Universal Jurisdiction & Private Contractors Engaged In Torture (Updated)

(Hat’tip to Marisacat’s Cats… They give good thread.)

U.N. says waterboarding should be prosecuted as torture

“I would have no problems with describing this practice as falling under the prohibition of torture,” the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, told a news conference in Mexico City.

Arbour made her comment in response to a question about whether U.S. officials could be tried for the use of waterboarding that referred to CIA director Michael Hayden telling Congress on Tuesday his agency had used waterboarding on three detainees captured after the September 11 attacks.

Violators of the U.N. Convention against Torture should be prosecuted under the principle of ‘universal jurisdiction’ which allows countries to try accused war criminals from other nations, Arbour said. …

… “There are several precedents worldwide of states exercising their universal jurisdiction … to enforce the torture convention and we can only hope that we will see more and more of these avenues of redress,” Arbour said.

Arbour referred to an arrest warrant issued in 1998 by a Spanish judge for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who died in 2006, on charges of torture, murder and kidnapping in the years that followed his 1973 coup.

Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s were known to use waterboarding on political prisoners.

Banana Republic anyone?

And guess who’s going to be particularly vulnerable to this.

CIA Likely Let Contractors Perform Waterboarding

Washington – The CIA’s secret interrogation program has made extensive use of outside contractors, whose role likely included the waterboarding of terrorist suspects, according to testimony yesterday from the CIA director and two other people familiar with the program.

Many of the contractors involved aren’t large corporate entities but rather individuals who are often former agency or military officers. However, large corporations also are involved, current and former officials said. Their identities couldn’t be learned.

In testimony before the House yesterday, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden was asked whether contractors were involved in waterboarding al Qaeda detainees. He replied: “I’m not sure of the specifics. I’ll give you a tentative answer: I believe so.” An agency spokesman declined to clarify the answer.

If I were them I’d be turning witness and throwing myself at the mercy of the courts in the hope of a deal.

Wouldn’t you?


Just to make it clear…

It’s all laid out at the The Dream Antilles:

Waterboarding: Those Who Cannot Remember The Past

Here’s the quick summary:

Waterboarding: A Tortured History

In the war crimes tribunals that followed Japan’s defeat in World War II, the issue of waterboarding was sometimes raised. In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for waterboarding a U.S. civilian. Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Waterboarding Historically Controversial

Twenty-one years earlier, in 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian. The subject was strapped on a stretcher that was tilted so that his feet were in the air and head near the floor, and small amounts of water were poured over his face, leaving him gasping for air until he agreed to talk.

Waterboarding or the more accurate term for it Water Torture, and other forms of torture are War Crimes.

It really is that simple.


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  1. Thanks for posting k-man.

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