Torture, Plain and Simple

Since the release of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) torture memos a few weeks ago, the public discussion about torture has been robust, to say the least. First of all, it's important to keep in mind that empirical evidence suggests that torture is an ineffective tool in securing valid information. In other words, torture doesn't work.

Despite this crucial fact, the torture conversation has gotten muddied with irrelevant tangents. The media has been touting public polls about what Americans think about torture.

Let's be clear: These things don't matter.

It doesn't matter if torture works, because it's illegal. (Heather at Crooks & Liars points to Salon's Joan Walsh slamming this "does it work?" argument.)

And it doesn't matter what the polls say, because it's still illegal. The use of torture isn't a popularity contest.

And while we're at it, let's call a spade a spade. As constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said on Rachel Maddow the other night:

It's obviously disturbing to hear torture still referred to by the president as a "technique." That's like saying bank robbery is a "technique" for withdrawing money from a bank. It's not a "technique", it's a crime…

Despite the past eight years, the United States is governed by the rule of law. We don't sign treaties only to disregard them, and we don't allow those who break the law to go unpunished.

Let's reconsider the torture argument in these terms: Do we want to be known to the rest of the world as a country that flagrantly ignores its own laws, not to mention the international human rights laws it agrees to? Does our government have a "do as we say, not as we do" approach to the law?

We do not. So let's refocus here. Torture is illegal: There's no two ways about it. It's never acceptable. As Attorney General, Eric Holder is obligated to enforce and uphold the laws of this country. Remind him of this sacred duty by signing our petition calling for an independent prosecutor to investigate those who authorized the torture of detainees.

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Vic Livingston





TO: President Obama, White House staff (c/o Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Jay Carney), ACLU staff/members

We, the American nation, must first restore civil and human rights in America and demand that government bureaucrats and power-brokers uphold the Constitution before any of your policy goals can be met.

You must immediately join with GOP defenders of the Constitution to dismantle the nationwide extrajudicial punishment network...

...authoritarian bureaucrats and security/intel officers and their nationwide network of "organized community gang stalkers" -- citizen vigilantes fronted by federally-funded volunteer programs who use illicitly planted GPS devices to track, harass, and even torture innocent but "targeted" individuals.

This nationwide, Gestapo-like operation has made a mockery of the judicial system for the past eight years and has claimed many unjustly "targeted" victims from all strata of society.

Crimes against humanity are being committed across the nation via the use of so-called "directed energy (microwave radiation) weapons" which the Bush D.O.J. confirmed are being widely deployed to law enforcement agencies nationwide.

These stealth weapons emit silent, pulsed bursts of various forms of radiation -- degrading and damaging the health of those on the receiving end, as well as their operators.

This weaponry has NO PLACE in civilized society -- much less in the hands of security personnel who interact with the public, or with the nation's leaders. The widespread deployment of this weaponry virtually assures its misuse.

Imagine if rogue actors tried to use its silent, deadly force to induce illness or to disorient, prematurely age, sicken or disable our political leaders.

Perhaps they already have.

Victims of this extrajudicial punishment network also see their finances and livelihoods expropriated and destroyed by secretive "multi-agency coordinated action" "programs of personal destruction" that deny them due process of law while degrading their lives and destroying their family finances.

While your team concentrates on "macro-economics," the IRS continues to be used as an ideological weapon of social control and recrimination by these covert "multi-agency actions."

Obama administration officials must address these abuses IMMEDIATELY, before these affronts to the Constitution destroy more American families -- and subvert the Obama presidency.

A necessary first step: A thorough house-cleaning at secretive security and intel agencies closest to government (and extra-government) power.

And ACLU: Victims of "torture, American-style" who have been their lives and careers ruined need your legal assistance. Please come down from the ivory tower of "policy" and start helping real PEOPLE. I am a well-known journalist and a victim of these government-enabled abuse and no private attorney can fathom that our government could have committed such evil -- evil that CONTINUES to the present under the guise of "community policing," "town watches," and "keeping America safe."

OR (if links are corrupted):

Vic Livingston

Please note:

It appears that my telecommunications are subject to real-time surveillance, connection mirroring with remote computing software, and malicious tampering that often results in the insertion of spelling or grammatical errors -- even if I carefully proof-read submissions.

This is part of an ongoing government "torture matrix" that apparently is using the telecommunications system and the pretext of surveillance to HARASS, CENSOR and otherwise CONTROL American citizens.

There is also evidence (ignored by the mainstream media) that the government has WEAPONIZED the telecommunications system, said to include cell phone and satellite technology, to deliver so-called "directed energy" weapons attacks against "targeted" U.S. citizens.

The ACLU has yet to address the issue of governmental abuse of the telecommunications system to commit psychological torture, harassment and malicious interference with the free flow of information.

Yes, it is difficult to accept the proposition that elements of the U.S. government constitute a criminal enterprise that is waging a genocidal (or, perhaps, "politicidal") war against innocent citizens.

But we must confront the evil that was granted presidential sanction for eight years... and CONTINUES to this day, despite the good intentions of the Obama administration.


Smoking marijuana is also illegal, but that does not make it unacceptable. Laws evolve over time to accommodate the values of our culture. If we want to end torture, we must convince ourselves collectively that it is wrong.


If it is illegal try telling that to the people that torture or troops in Iraq. Oh thats right they kill them after they torture them. A little differet then we do here in America. Way to keep Americans safe ACLU! You guys are idiots. Let it be known that the ACLU wants Americans killed. I am sure they will be the first ones to complain when we get attacked again and say that we should have done more.

Vic Livingston

How about the Bush-Cheney spawned HOMELAND TORTURE that's STILL HAPPENING?

Bush-Cheney- spawned torture is NOT just a foreign affair.

The "Extrajudicial Punishment Network" it created or expanded enables citizen vigilantes affiliated with federally-funded volunteer community policing and public safety groups to stalk, harass, terrorize -- and YES, torture.

With microwave radiation "directed energy weapons" -- apparently OK'ed for use on detainees AND U.S. citizens by still-secret Bush "torture memos."

This "American Gestapo" has co-opted and corrupted local law enforcement nationwide -- a grassroots-based authoritarian apparatus "hiding in plain sight."

And a related array of secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" decimates the finances of "targeted" persons and their families -- who are denied due process of law as their personal wealth is slowly expropriated.

Please, White House staff, read this. Your Bush holdovers already know all about it.

What have they told YOU?

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Vic Livingston


When I checked this blog post, my earlier comments did not appear on my computer, despite repeated attempts to refresh the page.

So I posted another comment.

THEN the two earlier comments appeared.

It is apparent that my internet connection is being manipulated and I believe that the local fusion center in Newtown, PA is responsible for this malicious interference, which constitutes a "color of law" violation. As I have stated elsewhere, "surveillance" appears to be a pretext for government misuse of the telecommunications system as a modality to harass, censor, and otherwise control the flow of information to American citizens.

Will you please assist me in suing for a restoration of the right of all Americans to unfettered access to telecommunications, and freedom from unreasonable search, seizure and malicious manipulation?


Very well said!

I am surprised that no one mentions Article 16 of the UN Convention on Torture where is says that bad treatment of a detained person is illegal even if the treatment falls short of actual torture.

This would put an end to the interminable talk about waterboarding, how bad is it stuff.


I was about to sign your petition and then remembered that you are the ACLU and that you have a history of declaring the 2nd Amendment to be a collective right.

So I went and checked and yes, you are the same old ACLU.

So you are against torture but fine with the police kicking in my door to look for guns.

Stephen Huff

1) As a retired SSG, if I was sure that the only things Al Quaeda would do to me as a captive were the interrogation techniques detailed in those memos, I would personally feel safer and more secure as a prisoner of Islamic Terrorists than I do seeking medical aid at the Veterans Administration.

2) The assurance that the government is using effective means to interrogate prisoners in the rear may prevent people like me from feeling the need to interrogate them in the field. Thus these interrogation techniques may act to prevent real torture and abuse in the field by gaining the trust of enlisted men under the pressure of combat and making them feel they do not need to take interrogation into their own hands. So Bush's interrogation program may have been an unintended but effective anti-torture or torture preventive program. Believe it or not, combat is stressful, and even decent highly trained people can do bad things under stress.

3) As many people believe that publishing those memos was an act of treason as believe that the program described was torture.

4) Therefore, if the Bush admin people are prosecuted for torture, when the Republicans get back into power it is guaranteed that the Obama admin people will be prosecuted for Treason.

This is how nations collapse into chaos and civil war. So, calm down, and come back from the lunatic fringe. Defend gay marriage, that is a worthy cause, this one is nonsense.


How bout dropping a nuke on innocent civilians. How many american lives were saved? These terrorists have no rules and will do anything and everything in their power to brutally murder as many americans as possible before their miserable lives are ended.


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