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George W. Bush’s Justice Department said subjecting a person to the near-drowning of waterboarding was not a crime and didn’t even cause pain, but Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department thought otherwise, prosecuting a Texas sheriff and three deputies for using the practice to get confessions.
Federal prosecutors secured a 10-year sentence against the sheriff and four years in prison for the deputies. But that 1983 case – which would seem to be directly on point for a legal analysis on waterboarding two decades later – was never mentioned in the four Bush administration opinions released last week.
Keep in mind this happened before we signed international treaties that said it was illegal. The Constitution said it was illegal. That was good enough then. Why wasn't it good enough 8 years ago?
more on this below the fold
I would encourage everybody to read this excellent article, which was written by by Jason Leopold and posted on The Public Record.com on April 21st
"To take one example, there was a court-martial addressing the practice of waterboarding from 1903, a state court case from the Twenties, a series of prosecutions at the [post-World War II] Tokyo Tribunal (in many of which the death penalty was sought) and another court-martial in 1968," Horton said. "These precedents could have been revealed in just a few minutes of computerized research using the right search engines. It's hard to imagine that Yoo and Bybee didn't know them.
Considering the fact that conservatives admire Reagan so much, you would think some of these Bush Co lawyers would know about this, wouldn't you?
Federal prosecutors secured a 10-year sentence against the sheriff and four years in prison for the deputies. But that 1983 case -- which would seem to be directly on point for a legal analysis on waterboarding two decades later -- was never mentioned in the four Bush administration opinions released last week.
The failure to cite the earlier waterboarding case and a half-dozen other precedents that dealt with torture is reportedly one of the critical findings of a Justice Department watchdog report that legal sources say faults former Bush administration lawyers -- Jay Bybee, John Yoo and Steven Bradbury -- for violating "professional standards."
Don't leave out their bosses, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and don't leave out every other slimy torture justifying war mongerer that helped them do the job.
If the Bush DoJ did know, and they ignored it (doublethink much?), isn't that grounds for being disbarred? Or maybe even going to jail like some lowly Texas sherrif?
Under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, adopted into US law as 18 USC 2340, prisoners must be "treated humanely." It specifically prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." It does not, however, provide a specific list of what techniques are acceptable and which are not.
Bybee’s memo, written largely by Yoo, advised that torture must be pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." Mental pain inflicted by torture must last for several months or years to constitute severe pain or suffering.
Under this interpretation, the techniques described above were termed "enhanced interrogation techniques" and the Department of Justice advised the President that their use was legal.
For the full text of Geneva Convention: Common Article 3 is, IMHO, a must read for everybody, especially anyone who is considering a career with the Justice Department.
The evidence keeps piling up. At this point, I want more evidence declassified and put out for the public to see. The more evidence that becomes available, the better any investigation may be, and the easier it will be to make a prosecutors case stick and lead to a conviction.
If there is no equality under the law there can be no justice. If a dumbass Sheriff from Texas can go to jail for 10 years for authorizing waterboarding of prisoners, so can a dumbass President from Texas.
This is not about revenge. It is about justice and equality under the law. We are One Nation under law, not above it, indivisible (this means you secessionists)with liberty and justice for all.
This includes ex-Presidents and their criminal cronies.
In the comments below, courtesy of JMcDonald, here is the pdf where you can read the court case here.
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Carl LEE, Defendant-Appellant
Cheers to JMcDonald for the great find!
Get out your detective caps guys and gals, I am sure we can make some more trouble from our Mom's basements before this is all over.
and it ain't over yet, not by a long shot.
Cheers to BOHICA for this bit of Journalism (capital J).
The court called it torture
From the PDF
OVERVIEW: Appellant was indicted along with three other co-defendant law enforcement officers based on a number of incidents in which prisoners were subjected to a water torture in order to prompt confessions to various crimes.
and here is one more from a comment by CornSyrupAwareness
We did prosecute for torture in 2005
It just wasnt those that ordered the torture
The main defense was that Graner was following orders from, and supervised by, intelligence officers.  Graner and others testified that many senior officers were aware of the activities and actively supported them. This is why he was not worried about taking and distributing the photographs which were later used against him. Referring to military intelligence, Graner testified "I nearly beat an MI detainee to death with MI there" before Pohl cut him off...
On January 16, Graner was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, a dishonorable discharge, and the loss of all benefits.
Graner is in Leavenworth for committing the acts ordered by his superior officer Christopher Brinson, who is now chief of staff for Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama. Who was himself probably ordered to torture by people higher up the chain from himself, like Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush under 'legal' advice from Bybee, Yoo and Addington.
Who thinks Bush and his cronies should have prison cells in Leavenworth as well?
If there is such a thing as justice in this country, that is what will happen.
another great find in the comments below, courtesy of BentLiberal
Nuremberg Reference From the appeals PDF
At trial, Baker's defense as developed by his counsel and his testimony rested on two points. The first was that he
actively participated in only a single torture episode, and then only because ordered to do so by his superiors -- a
"Nuremberg defense." The second was that while he believed the torture of prisoners immoral, he did not at the time
think it was illegal. In the course of Baker's testimony, he identified Lee as a participant in the torture of several
prisoners. Seven other witnesses also connected Lee with various torture incidents. At the close of the evidence, [**3]
the district judge severed Baker, and put the case of the remaining defendants to the jury. Lee was convicted on three
counts. In this appeal he contends that Baker's defense was in such conflict with his own that he should have been
granted a severance at the beginning of trial.
pdf cited in the diary update.
Just following orders is no excuse, and neither is ignorance.
The guilty should be brought to justice.
Will they be brought to justice is up to us.
YELL LOUDER! until they can't ignore us anymore!
Thanks to Adam B for this bit of golden research
Two Witnesses Describe Torture by Texas Sheriff
Published: September 2, 1983
Two convicted burglars testified today that they had watched in fear as a former east Texas sheriff and his deputies used a water torture.
''I was real nervous,'' said one witness, Ernest Charles Lewis.
''I felt I was going to go through the same thing.''
Mr. Lewis, 26 years old, and Vernon Perry, 27, both convicted of burglary in 1976, said they saw the former San Jacinto County Sheriff, James Parker, direct his deputies to coerce confessions from two burglary suspects by draping a towel over each man's face and pouring water over it until the men gagged.
Mr. Parker, 47, and his former deputies, Carl Lee, 63, Floyd Allen Baker, 40, and John Glover, 65, are accused in Federal court of violating the civil rights of at least six prisoners.
Mr. Parker was sheriff in rural San Jacinto County, 60 miles northeast of Houston, from 1969 until March.
here is the original link to the
NYTimes article from 1983
Someone please tell the overpaid hacks in the media that THIS is what JOURNALISM is supposed to look like.
Thanks to everyone who helped provide the backup info.
Cheers to lysias for finding a great quote in a ruling by the SCOTUS back in 1953 on the seperation of Executive Power in the case of
YOUNGSTOWN CO. v. SAWYER, 343 U.S. 579 (1952)
I did not suppose, and I am not persuaded, that history leaves it open to question, at least in the courts, that the executive branch, like the Federal Government as a whole, possesses only delegated powers. The purpose of the Constitution was not only to grant power, but to keep it from getting out of hand.
Germany, after the First World War, framed the Weimar Constitution, designed to secure her liberties in the Western tradition. However, the President of the Republic, without concurrence of the Reichstag, was empowered temporarily to suspend any or all individual rights if public safety and order were seriously disturbed or endangered. This proved a temptation to every government, whatever its shade of opinion, and in 13 years suspension of rights was invoked on more than 250 occasions. Finally, Hitler persuaded President Von Hindenberg to suspend all such rights, and they were never restored.
In view of the ease, expedition and safety with which Congress can grant and has granted large emergency powers, certainly ample to embrace this crisis, I am quite unimpressed with the argument that we should affirm possession of them without statute. Such power either has no beginning or it has no end. If it exists, it need submit to no legal restraint. I am not alarmed that it would plunge us straightway into dictatorship, but it is at least a step in that wrong direction.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON, concurring in the judgment and opinion of the Court
I guess Godwin goes out the window when the topic is torture and SCOTUS rulings are concerned.
If they knew this in 1953, why didn't they know it in 2003?
Or did they simply choose not to remember?
The plot thickens as the light of truth shines brighter.
Keep on digging guys and gals, keep on digging.