Sunday Torture News

From Calitics, the California Democratic Party has resolved to support an impeachment inquiry into Jay Bybee, author of torture memos and federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal. Congratulations to DDay (David Dayen) who launched petition to have the resolution adopted at this weekend’s state party convention. The text of the resolution is below the fold.

Meanwhile, at Firedoglake, George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science at UC Berkeley, makes a novel argument for torture investigations:

President Obama has argued that empathy is the basis of our democracy. It is because we care about others, he has argued, that we have principles like freedom and fairness, not just for ourselves but for everyone.  I have found, in studies of largely unconscious political conceptual systems, that empathy is the basis of progressive political thought, and the basis for the very idea of social, not just individual, responsibility. Conservative political thought is otherwise structured, based on authority, discipline, and responsibility for oneself but not others. The major moral, social, and political divide in America centers around empathy.

[Snip]

Torture violates empathy in the most direct way. The very neural system we use in creating inhuman, unbearable pain in someone you are looking at, hearing, and touching is the same neural system that equips us to feel the pain we are creating. It is the same neural system that creates human connections with others. And the same neural system that lies at the heart of political democracy. Turning it off is turning off humanity, and with it democracy.

It’s interesting. Go read the whole thing.

CALLING FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF JUDGE JAY BYBEE AND OTHERS FOR THEIR ROLE IN ALLOWING TORTURE AS PART OF “ENHANCED INTERROGATION”

Whereas, former Assistant Attorney General, and current Federal Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Jay Bybee signed the “Bybee Memo,” or “Torture Memo” of August 1, 2002, which advised the C.I.A. that “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment was at times allowable under U.S. law, and authored, co-authored and signed other memos on “extraordinary rendition” and “enhanced interrogation,” more of which are being currently revealed to the American public as the new Administration brings them to light; and

Whereas the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment, the supreme law of the land under Article VI of our Constitution, requires the prosecution of those who authorize torture, and it has been established that waterboarding is torture; and

Whereas, on January 15, 2009 before leaving office, President George W. Bush, in an effort to cover his culpability, and the culpability of others, had his Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice issue a memo stating that certain opinions issued in 2001-2003 with respect to “the allocation of authorities between President and Congress in matters of war and national security do not reflect the current view of this Office;”

Therefore be it resolved that the California Democratic Party supports resolution of inquiry and vigorous investigation of these and related actions by the Congress of the United States, including the full use of Congressional subpoena power authority and all appropriate remedies, to disclose completely the possible criminal actions of Judge Jay Bybee and others to the American people and to take necessary and available action with appropriate remedies and punishment allowed by law; and

Be it further resolved, that a copy of this resolution with its original authorization be sent to the Office of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, and that copies of the signed resolution be sent to each Democratic member of the California delegation to the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

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