The United States government during the Bush administration tortured opponents of Muammar Gaddafi, then transferred them to mistreatment in Libya, according to accounts by former detainees and recently uncovered CIA and UK Secret Service documents, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. One former detainee alleged he was waterboarded and another described a similar form of water torture, contradicting claims by Bush administration officials that only three men in US custody had been waterboarded.
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As expected, President Bush today vetoed the bill banning water boarding.
Other practices the bill outlawed:
"This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe," the president said.
beating, electrocuting, burning, using dogs... stripping detainees [or] forcing them to perform or mimic sexual acts
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By a vote of 51 to 45 today, the Senate voted to ban waterboarding.
The prohibition was contained in a bill authorizing intelligence activities for the current year, which the Senate approved on a 51-45 vote. It would restrict the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. That manual prohibits waterboarding, a method that makes an interrogation subject feel he is drowning.
The House adopted the provision back in December. Bush has threatened to veto the bill.
As I wrote yesterday, Hillary Clinton wrote Bush Monday and urged him to withdraw his veto threat.
Today Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin and other senior Democratic Senators wrote to Bush and called on him to revise his Executive Order on CIA interrogation to comply with our treaty obligations and to prohibit explicitly a number of torture techniques that the Administration has used. The Senators wrote: [More...]
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Meet former CIA Agent John Kiriakou. He's come out to ABC News, admitting he's the one who waterboarded Abu Zubaydah (background here.) He tells ABC that Zubaydah "broke in less than 35 seconds," and that yes, water-boarding is torture.
"We're Americans, and we're better than this. And we shouldn't be doing this kinda thing," he said.
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Original post (10/30)
Maybe someone will tell Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey to watch Current TV tomorrow night at 10:00 pm ET.
On Wednesday, October 31st at 10pm ET/PT, Current TV gives viewers a real look at what Waterboarding entails when two ex-Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion (SERE) instructors administer a controversial interrogation technique to Current Vanguard Journalist Kaj Larsen.
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President Bush's nominee for attorney general told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he does not know whether waterboarding is illegal. He pledged to study the matter and to reverse any Justice Department finding that endorses a practice that violates the law or the Constitution. "If, after such a review, I determine that any technique is unlawful, I will not hesitate to so advise the president and will rescind or correct any legal opinion of the Department of Justice that supports the use of the technique," Michael Mukasey wrote to the committee's 10 Democrats.
Incredible. Shameless. Outrageous. Disqualifying.
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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.
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