US attorney general nominee Mukasey refuses to condemn torture

This video from the United States Senate is called Mukasey: Waterboarding is Torture if It’s Torture.

By Joe Kay:

US attorney general nominee refuses to condemn torture techniques

1 November 2007

The Bush administration’s nominee for attorney general, Michael Mukasey, refused on Tuesday to declare that waterboarding and other torture techniques are illegal. He also repeated a series of positions undermining basic democratic rights on questions of detention, domestic spying and presidential power.

Mukasey’s statements came in the form of written responses to questions submitted by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is currently considering the nomination.

See also here. And here.

And here.

Update: here.

Top US legal adviser refuses to rule out ‘torture’ technique. Aide to Rice declines to denounce waterboarding during Guardian America debate: here.

UPDATE 6 November 2007: Mukasey nomination passed Judiciary Committee thanks to Schumer and Feinstein: here.

Bolton on Mukasey: here.

Republican candidate McCain vs. Giuliani on waterboarding: here.

History of waterboarding: here.

Author and journalist Naomi Klein reacts to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval of Michael Mukasey, which she calls an endorsement of state torture: here.

9 thoughts on “US attorney general nominee Mukasey refuses to condemn torture

  1. No Waterboarding. No Dictatorship. No Mukasey.

    In an impassioned floor speech opposing the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked: “Will we join that gloomy historical line leading from the Inquisition, through the prisons of tyrant regimes, through gulags and dark cells, and through Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers? Will that be the path we choose?”

    Mukasey refuses to say that waterboarding is torture because Dick Cheney won’t let him – otherwise he would have to prosecute Cheney and Bush as war criminals . Mukasey also believes the President can ignore FISA and the Constitution and wiretap American citizens without a warrant, which makes the President a Dictator.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Mukasey next Tuesday. All 9 Republicans will support him, so all 10 Democrats must oppose him. Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, and Sheldon Whitehouse already do, but the others are undecided (Ben Cardin, Russ Feingold, Herb Kohl, and Pat Leahy) or leaning towards Mukasey (Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer).

    Tell your Senators to oppose Mukasey:

    Call the undecided Senators and report their responses:

    Chuck Schumer is the key vote and he chairs the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee – so if you give them money call 202-224-2447 to say you will not contribute if Mukasey is confirmed.


  2. No Wiretaps has led the fight against Bush’s warrantless wiretapping since it was exposed by the New York Times in December 2005. We believe it must end immediately, we believe Cheney and Bush should be impeached for it, and we believe everyone involved should be punished through prosecution and lawsuits.

    Senators Jay Rockefeller and Harry Reid do not agree with us. They are working overtime on a bill to expand Bush’s wiretap power and give full immunity for all past crimes. But Senator Chris Dodd is outraged and promises to filibuster the Rockefeller bill. Dodd gave a tremendous speech on Friday and spoke for all of us.

    Dodd needs 40 Senators to support his filibuster, so please write your Senators:


    Who Will Filibuster Mukasey?

    Michael Mukasey refuses to say that waterboarding is torture because Dick Cheney won’t let him – otherwise he would have to prosecute Cheney and Bush as war criminals. Mukasey also believes the President can ignore FISA and the Constitution and wiretap American citizens without a warrant, which maks the President a Dictator.

    Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) betrayed the Constitution and embraced waterboarding and dictatorship by announcing their support for Mukasey. But Mukasey’s nomination can be defeated if 40 Democrats support a filibuster – and it takes just one Senator to start one.

    So we’re petitioning every Senator who claims to be a progressive leader: Joe Biden at … Barbara Boxer at Pac for a Change … Hillary Clinton at … Chris Dodd at … Russ Feingold at the Progressive Patriots Fund … Ted Kennedy at the Committee for a Democratic Majority … John Kerry at … Barack Obama at … Harry Reid at Searchlight Leadership Fund … Bernie Sanders at

    Also tell your Senators to oppose Mukasey:

    Call the undecided Senators and report their responses:

    Join the Democratic Donor Strike against Chuck Schumer’s DSCC:

    Tell your Senators to support Chris Dodd’s filibuster of warrantless wiretapping:


  3. Harry Reid Confirms Mukasey in “Midnight Massacre”

    At midnight on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid betrayed the Constitution and the American people by holding a quick vote to confirm Michael Mukasey despite his refusal to admit waterboarding is torture. And thanks to excellent reporting by Greg Sargent of Talking Points Memo, we now know why.

    The vote was 53-40, with six Democrats joining every single Republican – Evan Bayh, Tom Carper, Dianne Feinstein, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, and Chuck Schumer. (Schumer ignored urgent calls and emails from thousands of his constituents, and his staff refused to meet with activists outside his office.) The four Senate Democrats running for President, who were all opposed, were out campaigning – but Reid refused to delay the vote to give them time to return. If he had, there could have been 44 votes for a filibuster to block Mukasey’s confirmation.

    Reid rushed the vote because he cut a deal with Republicans to avoid delays on the $459 Defense Appropriations bill (not including Iraq funds), so Bush couldn’t attack Democrats during the upcoming battle over Iraq funds. In effect, Reid sold the Constitution to the neocons for a talking point.

    There is only one way to send a message of outrage that Schumer and Reid will hear, and that is by refusing to contribute to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC), which Reid controls and Schumer chairs.

    Join the Democratic Donor Strike Against DSCC and DCCC


  4. CENSURE Dianne Feinstein.
    Posted by: “G. Myrick” garymyrick
    Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:07 pm (PST)
    I think it is important that folks like Sen. Dianne Feinstein be held to account when they exhibit crucial BETRAYALof human rights, the people and the constitution that they are supposed to represent. Here is part of Feinstein’s problem:

    “As chairperson and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 through the end of 2005, Feinstein supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars a year for specific military construction projects. Two DEFENSE CONTRACTORS whose interests were largely controlled by her husband, financier Richard C. Blum, BENEFITED from decisions made by Feinstein as leader of this powerful subcommittee.

    Each year, MILCON’s members decide which military construction projects will be funded from a roster proposed by the Department of Defense. Contracts to build these specific projects are subsequently awarded to such major defense contractors as Halliburton, Fluor, Parsons, Louis Berger, URS Corporation and Perini Corporation. From 1997 through the end of 2005, with Feinstein’s knowledge, Blum was a majority owner of both URS Corp. and Perini Corp.”

    Feinstein and her husband clearly depend upon the good graces of the Bush regime.

    (It’s also never too early to start looking for a REAL Democrat to run against sellouts like her. Rather than taking the entire Democratic party down with talk of a third party because of types like her, we could STRENGTHEN it by supporting REAL Democrats).

    So I am forwarding this:



    I just joined the Courage Campaign in calling for the California Democratic Party (CDP) to censure Senator Dianne Feinstein. They are working with Democratic Party activists to advance a censure resolution at the CDP’s Executive Board meeting this weekend. Will you join us in building a wave of grassroots support? Click here to “Censure the Senator”.

    Senator Feinstein has a pattern and practice of supporting President Bush and not representing her constituents. As the censure resolution describes, that includes confirming the nominaton of Judge Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit just a few weeks ago. Feinstein again provided the critical Judiciary Committee vote for Bush, approving Southwick — a man with a clear record of racism and gender discriminaton.

    Senator Feinstein has repeatedly undermined core American values at historic moments, enabling President Bush and his radical right-wing agenda.

    Join me in calling for the California Democratic Party to censure Senator Feinstein.



  5. FISA Call to Action

    Dear Friend:
    The Senate will soon consider legislation addressing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). I emailed you about this issue recently responding to inaccuracies in the press about Democratic efforts to improve protection of civil liberties. I am writing you today to update you on the current state of the bill and to ask for your help.

    One critical question being considered in the Senate’s FISA bill is whether to offer telecom companies retroactive immunity for any actions they undertook in the wireless surveillance program. The Bush Administration has claimed that this is necessary for national security reasons, but I am skeptical.

    If the Administration was serious about arguing for this immunity, I suspect they would take steps to demonstrate to Congress the extent of this surveillance program and what role the phone companies played. Yet they have refused to share even this information with the House. Clearly, it is a bit much to ask for immunity from prosecution without explaining why it is necessary.

    Because of these reservations, the House-passed FISA bill did not include the immunity the president sought. In the Senate, however, it is becoming clear that a tough battle will now ensue over this provision. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut has been a vocal opponent of telecom immunity and has promised to filibuster any FISA legislation that includes this provision.

    Senator Dodd needs your help right now. Please visit his site and lend your support to the filibuster now. Your help can make a difference at this important juncture.

    Thank you again for your continued support for a better democracy.

    Your Friend,

    John Conyers, Jr.


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