Legal Torture

Obsidian Wings has a very important post about a bill in Congress which will allow the US to legally send suspected terrorists to any country for torture.

The Republican leadership of Congress is attempting to legalize extraordinary rendition. “Extraordinary rendition” is the euphemism we use for sending terrorism suspects to countries that practice torture for interrogation.

[…] As it stands now, “extraordinary rendition” is a clear violation of international law—specifically, the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Degrading and Inhuman Treatment. U.S. law is less clear. We signed and ratified the Convention Against Torture, but we ratified it with some reservations. They might create a loophole that allows us to send a prisoner to Egypt or Syria or Jordan if we get “assurances” that they will not torture a prisoner—even if these assurances are false and we know they are false.

Here is some information about the bill from Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Congressman’s office.

These are excerpts from a press release one of Markey’s staffers just emailed me:

The provision Rep. Markey referred to is contained in Section 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the “9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004,” introduced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). The provision would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue new regulations to exclude from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, any suspected terrorist – thereby allowing them to be deported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture. The provision would put the burden of proof on the person being deported or rendered to establish “by clear and convincing evidence that he or she would be tortured,” would bar the courts from having jurisdiction to review the Secretary’s regulations, and would free the Secretary to deport or remove terrorist suspects to any country in the world at will – even countries other than the person’s home country or the country in which they were born. The provision would also apply retroactively.

Please contact your Congressman and tell him/her to vote against this provision.

And in November, please vote the Republicans out who are thinking up such crazy laws and has been doing what the law would make legal for quite some time now.

Here is the text of the bill (large PDF file; another option is to go here and search for HR10). Sections 3032 and 3033 are the relevant ones.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. Yeesh. We’ve been doing this for decades, but is there any reason the Bushies suddenly want to legalize it? That’s a major step in the wrong direction. I’ll call my congressman.

  2. Just say no

    I’ve previously written about the United States’ decades-old practice of engaging in irregular renditions and subcontracting torture by deporting suspects to countries where torture is widespread. These are among the more unsavory tactics of the “war o…

  3. On government level, in the old times kings used to torture people to break them for retrieving information but there is no record available to say that they were ever able to extract any useful information. People have also been tortured just for telling the truth or doing the right thing. What happened to Socrates and the like. All the Phophets of God were tortures, maximum torture having been given to Jesus and Muhammad (may peace be upon them. Amen)
    Then came the so-called free world countries who, under the cover of librating other counties / nations or making peace, tortured people on mass scale. British East India company and then British government (18th & 19th centuies) perpetrated torture on Indian. Germans of Hitler’s era, present-day Russians, Israel, India, America, no government is an exception to it, rather they have been doing it at mass scale. But it had been without a legal cover. Now that America (the only super power) wishes to legalize it, that will encourage those government who are so for afraid of do it.

  4. As a companion to the popular Guantanamo pilot project, the Washington warlord syndicate merely wishes to codify and document its preferences and expectations regarding treatment of its own nationals when seized by foreign powers.

    Currently, some 200 thousand odd US nationals are engaged in aggression against local populations in various locations around the globe.

  5. Update on the Outsourcing of Torture

    The Corpus Callosum has conducted its own survey, and would like to add the following to the list of those opposed to the outsourcing of torture:

  6. That’s a truly despicable piece of legislation! I intend to contact my congressmen.

  7. Brian: That’s definitely true.

    Jonathan: While I would like the US to stop doing this completely, legalization is a step in the wrong direction.

    DuctapeFatwa: What’s with the overblown rhetoric?

  8. I believe that torture is still going to be WRONG even if it is legalized. It is a big human rights abuse. This might lead to the same act the occurred in El Salvador during the 1980’s were thousands of civilians were killed by the “death squads” through torture.

  9. Taxi To the Dark Side

    It’s a documentary about Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver, who was tortured and murdered as well as the torture policies of the Bush administration. I provide a lot of links to information about torture.

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