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Archive for the 'International Law' Category

Supreme Court Allows Prisoners to Die Painfully

Posted by stoptorture on 16th April 2008

All life is sacred!The Supreme Court chose to OK lethal injections again. In reaction, Kentucky, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Florida got excited about killing people again.

Meanwhile, Bush tells the Pope that Americans “need your message that all life is sacred.”

From Justice Stevens’s concurring opinion in the case (citations omitted): “Because it masks any outward sign of distress, pancuronium bromide creates a risk that the inmate will suffer excruciating pain before death occurs. There is a general understanding among veterinarians that the risk of pain is sufficiently serious that the use of the drug should be proscribed when an animal’s life is being terminated. As a result of this understanding among knowledgeable professionals, several States–including Kentucky–have enacted legislation prohibiting use of the drug in animal euthanasia. It is unseemly–to say the least–that Kentucky may well kill petitioners using a drug that it would not permit to be used on their pets.”

Posted in Human Rights, International Law, Torture, U.S. Law | 356 Comments »

Bush Admits Condoning Torture

Posted by stoptorture on 13th April 2008

ABC News reports that Bush knew that Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Tenet met and authorized the use of specific torture techniques on particular prisoners.  This astounding admission has gotten little attention in the media so far, which is remarkable given it is seemingly conclusive evidence of Bush’s liability for torture and war crimes, all impeachable offenses.

Highlights from ABC News:

“Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people.” Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. “And yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

As first reported by ABC News Wednesday, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA.

The high-level discussions about these “enhanced interrogation techniques” were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed — down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects — whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC news.

Posted in Human Rights, International Law, Torture, U.S. Law | 200 Comments »

High Crimes and Misdemeanors: Cheney et al. directly authorized torture

Posted by stoptorture on 10th April 2008

ABC News reports that the “Principals Committee,” consisting of Dick Cheney, Condelezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, George Tenet, and Colin Powell, met in the White House routinely to directly authorize torture techniques to be used on specific detainees, including combinations involving water torture (waterboarding), sleep deprivation, and other methods. This opens them all up for criminal liability under the War Crimes Act and the federal torture statute.

Mr. Bush, where is your signature on all of this? I suppose we will only see that later. Impeachment anyone?

Highlights from the report:

  • “According to multiple sources, it was members of the Principals Committee that not only discussed specific plans and specific interrogation methods, but approved them.”
  • The Jay Bybee Torture Memo (Aug. 2002) was referred to as the Golden Shield in the CIA.
  • Ashcroft (who apparently agreed with the policy and thought it legal) did not, however, want to get into the dirty details and said : Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.
  • Rice (who led the advisor’s group and was reportedly “decisive” on this) pushed the CIA to go torture:This is your baby. Go do it.

And, just for the record, because we think this will be important one day:

Rice’s top legal advisor at the time was none other than our illustrious alum, John B. Bellinger III HLS ’86. This is the same guy who followed her to the White House when she became Sec. of State. This is the same guy who wants us to think of him as a knight for human rights in the wilderness of this administration.

The time has come for accountability.

Posted in Human Rights, International Law, Torture, U.S. Law | 45 Comments »

URGENT: Call on Congress to Override the Bush Veto

Posted by stoptorture on 10th March 2008

An urgent appeal from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture:



Dear Friends:

On Saturday, March 8, President Bush vetoed H.R. 2082, an important piece of anti-torture legislation that would have banned the use of waterboarding, stress positions, induced hypothermia, and other so-called “harsh” interrogation techniques by requiring all U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, to abide by the restrictions in the Army Field Manual while conducting interrogations. H.R. 2082 was passed by a majority of both houses of Congress.

Sometime this week, possibly as soon as tomorrow, the U.S. House will vote on whether or not to override the President’s veto. It is very difficult to override a veto (it requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress), so the attempt to override may not be successful. That said, we want to make every effort to convince as many Members of Congress as possible to vote for the override.

Please call your Representative in Congress and urge him or her to vote to override the President’s veto of H.R. 2082, the Intelligence Authorization bill. To contact your Member of Congress you can call the Capitol switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask to speak with your Representative.

Thank you for your efforts to end U.S.-sponsored torture.


Linda Gustitus, President, NRCAT
Richard Killmer, Executive Director, NRCAT

Posted in Activism, Human Rights, International Law, Torture, U.S. Law | 47 Comments »

URGENT advocacy initiative from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Posted by stoptorture on 12th February 2008

A message from the National Religious Campaign against Torture:



Dear Friends:

An important vote is going to take place tomorrow, Wednesday, February 13.

The Senate will decide whether we stop the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — or as we would call them, torture. Section 327 of the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report (H.R. 2082), would prohibit the CIA from using abusive interrogation techniques (such as waterboarding) by requiring the CIA to comply with the Army Field Manual while conducting interrogations. The Army Field Manual prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Please call your Senators now — and urge them to support Section 327 of the Intelligence Authorization conference report. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators’ offices. You can also go to the NRCAT website ( and click on the link in the upper right red box. It will take you to a page that makes it easy to email your Senators.

This is the most important anti-torture legislation now before Congress with a real chance of passage. (The House has already passed this bill.) Every phone call counts.

Thank you for all that you do to end U.S.-sponsored torture.


Linda Gustitus, NRCAT President
Richard Killmer, Executive Director

Posted in Human Rights, International Law, Torture, U.S. Law | 13 Comments »

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia Comes Out in Favor of Torture

Posted by stoptorture on 12th February 2008

Justice Antonin Scalia gave a radio interview in Britain in which he suggested that “smacking someone in the face” should be legally justified in certain cases. Justice Scalia posed a hypothetical in which he claimed not allowing “so-called torture” would be “absurd.”

See the BBC report on the interview here. Check out a trascript on IntLawGrrls here. The full audio is available here.

Posted in Human Rights, International Law, Torture, U.S. Law | 32 Comments »

Attorney General Refuses to Rule Out Beatings, Shocks, or the Rack & Screw; Does Not Say Whether Waterboarding U.S. Citizen Would Be Illegal

Posted by stoptorture on 7th February 2008

Remember how water(boarding)gate all began because Michael Mukasey, then nominee for Attorney General, refused to categorically say that waterboarding was torture back in October 2007? Well, today, Mukasey apparently added beatings, electric shocks, and the rack and screw to his moral and legal ambivalence list. Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on February 7, 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey reached a new low, refusing to say whether even the “beating” of detainees would be unlawful and criminal. Watch the video of Mukasey posted by us by clicking on the image below left.

Today, Mukasey also refused to answer whether a U.S. interrogator could use the rack and screw or electric shocks. Finally, Mukasey did not respond whether it would be illegal for a foreign government to subject a U.S. citizen to waterboarding. Watch the video of that exchange posted by us by clicking below right.

[Welcome Michael Moore readers]

Mukasey refuses to rule out beating of detainees

Mukasey does not rule out shocks, rack & screw. Does not answer whether waterboarding U.S. citizens would be illegal.


Posted in Human Rights, International Law, Torture, U.S. Law | 96 Comments »