Rep. Reyes Introduces a Measure Re-Criminalizing Torture

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Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), the chairman of the House intelligence committee, introduced an amendment to the 2010 intelligence authorization bill imposing a 15-year criminal sentence on any “officer or employee of the intelligence community” who tortures a detainee. (Twenty years if the torture involves an “act of medical malfeasance”; life if the detainee dies.)

Specifically, the proposed Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Interrogations Prohibition Act proscribes “forcing the individual to be naked, perform sexual acts or pose in a sexual manner” — a la Abu Ghraib — “beatings, electrical shock, burns, or inflicting physical pain; waterboarding; using military working dogs; inducing hypothermia” — it happened at Guantanamo to Mohammed al-Qatani — sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation, denial of medical care, “using force or the threat of force”; “mock executions;” religious desecration in an intelligence context; “sensory deprivation”; “prolonged isolation”; “placing hoods or sacks over the heads of the individual;” “exploiting the phobias of the individual” and more. Basically, it clarifies that the entire parade of outside-the-Army-Field-Manual-on-Interrogation horrors during the Bush administration are criminal acts. We’ll see if this ever actually makes it to President Obama’s desk.

The CIA declined to comment on pending legislation.

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Comments

24 Comments

Dan
Comment posted February 25, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

DON'T DO IT! Do not propose this amendment, do not pass this amendment. Torture is already illegal. Bringing this amendment will only reinforce the Neo-Con belief what Bush did was legal. How about passing an amendment to fund the prosecution of the last administration.

Dan


alchemytoday
Comment posted February 25, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

Have you been reading the Corner today? Andy McCarthy already beat you to it:
http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NDVhNW…

“Waterboarding” is specified. In one sense, I’m glad they’ve done this because it proves a point I’ve been making all along. Waterboarding, as it was practiced by the CIA, is not torture and was never illegal under U.S. law. The reason the Democrats are reduced to doing this is: what they’ve been saying is not true — waterboarding was not a crime and it was fully supported by congressional leaders of both parties, who were told about it while it was being done.

I'm surprised more people don't talk about the congressional briefing documents that Hoekstra demanded (and were released, again, a couple days ago by the ACLU). Check out the number of Democrats vs. the number of Republicans briefed explicitly on EITs including waterboarding. I recall pouring through that and not being able to conclude that any Democrats other than Jane Harman on Rockefeller had been briefed about waterboarding before the controversy blew up.


sbvpav
Comment posted February 25, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

this should have been at the same time this president outlawed torture and/or enhanced interrogation methods. unless not, once the gop gets back in power, and unfortunately they will, torture in all it's glory will be back badder than ever!


sbvpav
Comment posted February 25, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

hear hear! failure to bring accountability to the last administration and what they did in our name – against our history from gen. washington to the neuremburg trials to the japanese offices in the pacific theatre – was immoral, did not work and made us and our troops less safe!


karela
Comment posted February 25, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

I like the idea because it not only confirms that torture is illegal (which we already know, but apparently we need to write it down again for the Cheney's of the world) but it also sets a specific punishment for doing it. If a guy knows that he's going to prison for fifteen years to life, he is much less likely to torture someone even if a Cheney tells him to. We didn't know we needed this law before Cheney but we do know it now. Obama put a stop to it by executive order but a President of a Cheney like character could reverse it again and call on the torture memo that Yoo and others gave them to allow it. We need this law.


millgrist
Comment posted February 25, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

torture is illegal already. if we won't press civil or criminal sanctions against those who ordered it, covered it with legal bullsh-t, and covered up for it …. why would we go after the poor hack who implements the order at a time of war?


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Trackback posted February 26, 2010 @ 5:36 am

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Bill Fisher
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 9:17 am

Spencer — how wold you rate the chances of this amendment surviving in the House?


Spencer Ackerman
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 9:31 am

Well, it’s done with already


House Abandons Intel Budget Vote Over Opposition to Torture Ban -- News from Antiwar.com
Pingback posted February 26, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

[...] “Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Interrogation Act of 2010” specifically banned a long list of forms of abuse and torture, and threatened interrogators with 15 years in prison for violating the bans. Interrogators would [...]


Smoke_and_Mirrors
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

It's about time, but Sleep Deprivation is not torture. Remove that and I am 100% for this bill.


Sam Wise Gingy
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

Yes sleep deprivation is torture.

If they did it to us, we would call it torture.

Another instance of Right wing irrationality.


Sam Wise Gingy
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

Let's outlaw speeding and running red lights too.


Sam Wise Gingy
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

Let's outlaw speeding and running red lights too.


Satorist
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

Right. And while we're at it, let's “recriminalize” rape and murder.

We don't need another law, we need to apply existing law and prosecute accordingly. The only reason that won't happen is the political elites don't want to prosecute Bush/Cheney, who clearly are criminals.

Passing new laws to penalize what are already criminal acts may seem noble but it isn't. First of all, why should we think the new law would be enforced any better than laws now on the books. Worse still, it suggests previous criminality was not illegal.


Smoke_and_Mirrors
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

It's about time, but Sleep Deprivation is not torture. Remove that and I am 100% for this bill.


Sam Wise Gingy
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

Yes sleep deprivation is torture.

If they did it to us, we would call it torture.

Another instance of Right wing irrationality.


Sam Wise Gingy
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

Let's outlaw speeding and running red lights too.


Sam Wise Gingy
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

Let's outlaw speeding and running red lights too.


Satorist
Comment posted February 26, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

Right. And while we're at it, let's “recriminalize” rape and murder.

We don't need another law, we need to apply existing law and prosecute accordingly. The only reason that won't happen is the political elites don't want to prosecute Bush/Cheney, who clearly are criminals.

Passing new laws to penalize what are already criminal acts may seem noble but it isn't. First of all, why should we think the new law would be enforced any better than laws now on the books. Worse still, it suggests previous criminality was not illegal.


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Pingback posted February 27, 2010 @ 11:16 am

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Pingback posted March 3, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

[...] Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) amends the 2010 intelligence authorization bill to add criminal penalties for: “forcing the individual to be naked, perform sexual acts or pose in a sexual manner” — a la [...]


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Comment posted August 12, 2010 @ 4:16 am

We don't need another law, we need to apply existing law and prosecute accordingly. The only reason that won't happen is the political elites don't want to prosecute Bush/Cheney, who clearly are criminals.


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Comment posted August 21, 2010 @ 2:33 am

We don't need another law, we need to apply existing law and prosecute accordingly.


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