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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/11/09

The Case for Disbarment of Lawyers Who Facilitated Torture Grows

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Lawyers were the lynchpin if they had given real legal advice: torture is illegal under domestic and international law; there would have been no torture program.


Since filing complaints against 12 Bush-Cheney lawyers the case for disbarment has gotten stronger.  More information is leaking out.  And, more and more Americans from citizens to generals to a former president are speaking out.  On June 10th, a coalition of hundreds of organizations filled an addendum to the complaints against these lawyers to highlight the new information.


The addendum included statements by two generals with first hand knowledge of what occurred in U.S. detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan. General David Patraeus said on May 29th that the U.S. violated the Geneva Conventions in carrying out “enhanced interrogations.”  On FOX TV, in response to a question about the controversial interrogation practices, Patraeus said:


“When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Conventions we rightly have been criticized, so as we move forward I think it's important to again live our values, to live the agreements that we have made in the international justice arena and to practice those.”


Patraeus even said that in the so-called “ticking time bomb” scenario torture techniques were not needed -- “the techniques that are in the Army Field Manual” were sufficient.  The Army Field Manual goes further than banning torture; it specifically requires humane treatment of prisoners and detainees.


Patraeus went on to say that he believed that banning the more extreme techniques had taken away “a tool” employed by “our enemies” as a moral argument against the United States.  He said Guantanamo Bay inflamed U.S. hostility and he supported its closure, commenting, “Gitmo has caused us problems, there’s no question about it . . . the existence of Gitmo has been used by the enemy against us.”


General Ricardo Sanchez, who was the top commander in Iraq when the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal became publis, also expressed concern with the torture and abuse of prisoners.  On May 31st he described torture as a “war crime” and called for a truth commission to investigate abusive interrogation practices.  Sanchez blamed prisoner abuse on the civilian and military command at all levels, concluding "and that is why I support the formation of a truth commission." 


Sanchez also disagreed with Dick Cheney's claim that torture helped stop terrorist attacks: "During my time in Iraq there was not one instance of actionable intelligence that came out of these interrogation techniques."  Sanchez expressed concern that the U.S. will repeat these errors, telling the Huffington Post, "If we do not find out what happened then we are doomed to repeat it."


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Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)
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