ARLINGTON, VA – Evoking Article 1 of the U.S.Constitution, former U.S. Senator and current Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel today called on Congress to use its Constitutional authority to immediately demand an end to the Bush administration’s practice of torture on enemy combatants.
“Under the U.S. Constitution, all enemy combatants fall under the jurisdiction of the Congress. It is abhorrent that the United States government today continues to torture human beings in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other secret C.I.A. prisons.”
Gravel made reference to, Article 1, Section8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution which reads, 'The Congress shall have powerto..declare war..and make rules concerning captures on land and water.'
Gravel said, “The Constitution is very clear that prisoners of war are the responsibility of the Congress. The Bush administration has unlawfully taken that power without Constitutional justification. The Congress has been derelict in its duty to see that enemy combatants are treated humanely within the guidelines of the Geneva Conventions, and has been equally neglectful in its response to the President’s unlawful use of torture.”
Article 3, Section 1 (a) of the Geneva Convention prohibits, 'Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.'
“The practice of torture is immoral. It is un-American and it is ineffective. Information acquired as a result of torture techniques in unreliable. It endangers our soldiers in combat by encouraging reciprocity. It inflicts irreversible damage to our nation’s image and undermines our credibility among the international community.”
Senator Gravel also called upon the Bush Administration to provide a full accounting of the names and locations of detainees who have been transferred from secret C.I.A.prisons whose whereabouts are unknown.
“The C.I.A. continues to hold an unknown number of prisoners in secret detention centers abroad and has refused to register those detainees with the International Red Cross or to allow visits by its inspectors. This is a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and contrary to international law.”
The senator also referenced former state department official and retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who in November 2005 told CNN that Vice President Cheney provided ‘philosophical guidance’ that led to the use of torture. “It is unconscionable that the Vice President stood before the Congress and lobbied against a proposed ban on C.I.A.torture techniques.”
“George Bush lied when he told the American people in November 2005, ‘we do not torture.’ How many times will Congress allow the President to lie to the American people?”
Senator Gravel reaffirmed his pledge that if elected President, he will immediately move to vanquish the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed into law by George Bush, which has made it legal for the C.I.A. to continue operating torture facilities in undisclosed, foreign countries, and for the writ of habeas corpus to be suspended for individuals who are designated "enemy combatants."