Bush: “This government does not torture people.” No, Bush II’s henchpeople just slap terror suspects, waterboard them, and give them the chills

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Oct 08, 2007 Bush: “This government does not torture people.” No, Bush II’s henchpeople just slap terror suspects, waterboard them, and give them the chills

Bill of Rights. (From the public domain.)

The Bush Administration, thinking it knows what is best for the American people (or, more likely, fearful of the people’s backlash once they learn the truth about the government’s torture of terror suspects), continues to operate under as much secrecy as it can in detaining, harshly interrogating, and torturing terror suspects.

The New York Times reported on October 5, 2007:

– “In two separate legal opinions written in 2005, the Justice Department authorized the C.I.A. to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.”

– Bush II on October 5 insisted: “This government does not torture people.” He was responding about a disclosed secret Justice Department legal opinion allowing harsh physical tactics in interrogating terror suspects just months after the Justice Department claimed torture to be abhorrent. Apparently the shift came with Alberto Gonzales’s taking the helm of the Justice Department.

– Bush II claimed such interrogation methods had been “fully disclosed to appropriate members of Congress.” However, Congress members apparently were not provided the documents authorizing such harsh interrogation methods, and West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller — for one — insists on having those documents.

– Bush II said: “And when we find somebody who may have information regarding a potential attack on America, you bet we’re going to detain them, and you bet we’re going to question them, because the American people expect us to find out information – actionable intelligence so we can help protect them. That’s our job.”  Where will Bush II draw the line at such detentions? At least on American soil, the Constitution does not allow detaining people merely because they “may have information regarding a potential attack on America.”

– White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto complained that the New York Times, which revealed this harsh interrogation authorization, harmed the nation’s security. There is nothing like having the government play the national security card to try to avoid responsibility for trampling on human rights. During times of war — Bush II considers a war on terrorism to be in existence — the people must be particularly vigilant to protect everyone’s civil liberties and human rights, both to protect people’s rights today, and to prevent such wartime violations from spilling into peacetime, as well.

If we do not protect the basic human rights of terrorism suspects, then none of our rights are safe from the Bush II regime. Moreover, if you think you are not a potential terrorism target, just speak to Brandon Mayfield, who will prove you wrong. If you think Bush II’s hench people do not try to indefinitely detain terror suspects — even those who are United States citizens — speak to Jose Padilla or his lawyers. Moreover, the same Bush administration that advocates harsh physical interrogation of terror suspects is the same Bush administration that prosecutes federal crimes and imprisons suspected and convicted federal criminals. How should the Bush administration be expected to respect and protect federal criminal suspects’ and defendants’ Constitutional rights when it will not respect terror suspects’ human rights?

Finally, John D. Hutson, who was the former top Navy lawyer during the Clinton administration makes a good point that: “The problem is, once you’ve got a legal opinion that says such a [harsh physical interrogation] technique is O.K., what happens when one of our people is captured and they do it to him? How do we protest then?”

Please speak out now against the Bush administration’s violation of human rights as part of its anti-terror campaign.

Jon Katz.

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