At his year end press conference Bush waxed poetic on Rummy and his love for the troops...
"I know Secretary Rumsfeld's heart," Bush said..."Sometimes, perhaps, his demeanor is rough and gruff, but beneath that rough and gruff, no-nonsense demeanor is a good human being who cares deeply about the military, and deeply about the grief that war causes," Bush said.
Right, grumpy old grandpa just doesn't care too much about human rights or the rule of law.
The NYT reports today:
"...documents, released Monday in connection with a lawsuit accusing the government of being complicit in torture, also include accounts by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who said they had seen detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, being chained in uncomfortable positions for up to 24 hours and left to urinate and defecate on themselves.
An agent wrote that in one case a detainee who was nearly unconscious had pulled out much of his hair during the night.
One of the memorandums released Monday was addressed to Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, and other senior bureau officials, and it provided the account of someone "who observed serious physical abuses of civilian detainees" in Iraq.
The memorandum, dated June 24 this year, was an "Urgent Report," meaning that the sender regarded it as a priority. It said the witness "described that such abuses included strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees' ear openings and unauthorized interrogations."
But it's all okay because the Wall Street Journal says:
Bush administration lawyers contended last year that the president wasn't bound by laws prohibiting torture and that government agents who might torture prisoners at his direction couldn't be prosecuted by the Justice Department.
The advice was part of a classified report on interrogation methods prepared for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after commanders at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, complained in late 2002 that with conventional methods they weren't getting enough information from prisoners.
The president, despite domestic and international laws constraining the use of torture, has the authority as commander in chief to approve almost any physical or psychological actions during interrogation, up to and including torture, the report argued.
The Sgt. Schultz defense
Civilian or military personnel accused of torture or other war crimes have several potential defenses, including the "necessity" of using such methods to extract information to head off an attack, or "superior orders," sometimes known as the Nuremberg defense: namely that the accused was acting pursuant to an order and, as the Nuremberg tribunal put it, no "moral choice was in fact possible."
Evidence abtained by torture a-okay too
Evidence gained by torture can be used by the U.S. military in deciding whether to imprison a foreigner indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an enemy combatant, the government says.
Statements produced under torture have been inadmissible in U.S. courts for about 70 years. But the U.S. military panels reviewing the detention of 550 foreigners as enemy combatants at the U.S. naval base in Cuba are allowed to use such evidence, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle acknowledged at a U.S. District Court hearing Thursday.
About 70 years ago, the Supreme Court stopped the use of evidence produced by third-degree tactics largely on the theory that it was totally unreliable," Harvard Law Professor Philip B. Heymann, a former deputy U.S. attorney general, said in an interview. Subsequent high court rulings were based on revulsion at "the unfairness and brutality of it and later on the idea that confessions ought to be free and uncompelled."
Leon asked whether U.S. courts could review detentions based on evidence from torture conducted by U.S. personnel.
Boyle said torture was against U.S. policy and any allegations of it would be "forwarded through command channels for military discipline." He added, "I don't think anything remotely like torture has occurred at Guantanamo" but noted that some U.S. soldiers there had been disciplined for misconduct...
Of course, always the lowly soldier never the 'Gruff" old secretary of defence.
Meanwhile at our closest ally's own gitmo.
The British Law Lords ruled indefinite detentions are more dangerous than terrorists.
Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, in his ruling, said: "Indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial is anathema in any country which observes the rule of law.
"It deprives the detained person of the protection a criminal trial is intended to afford."
In a blow to the government's anti-terror measures, the House of Lords ruled by an eight to one majority in favour of appeals by nine detainees.
The Law Lords said the measures were incompatible with European human rights laws..." [That must be old Europe.]