You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.
Stop Torture » Blog Archive » Senators’ Questions to Mukasey Raise Possibility of Torture and War Crimes Prosecutions

Stop Torture

The Harvard Anti-Torture Coalition

Senators’ Questions to Mukasey Raise Possibility of Torture and War Crimes Prosecutions

Posted by stoptorture on October 27th, 2007

Questions about torture and war crimes prosecutions of U.S. officials have begun to surface around the debate on Michael Mukasey. The stakes were raised again in the Mukasey confirmation process when Senator Cardin submitted a single page of questions for Mukasey asking him whether he would, as Attorney General, order the Justice Department to prosecute those who have committed torture or have conspired to commit torture. Other written questions from senators also raise the possibility of criminal liability for U.S. officials, including:

1) “Is waterboarding torture?” sent by Senator Kennedy; and

2) [Ed.: heavily paraphrased]: “Do you agree with Senator Warner—primary author of the Military Commissions Act of 2006—that waterboarding and several other techniques are ‘clearly prohibited’ ‘grave breaches’ of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions [Ed.: thereby making them war crimes under the War Crimes Act] that Congress intended to criminalize?” submitted by Senator Biden.

What makes Water(boarding)gate a scandal waiting to happen?

1) Waterboarding is the most brutal form of torture that the Bush administration has failed to disavow.

2) The administration has secretly authorized waterboarding at the highest levels of the Justice Department and possibly even the Oval Office.

3) Waterboarding has reportedly been practiced by U.S. agents within the past six years.

4) Torture is a U.S. federal crime and an international crime. In the context of wars, torture is a war crime under domestic and international law.


5) If Mukasey admits, as any honest lawyer must, that waterboarding is illegal, he—who is potentially the next Attorney General and would therefore be head prosecutor in the U.S.—would seemingly be conceding the possibility of very serious criminal liability for a large number of low-level and high-level U.S. officials, including cabinet members and potentially even the President and Vice President.

Mukasey himself has acknowledged his overaching concern over subjecting U.S. officials to criminal and other liability during his confirmation hearings. Asked by Senator Durbin at day two of his confirmation hearings about the legality of waterboarding and other torture techniques, Mukasey replied: “I don’t think that I can responsibly talk about any technique here, because of the very — I’m not going to discuss, and I should not — I’m sorry, I can’t discuss, and I think it would be irresponsible of me to discuss particular techniques with which I am not familiar, when there are people who are using coercive techniques and who are being authorized to use coercive techniques, and for me to say something that is going to put their careers or freedom at risk simply because I want to be congenial, I don’t think it would be responsible of me to do that” (emphasis added). Senator Durbin then reminded Mukasey, “This is not a congeniality contest.”

Indeed, congeniality is not the issue, accountability for torture is.

See also:

Water(boarding)gate Continues; Mukasey’s Confirmation Uncertain

Senators “Deeply Troubled” by Mukasey’s Refusal to Call Waterboarding Illegal

Dear Senate: Torture is Non-Negotiable

Harvard Law Faculty Letter Urges Senate to Call for Accountability on Waterboarding

Be Sociable, Share!

21 Responses to “Senators’ Questions to Mukasey Raise Possibility of Torture and War Crimes Prosecutions”

  1. Isaiah Kendzierski Says:

    Heard about a new webcam site called Chat Spasm.

  2. Computers Says:

    Ron Paul in 2012!

  3. Hong Salen Says:

    Hello, – discovered your website by accident whilst searching around the internet this evening, and happy that I did! I like the page structure and tones, but I really should say that I’m having trouble when it loads. I’m using OmniWeb 5 internet browser for mac, and the menu does not lineup the right way. i’m confident I have applied exactly the same layout on a client’s site, but the menu seems O.k on mine. I have an idea the mistake is with my browser & I guess today’s the day to swap!

  4. Rodrigo Monsen Says:

    good article. thank you for sharing!

  5. Anjanette Merthie Says:

    Hi I love this post and it is so informational and I am gonna save it. I Have to say the Indepth analysis you have done is greatly remarkable.Who goes that extra mile these days? Bravo.. Just one more suggestion you canget a Translator for your Global Readers 🙂

  6. Oxo Good Grips Silic Says:

    After all that’s enounced and done I ‘m curious to get word how many peoples truly realise the author has merely revealed. Thank you.

  7. Derick Kramm Says:

    You made some decent factors there. I appeared on the internet for the problem and found most individuals will associate with with your website.

  8. Simone Dail Says:

    Search engine optimization wants an excellent search engine optimizer plan. Just one among these strategies can make an enormous distinction in your websites place and firm your web site brings you.

  9. CRL Forest Green 100 Series Says:

    Well I sincerely liked reading it. This information provided by you is very helpful Thank you.

  10. กระเป๋าแบรนด์เนม Says:

    La ringrazio, vorrei anche qualcosa potete aiutare?

  11. kızoyunlarıoyna Says:

    Great helpful text! I am startedout with my article, bingand I decided to learn about readership gamesthank you so so so much for this article 3d oyunlar

  12. jewelry greensboro Says:

    Give thanks to you with concepts unique evaluate; this might be the tip whom maintains i created from occasion.There are for a long time lengthy came about in liking at the time of in the web-site correct soon after My spouse and i investigated at the time of people from their sturdy pal on top of which was first overjoyed the marriage presents which fruit was in a great job to locate it proceedure fit following looking for temporarly while. Transforming into a practiced tumblr, So i am satisfied to see completly others swallowing gumption and on top of that ingesting at the society. Freezing well liked to evaluate to provide get enjoyment within create currently especially fighting, and simply a substantial total amount of world-wide-web freelancers wouldn’t see your credit score many individuals probably need to hold. Supporter and highly positive Watch appear back again as quickly and definately should watercraft up a number really own acquaintances.

  13. malignant mesothelioma prognosis Says:

    This is great send. What i am pleased with the number of the content. I need to say I will be able to discuss this to my contacts. This really is recommended. Not just for I discovered a lot using this type of, but of this article is quality as well as new to me. I’ll consult you at some point almost right away again.

  14. wedding stamps Says:

    Thank you, I’ve just been searching for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve discovered till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

  15. Static Contraction Review Says:

    I have tried wather boarding (with control) and it is really really scarry… I can only imagine what people are feeling when they are intimidated 🙁 , however I have also seen videos with people chopping heads… so… It sucks but it is the best action (really)… because innocent people might get hurt.

    It would be best if we would all just get along… there is enough for everyone on this planet and we really don’t need to do this… it is literally insanity. I suggest you watch zietheist 3 on youtube…

  16. Williemae Calvaresi Says:

    Keep up the excellent work, I read few blog posts on this website and I think that your website is rattling interesting and has bands of fantastic information.

  17. Gifted Child Says:

    Rattling excellent information can be found on website .

  18. with lots of as the muffins outstanding tone. Says:

    The next time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this 1.I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I really thought youd have something fascinating to say.All I hear is actually a bunch of whining about something that you could fix in the event you werent too busy looking for attention.

  19. tratamiento para las estrias Says:

    welcome, primary blog on lardy loss. like helped.

  20. Mary Says:

    Oh, an excellent description! No idea how you managed to write this’d take me weeks. Well worth it though, I’d assume. Have you considered selling advertising space on your blog?

  21. Keenan Hammerlund Says:

    Go President Obama! This is an issue that goes under-reported far too many times, and I commend the President for taking a stand and taking action to help solve the problem.