Nothing Justifies Torture

Nothing can ever justify torture. Nothing.

No amount of intelligence, no supposed “what if it could save millions by torturing one” scenario. Nothing.

Nothing obtained by such actions could ever wash away the moral and ethical stains done to our society, our culture, our integrity, and our reputation as a country and as individuals.

We are presumably a nation of laws. While torture in and of itself is heinous and despicable enough, if we ever hope to be able to collectively look future generations in the eye and at ourselves in the mirror with any dignity, honesty, and with a clear conscious then at the very least the people who led and instructed agencies to use such methods must be held accountable for breaking the law.

What law?

On October 27, 1990, the U.S. Senate ratified Treaty Number 100-20, formally titled “The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by unanimous agreement of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984, and signed by the United States on April 18, 1988.” (see http://www.hrweb.org/legal/undocs.html#CAT, http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html and attached U.S. Library of Congress treaty document).

Violating a treaty is unlawful. If we never even address the morality of the issue, people may have broken the law.

And this can’t be some Lynndie England charade, either, where only the lowest level agent is investigated as some “lone wolf”. I don’t accept the “Nuremberg defense” for agents, and we certainly can never allow those at the very top – all the way to the White House – to be above any laws of this nation.
Morally, no ‘end’ can ever be used as justification for the ‘means.’ I would think that would be especially true in a country supposedly built on Christian values. I, for one, hope the CIA takes Cheney up on his requests to release whatever was obtained from these methods. It will prove once and for all his role and role of others in the leadership that sanctioned torture, and that whatever was gleaned from those abhorrent acts cannot and will never justify the torturing of a human being.

If we don’t express our outrage now then when and over what?

If we remain silent and don’t hold people accountable, then how far away are we from our own beheadings in the town square because we suspect someone knows something we want to know?

—– Forwarded Message —–From: “George Soros” To: “greg russak” Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 4:25:26 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada EasternSubject: Accountability for torture
.MsgBody-text, .MsgBody-text * { font: 10pt monospace; }
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
This morning a coalition of human rights groups and other organizations launched an appeal to the President to establish a commission of inquiry to examine and report publicly on America’s use of torture in the period since September 11, 2001. Please sign the petition and forward this email to your friends, family, and colleagues.
http://commissiononaccountability.org/
Regards,
Michael Vachon
Office of George Soros

——————–



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Treaty Number: 100-20 Transmitted: May 20, 1988 Short Title: CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT Type: Human Rights Countries: n/a Formal Title: The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by unanimous agreement of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984, and signed by the United States on April 18, 1988. Senate Executive Report(s): 101-30 Source: United Nations
Legislative Actions Floor Action: May 20, 1988 – Received in the Senate. Floor Action: May 23, 1988 – Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations by unanimous consent.
Committee Action: July 19, 1990 – Committee on Foreign Relations. Ordered to be reported without amendment favorably.
Committee Action: January 30, 1990 – Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 101-718. Floor Action: July 19, 1990 – Reported by Mr. Pell, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report. With a resolution of advice and consent to ratification with reservations, understandings and declarations. Floor Action: August 30, 1990 – Printed report filed (Ex. Rept. 101-30_ together with additional views. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – S.AMDT.3200: Proposed by Senator Pell. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – S.AMDT.3200: Amendment SP 3200 agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – S.AMDT.3201: Proposed by Senator Pell. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – S.AMDT.3201: Amendment SP 3201 agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – S.AMDT.3202: Proposed by Senator Pell. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – S.AMDT.3202: Amendment SP 3202 agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – S.AMDT.3203: Proposed by Senator Pell. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – S.AMDT.3203: Amendment SP 3203 agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote. Floor Action: October 27, 1990 – Resolution agreed to in Senate with amendments by Division. Resolution: TEXT OF RESOLUTION OF ADVICE AND CONSENT TO RATIFICATION AS REPORTED BY THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS:@Resolved, (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein), #That the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by unanimous agreement of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1984, and signed by the United States on April 18, 1988,Provided that:I. The Senate’s advice and consent is subject to the following reservations:(1) That the United States shall implement the Convention to the extent that the Federal Government exercises legislative and judicial jurisdiction over the matters covered therein; to the extent that constituent units exercise jurisdiction over such matters, the Federal Government shall take appropriate measures, to the end that the competent authorities of the constituent units may take appropriate measures for the fulfillment of this Convention.(2) 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.(3) 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 judically-imposed sanctions and other enforcement actions authorized by United States law or by judicial interpretation of such law provided that such sanctions or actions are not clearly prohibited under international law.(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 United States understands that noncompliance with applicable legal procedural standards does no 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 h e 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.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.(2) That the United States declares, pursuant to Article 21, paragraph 1, of the Convention, that it recognizes the competence of the Committee against Torture to receive and consider communications to the effect that a State Party claims that another State Party is not fulfilling its obligations under the Convention. It is the understanding of the United States that, pursuant to the above mentioned article, such communications shall be accepted and processed only if they come from a State Party which has made a similar declaration. Index Terms : 100-20 CRUEL TREATMENT DEGRADING TREATMENT INHUMAN TREATMENT PUNISHMENT TORTURE Control Number: 100TD00020
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