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McClatchy: Texas county sherriff got 10 years for waterboarding a suspect, and Bush, as governor, did not pardon him

Which is pretty funny, since as President, Bush seems to have pre-approved pardons for every war criminal with a Republican party card. McClatchy's Joe Galloway has the money quote:

When George W. Bush was the governor of Texas, the state investigated, indicted, convicted and sentenced to prison for 10 years a county sheriff who, with his deputies, had waterboarded a criminal suspect. That sheriff got no pardon from Gov. Bush.

Of course waterboarding's illegal. And that would make Bush a war criminal. No wonder Mukasey crawfished on torture--he didn't want his boss to ever have to go before a tribunal. The only wonder, if it is, indeed, a wonder, is that Senate Judiciary members DiFi and Upchuck sold out Leahy and Feingold, and let Mukasey's nomination proceed.

Of course waterboarding is torture. Galloway:

Is waterboarding torture?

The answer to all of these questions, put simply, is yes.

All of Judge Michael Mukasey’s artful dodging and word play to avoid acknowledging the obvious to the august members of Senate Judiciary Committee does nothing to change the fact.

Every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee knows that waterboarding is torture, even the majority who voted to send Judge Mukasey’s nomination to be attorney general, America’s chief law enforcement official, to the floor for a vote.

When you hog-tie a human being, tilt him head down, stuff a rag in his mouth and over his nostrils and pour water onto the rag slowly and steadily to the point where his lungs fill with water and he's suffocating and drowning, that is torture.

For example:

Four decades ago in the field in Vietnam, I saw a suspected Viet Cong waterboarded by South Vietnamese Army troops. The American Army advisers who were attached to the Vietnamese unit turned their backs and walked away before the torture began. It was then a Vietnamese affair and something they couldn't be associated with.

The victim was taken to the edge of death. His body was wracked with spasms as he fought for air. The soldier holding the five-gallon kerosene tin filled with muddy water from a nearby stream kept pouring it slowly onto the rag, and the victim desperately sucking for even a little air kept inhaling that water instead.

It seemed to go on forever. Did the suspect talk? I’m sure he did. I’m sure he told his torturers whatever he thought they wanted to hear, whether it was true or not. But I didn’t see the end of it because one of the American advisers came to me and told me I had to leave; that I couldn’t watch this interrogation, if that's what it was, any longer.

That adviser knew that water torture was torture; he knew that it was outlawed by the Geneva Convention; he knew that he couldn't be a part to it; and he knew that he didn't want me to witness such brutality.

Waterboarding was torture when it was used during the Spanish Inquisition; it was torture when it was used on Filipino rebels during the 1890s; it was torture when the Japanese Army used it on prisoners in World War II; it was torture when it was used by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; and it's torture when CIA officers or others use it on terrorists.

Funny how standing up for the right thing is never "tough," isn't it? Funny how the "hard decisions" always involve every form of human degradation conceivable, isn't it?

Torture doesn't keep us safe. What we get from torture is blowback that produces more torture. Of course, for Republicans, that's not a bug.

It's a feature.

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Submitted by Sarah on

fair use extract:
On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." The picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier.

Cases of waterboarding have occurred on U.S. soil, as well. In 1983, Texas Sheriff James Parker was charged, along with three of his deputies, for handcuffing prisoners to chairs, placing towels over their faces, and pouring water on the cloth until they gave what the officers considered to be confessions. The sheriff and his deputies were all convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.

More at: NPR

Submitted by lambert on

AROUND THE NATION; Texas Sheriff Is Guilty Of Torturing Prisoners.

Back then, they thought waterboarding was actually torture. Can you believe it? Guffaw.

Here's the Times coverage:

Former Sheriff James C. Parker, convicted with two former deputies of torturing prisoners to elicit confessions, was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum 10 years in prison and a $12,000 fine. Federal District Judge James DeAnda handed down the sentence, telling Mr. Parker he had allowed law enforcement in San Jacinto County to deterioriate until ''it was in the hands of a bunch of thugs.'' ''The operation down there would embarrass the dictator of a country,'' Judge DeAnda told Mr. Parker, 47 year...

Yeah, well, after Bush v. Gore everything changed.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

If memory serves me, Parker ordered his deputies to pull over any car driven by a guy with long hair or that displayed a bumper sticker from a rock and roll radio station. If no drugs were found, drugs were planted, then arrest, waterboarding and signed confession followed. Most convictions brought 10 to 20 year sentences. I don't recall ever reading the final count, but just about every drug possion case involving a confession that he prosecuted was tossed. I've been looking for news articles on this for a few weeks now. Thanks for the links.