of no fixed subtitle
December 03, 2004
U.S. OKs Evidence Gained Through Torture.
Statements made under torture have been inadmissible in U.S. courts for about 70 years. Well, maybe no longer.
Name That Itch
17 years ago
I don't understand why foreign detainees who are not in the United States would be protected by the Constitution. I think that International Law and Treaties are the way to challenge this treatment. I just don't think that the Constitution provides them with any rights.
I'm speechless. Just absolutely fucking speechless.
The constitution? International law? I thought the fact that we're living in a "civilized" nation in the 21st fucking century would protect them from being tortured. Haha, fuck me, guess I was wrong.
Well, this is kind of twisty. Boyle reaffirms the government's position that the detainees at Gitmo do not have constitutional rights like US citizens have AND that despite what the Red Cross thinks, there is no torture going on at Gitmo AND that if information happens to come his way from other sources that may or may not have been acquired via torture, he will not hesitate to use and/or act on that information if he belives that it will prevent another terrorist act on US soil. Legal squinchiness, from an ethical standpoint, but nevertheless, I'm not sure that this has wider applications other than the ones concerning enemy combatants. I'm certain this does NOT mean that it's now ok for your local cops to shove bamboo shoots under your fingernails.
Also, I don't this represents a significant change (or any change, for that matter) from the administration's previous stance on the subject.
So far as I know, bernockle is right: the US Constitution enumerates rights for US citizens only (and people now living in the US - example, I believe that illegal aliens residing in the states do enjoy Constitutional rights like citizens). I do not know what international law says, but my (admittedly dim) understanding is that torture (among other things) on enemy POWs is prohibited under the Geneva conventions, hence the previous legal squinchiness of avoiding having the Gitmo prisoners classified as POWs (which imo was a fetid little piece of legalese, but anyway). I'm not sure that the US can protect people outside of our country or captivity from torture, other than diplomatically (other nations are still sovereign unto themsevles, after all). This statement sort of says that, hey, if *other* countries torture, there's not a lot we can do about it, and if they pass the info on to us, we'd be remiss if we didn't use it. Ethically dubious, but not illegal, I don't think.
Weren't there reports of the US actually sending people to places where torture is common and then hanging round outside the torture chamber whistling and cleaning its nails? And if it should just hear some juicy info, well, that's all well and good...
As long as information extracted from the president and his administration using these methods is admissible, then I'm down with it.
*watches outside for black vehicles*
*drives up outside freethought's place in black Caprice Classic, honks twice, takes off laughing*
My local cops never used bamboo shoots -- they just drove you up to the old quarry and explained what's what. Seriously, though, I just don't see how Democratic values can be protected by illegal means. Equality under the law should mean exactly that. No exceptions, no redefining POWs as Enemy Combattants to get out of your legal obligations, no claims for 'just one more.' If you give up Democratic values in your fight for them, you are unworthy of claiming those values for yourself -- their enjoyment, or their protections. On a more 'practical' level, what use is this information now, anyway? Torture is notoriously unreliable, as the victim will say anything simply to make it stop. Plus, these guys have been in cages for three years -- anything they have to say will be hopelessly out of date already. But that's just me. What the hell do I know? It's not like I have the smarts to become President.
despite what the Red Cross thinks, there is no torture going on at Gitmo
I trust the Red Cross. I have, several times, trusted the Red Cross enough to let them stick needles in my arm and suck out my blood. That, I think, is an awful lot of trust. Boyle, on the other hand, is like a cross between a lawyer and a politician. And we all know how the whole country feels about lawyers now don't we. 2. The point isn't whether it's illegal or not. You don't need a law to tell you not to beat the shit out of prisoners. Especially prisoners who have not yet been convicted, or even tried. They are HUMAN BEINGS.
That's what I was thinking, Capt. I mean, in the Inquisition you had people admitting to riding broomsticks naked and kissing Old Nick's browneye so long as it meant no more sessions in the iron boots.
Of course, you can't prove they WEREN'T guilty of the Devil's Rim Job...
Granted, it may be at least as reliable as some other information the gov'mt came up with I could name, but that's none too reliable, as we all know.
To Bernockle- The only reason that the constitution does not apply is the legal fiction that Guantanamo is Cuban territory. Otherwise, it would fall under the same law that US Embassies and army bases do, and the prisoners would have the same protections un the constitution. However, this is one of those times in which a broader reading should be discussed. Why doesn't the US constitution apply to anyone held under the authority of the US, no matter where? The central idea of the protections (ie rights) is that all people have them (embued by their Creator), and that the constitution limits the powers of our government to infringe upon those rights. Human rights are based on humanity, something that the framers at least implicitly implied. Instead of seeking a way to weasel out and provide less rights for those not lucky enough to be born or live here, we as the "greatest country on earth" should be seeking ways to extend the rights and protections that we recognize to all the people on the globe. Arguments to limit rights due to geography are philosophically bankrupt, no matter how legally ingenious they may be.
I suppose we could worry about what kind of information is being gotten. For example: admissions of some guilt versus a specific piece of intelligence. Remember Marathon Man? He didn't know if it was safe so he couldn't answer. But I'm sure a false confession could have been had via the tooth drilling.
Weren't there reports of the US actually sending people to places where torture is common and then hanging round outside the torture chamber whistling and cleaning its nails?
I think it's clear that the constitution applies to everyone in the US, not just residents/citizens - or we could feel free to torture any european or canadian visitors any time we felt like it.
*whistles, cleans nails*
Oh, well, bernockle. I'm sure you won't mind if the rest of the world starts applying these new moral standards to Americans, either.
I like how the Guardian describes us - "[Maher Arar] was not charged in the US or even extradited to Canada, a friendly country with an inconvenient regard for the rule of law." An incidentally, not only the country in which he was a citizen and current resident, but also where he had been trying to return to when he was detained in New York on a freaking
. He wasn't even trying to enter the United States. That said, I don't know if the constitution does protect aliens living in the U.S. I am an alien in the U.S. - and I've been warned that I do not have the same rights as a citizen. My friend has been subject to special registry, and photographed and finger-printed without any charges. I think bernockle is right - this is a moral and international law issue, but unless the constitution is phrased in such a way that it restricts the actions of the U.S. gov't (rather than granting rights to U.S. citizens), there is not a legal basis for bringing the U.S. constitution in.
I seem to have been misunderstood. I do not condone this kind of treatment in any situation. I was simply stating that I do not think that Constitutional protections apply to these people. That is not to say that there are not plenty of other reasons to oppose this treatment or to try to force the US to such UNgenevaCONVENTIONAL tactics.
Um, It was the official position of the general council to the president of the united state, Mr. Gonzales, who is about to become the attorney general, that if the president so decides, the geneva conventions, an international treaty ratified by the congress and president of the united states, is null and void. It was the official position untill people noticed how fricken icky that was. HOw it was unconstitutional and illegal, and highly immoral. But then again, i like to think back to what happened with the good old total information awareness program. how rummy said " everyone said henny-penny the sky is falling, so we changed the name. It's still happeneing, but it won't be called the same thing, and you'll never hear about it." Let's just say the current administrations record with above board moral behavior concerning citizens and non-citizens alike is not stellar. on preview, yes, Bernockle, the constitution very clearly states that international treaties once ratified have the force of law. So this is very clearly illegal.
Would the threat of extraordinary rendition be a form of mental torture in and of itself? "If you don't talk now, we'll send you to (country X) where they'll shove hot pokers up your ass!" That's fear and intimidation, at the very least.
the constitution very clearly states that international treaties once ratified have the force of law
Despite the U.S. being a signatory to the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, we conveniently ignore the parts we dislike (see 'punishment, capital'). Overall, I agree with what most people said: these actions may be legal, but they are shady at best and downright disgusting at worst.
The Constitution is a list of rules for the US government to follow. The Constitution applies whenever the US government is involved. If the US government wants to torture, it must first ammend the Constitution to allow it.
Speaking for all americans with a conscience, I apologize for what this country has become: a morally vacant, arrogant nation with no claim to legitimacy either morally or legally. I hope that those who support such actions experience them personally to themselves first hand in every possible way. They have lost all touch with civilization, democracy and freedom and do not deserve to experience what they would willingly take away from others.
But is it a list of rules that the US gov't must follow in regard to
or every human person who happens to be within their borders or in their custody (legal or illegal immigration status)? I still don't know (and have been told it was only the former). As to the legality of breaking international treaties, that is a different issue (mayeb constitutional, but not really an issue of constitutional rights).
That is not to say that there are not plenty of other reasons to oppose this treatment or to try to force the US to such UNgenevaCONVENTIONAL tactics.
The problem, bernockle, is that the US government has already stated that the rules of the World Court or UN do not apply to it. There are no international rules that the current administration will accept as valid. Therefore, the real worry is that the US can and does act as if it has fiat to do as it pleases.
/potential derail/ Curious George: Guantanimo is in Cuba - How come there is a US base/prison/torturedeathcamp in Cuba, but you can't buy cuban cigars in the US? I just dont get it from a political standpoint... /endof derail/ As for information garnered from (someone elses) torture sessions - eh... tough one. Shame to let it go to waste after someone took all that effort and mess to extract it... Thought experiment: If I got wind that my neighbor (he's a dodgy looking fucker) was planning something nefarious, and I beat him to a pulp and got him to admit he was planning to burn down your workplace - would you continue to go to work? What if I beat a timetable out of him? What the application of a rubber hose revealed to me the location of the kerosine and the date/time he'd placed the timing mechanism? Yes, its contrived thats why its a thought experiment, but surely at some point, you'd use the info to save your own, and other lives - irrespective of how it was obtained...? Of course, I'd still be a torturing rubber hose weilding, neighbor smacking scum bag, but thats not the issue is it... I guess, at what point does 'information being used' go from trivial to life saving, and what point does unpleasantness become torture? (actually I'm sure torture is defined somewhere fairly concretely) OK, I admit Ive been at the beer again. Feel free to ignore my ramblings...
Would the threat of extraordinary rendition be a form of mental torture in and of itself? ... That's fear and intimidation, at the very least.
I believe the achilles heel of that argument is that the authorities are allowed to lie to you in any manner in order to elicite information. So any threat could simply be passed off later as simply that - a threat with no substance.
Incidently, this is the number one thing to remember when detained by police. Everything they tell you must be treated as a likely lie, because they are allowed to literally say anything, and often do. The second thing to remember is that you must
actively affirm your desire for a lawyer. If you don't literally stand up and shout "Give me lawyer access now!" and then shut up and say nothing else, the courts have ruled the police are in no way obligated to do anything at all.
I guess, at what point does 'information being used' go from trivial to life saving, and what point does unpleasantness become torture?
That's not the point at issue here. The issue is not whether evidence obtained through torture can be used, but whether it can be used to convict or detain those tortured. I believe the classic response is that you can torture all you want, and use the information as you will to prevent further harm, but it cannot be used to convict the tortured, since it is evidenced obtained through blatantly illegal coercion,
the torturer must also be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for their crimes.
(oops, hit wrong button, to continue...) One aspect I'm unsure of is whether evidence gained by a member of the public through torture can be used to convict or hold those tortured. I know that authorities can use evidence supplied to them independently by the public, even if that evidence is obtained illegally, but I don't know if that applies to evidence obtained through coercion. Of course, even if you argue the authorities could use the evidence against those tortured, they should still also prosecute the torturer to the full extent of the law. Incidentally, if you wish to read more on this subject, Michael Ignatieff's 2003 Gifford Lecture series on the ethics of torture was excellent. It did a fantastic job of outlining and exploring
the aspects, so that even if you did not agree with his conclusions, you had the proper framework to make your own. I have to buy and re-read the book version.
But is it a list of rules that the US gov't must follow in regard to U.S. citizens or every human person who happens to be within their borders or in their custody (legal or illegal immigration status)?
The key factor isn't "is a US cutizen involved?" The key factor is "is the US government involved?" As long as the US government
involved, then the Constitution applies. It's a set of rules to dictate how the US government behaves. Imagine if I went out and killed an illegal Mexican immigrant, and then tryed to make the case that I've done nothing wrong since US murder laws apply only to US citizens. This is the case the ProTorture-ites are trying to make for the feds. I have a set of rules I have to follow, and they don't change when I'm standing in front of a Mexican. The government has a set rules that it has to follow, and they don't change when the feds are standing in front of an Iraqi.
Knickerbocker - your example is from criminal law, not of a constitutional right. Criminal law does clearly apply to all within the country, but rights may not. The right to vote, for instance, is normally restricted to citizens. I am asking whether the right of habeus corpus, to a fair trial, is extended to non-citizens or not. They do not have to be, it's just a matter of how the constitution was written or intepreted. For instance, as a non-American living in the States, I do not know if I have Miranda rights. I know I do not have a rght to freedom of movement - I must report my location to the U.S. gov't whenever I move. If the rules were written as "the U.S. gov't cannot do X" - then you could make the arguemnt they should stand no matter who X is being done to. But if they were written "Citizens have the right not have X done to them" - then that does not apply. Are there any experts on the U.S. constitution around?
There is something that those who advocate torture fail to understand and have done no research on: torture as a method of extracting information does not work. If you are going to torture someone, they will tell you anything you want to hear to avoid the torture. If you are torturing them, they will tell you anything, confess to anything to stop the torture. The Mossad, among other agencies, utilizes torture and it also uses interogative techniques designed to 'trap' someone in conflicting statements, some of these methods involve gaining the confidence of the person being questioned. Sodium pentathol is another means of obtaining information without torture. The only individuals who think torture is a viable strategy to obtain information are sadistic in nature and because of that fact should not be allowed to have any power over anyone in any possible way. Yet here we are... Staring into the abyss, which gets wider and wider, deeper and deeper, expanding every day towards us as we try to ignore the reality of what is happening to those we do not know, or trying to convince ourselves that 'it could never happen to me.'
they just drove you up to the old quarry and explained what's what
Quebec cops favoured putting a phonebook up to the side of your head, then punching the hell out of it in the back of a cop car. No marks that way. Happened to an ex-boyfriend.