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US Congressional Candidate Cindy Sheehan Calls on Pelosi to Explain Silence on Torture Briefing
US Congressional Candidate Cindy Sheehan today called upon Nancy Pelosi to respond to a story printed in the December 9 Washington Post which claims that the Speaker of the House was present in a 2002 meeting where four members of Congress were given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and torture program.
According to the CIA, no objections were raised by any member of Congress present in the meeting, even though waterboarding, the interrogation technique profiled in the meeting, is illegal under international and US military law.
Pelosi has declined to comment on the story.
"My son was killed in part because of a battle that resulted from the torture happening at Abu Ghraib,” said Sheehan. “If Nancy Pelosi had done the right thing in 2002 and taken a stance against the use of inhumane torture practices Casey might still be alive, so would thousands more and think of those who could have been saved from this horrific abuse.”
“How she can claim that she supports the troops when her actions and silence put them directly into harms way?”
Sheehan, who this year declared her candidacy to run for Pelosi’s seat, reaffirmed her intentions to unseat the House Speaker.
“This is the smoking that makes it obvious why Nancy Pelosi ‘took impeachment off the table.’ It is more urgent now than ever that she is removed from office & I am even more determined to win her seat in 2008."
Waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique used as a torture method since the Spanish Inquisition, is outlawed under Article 3, Section 1 (a) of the Geneva Convention which prohibits, "Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture." All countries signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture are subject to the prohibition on torture. In 2006, the US Department of Defense released a revised Army Field Manual entitled Human Intelligence Collector Operations prohibiting the use of waterboarding by U.S. military personnel.
“Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress should be using their Constitutional authority to end all use of torture.” said Sheehan, “Acquiring information through use of torture on prisoners of war is as inhumane as it is unreliable.”
According to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, "The Congress shall have power to….declare war… and make rules concerning captures on land and water;"
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