Sen. Christopher Dodd is open to torture prosecutions

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Senator Christopher Dodd is the son of Thomas Dodd, who served as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunals after World War II. Thomas Dodd's cross-examination of Hermann Göring provided the centerpiece of the trials. In 2007, Senator Dodd published "Letters From Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest For Justice." You may want to check out a copy from your local library.

In a recent report in the New Haven Independent, Sen. Dodd said he is Open To Torture Prosecutions.

Making parallels to the Nuremberg trials, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd told a gathering of liberal bloggers in New Haven he’d support bringing charges against any Bush administration officials found responsible for the policy of waterboarding terrorism suspects.

* * *

Not to prosecute people and pursue them when these acts occurred,” he said following the gathering, “is in a sense to invite them to do it again in a future administration.”

* * *

Toward the end of the hour-long afternoon session in a second-floor room at the Temple Street pub, veteran blogger Al Robinson of My Left Nutmeg asked Dodd a two-part question: Is waterboarding, the near-drowning technique used by the CIA interrogators on al Qaeda suspects, a form of torture? And does the senator believe that Bush administration officials who OK’d the technique should be held accountable?

* * *

“I believe waterboarding is torture,” Dodd responded. Not only was it torture — it didn’t work, he said. He noted that one suspect was waterboarded 183 times. “How effective could that be after the 90th?”

Dodd supported a call by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont to have a select committee investigate the case. Now that President Obama has released the memos, they should be put to use rather than ignored, he argued.

“If people in fact did something that was illegal they should be pursued,” Dodd said, no matter how high up in the Bush administration the trail leads. He spoke of the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II in making the case that people responsible for the torture should be prosecuted; Dodd’s father was a prosecutor at the trials.

The Nuremberg Tribunal Principles are applicable to war crimes, which includes torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Torture Convention), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Principles Nuremberg Tribunal 1950

For anyone who has not watched "Judgment at Nuremberg" in some time (yes, I know the movie takes liberties and is not entirely accurate), here is German Judge Ernst Janning (portrayed by Burt Lancaster) admitting his guilt. Keep in mind that judges, legislators and executive department officials were prosecuted and convicted for conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and being an accessory to a crime, as well as the crime.

Here is Judge Dan Haywood (portrayed by Spencer Tracy) delivering the verdict of the court.

0 responses to “Sen. Christopher Dodd is open to torture prosecutions

  1. Todd, you are correct. I have been meaning to return to the earlier government reports of prisoners who died while in custody as a result of “enhanced interrogation.” I have been surprised that this fact is never mentioned by the media in its coverage of the debate over whether there should be investigations and prosecutions for torture. Hell yes! Prisoners were killed.

    President Obama has indicated an amnesty of sorts for those CIA employees who carried out the interrogation program, but he did leave open the door to prosecution for those who exceeded the scope of the interrogation program. Killing a prisoner by use of torture would clearly fall within his exception, and the individuals involved in the death of a prisoner as a result of torture are subject to prosecution. The question is, will they be prosecuted?

  2. What we should be doing is charging them with murder:

  3. Thane is confused as always. There is only one person who had the authority to authorize this “illegal” torture program on Nixon’s false premise that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal,” as Condoleeza Rice recently disclosed to a college audience.

    George W. Bush authorized it with his order, others executed his “illegal” order.

    Everyone in the chain of command is potentially culpable. “I was just following orders” is no defense under the Nuremberg Principles.

  4. I hate that this is being pushed by Dodd….

    -Thane. You say the Democrats let torture continue for the last 2 years. Everything I’ve seen so far is that it effectively stopped in 2007.

    Nancy Pelosi blocked impeachment proceedings against President Bush. Hmm…I can only assume that the Republicans would also block impeachment proceedings against her in return….

  5. Other than a few prison guards at Abu Ghraib prison, the “few bad apples” claimed by Donald Rumsfeld, i.e., the “little guys” Dick Cheney now claims he wants to protect from prosecution, no one has served any time.

    We already know that numerous videotapes of interrogations were destroyed to prevent their use in prosecutions for torture. Destruction of evidence is a crime, as is impeding an investigation and obstruction of justice.

    The choice is clear: either the U.S. investigates and prosecutes its own citizens, or any one of more than a 100 countries who are also signatories to the Convention Against Torture will do it; there is universal jurisdiction under the treaty. Spain is already aggressively moving forward with an investigation of torture of its citizens at Gitmo.

    I would prefer the U.S. demonstrate to the world moral clarity, that we are capable of examining our own failures and holding those who violated the rule of law accountable. It is the only way to restore our moral standing in the world, and wipe away the stain of the heinous crime of torture.

    As for members of Congress, there is some question in my mind as to how much the “Gang of 8” were actually told in classified briefings. Those members have been asserting they were not told of the specifics and scope of interrogations recently. Unless and until there are actual hearings to discover the evidence and the facts, we may never know the truth.

    I believe everyone in the chain of command including members of Congress and the White House and the lawyers who created an elaborate fiction to justify torture by another name should all be investigated, and if culpable, prosecuted for their crimes to the full extent of the law.

  6. I am as much in favor of prosecuting torturers and those who either signed the orders (memos) or looked the other way. Sadly it looks like the Democrats in power are willing to consider prosecution (of Republicans) but just didn’t have any gumption to keep it from happening during the last two years.

    The more I look at this the less confidence I will have that anybody will be convicted that hasn’t served time already.

    I hope to be proved wrong. My question is how many congressmen knew this was happening and will they be indicted or impeached?

    Would the Democrats bring impeachment up against Pelosi the torture enabler?

  7. Francine Shacter

    Awful stuff, this business of having to know and understand history. Crap is what the Republicans are trying to push when they use the “banana republic” notion that the previous administration isn’t really guilty – it is just out of power. I am afraid this is damned if we do – but what really worries me is how worse damned we will be if we don’t!!! An awful lot of food for thought – and thank you for this very thoughtful and insightful post!!!