Waterboarding and "Cold Cell" are forms of torture 

Waterboarding and "Cold Cell" are forms of torture

The Bushies complain that they are not given enough credit for overthrowing Saddam, bringing a constitution and elections to Iraq, and reinforcing trends toward democracy in other Middle Eastern countries.

Surely it's a bit troubling that whatever exactly they're doing, they can't seem to tell the truth about it. It is Orwellian. It's like a Boy Scout, granted, but one who is pissed off, and can't stop lying and then saying anyone who doesn't believe his lies deserves to go to hell.

Marty Lederman on the Balkinization site is still working on the torture issue. (See here). There is now a list of coercive procedures that has been officially authorized for use by the CIA. As Lederman has mentioned before, the Bushies intend to take full advantage of the fact that the CIA has traditionally been considered exempt from at least some of the restrictions on coercive techniques that apply to Americans in uniform.

Bushies now say also that when the Convention Against Torture was ratified by the Senate at the urging of Bush 41, some of the language was deliberately changed so as to allow for more coercive techniques than the drafters of the treaty wanted. (The the U.S. wants to torture, much like other countries; however they are confident that they will not be the worst torturers; and they want to be fairly honest about what they are doing. Boy Scouts with a mean streak? Deluded ones?) Thus the present U.S. Administration may be going farther than previous administrations, but what they are doing is still arguably covered by the treaty.

Lederman sticks to a few points in reply:

If, for instance, one had asked the President and the 500+ representatives who voted for the torture statute whether waterboarding and "cold cell" and "Long Time Standing" constituted "torture" as they understood it, they all would have said "yes." And to the extent these techniques really aren't "torture" because of technical lacunae in the statute, perhaps that's a sign that Congress should consider amending its definitions.

These practices constitute criminal assault in U.S. law if they are carried out in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States (SMTJ).

[blockquote]According to the ABC News story, the locations at which the enhanced techniques occur "often . . . consist of a secure building on an existing or former military base." Regardless of current ownership, those buildings obviously are being "used for purposes of [the CIA]," and therefore would appear to be within the SMTJ, which would make the CIA's techniques there unlawful.[/blockquote]

[blockquote]OLC [White House Office of Legal Counsel] must have concluded that these facilities are not within the SMTJ; but I have to confess that I have not yet figured out the basis on which the office might have reached such a conclusion, in light of the broad language of the statute.[/blockquote]

Then there's Digby quoting Jason Vest (via Atrios): old CIA hands know there is always a debate about torture, and every so often it will be tried. Wise heads will eventually decide to stop it, but some of the practitioners won't want to give it up. Not because it works, or they can prove it works; but because they like doing it, regardless of the information they come up with.

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