Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Back in the National Spotlight: Not Where It Belongs at This Time (Again)

Waterboarding =Torture: Illegal, Unlawful, and War Crime for Decades

A Bright Red Line Trump is Willing to Cross
(Not so for Sen. John McCain)

Update: Awe damn. Here We Go Again: Trump Wants to Bring Back Torture and Waterboarding (and yes, waterboarding is torture):

BACKGROUND (references linked in the below post): At a rally last November in Columbus, Ohio, Trump promised to reinstate waterboarding and perhaps other methods of torture beyond it. He said: “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would — in a heartbeat” (Trump said as the crowd cheered). “And I would approve more than that. Don't kid yourself, folks. It works, okay? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn't work.” He went on to repeat “It works” multiple times, then concluded: “Believe me, it works. And you know what? If it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing. It works.”

Then a few months later, Trump doubled down on that pledge at another rally in SC, as well as in several interviews throughout the campaign, saying in essence the very same things. Then in an interview on ABC's This Week show earlier this year, when asked if he would authorize torture, Trump said: “I would absolutely authorize (it) and something beyond waterboarding.”

Now, recently and in response to the Trump pledge, John McCain said: “I don't give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not water board. We will not do it.” (Those remarks were made to applause during a panel discussion at the Halifax International Security Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia). 

Recall that McCain was subjected to torture as a POW in Vietnam for 5 years.  McCain went on to say that waterboarding, sanctioned under the administration of President George W. Bush as an “enhanced interrogation technique,” doesn't work and is banned under U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions. Then McCain added in in conclusion to his statement:  “My God, what does it say about America if we're going to inflict torture on people?”

Now we have loyal dog, VP-elect Mike Pence, saying on CBS Sunday Face the Nation just recently: “A Trump administration would not rule out a return to waterboarding.” Then he added: “A President Donald Trump is going to focus on confronting and defeating radical Islamic terrorism as a threat to this country. We're going to have a president again who will never say what we'll never do.”

More up to date facts: Trump will be hard pressed to find military support for a blatant return to torture and I say again and again, “Waterboarding is torture and has been illegal, unlawful, and a war crime for decades.” Trump takes a hard-nose stance against the current CIA Director (John Brennan).

Do you want firsthand experience about torture, specifically, waterboarding: … Here is a great resume from a man who knows – and believe me, you will want to read this.

Related: Any move to return to waterboarding would likely face opposition from the uniformed military leadership. Methods defined as enhanced interrogation techniques could subject service members to prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, for example:

Last March, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine General Joseph Dunford indirectly but strongly rejected Trump's “torture works campaign statements.

Dunford said he could not comment on politics but gave a general answer to questions in which he suggested that torture and waterboarding went against the “values cherished by the American military,” adding: “One of the things that makes me proud to represent this uniform is that we represent the values of the American people. When our young men and women go to war, they go with our values. And, when we find exceptions, and see U.S. troops abuse prisoners, you can see how aggressively we address those exceptions under the UCMJ. We should never apologize for going to war with the values of the American people. That's what we have done historically; that's what we expect to do in the future. And again, that's what makes me proud to wear this uniform.”

Now Trump’s leading candidate for Secretary of Defense, retired Marine general, James Mattis, whom Trump calls the “real deal” is at odds with Trump about bringing back waterboarding and Trump said he was surprised to hear the general say that. Wow – Trump is surprised to hear the general say that? Ha…  Give me a break, Mr. Trump. 

You are the one who should be surprised at anyone and especially while looking at yourself in a mirror, who would advocate torture as national policy.

My view as an old Interrogator on this subject: I do not believe that Donald J. Trump should not be allowed to take office on January 20, 2017. For him to advocate breaking U.S. and International law in the support of torture and in advance like this is unheard of in my lifetime. Therefore, I strongly believe that he is not suited for nor fit to be president of anything except maybe his newest golf resort.  

This is a big issue with major impact. I am amazed to see anyone cheer Trump when he suggests using torture as national policy. I am astonished about Trump saying that, and saddened to hear anyone support him. I am in accord with John McCain who said above: “My God, what does it say about America…”

(1)  “Torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control, 
(2)  “Severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from —
(A)  The intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B)  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;
(C)  The threat of imminent death; or
(D)  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.

Some 92 video tapes were destroyed by the CIA in November 2005 after a report by CIA IG John L. Helgerson’s office, had determined that they depicted “… cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, as defined by the International Convention Against Torture.”

So, you decide: is Donald J. Trump wrong or not? And, if so, is he on the verge of advocating a serious war crime in advance? Is he worthy to be our President?

Pretty sad, either way, isn’t it. Thanks for stopping by and as I outline in my main detainee/torture site here, this is an ugly issue that just will not go away.

Stay tuned.

No comments: