Sunday, December 30, 2007

Navy JAG Andrew Williams-Letter to Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann

Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Williams, A JAG officer with the Naval Reserve, resigned from the Navy, in protest over the accepted use of torture, in particular, water-boarding. Although he doesn't think much will change, he felt the need to take a stand and keep his commitment to honor his country and to defend the Constitution. Sadly, he had to acknowledge for himself that continuing to serve in a military that no longer honours that commitment, was no longer possible. To that end, he wrote a letter to Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann, the legal adviser at Guantanamo Bay, explaining his position.

Lt. Cmdr. Williams says:

The final straw for me was listening to General Hartmann, the highest-ranking military lawyer in charge of the military commissions, testify that he refused to say that waterboarding captured U.S. soldiers by Iranian operatives would be torture.

His testimony had just sold all the soldiers and sailors at risk of capture and subsequent torture down the river. Indeed, he would not rule out waterboarding as torture when done by the United States and indeed felt evidence obtained by such methods could be used in future trials.

Below is the text of his letter, a very direct call-out of where we have come to.

Thank you, General Hartmann, for finally admitting the United States is now part of a long tradition of torturers going back to the Inquisition.

In the middle ages, the Inquisition called waterboarding “toca” and used it with great success. In colonial times, it was used by the Dutch East India Company during the Amboyna Massacre of 1623.

Waterboarding was used by the Nazi Gestapo and the feared Japanese Kempeitai. In World War II, our grandfathers had the wisdom to convict Japanese Officer Yukio Asano of waterboarding and other torture practices in 1947, giving him 15 years hard labor.

Waterboarding was practiced by the Khmer Rouge at the infamous Tuol Sleng prison. Most recently, the U.S. Army court martialed a soldier for the practice in 1968 during the Vietnam conflict.

General Hartmann, following orders was not an excuse for anyone put on trial in Nuremberg, and it will not be an excuse for you or your superiors, either.

Despite the CIA and the administration attempting to cover up the practice by destroying interrogation tapes, in direct violation of a court order, and congressional requests, the truth about torture, illegal spying on Americans and secret renditions is coming out.

That about says it all.

1 comment:

Trouble said...

I really dont understand how someone who is high up in authority such as a General, refuse to admit that waterboarding is torture. I saw a demonstration on t.v. of a reporter who volunteered to be waterboarded. He said it wasnt a very pleasant experience and it did feel like he was drowning. It wasnt very pleasant to watch either. It is definately torture whether the high ups admit it or not.