An Impeachable Offense


phoenixApparently the Trump administration is drafting an order to review the usage of “black sites” abroad.

In plain English that’s called “conspiracy to commit torture” which is a crime under Section 18 of the US Code, chapter 113c.

(a)Offense. Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

(b)Jurisdiction. There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if—

(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or

(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.

c)Conspiracy. A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy. [Cornell Law Library](emphasis added)

It’s not just a minor crime, either. It is a capital offense.

The provenance of the alleged draft document is under debate. Per the Washington Post:[1]

The document was provided to The Post by a person who said it had been circulated among agencies in Washington for comment. The immediate feedback, this person said, helped convince the White House counsel that the document needed wider distribution and review before being finalized. It was unclear which agencies received the document, but those with the most direct stake would include the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State and Justice departments.
US invasion forces water torturing a suspected Vietnamese insurgent

US invasion forces water torturing a suspected Vietnamese insurgent

Usually when the media report about torture and “extreme rendition” they cast the discussion in terms of international law. Because the US is not signatory to some international laws that may cover torture. The reason the US is not signatory is irrelevant because US law is clear enough.

The US executed Japanese prison camp officials who water tortured American soldiers during WWII. CIA interrogators murdered several Afghan civilians during the occupation, one by beating him to near death, then allowing him to die of exposure.

I hope the picture to the right is staged, because the soldier with the canteen is smiling.

The term “extreme rendition” is, of course, another one of those weasel-words the craven lapdogs in the media like to hide behind now that they have a scary new master. It’s just a fancy word for conspiracy to torture. The idea is that you ship someone to someplace where everyone will look the other way, then let someone torture them. That’s the very definition of “conspiracy.” It has been ongoing: we don’t know exactly which president started committing this crime but at least every one since Bush.

It is surreal to me that we can have politicians investigated for years over getting their penis sucked by an intern (which is a Human Resources issue) or mishandling official records in their personal e-mail server, but everyone just puts their fingers in their ears about something that has been a capital crime in the US since 1984.

Someone should perform a citizen’s arrest on the president.

Comments

  1. Siobhan says

    It is surreal to me that we can have politicians investigated for years over getting their penis sucked by an intern (which is a Human Resources issue) or mishandling official records in their personal e-mail server, but everyone just puts their fingers in their ears about something that has been a capital crime in the US since 1984.

    Worse–the politician’s wife can apparently be held responsible for the infidelity of their husband too. The number of times I had to say “Bill isn’t running” stunned me.

    I don’t think infidelity speaks highly of someone’s character but I’d vote for an adulterer with a history of socialist, pacifist policy way sooner than I’d vote for a serial rapist. Trying to put myself in the shoes of Republican supporters just gives me migraines because of how much information I have to pretend I don’t have.

  2. johnson catman says

    Someone should perform a citizen’s arrest on the president.

    Yeah, good luck with that.

    Some research material that may help:

  3. AndrewD says

    Torture is also an offense under the European Convention of Human Rights, the relevant article is Section £ and Wikipedia has the following :-

    Article 3 – torture

    Article 3 prohibits torture and “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. There are no exceptions or limitations on this right. This provision usually applies, apart from torture, to cases of severe police violence and poor conditions in detention.

    The Court has emphasized the fundamental nature of Article 3 in holding that the prohibition is made in “absolute terms … irrespective of a victim’s conduct”.[18] The Court has also held that states cannot deport or extradite individuals who might be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in the recipient state.[19]

    Initially the Court took a restrictive view on what consisted of torture, preferring to find that states had inflicted inhuman and degrading treatment. Thus the court held that practices such as sleep deprivation, subjecting individual to intense noise and requiring them to stand against a wall with their limbs outstretched for extended periods of time, did not constitute torture.[20] In fact the Court only found a state guilty of torture in 1996 in the case of a detainee who was suspended by his arms while his hands were tied behind his back.[21] Since then the Court has appeared to be more open to finding states guilty of torture and has even ruled that since the Convention is a “living instrument”, treatment which it had previously characterized as inhuman or degrading treatment might in future be regarded as torture.[22]

    My bolding – as all other articles have weasel room built in and Art 3 is the only one that doesn’t I deduce that the only reason certain UK politicians and fellow travelers want to withdraw from the ECHR, is to be allowed to torture with impunity.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    The term “extreme rendition” is, of course, another one of those weasel-words the craven lapdogs in the media like to hide behind now that they have a scary new master

    Odd use of the word “new” to describe Murdoch.

    Unless you meant Trump, in which case where have you been? The media have been using the phrase “extraordinary rendition” to describe this practice regularly since at least Clinton. This is not a Trump-related issue.

  5. says

    johnson catman@#2:
    Yeah, good luck with that

    I know it wouldn’t go down well. It would be interesting, though. There was a movement for a while to arrest Henry Kissinger if he went to certain countries. I would dearly wish to see Obama arrested if he ever sets foot in most of the civilized world. I think that’s one reason ex-presidents tend to stay within the US.

    If Trump turns up the torture, it would be nice to see less subservient nations say “we can’t have you in our country because our police may feel obligated to arrest you.”

    Of course it will never happen, because: divine right of kings.

  6. multitool says

    Well we’d have to arrest our last two presidents as well.
    .
    The anti-torture rule may come in handy though when used as an excuse to depose someone for other reasons, along the lines of Al Capone’s tax fraud.
    .
    At first I thought it would be impossible for the GOP-run Congress to ever undercut Trump, but then it dawned on me that they’re kind of primed for a coup. Consider how many other Republicans are just dying for a chance to gain advantage, and extract vengeance, at the first sign of weakness from the White House. Also consider the huge liability Trump will pose to the entire GOP if he continues to become more erratic.
    .
    Of course the coup could take another form. The president may suddenly start to look like a drugged-out puppet who makes very few public appearances, if they bribe his doctor. Or he may come down with a severe illness that forces him to resign. But either way we will have a new unelected GOP apparatchik and the illusion of democracy will become even thinner.

  7. says

    AndrewD@#3:
    My bolding – as all other articles have weasel room built in and Art 3 is the only one that doesn’t I deduce that the only reason certain UK politicians and fellow travelers want to withdraw from the ECHR, is to be allowed to torture with impunity.

    That’s certainly possible. It’s also a point that the UK has now been conclusively shown to be conspiring with the US to violate EU privacy laws in the most egregious possible manner.

    I don’t imagine anyone would do something as over the top as brexit just for those reasons. But then there’s a lot of stuff going on that doesn’t make much sense to me now.

  8. says

    multitool@#6:
    Well we’d have to arrest our last two presidents as well.

    I’m in favor of that. They’re all war criminals and murderers who deserve capital punishment.

  9. says

    sonofrojblake@#4:
    Odd use of the word “new” to describe Murdoch.

    I’m showing my age, huh? When I was a teenager and watergate was the thing, the press corps patted itself all over the back for being daring champions of liberty. I probably shouldn’t have bought that (come to think of it, this was the press that sold the Gulf of Tonkin lie and many other cold war lies) So I guess it just looks to me like the press are getting more craven and subservient: they’ve sucked all along, haven’t they?

  10. says

    Shiv@#1:
    Trying to put myself in the shoes of Republican supporters just gives me migraines because of how much information I have to pretend I don’t have.

    There is enough cognitive dissonance going on to trigger a fusion reaction, for sure.

  11. blf says

    The nasty party in the UK has always(?) objected to the ECHR, almost certainly for multiple reasons, and probably not all of them admitted or correctly explained. One that they do say, and which is very probably is also a real reason they object, is it provides a court of appeal outside the UK’s own highly-flawed “justice” system.

    For instance, see Why are the Conservatives against the European court of human rights? (July-2014): “Tories have been stressing opposition to judicial supremacy of the ECHR in Strasbourg for the past year. Here’s why”…

    As an aside, the ECHR is not an EU institution, so the brexit nonsense does not affect the UK’s membership. The high court in the EU is the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

  12. says

    blf@#11:
    is it provides a court of appeal outside the UK’s own highly-flawed “justice” system.

    You mean, they’re worried someone might go to Europe and use European laws against English citizens, like how people go to England and use English libel laws against citizens of other countries? Like that?

    As an aside, the ECHR is not an EU institution, so the brexit nonsense does not affect the UK’s membership.

    Ah. I was assuming that there was probably some line somewhere in 12,000 pages of agreements that said “and you will follow the terms of…” that kind of thing (which is fairly commonly done) If you’re going to be working with the EU legal framework, you tend to have all the framework, I’ve noticed. (My experience with EU legal frameworks is mostly limited to privacy in computer security and networks, which is a fairly limited subset of that)

  13. blf says

    [ECHR] provides a court of appeal outside the UK’s own highly-flawed “justice” system.

    You mean, they’re worried someone might go to Europe and use European laws against English citizens, like how people go to England and use English libel laws against citizens of other countries? Like that?

    No, something like the UK courts rule “even though the police beat you up, they do not owe you an apology or any compensation”, and having exhausted your appeals in the UK(I think that is mandatory (not checked)), you go to the ECHR. It doesn’t matter whether or not the ECHR hears your case / appeal, or if they do what the ruling is, the UK’s nasty party is against the whole concept of having an ability to appeal outside the UK’s own courts.

    In addition, ECHR rulings establish a body of case law, but since it isn’t UK case law, or approved by Parliament, it canna be any good, can it?… or so “reasons” the UK’s nasty party.

    The ECHR was established by the European Convention on Human Rights (or, broadly speaking, Council of Europe), with a much larger membership than the EU, including, as one example, Russia.

  14. sonofrojblake says

    blf – have you explained the origin of the phrase “nasty party” to describe the UK Conservative party, currently in government?

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