Now we've finally heard it from the U.S. Senate. We've heard Senators clearly and plainly say that waterboarding has been illegal throughout George W. Bush's term in office.
Senator Ted Kennedy said the following:
While the nominee acknowledges that torture is unconstitutional, he has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that the controlled drowning of a prisoner, waterboarding, rises to the level of torture. What is the big mystery here? Over and over again, civilian and military tribunals have found waterboarding to be an unacceptable act of torture.
...Waterboarding is a barbaric practice in which water is poured down the mouth and nose of a detainee to simulate drowning. It's an ancient technique of tyrants. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century, it was used by interrogators in the Spanish Inquisition. In the nineteenth century, it was used against slaves in this country. In World War II, it was used against us by Japan. In the 1970's, it was used against political opponents by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the military dictatorships of Chile and Argentina.
[and by the U.S. against the Vietcong. In the 1980's, it was used by the U.S. against all manner of Latin Americans and others. In addition, the U.S. has trained many foreign nations in its use. The U.S. has a long, long history of using and teaching torture.]
Today, it's being used against pro-democracy activists by the rulers of Burma. When we fail to reject waterboarding, this is the company that we keep.
According to ABC News, former intelligence officers and supervisors admitted in 2005 that the CIA used waterboarding. In fact, the Vice President confirmed its use. ...
[Kennedy knows much more than this. He won't say what he knows, because it comes directly from the U.S. government and he's taken an oath not to divulge things that are not in the public domain. That's why he's citing ABC News.]
...Malcolm Nance, a former master instructor and chief of the training of the US Navy Seals, described it as "horrifying to watch [and] if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death."
...Make no mistake about it: waterboarding is already illegal under United States law. It's illegal under the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit outrages upon personal dignity, including cruel, humiliating, and degrading treatment. It's illegal under the Torture Act, which prohibits acts specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. It's illegal under the Detainee Treatment Act, which prohibits cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. And it violates the Constitution. The nation's top military lawyers and legal experts across the political spectrum have condemned waterboarding as torture. And after World War II, the United States prosecuted — prosecuted — Japanese officers for engaging in waterboarding. What more does this nominee need to enforce existing laws?
What more does the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate need to impeach, try, convict, and remove from office President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney? It's their law.
We know they know that the Attorney General and others in his administration with Bush's full knowledge and support wrote legal opinions and orders with Bush agreeing to their use in setting the limits for interrogations under the euphemism of "enhanced-interrogation techniques" such that those so-called interrogations became and are nothing more than terrorism by all manner of torture.
We know that they froze people, hosed them down with ice water, over heated them, kept them awake, blared horrible music at them, kept them in the dark, cut them off via sensory depravation to the point of panic, hung them, electrocuted them, burned them, slapped them around, dragged them around by the hair, beat them, broke their bones, cut them, stabbed them, kicked them, sicced the dogs on them, paraded them naked, tempted them with nasty women, made them wear women's underwear on their heads, had women smear their faces with menstrual blood, forced them to engage in sexual depravity, kept them in stress positions, made them sleep on rock hard surfaces, kept them in tiny isolation chambers, blocked out the natural light, covered up the windows, left the artificial lights on 24 hours a day for countless days, fed them bad and inadequate food, gave them filthy water, made them urinate and defecate on themselves and in their cells, subjected them to further horrifying threats to family and friends, tortured them to get them to tell lies and to disavow their religious beliefs while they chained them in the middle of satanic pentagrams, kicked and tore their scriptures, cursed them, belittled them, taunted them, and forced them to admit to things they hadn't done and to bear false witness against others. They forced them to hold positions like standing for many hours a day with their arms extended or be electrocuted to blame the victims for harming themselves. They forced victims to listen to endless cries of torture from other victims. Those are just some of the things that have come out publicly.
They also raped wives and daughters and sons. Did they do it in front of fathers? Did they torture them in front of their husbands and fathers?
Did they also rape the fathers? Did they cut off fingers and limbs? Did they gouge out eyes? Did they use every torture technique they had ever heard of? Did they rub salt into wounds they inflicted? Did they shove things under finger nails? Did they pull out fingernails? Did they pull out teeth? Did they stab and pick at and stir at raw, exposed nerves? Did they let animals they'd driven insane attack them? Did they kill people in front of others? Did they force people to kill others? Did they impale them with hot and electrical devises? Did they drug them for months on end with powerful hallucinogens while they bombarded them with evil sounds and images and feelings, toying mercilessly with all their senses, terrorizing and breaking down their spirits, minds, souls, and bodies into vegetative, amnesic states?
Did they deconstruct and then reconstruct many personalities, sending them back to their homes on the order of Manchurian Candidates. Did they dispose of without a trace those who died during the process or became too disfigured to let out.
There is evidence though. It's on film.
With all of this, with the Senators knowing this (and they do because they saw the Abu Ghraib films that the public wasn't allowed to see and they've been made aware of the other disks that are much worse that the Pentagon has and Rumsfeld saw personally). They never demanded to see that stuff though, and that worse stuff isn't even the worst of the worst. The worst of the worst, you can't even imagine. Only God and Satan know how bad the worst is.
We'd heard Senator Arlen Specter say that the U.S. Constitution isn't a "suicide pact," meaning the U.S. will stoop to anything to survive in the flesh. That's why the U.S. Constitution isn't the guiding document of the Real Liberal Christian Church. It allows antichrists to hold office.
We'd also heard him worry about Bush, Cheney, and others being taken in other countries to be tried as war criminals.
Senator Dianne Feinstein said the following:
Now, let me bring up the subject of torture. I believe waterboarding is illegal. I believe it's prohibited under the Convention against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. I believe that waterboarding is prohibited for the United States military under the Detainee Treatment Act and the United States Criminal Code, and I believe that neither the military nor the CIA should use waterboarding; but, I don't believe that Judge Mukasey should be denied confirmation for failing to provide an absolute answer on this one subject.
Yes he should.
Now, as was said earlier, last week Judge Mukasey specifically told Senator Schumer that if Congress passes a law that outlaws waterboarding in all circumstances, the President would have no legal authority, no inherent authority under Article II to ignore it. Now, I know that there are very prestigious civil rights groups in this country that believe that this difference in United States law, in other words, the Detainee Act on one side providing a prohibition against waterboarding for anyone in any branch of the military and no specific coverage of the CIA, there are those that believe it doesn't really matter; what the CIA does is still covered under these international treaties to which we are a signatory. I believe that's correct. Nonetheless, it is very easy to remedy, and it is very easy to simply say waterboarding is prohibited in any vehicle that we may have before us. I think there is an argument that can be made to do that, to take this off of the table of any other discussion and to make it very, very clear. So that's something I think we're going to have to decide and come to grips with in these months.
Senator Charles Schumer had the following to say:
Now, let me be clear on the torture question. I deeply oppose this administration's opaque policy on the use of torture, its refusal to reveal what forms of interrogation it considers acceptable. I deeply oppose all forms of torture. It debases us and opens our own citizens to abuse abroad. Specifically, I believe that the cruel and inhumane technique of waterboarding is not only repugnant, but also illegal under current laws and conventions, period. I also support Congress's efforts to pass additional measures that would explicitly ban this and other forms of torture.
This position of Schumer and Feinstein is terrible but in more ways than we're heard from any of the coverage. Here is what is going on.
Feinstein chose her words carefully: "...outlaws waterboarding in all circumstances...." and "...take this off of the table of any other discussion...." So did Schumer: "...it is very easy to remedy, and it is very easy to simply say waterboarding is prohibited...."
Taking it off the table means to make it so Bush and Cheney aren't prosecuted. Passing new legislation saying waterboarding is prohibited in all circumstances is suggesting that it wasn't already clear enough to prosecute Bush and Cheney. It's a trick. It's a ruse. They know it. They've discussed it privately. It shows. They're colluding for the sake of Empire. They've cut a deal. They've agreed to move on.
Will it work? Will the Senators have to backpedal? Bush hopes he has enough dirt to protect him. He's very cocksure. It's written all over his face. That's what all the data mining and eavesdropping has been about. The Empire (NSA, etc.) and Israel has the dirt on everyone who's dirty.
The Bush lawyers are trying to get the Congress to pass more legislation to name waterboarding specifically so that Bush and Cheney, et al, will later point to that as evidence that the law was unclear before that. Should the U.S. Congress do anything more than say it is only reiterating that torture is torture and that they are not and never have been obligated to anticipate or enumerate every conceivable method of torturing someone? How many different ways are there? Not naming or having named every possible way ought not to and doesn't really create a technical loophole for the President and his Vice President or anyone else.
Being cruel or inhumane or inhuman or degrading or humiliating or unusual aren't difficult to understand. Knowingly, deliberately, with intent, malice, or neglect to harm is sin. Torture is blatant.
We don't want Bush or Cheney punished. They aren't good shepherds however. They should not be shepherds. The flock should have different shepherds as soon as possible $— the sooner the better. That's not the Church interfering in the secular-state. That's the Church making a religious and spiritual statement. That's the Church saying why the house that calls itself the United States of America is divided irreconcilably.
The people who desperately want to be good and to live in a good nation have been coerced into living under an inherently evil system, a system that deliberately tolerates evil within for evil's sake to lord it over, defile, and devour the otherwise righteous.