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Will Rumsfeld and others be prosecuted for war crimes?
Posted: 20 February 2009 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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True…certainly not entirely responsible. However, those institutions were responsible for tens of thousands of very ill-conceived loans to un/underqualified buyers. FM & FM were incouraged in these questionable loans by select members of congress, who refused to acknowledge the serious financial condition of the same institutions, and refused to hold hearings on the obvious shortcomings.

My point is that there is plenty of blame to go around for politicians of all parties. The problem is an endemic one by nature of our now broken political process.

Taking a partisan stance and pointing fingers at the crimes and foibles of one party while ignoring the sins of the other is pretty fruitless.

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Posted: 20 February 2009 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Following Occam’s suggestion: “I think having a decent sized, very vocal group of the citizens lobbying for it for the next couple of years will keep their crimes before the public and help them be more aware of it.” I thought a bit about what this might entail - the growth of such a group, a home for them to discuss issues, a place to collect responses and petitions.  It seems that a simple website might be the answer so I went and obtained a domain name, HumanistsAgainstTorture.org, which could be used to develop a simple website which would cover all this.  Not to stop the thread and discussion on the CFI forum, but to expand opportunities and develop a contact/dispersion system that would support such a group.  And, presumably, we could link the website to the CFO forum if administration agreed.

What do members think of this idea?  I would be prepared to set up a simple website if you think it is a worthwhile idea and the growth and use of the website can be moderated by its membership by straightforward suggestion and discussion using a simple majority vote for discussion closure and action.

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Posted: 20 February 2009 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I’d like to develop a point that was implicit in the information that EL provided. The world have finally recognized that crimes against humanity will never be prosecuted in their home countries because the politics are simply too delicate. It’s almost always the case that domestic peace is purchased with immunity for the criminals. And that is the case here in the USA. If there were a criminal prosecution of Messrs Bush, Cheny, and Rumsfeld, it would tear this country apart. That’s why the international mechanism is so valuable. But even it is subject to political constraints. The sovereign power strategy would never get off the ground because politicians in those countries would not wish to harm diplomatic relations with the USA. So eventually this thing, if it is going to happen, will be done by the ICC. However, the USA is not a signatory to the ICC treaty, so we are not required to cooperate. And even the ICC will be subject to political pressure—if they proceed, they would sink any chance of US cooperation again. Still, the ICC would know in advance that a conviction against Rumsfeld would never have any significant effect, because Rumsfeld has no reason to travel outside the USA. Cheney would have only small reason to travel, but Bush would be seriously impacted by such a judgement. More important, a judgement against any of the three would provide a huge moral victory to the rule of law.

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Posted: 20 February 2009 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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A good overview of the topic “torture” is on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture.  Another appropriate thread is the “Nuremberg Trials.”

Given this discussion and its perspectives, here is an interesting quote that precedes the SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY:

“What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight… is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings”
—General David Petraeus
May 10, 2007

Given President Obama’s possible focus on “renditions” as a possible help in the Guantanamo Bay closing problems (particularly what to do with detainees), here is a reference to a booklet that might help members further understand what is being considered.  It can be downloaded free in PDF format:
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights: http://www.ecchr.eu/
“CIA –»Extraordinary Rendition« Flights, Torture and Accountability – A European Approach. The second edition of the publication provides an overview of the legal reactions of affected European countries (Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain etc.) and the USA regarding the CIA‘s extraordinary rendition programme (British spelling).”

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Posted: 21 February 2009 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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omnibus09 - 20 February 2009 05:45 AM

To dougsmith—true, my remark was a bit offhanded, but it is true nevertheless. My son was a Navy Seal for two years and was water-boarded as part of his training, as were many members of US elite units. Rest assured it was a very unpleasant experience, but he emerged intact and functional. He has expressed some amazement and dismay that water-boarding is considered as ‘torture’. Maybe he and many other veterans can sue Uncle Sam for damages for being subjected to this sort of extreme training…er, torture.

Why join the left’s version of Ann Coulter by insisting on these selectively punitive ideas? I am non-partisan, and have been a registered independent for over 40 years now. I view all politicians as corrupt, ego-serving syncophants. That is a rather gross oversimplification, but I find it a good way to view politicians until they prove otherwise. In the US, we need term limits on all elected officials, and even limits on Federal judges. The Founding Fathers never intended for people to become life-long incumbants.

I notice that some folks are finally being brought to court in Cambodia for the systematic murder of 1 /2 to 2 million people a few decades ago. With this in mind, all of the American politicians that some seem to hate so much will be long dead before anything like a trial takes place. In any event, it’s a pipe dream to believe that anything like a trial will occur. And if we are to go after politicians, then I would love to see Maxine Watters and Barney Frank brought to justice for their role in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiascos…

Yeah Whoopie Doo.Great your Son can take waterboarding therefore it’s not torture.I’m saddened for you that your son expresses dismay over the fact that waterboarding is considered torture.If only the rest of the world could be as tough and Gung-Ho about it.
Unfortunately,that is why your son is volunteering to let people torture him(in otherwords he’s not qualified to make those kind of decisions),and not participating in the Global Communities Efforts to reduce World Suffering and war crimes(Like the Leaders of foreign nations,Judges and International Figures,since the Turn of the Century).I hope your son is never captured by a Group of people who consider letting Live Biting Centipedes crawl up their ears, good,honest “Training”.

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Posted: 21 February 2009 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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A point on the use of waterboarding during training: there’s still a gigantic difference between the training version and the real thing: the trainee knows full well that his tormenters mean him no harm, that they know exactly what they are doing, and that he will emerge completely unharmed. The victim of torture has none of those assurances. Thus, the difference between the two is the same as the difference between bungie-jumping off a bridge and being thrown off a bridge.

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Posted: 21 February 2009 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Following Vyazma’s and Chris’s comments the following selection comes from a Canadian newspaper article and refers to the same issue as dealt with under SERE and some official comments about it.  Note, particularly, the short second paragraph starting with “It’s tempting…...”
The full article deals with some crucial further issues such as this kind of torture and how its use endangers our own troops.


Getting away with torture
BY DAN GARDNER, THE OTTAWA CITIZENDECEMBER 20, 2008
http://www.canada.com/news/story.html?id=1098479


The Senate committee traced these interrogation practices back to a training program called “Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape” (SERE), which the Department of Defence developed in order to prepare military personnel for abuse at the hands of captors who do not respect international norms. “The techniques used in SERE school, based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to elicit false confessions, include stripping students of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, disrupting their sleep, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. It can also include face and body slaps and, until recently, for some who attended the Navy’s SERE school, it included waterboarding.”

It’s tempting to think these techniques can’t be all that bad if the U.S. military inflicts them on its own personnel. Resist that temptation.

“There are fundamental differences between a SERE school exercise and a real world interrogation,” the report notes. “At SERE school, students are subject to an extensive medical and psychological pre-screening.” There are strict limits on “frequency, duration, and/or intensity” of the techniques. Psychologists monitor the training and intervene if things go bad. “And SERE school is voluntary: students are given a special phrase they can use to immediately stop the techniques from being used against them.”

The distinction between classrooms and interrogation rooms seems to have been lost on the Bush administration. Secretary of Defence Don Rumsfeld actually scrawled on a memo outlining specific techniques, “I stand for 8 to 10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?” Apparently, Rumsfeld couldn’t understand that being on your feet and moving about in a safe and friendly environment isn’t quite the same as being a sleep-deprived, disoriented prisoner under the absolute control of a hated enemy who orders you to stand motionless for four hours and physically punishes any transgression.

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Posted: 21 February 2009 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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The Paper Trail: Linking the Bush White House to Torture.

This is a list of memos and detailed analyses linking the White House to torture under the Bush administration.  It is provided by The International Law of War Association: http://lawofwar.org/index.html described as:

“The International Law Of War Association (ILOWA) is a loose confederation of military lawyers, academics, and government officials including members of the judiciary, who are interested in the advancement of a legal regime to ameliorate suffering and for the regulation of the use of armed force in armed conflicts.”

On January 18, 2002, President George Bush (the decision is referenced in the Gonzales Memo of 25 January, 2002) made a presidential decision that captured members of Al Quaeda and the Taliban were unprotected by the Geneva POW Convention. That decision was preceded by a Memorandum dated January 9, 2002, submitted to William J Haynes II, General Counsel to the Department of Defense, by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (which provides legal counsel to the White House and other executive branch agencies) and written by Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and Special Counsel Robert J. Delahunty.

For the full text, references and analyses of this long document, please go to the provided URL: http://lawofwar.org/Torture_Memos_analysis.htm

These are the orders and memoranda, their authors and the dates they were distributed, as currently known:

• The Yoo Delahunty Memorandum of January 9, 2002.
• The Rumsfeld Order January 19, 2002.
• The Bybee Memorandum of January 22, 2002.
• The Alberto Gonzales Memo January 25, 2002
• Colin Powell Memo of January 26, 2002 (counter-arguments)
• The Bush Order of February 7, 2002

The quoted Conclusion of the The International Law of War Association’s analysis is as follows (NOTE: this follows a comprehensive analysis with further legal and other references that should also be studied):

“Thus the Bush Orders of January and February, 2002, denying Geneva Convention protection to captured members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda appears inherently flawed. Acts carried out in furtherance of those orders, if themselves violations, might, accordingly, constitute war crimes.”

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Posted: 22 February 2009 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Chris Crawford - 21 February 2009 02:32 PM

A point on the use of waterboarding during training: there’s still a gigantic difference between the training version and the real thing: the trainee knows full well that his tormenters mean him no harm, that they know exactly what they are doing, and that he will emerge completely unharmed. The victim of torture has none of those assurances. Thus, the difference between the two is the same as the difference between bungie-jumping off a bridge and being thrown off a bridge.

I wanted to come back and express these very same notions,but Chris clarified it above,as well as ELI below.Crawford put it across succinctly here.

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Posted: 22 February 2009 09:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Ecrasez l’infame! - 21 February 2009 09:48 PM

(quoting)
“Thus the Bush Orders of January and February, 2002, denying Geneva Convention protection to captured members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda appears inherently flawed. Acts carried out in furtherance of those orders, if themselves violations, might, accordingly, constitute war crimes.”

As there is only one “Bush” order (from February) in the list provided, can you shed some light on which is the January “Bush” memo?

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Posted: 22 February 2009 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Looking at my post, I knew this question would be asked.  Here are the quotes which cover it, I think:

“On January 18, 2002, President George Bush (the decision is referenced1 in the Gonzales Memo of 25 January, 2002) made a presidential decision that captured members of Al Quaeda and the Taliban were unprotected by the Geneva POW Convention. That decision was preceded by a Memorandum dated January 9, 2002, submitted to William J Haynes II, General Counsel to the Department of Defense, by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (which provides legal counsel to the White House and other executive branch agencies) and written by Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and Special Counsel Robert J. Delahunty.”


On February 7, 2002, President Bush signed an Order, (pdf copy) accepting the reasoning of the Yoo and Gonzales memos, and validating the order issued by Secretary Rumsfeld on January, 19, 2002.


Again, for the whole sequence and clarification of the issues see: http://lawofwar.org/Torture_Memos_analysis.htm

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Posted: 23 February 2009 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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The analysis by the Laws of War folks seems curiously ambiguous concerning the differences between POW status and civilian protections.  It may be that I’m not reading it with sufficient attention to detail.  On the other hand, (head of LoW) Evan Wallach’s essay on waterboarding in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law was significantly flawed.  Which ought to be inconceivable coming from a man of his experience.

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Posted: 23 February 2009 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Three references I have used before, but which seem appropriate on this thread, are:

Lord Russell of Liverpool (1954) “The Scourge of the Swastika: A Short History of Nazi War Crimes,” Greenhill Books, London.
Lord Russell of Liverpool (1952) “The Knights of Bushido: A Short History of Japanese War Crimes,” Greenhill Books, London.
James A. Haught (1990) “Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness,” Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY.

[ Edited: 23 February 2009 03:42 PM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 23 February 2009 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Bryan - 23 February 2009 07:37 AM

The analysis by the Laws of War folks seems curiously ambiguous concerning the differences between POW status and civilian protections.  It may be that I’m not reading it with sufficient attention to detail.  On the other hand, (head of LoW) Evan Wallach’s essay on waterboarding in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law was significantly flawed.  Which ought to be inconceivable coming from a man of his experience.

Who said Wallachs essay was flawed?How do you know it was flawed?

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Posted: 23 February 2009 11:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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VYAZMA - 23 February 2009 05:56 PM
Bryan - 23 February 2009 07:37 AM

The analysis by the Laws of War folks seems curiously ambiguous concerning the differences between POW status and civilian protections.  It may be that I’m not reading it with sufficient attention to detail.  On the other hand, (head of LoW) Evan Wallach’s essay on waterboarding in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law was significantly flawed.  Which ought to be inconceivable coming from a man of his experience.

Who said Wallachs essay was flawed?How do you know it was flawed?

I say it was flawed.  If you’ve read it then it shouldn’t be difficult to see why.

And I’ve found I’m not alone in my judgment, though I relied on no others in reaching my conclusions.

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