Torture And Terrorism

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 has brushed in a new era of interrogation techniques that may or may not be protected by national and international laws, depending on how one defines detainees and torture. These techniques are considered torture and are used to get valuable information from detainees. These techniques violate various laws; it takes place in certain places, there are reasons why it goes on there and the definition of torture can be misconstrued.

The treatment of prisoners including, but not limited to torture or lite torture could be interpreted as being protected under a few amendments to the constitution. The eighth amendment has a clause against cruel and unusual punishment. Also, the due process clause of the 5th and14th amendment could also protect against being deprive of life, liberty, and property without due process of law. Not only those but in a few landmark cases such as Brown v. Mississippi in which the defendant thought he was being hung and was also beaten brutally until he finally confessed when he was about to be hung.

In the Rochin v. United States developed the "shock the conscience" in this landmark case. In this case the defendant was approach by police and he swallowed what appeared to be drugs and the officers had his stomach pumped, which violated his constitutional rights. Though we as Americans expect all of these rights, we don't even give these rights to these prisoners of war. Our country doesn't even recognize them as prisoners of war; they are labeled as "enemy combatants". They are not citizens so they are not allotted right to a hearing or to argue the case.

Some of the families of the enemy combatants wrote a writ of Habeas Corpus to the Supreme Court to hear the case, but were denied because neither the families nor the detainees had any standing. This seems to be a little hypocritical. Because these "enemy combatants" have not been convicted of any crime or even accused of a crime they are not protected under our own constitution. Most of these prisoners are not even terrorists, they are just average people. The next thing that protects prisoners of war from torture during their detainment is the Geneva Convention.

The Geneva Convention protects many people under the articles that were established and that we agreed to. The people that are protected under the Geneva Convention include prisoners of war, inhabitants of an unoccupied area, and civilians working for the military. There are treaties that are against torture and they are, "the European Convention for the Protection of Human rights and Fundamental freedoms, the international covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment" (Maran).

The loop hole within this is that the United States categorized them as "enemy combatants" because they are not a part of an actual army and they are freedom fighters for al Qaida, they have no standing within the articles set forth by the Geneva Convention. "Furthermore, Pentagon officials headed by Vice President Cheney's office and by the pentagon's intelligence are decided to omit a key tenet of the Geneva Convention… which bans humiliating and degrading treatment" (Thomas). This is to allow some of the horrible treatment at Guantanamo Bay , Cuba .

Normally "states comply with human rights norms mainly in an effort to legitimize state action and reduce future uncertainty" (Shor). Basically the only reason to comply with this is to save face. But as Americans we seem to keep that revolutionary spirit. Also, it would be a way to reduce trade with another country and it doesn't affect us because people want to make money off of us since most of the things we buy come from overseas. As our great president Bush once said, "More and more our imports come from overseas".

Who can argue with that well thought out information? Next, Guantanamo Bay is a well know prison for terrorists. Guantanamo Bay refers to a U. S. Naval base in the southeastern part of Cuba which consists of 5 square miles for the base. It was used for Haiti refugees until the mid 90's and wasn't used until the U. S. declared the war on terror. It is the oldest U. S. base outside of the continental United States . And the base is only one in a country where we don't share any interest in. Now it is used to house suspected terrorists.

In 2006, "Bush report that a total of 770 detainees who had been brought to Guantanamo , approximately 315 had been released" (Moran). And most of the detainees left will be held indefinitely. Experts argue back and forth that it is either under the jurisdiction of the United States or Cuba . "… It is clear that at Guantanamo Bay we have a Naval reservation, which for all practical purposes is American territory" (Chemerinsky). This is another way the US Government has evaded any laws against torture because we can't really consider it a part of the United States . "In the U. S.

's protracted war on terror, politicians and the media have mobilized fear of devastating, indiscriminate attack upon civilian populations to justify extreme police actions and security operation, both within and beyond the country's borders" (Monahan). This in order to keep many of these innocent people in prison camps for an undetermined amount of time. This is in order to obtain valuable information through any means necessary. This includes various kinds of torture. Torture has been used during many times in history from the time of Christ to the holocaust and now during the witch hunt for terrorists.

Torture is defined as: Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of, or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

(Moher) This was misconstrued by the United States when a document stating the authorized forms of coercion was passed down through the military. Donald Rumsfeld stated that he stood for eight to ten hours a day when he gave the approval for forced standing for only four hours. Many of these things would shock the conscience of almost any person.

Some of these "lite torture" techniques were using chains to force prisoners to stand, use of women interrogators, women calling the prisoner's mother a whore, women straddling them, forced nudity, stress positions, Charlie horses, blindfolded, treated like a dog, force homosexuality, the use of muzzled dogs and the list goes on and on. And during visits by many of the generals and members of President Bush's office, the guards were told that they were doing a great job.

"If Americans thought at all about the practice of torture before Abu Graib and Guantanamo, perhaps the Inquisition or medieval blood sanctions come to mind-not U. S. military and intelligence operations" (Weiss). President Bush even pardoned himself and many of his cabinet from any future crimes that may come from any torture cases from September 11, 2001 to the present time. And while he and his cabinet gets off scot free while many troops are getting court marshaled for things they thought they were getting the okay for.

In some aspects torture would be considered a good thing because we would be saving lives that could be endangered by another attack by terrorists on the US . On the other hand many innocent people were captured because people would collect money from turning these people in for a cash reward. These techniques used to get the information from these people violate various laws; it takes place in certain places, there are reasons why it goes on there and the definition of torture can be misconstrued.

Most of the people in Guantanamo Bay were not terrorists at all and innocent people have died because of it. If we want to get information we should get it the right way and we should set an example to the rest of the world and ban torture ourselves.

Works Cited

Chemerinsky, Erwin. "IGNORING THE RULE OF LAW: THE COURTS AND THE GUANTANAMO DETAINEES". Thomas Jefferson Law Review 1 Apr. 2003: 303-316. Criminal Justice Periodicals. ProQuest. CSUS library, Sacramento , CA . 30 Apr. 2008 <http://www. proquest. com/>