As we get ready to discuss torture, here’s some linky goodness to give an idea of where some major players in the debate over torture stand today.
In Return of the 9/11 President, Dan Froomkin suggests that if the President wants to claim that torture has provided information that has prevented attacks in the past then he needs to put up or shut up and tell us something specific. I won’t hold my breath for that day.
Torture is sometimes used in situations that don’t involve ticking time bombs (David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo) and now an FBI “clean team” has spent the last 16 months trying to get the 6 suspects charged today in cases related to 9/11 to repeat incriminating statements possibly first made under torture.
Scalia: “Freedom tickling not prohibited by 8th amendment.” Since torture isn’t punishment for a crime, it can’t be “cruel or unusual punishment” which I suppose is true, if one ignores that this would mean that it is only after conviction that individuals have rights to humane treatment, and ignores the 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination. Scalia’s argument is simply weird when one considers that we have to read the 8th amendment along with the 5th amendment. It seems clear in the history of the 5th amendment that it prohibits torture of suspects in order to induce self-incriminating testimony. Would Scalia think it was fine to seize the cars of speeding suspects – that as long as they are not convicted of the speeding offense then the seizure of their car is not an “excessive fine” under the 8th amendment or a violation of 5th amendment due process? (Please ignore that, in fact, this absurd state of affairs does exist under RICO and property of those suspected of drug crimes is seized all the time.)