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Health Care & Environment

11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]

11.16 Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head

11.16 Why the political fight in Georgia is far from over

11.16 Florida judge sides with Democrats, giving thousands a second chance to fix their ballots

11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [ revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

11.15 Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side

11.14 The Real Florida Recount Fraud

11.14 Telling NRA #ThisIsOurLane, Doctors' Photos Show Blood-Soaked Reality of America's Gun Madness

11.14 At Freshman Orientation, Young and Growing Progressive Caucus Makes Clear It Will 'Fight Like Hell' for Bold Democratic Agenda

Justice Matters
High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

11.14 Brexit: May tells her cabinet, this is the deal – now back me

International & Futurism

11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

11.13 Austin's Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors

11.13 Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

11.13 Caravan marks one month on the road: ‘We keep on going, laughing or crying’

11.13 Letter Shows Einstein’s Prescient Concerns About ‘Dark Times’ in Germany

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  John Ashcroft's Take on Washboarding as Torture


John Ashcroft's Take on Washboarding as Torture

by Adam Kukulka and Chris Hutton

Hutton: Would you want these same acts of torture to be conducted against American troops?

Ashcroft: I hope other countries would use our methods rather than their own.

On Tuesday April 11, 2006, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft gave a speech at Emory University. Afterward he allowed questions and answers. Time ran out before the last questioners could get to the microphone, so some of us approached Mr. Ashcroft as he was leaving to ask him our questions. What follows is a verbatim transcript of the encounter.

The Transcript:

Adam Kukulka: Why do you think President George W. Bush first opposed the McCain Anti-torture Bill, only to support it later? Also, do you think torture is an appropriate method for the U.S. to use to obtain information that might prevent a terrorist attack?

John Ashcroft: For your first question, I don't know. I had left my position as Attorney General at that time, and George does not call me up and ask 'John, what do you think about...?' The definition of torture is broad in both the UN and World community. The general consensus is that torture is any long-term physical or mental harm done to a person. I believe that we should conduct "discomforting tactics" like yelling, sleep deprivation, or making them stand at attention for long periods of time.

Kukulka: What about washboarding?

Ashcroft: What if we did washboarding, and what if there were studies done, not saying that there have been these studies, to prove that it did no long-term physical or mental harm?

Kukulka: I don't think that even if these studies were done, they would conclude that.

Alex Guile: I think that it would cause long-term effects.

Ashcroft: Different countries and international treaties define torture in other ways and it's mainly defined as long-term physical and mental harm.

Chris Hutton: People die under washboarding.

Ashcroft: Yes, causing death is torture.

Kukulka: So, just to be clear, you said that torture is defined as long-term physical and mental harm?

Ashcroft: Look, I'm not a law professor teaching in a law class, so I don't have time to teach you every single detail about how different countries and international treaties define torture.

Hutton: Would you want these same acts of torture to be conducted against American troops?

Ashcroft: I hope other countries would use our methods rather than their own.

Kukulka: I appreciate your answers.

Authors' Conclusion:

Although Mr. Ashcroft specifically said, "[I am] not saying that there have been these studies [on washboarding]," his answer is not a denial of government research on this and other forms of torture. He implies that washboarding is not torture unless or until it causes death. If Ashcroft and other senior officials believe that washboarding is a humane interrogation technique, could that be because government studies have indicated the practice does not have long-term effects?

The transcript of this conversation was taken by Jessica Cook (a physics major at Emory University), Alex Guile (a biochemistry major at Georgia State University), and Christopher Hutton, who, like Adam Kukulka, is an international studies major at Berry College.

Read more:

Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on May 10, 2006.


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