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Author Topic: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!  (Read 4892 times)

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Offline AviTopic starter

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President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« on: March 08, 2008, 10:17:10 AM »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080308/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_torture

This, sadly enough, doesn't surprise me all that much, but it does piss me off like no other.

Thoughts?

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2008, 10:42:48 AM »
Colour me unsurprised.

Offline NightBird

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2008, 11:37:00 AM »
Totally, utterly, nauseatingly unsurprised.

Offline Hunter

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2008, 11:47:57 AM »
Something that I'm sure the next president will use to his advantage.

Still...ugh

Offline Sabby

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2008, 12:02:37 PM »
I must have deaf ears for politics, because I don't understand whats so bad and predictable. Then again, I'm not from the states...

Offline NightBird

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2008, 12:25:10 PM »
Here's a reasonable description of waterboarding and the issues:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding

The political controversy involves the current administration's belief that international accords on torture do not apply to them. The one-time Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzales, called the Geneva Conventions 'quaint.' Most Americans disagree and many keep reminding themselves that there were questionable issues in both elections. To put it mildly, the current administration is controversial. This is all part of an overall picture of the current administration's activities that includes the Abu Ghraib scandal involving prisoner abuse in Iraq and the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and destruction of information related to the conduct at that facility.

Thus, it is not an isolated incident, it fosters strong feelings, and those who believe in civil liberties tend to become a tad cynical when presented with yet more proof of its lack within the Bush admistration.

Offline Trieste

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Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2008, 03:23:24 PM »
Excellent politics, and good on him for standing up for what he believes is the right thing. Well done. This doesn't mean I agree or disagree, but let me explain:

Limiting interrogation techniques is a very politically correct move. He could have just signed it to win brownie points. In fact, the only reason this legislation is getting any attention at all is because he vetoed it. Had he signed it, it would have gotten a "Hey, good. Of course he'll sign something like that." and then you would have moved on with your lives. But if his reasoning is to be believed, then you have to kind of admire him for sticking to his guns and ignoring "the advice of 43 retired generals and admirals and 18 national security experts, including former secretaries of state and national security advisers, who supported the bill.". The fact that so many people aren't surprised by this *points up* supports the assertion that he is actually sticking to his administrative guns, rather than simply doing this to piss people off.

This doesn't mean that I don't want proof to support his statements. Especially this one:
Quote
"Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al-Qaida and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland," the president said.

And the way he actually announced it himself makes for smart politics. It gives him the chance to step up, explain it, and give his reasoning on the offensive, instead of waiting for, say, Hillary Clinton (perish the thought) to dig up the veto and use it as ammo against whomever her Republican opponent may be. It is much better in politics, in general, to be the one making the announcement and going on the offensive about something like this. Waiting for someone else to bring it up so you can get defensive is just really really really stupid. Not to mention inconvenient.

Credit where credit is due. Kudos to Bush. Now get him the hell out of office.

Offline NightBird

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2008, 04:48:02 PM »
I simply must, however, raise the interpretive (and possibly rhetorical) question:

How much difference is there between 'sticking to one's administrative guns' and the state of total pig-ignorant stubbornness?

Actually, as I think about it, that may be more of a serious question that I'd originally envisioned. Where ought a line be drawn? Or does it boil down to the old prayer about the wisdom to tell the difference, which means it's all, in effect, a matter of perspective, like whether one believes in ghosts... or the Holy Spirit, for that matter?

Offline Brandon

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2008, 06:25:51 AM »
There are a few things that need to be cleared up. 1. This bill was not just about waterboarding, it included many interrigation techniques used by the United states military, FBI, and CIA over the last decade. Waterboarding itself was taken out of the approved interrogation techniques that are listed in the Army field manual. I believe that was in 2005 so I dont even know why its an issue today. 2. Waterboarding is not classified as torture because the prisoners head is not submerged in water. The distinction is small but it is there and the field manuals that I read in 2000 and 2001 were very clear about that.

Waterboarding is an interrigation technique that dates back to and possibly before the spanish inquisition. It has been used in almost every major conflict as a last means resort to get information from prisoners. It was used in vietnam (as my father can verify) and I know that my grandfather mentioned naval officers using such a tactic in World war 2. I find it disgusting that after centuries of it being used we look at banning a valuable tool to force information out of our enemies just because of our current administration.

Offline Elvi

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2008, 07:22:50 AM »
Water Boarding:
The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

"The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1322866

Offline kongming

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2008, 07:40:34 AM »
Indeed, it is torture, plain and simple. I am disappointed that it has been used so long - it wasn't right before the Spanish inquisition, it wasn't right during it, it wasn't right through WW2 and Vietnam and it isn't right now.

And that is before we mention the bit about torture being so useless it's actually counter-productive.

Yes, they also wanted to remove some other interrogation techniques: forcing people to stand for 40+ hours at a time (hands up who here can easily do an 8 hour workday on your feet with no breaks? Now imagine it five times as long), soaking prisoners with water then placing them in a hard, cold (not freezing, though, we're not barbarians!) cell for extended periods of time, and slapping their tummy.

No, seriously. That sounds really stupid. "BELLY SLAP!" But it does hurt, while not causing damage, and I imagine it's not a case of slapping them each time they lie, but extended sessions of being hit, until they agree to tell everything.

So one can't even say "Well, I don't like the waterboarding part, but it's not worth losing all the other fine interrogation techniques for."
Sorry, you can say it, but not with a straight face.

Offline Elvi

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2008, 07:56:31 AM »
I think the article I cited just about says it all....

Offline kongming

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2008, 08:03:31 AM »
Quote from: ABC News
The detainees were also forced to listen to rap artist Eminem's "Slim Shady" album.

I know it's serious business, but I'm trying not to laugh. I mean, I always said Eminem's "music" was so bad it could be used as torture, but here they are, doing exactly that.

Just read the link now, and yeah, that lists even more than the first site and the BBC article. More information as well.
It's kind of sad, really.

Offline Elvi

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2008, 08:09:06 AM »
*nods*
I had to titter at the 'rap' torture too...

Offline Brandon

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2008, 08:35:22 AM »
Sorry but it pisses me off how an interrigation technique that was created and used before the geneva convention was written was not banned in it or soon after it. Its only because of peoples bias against the bush administration that its finally coming up and being looked at seriously. Its one thing to take a look at all these things and believe they are wrong (I dont agree but thats just my opinion) and say they should be outlawed. Its quite another to take it and use it as a political tool against an administration. Its been brought up by politicians and normal people alike but its not about doing the right thing for them, its about finding ammo to use against the Bush administration. The fanatical bias is my biggest problem with this whole situation. God knows I dont like them much either but if you're going to do something do it because its the right thing to do, not because its a useful weapon against someone you hate

As far as counter-productive all the techniques can be counter-prodicutive but if supervised properly remain useful tools to get information out of prisoners.

People are starting to look at Torture as any kind of discomfort and thats not the definition. The definition is 1. "anguish of body or mind" and 2. "the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure". I dont see any of those techniques as causing intense pain or anguish in a persons mind or body but I can see someone thinking twice about withholding something important

So now that that was said, tell me your opinion on why a technique like this wasnt outright banned or mentioned when international laws were written. It has been used across the world by various goverments since the late 1400's so it seems unlikely that to me that it wouldnt be mentioned

Finally, the rap thing was hilarious

Offline Elvi

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2008, 08:48:39 AM »
"The definition is 1. "anguish of body or mind" and 2. "the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure". I dont see any of those techniques as causing intense pain or anguish in a persons mind or body but I can see someone thinking twice about withholding something important"

Please, do enlighten me Brandon, how do these techniques work, if they are not causing 'anguish in body and mind'?

Offline Swedish Steel

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2008, 08:50:48 AM »
They are belly slapping them with cozy pillows of goodness!

Offline Jefepato

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2008, 08:55:31 AM »
I'd like to have a look at the text of the bill.

I'm guessing, Brandon, that the Geneva Convention didn't ban it because many governments wanted to keep using it.  But why it wasn't banned before is quite irrelevant when considering whether it ought to be banned now.  The timing of this legislation might be politically convenient, but that doesn't change the fact that Bush should have signed it (unless there's more to it that we're not being told).

Really, we should just stick to the comfy chair for interrogation.

Offline NightBird

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2008, 08:57:24 AM »
Quite frankly, the men who were involved in the Geneva Conventions were well aware of how creative the human animal can be in committing acts of cruelty, considering many of them who authored the first of the conventions had direct knowledge of both world wars. Much of their rationale, according to the books and selections of letters that I've read, was to provide definitions that would account for more of a usable definition than a laundry list of likely ever-changing techniques... as the rap torture would seem to prove.

As for why the Bush administration in particular makes the topic of greater concern, his Attorney General's statement that the Geneva Conventions were 'quaint' and no longer applicable, the continuing track record of deception, twisting of international law, destruction of evidence and wilfull blindness to all other arguments than what support whatever they want to do has a lot to do with it. I can only speak for myself, but I'm confident there are many others like me who simply don't TRUST the current administration to use any power given them carefully or wisely.

Offline Hunter

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2008, 08:59:20 AM »
I can only speak for myself, but I'm confident there are many others like me who simply don't TRUST the current administration to use any power given them carefully or wisely.

And now you know how I felt about the previous administration.  Not that I like the current one much more.

Offline Elvi

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2008, 09:11:07 AM »
CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment

Part I
Article 1
For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.


Yes, that seems to be so quaint doesn't it?




Bent Sørensen, Senior Medical Consultant to the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and former member of the United Nations Committee against Torture said:

“It’s a clear-cut case: Waterboarding can without any reservation be labeled as torture. It fulfils all of the four central criteria that according to the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) defines an act of torture. First, when water is forced into your lungs in this fashion, in addition to the pain you are likely to experience an immediate and extreme fear of death. You may even suffer a heart attack from the stress or damage to the lungs and brain from inhalation of water and oxygen deprivation. In other words there is no doubt that waterboarding causes severe physical and/or mental suffering – one central element in the UNCAT’s definition of torture. In addition the CIA’s waterboarding clearly fulfills the three additional definition criteria stated in the Convention for a deed to be labelled torture, since it is 1) done intentionally, 2) for a specific purpose and 3) by a representative of a state – in this case the US.”

Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, concurred by stating, in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he believes waterboarding violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.







Offline Elvi

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2008, 09:25:26 AM »
I apologise, I was distracted and didn't actaully make my point when I posted a the above information.

Basicly, I don't give a toss if it's election year in the US and that others may be scoring points off the present US administration.
What I care about is the fact that Bush listens to no-one, not even his own people and then claims that he is standing upon the moral high ground.

Offline Trieste

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Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2008, 11:47:13 AM »
I'd like to have a look at the text of the bill.

Radio address discussing the veto: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/03/20080308.html

Text of bill: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2007_rpt/hrpt110-478.html

Section 327 appears to be the relevant one, though there aren't any particular bells or whistles.

This appears to be the relevant field manual: http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm34-52.pdf
I found the manual link from Wikipedia, which labels it "circa September 28, 1992 (Current version, soon to be replaced.)"
(Wiki article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_34-52_Intelligence_Interrogation)

I believe that's all the relevant stuff for people who want to do more reading.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2008, 01:35:24 PM »
United States of America21
Upon signature :

Declaration:

"The Government of the United States of America reserves the right to communicate, upon ratification, such reservations, interpretive understandings, or declarations as are deemed necessary."

Upon ratification :

Reservations:

"I. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following reservations:

(1) That the United States considers itself bound by the obligation under article 16 to prevent `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment', only insofar as the term `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' means the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

(2) That pursuant to article 30 (2) the United States declares that it does not consider itself bound by Article 30 (1), but reserves the right specifically to agree to follow this or any other procedure for arbitration in a particular case.

II. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following understandings, which shall apply to the obligations of the United States under this Convention:

(1) (a) That with reference to article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.

(b) That the United States understands that the definition of torture in article 1 is intended to apply only to acts directed against persons in the offender's custody or physical control.

(c) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that `sanctions' includes judicially-imposed sanctions and other enforcement actions authorized by United States law or by judicial interpretation of such law. Nonetheless, the United States understands that a State Party could not through its domestic sanctions defeat the object and purpose of the Convention to prohibit torture.

(d) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that the term `acquiescence' requires that the public official, prior to the activity constituting torture, have awareness of such activity and thereafter breach his legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity.

(e) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the Unites States understands that noncompliance with applicable legal procedural standards does not per se constitute torture.

(2) That the United States understands the phrase, `where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture,' as used in article 3 of the Convention, to mean `if it is more likely than not that he would be tortured.'

(3) That it is the understanding of the United States that article 14 requires a State Party to provide a private right of action for damages only for acts of torture committed in territory under the jurisdiction of that State Party.

(4) That the United States understands that international law does not prohibit the death penalty, and does not consider this Convention to restrict or prohibit the United States from applying the death penalty consistent with the Fifth, Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, including any constitutional period of confinement prior to the imposition of the death penalty.

(5) That the United States understands that this Convention shall be implemented by the United States Government to the extent that it exercises legislative and judicial jurisdiction over the matters covered by the Convention and otherwise by the state and local governments. Accordingly, in implementing articles 10-14 and 16, the United States Government shall take measures appropriate to the Federal system to the end that the competent authorities of the constituent units of the United States of America may take appropriate measures for the fulfilment of the Convention.

III. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following declarations:

(1) That the United States declares that the provisions of articles 1 through 16 of the Convention are not self-executing.

We made our signing conditional this is from the UN site with a list of participating nations and such conditional acceptances by various nation, since its clear we placed ourselves under this in respect to the Courts interpretation of it under our Consitution, they decide how far this applied by the United States. And with that the will and intent of Congress under the law as we signed this as well if there is no conflict Constitutionally.

And what about the duty of the President to "serve and protect the people of the United States" surely he may have to authorize some extreme measures to do that when dealing with criminals intent on attacking us, if they were uniformed or partisan soldiers they would have rights. Even freedom fighters under orders of a government defending their home soil have clear rights. They are clearly in a rather grey area with terrorist radicals right now in our country. What are we supposed to do if , fate help us, they get a nuclear device and we have in our hands people involved go we can't torture them and let them use this device or torture them as needed to break them and get the information to save lives? What about a car bombing campaign or similar lesser threat? When is the good of one foreign national more important than many innocent American lives?


Offline Trieste

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Re: President Bush Vetoes Legislation to Ban Waterboarding!!
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2008, 01:44:41 PM »
There's no rules sticky in this forum, but since it's labeled 'general news' instead of politics and religion, I'm going to assume it's for discussion of news only and not general administrative politics.

In light of that, all I'm going to say here is I heartily, one hundred per cent, without reservation disagree with the way you're approaching this, RubySlippers. I believe you missed the point of the article.