Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

08.01 Science Says You Should Leave Work at 2 p.m. and Go for a Walk [audio clip]

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

08.01 Federal Toxic Pollution Website Down for Months, Leaving Eco-Groups in the Dark

08.01 Americans Angry About Power Plant Pollution

08.01 Watch Drought Take Over the Entire State of California in One GIF

07.31 Giant Waves Observed In Arctic Ocean For First Time Ever, Scientists Warn Of Ice-Free Summers [0:59 video]

07.30 This Huge Corporation Is Tackling Climate Change—Because It's a Threat to the Bottom Line

07.30 How Much Cleaning Up Brownfields Is Really Worth

07.30 Worldwide water shortage by 2040

07.30 New Zealand’s 'dramatic' ice loss could lead to severe decline of glaciers

07.30 10 reasons to be hopeful that we will overcome climate change

07.29 Changing sea chemistry will hit Alaska communities hard

07.29 The Health Benefits of Trees

07.29 Delaying climate action will carry heavy economic cost, White House warns

07.29 Obama leasing millions of Gulf acres for offshore oil & gas drilling

07.28 Companies proclaim water the next oil in a rush to turn resources into profit

07.28 Why Warren Buffett Loves Renewable Energy

07.28 Report shows 1 in 3 Texans chooses renewable energy options

07.28 Half of Britain to be opened up to fracking

07.28 Wishful Thinking About Natural Gas: Why Fossil Fuels Can’t Solve the Problems Created by Fossil Fuels

News Media

08.01 American media's new pro-Israel bias: the same party line at the wrong time

08.01 Russell Brand accuses Sean Hannity of behaving like a terrorist

07.31 Jill Abramson’s sad admission: “I don’t think the press, in general, did publish any stories that upset the Bush White House”

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters
US Politics, Policy & Culture

08.01 CIA director John Brennan lied to you and to the Senate. Fire him

08.01 CIA admits to spying on Senate staffers

07.31 Keith Alexander's Unethical Get-Rich-Quick Plan

07.30 Paul Ryan's Obsolete Thinking About Poverty

07.30 Democrats want to ban government contracts for companies that leave the U.S. to avoid taxes

07.30 NSA Spying Will Cost US Tech Titans Billions, and That's Just the Start

07.29 Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren: Big Differences, Despite Claims To The Contrary

07.29 The State's Unwitting Attack on Parenting While Poor

07.28 My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats

High Crimes?

08.01 Syrian city of Homs shows signs of life amid moonscape of devastation

07.31 'The world stands disgraced' - Israeli shelling of school kills at least 15 [2:48 video]

07.29 To Summarize the Israeli/Gaza War

07.28 As the Gaza crisis deepens, boycotts can raise the price of Israel’s impunity

Economics, Crony Capitalism

07.29 The black hole of US government contracting

07.27 PRIVATE EQUITY’S FREE PASS

07.27 The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third Less

07.27 Federal regulators let utilities gouge customers

International

08.01 Should Colleges Be Broadband Hubs for Their Communities?

08.01 About a Girl: To ‘Liesel’ in Gaza...

07.31 The Orange Social Design Award: Help Us Make Our Cities More Liveable

07.31 Europe's Ground Zero: Fairy Tales and Fabrications in Eastern Ukraine

07.31 Cold Paradise: US Struggles with Wave of Underage Immigrants

07.31 THE CONSEQUENCES OF DREAMS

07.31 Just How Likely Is Another World War?

07.31 The Logic of Israeli Violence

07.30 EU and US impose sweeping economic sanctions on Russia

07.30 Gaza: another UN school hit during fierce bombardment

07.29 Israel Creates ‘No Man’s Land’ in Gaza, Shrinking Strip by 40 Percent

07.29 Huge blaze out of control in Tripoli battle as Libya slides into chaos

07.29 Weapons paid for by US are Missing in Afghanistan: Did they go to the Taliban?

07.29 Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire)

07.29 The Wake-Up Call: Europe Toughens Stance against Putin

07.29 Gaza pounded by Israel after Netanyahu promises prolonged battle

07.29 When I served, the Israeli military was the most moral in the world. No more

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Complicity in the Use of Torture
Newspaper logo

VIEWPOINT:

Complicity in the Use of Torture

by William C. Carlotti

Article One of the Convention's definition of torture includes not only acts committed by public officials, but also the acts to which they acquiesced.
The recent disclosure of the fact that the CIA briefed a bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives on the Congressional Intelligence Committees about methods of torture used by the CIA, including "waterboarding," is evidence that there is complicity in these crimes by members of Congress.

During the Committee's proceedings Mukasey refused under questioning to declare that waterboarding is illegal under the United States Law that includes the Convention Against Torture ratified by the United States Senate.

The Convention ratified by the U.S. Senate makes it the "supreme law of the land" as per Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution:

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

Importantly, Article One of the Convention's definition of torture includes not only acts committed by public officials, but also the acts to which they acquiesced. The convention states,

"For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental is intentionally inflicted by...or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official."

As expressed in a United States Senate's understanding of this point in the Convention the Senate Resolution To Advice and Consent To Ratification (1990) states that in order for an official to acquiesce to an act of torture an official must,

"....prior to the activity constituting torture, have awareness of such activity and thereafter breach his or her legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity"(CRS-6, Page 9)

It is the responsibility of Senators who oversee CIA activities "to intervene to prevent such activity"—to put an end to the CIA's violations of the laws against the use of torture. Instead, these Senators approved and encouraged CIA torture by not acting to intervene. Mukasey's refusal to declare that waterboarding is illegal must be seen against the backdrop of this Senatorial silence and complicity.

Senator Lindsay Graham made this point: "If he does not believe that waterboarding is illegal, then that would really put doubts in my own mind [about his appointment], because I don't think you have to have a lot of knowledge about the law to understand this technique violates the Geneva Convention and other statutes."

In the light of these revelations, it is now understandable why Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein voted in the Senate's Judiciary Committee to support the appointment of Michael Mukasey for United States Attorney General. Mukasey, by his refusal to admit the illegality and criminality of the waterboarding method of torture, was assuring the Senators that had been briefed on the use of torture by the CIA that in his tenure as United States Attorney General he would not focus on their failure to intervene, since as far as he was concerned Congress had passed no law designating waterboarding as torture.

An exception was Committee Chair Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy. He voted against the appointment of Mukasey in part because of Mukasey's refusal to recognize waterboarding torture as illegal and criminal.

The members of Congress who were advised by the CIA that torturing prisoners, including waterboarding, was being used included Rockefeller, from the family that is reaping an added fortune in billions of dollars from their oil, gas, and finance international conglomerates during the invasion and occupation of Iraq; Pelosi, who voted for and continues to vote to fund the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestine beyond the internationally recognized 1948 and 1967 border between Palestine and Israel; and Jane Harman, who wrote HR 1955 (now S1959), the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" to put a cap on, and to label as criminal, criticism of the policies she has also supported—policies that are resulting in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents.

The Senators who were advised of the CIA's use of torture became complicit in the act of torture upon their failure to intervene in the continuing practice and, even worse, in their encouragement of the CIA's use of torture.

That, however, is not the whole of it.

We find out now that the CIA has destroyed the tapes of its torture sessions—the torture methods that the Senators were briefed about and where they failed to intervene—the visual and sound version recordings of torture, possibly including waterboarding, that would make Mukasey's inability to classify waterboarding as illegal, criminal torture the mockery that it really is.

The CIA destroyed the tapes—the best evidence of the illegal use of torture—in defiance of an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
In short, the CIA destroyed the tapes—the best evidence of the illegal use of torture—in defiance of an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in October of 2003 and May of 2004, requiring the CIA to preserve "all records pertaining to the treatment of detainees in its custody."

Obviously, the secret affairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee's illegal, criminal acquiescence to and failure to intervene in the use of torture was about to see the light of day, so the CIA destroyed the best evidence of the Senators' and the Representatives' complicity.


William C. Carlotti writes from Vermont. Visit his blog.


Copyright © 2007 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 December 20, 2007.

 


Public Service Ads: