torture memos," to be tendentious, overly broad and legally flawed, and he fought to change them. He also found himself challenging the White House on a variety of other issues, ranging from surveillance to the trial of suspected terrorists. His efforts succeeded in bringing the Bush administration somewhat closer to what Goldsmith considered the rule of law -- although at considerable cost to Goldsmith himself. By the end of his tenure, he was worn out. "I was disgusted with the whole process and fed up and exhausted," he told me recently.


    The Memo (none / 0) (#70)
    by glanton on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 08:36:30 PM EST
    I am in favor of prosecuting the person who wrote that memo. But, my first concern is whether or not there is a law to prosecute the memo under.

    Among other things, that memo green lights the comission of war crimes.  This is itself is a capital offense.


    But, (none / 0) (#33)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:26:24 AM EST
    I would never do that to my mother.

    They are there to marginalized, treated as pariahs, and driven into the tar pits of extinction.

    But I agree that would be torture...or murder or something equally appalling.

    Now, perhaps someone could write a law or something that could really have enough teeth to prosecute Rumsfeld and sentence him, so debate wouldn't be necessary as to what comprises torture. Unfortunately, it won't happen until the debate begins unless Sir Bush or Hilary or someone equally influential are forever allowed to decide by decree.

    People who take things out of context (none / 0) (#34)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:30:51 AM EST
    to twist meaning are also there to marginalized, treated as pariahs, and driven into the tar pits of extinction.

    Not (none / 0) (#35)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:33:22 AM EST
    to be "debated with" for their amusement.

    Don't worry (none / 0) (#36)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:37:45 AM EST
    I'm not amused with debate with you.

    But, there are serious people out there who take torture seriously enough to have a debate.


    There are serious people out there (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:43:42 AM EST
    who take torture seriously enough to admit they they know torture when they see it and not tie themselves in knots and try to obfuscate for others with "but I'm not sure.... I need someone else to define it for me".

    You may have missed the congressional (none / 0) (#38)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:59:22 AM EST

    A former judge has managed to not answer the question due to semantics. He got away with it and was confirmed as the AG. The President also states that the US does not engage in torture. And, gets away with it.

    It is a simple matter of defining torture and, like it or not, it requires debate with varying opinions - some opposed to yours. That is how laws are written. I am not aware of the debate on what defines torture reaching conclusions that can be found in US law.

    Obbiously, I'm outraged by what the US does and doesn't consider torture in interrogations. But, we can talk about outrage and extinctions and marginalizing those who defend these practices or we can attempt to get some people to write laws prohibiting certain practices which we agree on to  be torture.

    But, thats enough for now. This time you can have the last word.


    And there are those who repeatedly, (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 12:32:16 PM EST
    disregarding all information given them, dishonestly claim that torture is not defined under US and other law, or claim that they are "not aware of the debate on what defines torture reaching conclusions that can be found in US law", in the interest of "debating it" endlessly.

    While it continues.

    U.S. Code: CHAPTER 113C--TORTURE

    Summary of International and U.S. Law Prohibiting Torture and Other Ill-treatment of Persons in Custody

    International and U.S. law prohibits torture and other ill-treatment of any person in custody in all circumstances. The prohibition applies to the United States during times of peace, armed conflict, or a state of emergency. Any person, whether a U.S. national or a non-citizen, is protected. It is irrelevant whether the detainee is determined to be a prisoner-of-war, a protected person, or a so-called "security detainee" or "unlawful combatant." And the prohibition is in effect within the territory of the United States or any place anywhere U.S. authorities have control over a person. In short, the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment is absolute.
    A federal anti-torture statute (18 U.S.C. § 2340A), enacted in 1994, provides for the prosecution of a U.S. national or anyone present in the United States who, while outside the U.S., commits or attempts to commit torture.  Torture is defined as an "act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control." A person found guilty under the act can be incarcerated for up to 20 years or receive the death penalty if the torture results in the victim's death.  

    Thank you for the definition (none / 0) (#40)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 12:36:19 PM EST
    I am not a lawyer. The point remains, from the hearing, that a judge who is much more familiar with US and international law than I am can say that Torture is not allowed, but not answer whether or not warerboarding is  torture.

    I am not a lawyer. Either. (none / 0) (#41)
    by Edger on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 12:40:18 PM EST
    The point remains that you, and I, and everyone else reading and commenting here, are sitting in the largest library ever devised in the history of humanity.

    Some make the minimal effort to use the tools at their fingertips. Others do not.


    Edger (1.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Peaches on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 12:52:24 PM EST

    You say you don't do this to be amused. I don't care and no one is judging. The audience is in our minds. Nothing gets solved here or with these so called tools.

    Is waterboarding torture? Where is it defined as such?

    It is not explicitly defined as such, so someone should write a law saying the practice is torture. If the law is already written then we should prosecute those who have violated the law and not confirm the Judge as AG.

    You have pointed to a law that must be interpretted. It doesn't answer the question asked in this thread.

    Is Waterboarding torture?

    That is what the debate should be about. I have a few other questions as well (sleep deprivation, humiliation, violations of taboos, stress postions, etc.) Laws can go into detail and specify specific practices therfore eliminating the debate of whether or not waterboarding is torture.

    I am not a lawyer and I am sure there are problems with getting to specific and not leaving some things vague, but in the instance of torture where AG, presidents, and others can interpret known law to allow practice we both abhor, I don't understand what could be wrong with attempting to write explicit law banning specific practices.


    You ask (1.00 / 1) (#46)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 01:55:17 PM EST
    I don't understand what could be wrong with attempting to write explicit law banning specific practices

    Simple. There is nothing wrong.

    But it would prevent the Left from making wild claims.

    Thus edger opposes it.