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Waterboarding is, in fact, torture - Ed's journal
Waterboarding is, in fact, torture

Ok, so the news tonight - apparantly, interrogating someone by partially drowning them whilst they're restrained _is_ actually torture, after all.


Ok, that's somewhat unfair - Mr. Obama hasn't been at the reins until now. But really. How can so many turn a blind eye to such a thing?

And as for the other part? Well, they're not quite sure what to do with the people still in Guantanamo bay.
"We're going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have got a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous, who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication."

I have a suggestion. It's not fucking rocket science. How about: Put them on trial, if you have the bits you need. Y'know, like er. Evidence. A charge. That kind of thing.

And if you don't? Let them go.
Both the US Constitution and the European convention on human rights agree - that a man is innocent until you've proven him guilty, and doing so in front of a proper jury is the way that's done.

Why do we consider these things optional?

I mean, don't get me wrong - I still don't think 'rights' are automatic. I don't think you have a right to anything at all implicitly granted just for existing. That makes it all the more important though. NO ONE is going to hand you 'human rights', you have to stand up and demand them. For you, for me, and for those poor sods who've been languishing in guantanamo for years with neither charge nor trial, and who have subject to ... well, clearly it cannot be _torture_ because they legal definition was checked and everything. But ... wait. No. FUCK OFF. Interrogating someone under duress is torture. I don't care how you want to weasel the words and the definition. IT. IS. WRONG.

How about we add a new thing to the definition of 'torture'. "If you have to ask a lawyer whether the thing you're doing is torture or not, THEN IT IS".

But anyway. Well done Mr. Obama. This is going in the right direction. You have government inertia to push forwards, but at least it seems you have the right idea.
10 comments or Leave a comment
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: January 15th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm thinking of starting a sweepstake in work: how many Presidential pardons will Bush issue to the high-ranking members of his administration between now and 12:00 Tuesday?
Closest one takes the pot!
(Deleted comment)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: January 15th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
If the do not have that paperwork ready, right now, after ... however long it's been then summary release is in order.
(Deleted comment)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: January 15th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
If they're guilty of some pretty server crimes, the let them by all means, stand 'em before a jury. I'm not going to dispute that.
But if they cannot make the case NOW after having these guys detained for _years_ then they should just let them walk.

Also if the case they can prove/try them for carries a lower sentence than they've already served, then they should let them walk.

'You have been punished enough' I feel _is_ legitimate - torturing prisoners is unacceptable, and if people lose the right to actually 'bring justice' as a result of torturing their prisoners, then that's surely as good an argument against them doing it ever again?

Not legitimising the punishment, as pointing out the inherent illegitimacy of any trial where that sort of thing has happened to the chain of evidence. You get a mistrial if you've digitally altered a photo. You should as sure as hell get a mistrial and acquital if you've tortured the prisoner.
mapp From: mapp Date: January 15th, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Ok, so the news tonight - apparantly, interrogating someone by partially drowning them whilst they're restrained _is_ actually torture, after all."

You might be interested to learn that water-boarding was used by the Portugese and Spanish Inquisitions, and was listed as one of the acts of torture that was cited as a reason for why the Inquisition should be disbanded. So there you go!
sobrique From: sobrique Date: January 15th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

But really, I'm not entirely sure how the CIA got away with pretending it 'was ok'.
mapp From: mapp Date: January 15th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
It says a lot that they got away with it for so long too. One can only assume that the authorities within the United States that could have ordered the practice stopped felt that it was okay, which makes me a bit scared about the kind of people who're in power.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: January 16th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)
They havn't read the history of the Spanish Inquisition?
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: January 16th, 2009 09:48 am (UTC) (Link)
It's because nobody expects it!

Sorry... :)
cthulahoops From: cthulahoops Date: January 16th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, I can see why shutting down Guantanamo is easier said that done. What do you do with anyone you release? They aren't US citizens so you have to determine whether they can be safely deported, or whether they'll face further torture. Some may be entitled to asylum in the US. Anyone you charge in a civilian court will get a pretty much automatic mistrial, if a court is willing to accept jurisdiction at all, followed by lucrative suing of the federal government for damages.

So, a little bit of time has to be allowed to untangle the mess.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: January 16th, 2009 09:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Lets see, these people are not on US soil, so I wonder where they will be tried and under who's rules??/

Given that these people have mostly been *extradited* in vaguely leagaly grey (mostly black) way and tortured by their "benevolent" captors I wonder how much of their "statements" would be admissible in a western court???

Have to prove that their crime is more than just being "muslim in a war against mus... er "terror" warzone...

Not that I am cynical or anything....

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