(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Torture is a war crime. Water boarding is torture. If you advocate, authorize or perform it on another person, you are breaking not just US law but international law. Period. The President and the DOJ are obligated by law to investigate and prosecute war crimes. Under the law if they do not, they, themselves are complicit. There are no excuses.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who was tortured while a POW in Viet Nam, wrote an editorial in the Washington Post rejecting and chastising those who were making the claim that torture, specifically water boarding, was instrumental in finding Osama bin Laden. He then appeared on the Senate floor ans spoke for 20 minutes.
Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that “the intelligence that led to bin Laden . . . began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed , who broke like dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included water boarding. He loosed a torrent of information – including the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.” That is false.
I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was water boarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led to bin Laden, as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee who was held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were water boarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.
Law professor Jonathan Turley appeared on MSNBC’s The Ed Show and addressed this on his blog
Last night on The Ed Show, I discussed the amazing speech and column by Senator John McCain on torture. One of the most notable aspects of the comments was McCain stating that the claim by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey that torture led to the location of Bin Laden is simply untrue and confirmed as false by CIA Director Leon Panetta.
As did Ron Paul in the recent Republican debate, John McCain confronted his colleagues over the effort to redeem torture by claiming that it was beneficial in this case. As he correctly notes, torture is a war crime not because it lacks any benefit in terms of intelligence but because it is immoral . . . . .
To the contrary, McCain points out that the torture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed resulted in demonstrably “false and misleading information.”
Where I part with McCain is his insistence that, despite it being torture (and thus a war crime), no one should ever be punished for the crimes. It is important to stand for principle but it is even more important to bear the responsibility that comes with principle. It may not be popular or convenient, but we are obligated to investigate and prosecute torture.
Glenn Greenwald is an absolute must read on the Nuremberg Principles:
Benjamin Ferencz is a 92-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, American combat soldier during World War II, and a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, where he prosecuted numerous Nazi war criminals, including some responsible for the deaths of upward of 100,000 innocent people. He gave a fascinating (and shockingly articulate) 13-minute interview yesterday to the CBC in Canada about the bin Laden killing, the Nuremberg principles, and the U.S. role in the world. Without endorsing everything he said, I hope as many people as possible will listen to it.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey then lamely attempted to rebut McCain through an op-ed by former Cheney speech writer, Marc A Thiessen. It does not change the fact that Mukasey, Gonzalez, Bybee, Yoo, et al and now, Holder, have excused, covered up and defended war crimes, thus making them all eligible for cells at the Hague.