- A previous article addressed torture as official US policy
under Bush, accessed through the following link:
- It remains so under Obama, authorized at the highest
levels of government as part of America's bogus war on terror to instill
fear and target suspected political opponents globally, including at home.
No matter that it violates US and international law that prohibits torture
at all times under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions.
- Nonetheless, on September 17, 2001, Bush issued a 12
page "memorandum of notification" directive to CIA's director
and National Security Council members, authorizing CIA to capture suspected
terrorists and Al Qaeda members, then hold and interrogate them in offshore
detention facilities. It launched his torture program by vesting CIA operatives
with unprecedented lawless power. It gave them carte blanche authority
to function extra-judicially by whatever methods it chose.
- Numerous subsequent Bush administration memos, Executive
Orders, National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, findings,
and other documents explicitly or implicitly authorized torture, including
one on August 2, 2002, written by John Yoo, then White House counsel Alberto
Gonzales, Jay Bybee (now a federal judge), and David Addington. It argued
for letting interrogators use harsh measures amounting to torture. It said
federal and international laws don't apply when dealing with Al Qaeda because
of presidential authorization during wartime. It "legalized"
anything in the war on terror, as well as authorizing supreme presidential
- On March 14, 2003, the same quartet issued another memo
titled: "Military Interrogation of Alien Unlawful Combatants Held
Outside the United States," now called the "Torture Memo."
It swept away all legal restraints, authorizing military, CIA or other
US interrogators to use extreme measures amounting to torture. It also
gave the president "the fullest range of power....to protect the nation,"
stating he "enjoys complete discretion in the exercise of his authority
in conducting operations against hostile forces."
- Other administration documents reflected John Yoo's views
that interrogation methods may inflict "intense pain or suffering"
short of what would cause "serious physical injury so severe that
death, organ failure, (loss of significant body functions), or permanent
damage" may result.
- It was inquisitional ruthlessness, including sleep deprivation,
prolonged isolation, waterboarding, painful stress positions, sensory deprivation
or overload, beatings, electric shocks, induced hypothermia, and other
extreme measures able to cause irreversible physical and psychological
harm, including disabilities, psychoses, and at times deaths.
- International Criminal Court (ICC) Complaint Against
Bush/Cheney et al
- On January 20, 2010, Professor Francis Boyle and Lawyers
Against the War filed a complaint against "Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld,
Tenet, Rice and Gonzales for:
- "their criminal policy and practice of 'extraordinary
rendition' perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This term is really
their euphemism for the enforced disappearance of persons and their consequent
torture. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute Crimes
against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC."
- Though America isn't party to the treaty, "the Accused
have ordered and been responsible for the commission of ICC statutory crimes
within the respective territories of many ICC member states, including
several in Europe. Consequently, the ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute
the Accused (under) Rome Statute article 12(2)(a) that affords the ICC
jurisdiction to prosecute (these crimes) in ICC member states."
- The complaint also requested international arrest warrants
be issued, pursuant to Rome Statute authority.
- Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)-Released Bush
Torture Indictment (BTI)
- On February 7, the ninth anniversary of Bush's lawless
establishment of an "unlawful combatants" classification, CCR
released a Bush Torture Indictment (BTI).
- Earlier, Francis Boyle explained that he "resurrected
a long-defunct World War II era ('unlawful enemy combatant') legal category,"
later superseded by the four Geneva Conventions.
- He described Bush's action as "creat(ing) an anti-matter
of legal nihilism where human beings (including US citizens) can be disappeared,
detained incommunicado, denied access to attorneys and regular courts,
tried in kangaroo courts, executed, tortured, assassinated and subjected
to numerous other manifestations of State Terrorism." He almost entirely
negated post-WW II international and US laws, including treaties to which
America is party.
- CCR's response, "provides a strong factual and legal
basis to hold (him) accountable" in all 147 countries that ratified
the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment (CAT)...."
- BTI "is based on two criminal complaints that were
to be filed on February 7 in Switzerland on behalf of two torture victims,"
supported by CCR and allied groups, "in advance of Bush's planned
trip to Geneva on February 12...."
- Including are more than 2,500 pages of material. Under
Swiss law, preliminary investigations may only begin if torturers enter
the country. As a result, Bush cancelled his trip to avoid possible indictment.
CCR promises BTI will await him "wherever he travels next."
- Moreover, Amnesty International (AI) also repeatedly
called for him to be investigated for torture violations, and sent Swiss
authorities factual evidence of his culpability.
- According to Martin Scheinin, UN Special Rapporteur on
Human Rights and Counterterrorism:
- "Nobody, from those who administered the practices
to those at the top of the chain of command, is under a shield of absolute
immunity for the practices of secret detention, extraordinary rendition
and torture. Legally this case is quite clear. Bush does not enjoy immunity
as a former head of state, and he has command responsibility for the decisions
that were taken."
- All his subordinate co-conspirators are also culpable,
including former vice president Cheney. Getting them in the dock makes
everyone involved vulnerable, including Obama administration officials
following the same policies seamlessly.
- No one deserves impunity, even present and past US presidents
as well as others holding top administration posts. After aggressive wars
and genocide, torture is the worst international crime, warranting prosecutorial
justice against guilty parties.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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