Sunday, April 19, 2009

183 Times

Star-spangled torture in action: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 alone.

Abu Zubaydah, by contrast, was waterboarded a mere 83 times in August 2002.

President Obama has ruled out prosecution of the CIA agents who carried out these gruesome interrogations because they received explicit authority and assurance of legal cover by the U.S. Justice Department.

That position is flat-out wrong and legally indefensible.

Just following orders is not an available defence in these matters, nor should it be. 

Nuremberg Principle IV spells this out plainly:

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.
Leaving that debate aside for the moment, however, I note the President has made no specific statement that expressly rules out investigation and prosecution of the civilian and military leaders who issued or authorized those appallingly un-American torture orders.

Mr. Obama still has opportunity to get this mostly right.

The world is waiting.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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