Suggested Answers to the Short Quiz

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Suggested Answers to the Short Quiz

Post by johnkarls »

Question 1

Does President Obama believe in capital punishment for American citizens?

Answer 1


Question 2

Does President Obama believe in capital punishment for American citizens without a trial?

Answer 2


Question 3

Does President Obama order the American citizens who have had no trial to be executed by a painless method, such as lethal injection?

Answer 3


Most are ordered executed by drone aircraft which presumably can be quite painful, particularly if the American citizen does not die but is only maimed.

Question 4

How does President Obama decide which Americans to execute without trial?

Answer 4

On the basis of intelligence, though it is not clear what safeguards (if any) are in place to insure the accuracy of the intelligence.

Question 5

Why does President Obama impose capital punishment on American citizens without a trial?

Answer 5

As we have discussed in the past: (1) Osama bin Laden issued long ago a Fatwa to nuke 10 million Americans (the number of Arabs he calculated had been killed by the U.S. or its allies), (2) the Founding Dean of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government wrote a book on how to deal with Osama's Fatwa by controlling nuclear material, (3) it has often been pointed out that this approach is wishful thinking because, for example, the old Soviet Union's missing 178 suitcase-size nuclear weapons contained a considerable amount of recycle-able nuclear material and have long since been universally agreed by experts to be in the hands of terrorists, and (4) this issue has been the subject of intense concern for every recent Chair of the Sen Fgn Rel or Sen Armed Services Committees with, indeed, Sen Fgn Rel Chair Joe Biden writing an Op Ed piece for the Wall St. Journal during the 2008 Presidential campaign arguing that all nuclear material has "DNA" indicating where it was produced and the U.S. should announce to the world that if it is ever subject to a nuclear attack from terrorists, the U.S. will annihilate with nuclear weapons the country of origin of the nuclear material used against the U.S. (causing some wags to point out that if the U.S. itself is the country of origin, the Biden Doctrine would obligate us to commit nuclear suicide!!!).

As we have also discussed in the past, if there is a nuclear attack by terrorists on the United States and President Obama is not seen to have done everything in his power to protect America, that will probably be the end of the Democratic Party.

Question 6

Does it appear that President Obama has the legal right to impose capital punishment on American citizens without a trial? If so, under what circumstances?

Answer 6

Yes, provided (A) the entire world (or at least the portion where the American citizens designated for extermination are located) is a battlefield in a war (in this case, it would have to be the "War on Terrorism") or, alternatively, (B) the American citizen is an imminent threat to the U.S.

Question 7

Does it seem odd that if an American citizen, for whom President Obama has ordered capital punishment without trial by a "cruel and unusual" method, happens to be captured instead of exterminated, President Obama's standing orders are that the prisoner cannot be questioned using methods approved in 1978 by the European Court of Human Rights (which has jurisdiction over 45 signatory European nations) in litigation between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republican Army?

Answer 7


In 1978 the European Court of Human Rights decided that the following interrogation methods did not involve "torture" in litigation between the Irish Republican Army and Britain (the court has jurisdiction over 45 signatory European nations) -

Wall Standing = The prisoner stands spread eagle against the wall, with fingers high above his head, and feet back so that he is standing on his toes such that all of his weight falls on his fingers.

Hooding = black or navy hood is placed over the prisoner's head and kept there except during the interrogation.

Subjection to Noise = Pending interrogation, the prisoner is kept in a room with a loud and continuous hissing noise.

Sleep Deprivation = Prisoners are deprived of sleep pending interrogation.

Deprivation of Food and Drink = Prisoners receive a reduced diet during detention and pending interrogation.


In Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's Wars, which was the focus of our meeting last month, incoming President Obama was briefed by the outgoing CIA Director (retired four-star U.S. Air Force General Michael Hayden) that if President Obama was determined to issue an Executive Order banning water boarding, then he should at least permit sleep deprivation which, General Hayden reported to President Obama, had never failed to get a prisoner to talk after several days. [Which, of course, would not be quite as good as getting the prisoner to talk immediately as a result of water boarding -- please see President Clinton's "ticking time bomb" policy of water boarding discussed in Q&A No. 8]

It should be noted that sleep deprivation is on the list of methods approved by the European Court of Human Rights.

Bob Woodward reports that President Obama also banned sleep deprivation by Executive Order.

However, Bob Woodward's book does not report that sleep deprivation had been approved by the European Court of Human Rights - apparently because Bob Woodward was ignorant or, more probably, because The Washington Post of which he was an Associate Editor, had led the political attacks on President Bush's interrogation methods.

Question 8

Which famous Democratic-Party U.S. President famously had a policy that he would use an interrogation method that had never come before the European Court of Human Rights or the International Court at The Hague, if the prisoner was believed to have knowledge of an imminent attack and American lives could be saved? What was that interrogation method? What is the unofficial name of the policy of that famous Democratic-Party President?

Answer 8

President Bill Clinton.

Water boarding.

The "ticking time bomb" policy.

Question 9

Which famous Democratic-Party Presidential CANDIDATE in 2008 famously opposed a policy of using that interrogation method even if it was the only way to save American lives? When informed of the disagreement with the famous Democratic-Party President regarding this issue, what was the reaction of the famous Democratic-Party Presidential Candidate?

Answer 9

Hillary Clinton.

When informed during a television interview that the opposition to water boarding that she had just voiced was directly contrary to President Clinton's water-boarding policy, she appeared shocked for 2-3 seconds but regained her composure and then smiled with the comment, "I'll speak to him later."

Question 10

Has that interrogation method ever been banned under U.S. law? Under a Presidential Executive Order?

Answer 10


U.S. law only bans "torture" -- without defining torture in order to achieve Congressional approval. That is why the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence services posed the question of what the term "torture" meant with reference to specific interrogation methods. It was the job of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to answer such questions. Their legal opinion, noting the absence of anything more specific, approved all of the methods that had been found not to be torture by the European Court of Human Rights (including sleep deprivation). In addition, (A) since water boarding had not been considered by any court and (B) since water boarding was performed on members of the U.S. military as part of their standard training for operations against terrorist organizations (since such organizations routinely practiced water boarding against U.S. military personnel) -- the Justice Department concluded that water boarding was not torture.

Senate Democrats, led by Ted Kennedy, tried to have it both ways - to treat water boarding as torture without taking responsibility for legislation specifying water boarding as torture (presumably because Sen. Kennedy and Senate Democrats didn't want to be blamed in the event of a nuclear attack on the U.S. as a result of Osama bin Laden's fatwa to nuke 10 million Americans).

The tactic of Sen. Kennedy and his colleagues was to ask during confirmation hearings of every Bush Administration appointee in whose province the issue could conceivably be germane, whether water boarding was "torture" and therefore illegal under U.S. law. All Bush appointees refused to answer affirmatively. The last Bush appointee to refuse was Michael Mukasy who was nominated in 2007 to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General.

Although Mukasy had been a distinguished federal judge for 18 years on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (i.e., NYC, the world's greatest concentration of large international corporations) including 6 years as its Chief Judge, Sen. Ted Kennedy threatened to lead a filibuster against Mukasy's confirmation when Mukasy refused to opine that water boarding was torture. Playing "hard ball," President Bush publicly announced that if Sen. Kennedy succeeded with his filibuster of the Mukasy confirmation, President Bush would refuse to nominate anyone else to be Attorney General and the post would remain vacant for the last 14 months of his second term. Sen. Kennedy then backed down.

Based on this history, it is doubtful that the U.S. Supreme Court (to which the issue undoubtedly would have gone if it had been litigated in a posture permitting appeal) would have held that water boarding is "torture."

However, it is noted that last week's acquittal by a federal jury in New York of Al Qaeda's Ahmed Ghailani on all but one of nearly 300 criminal charges was the result of a decision by the trial judge to exclude all evidence obtained as the result of "torture" employed ON OTHER MEMBERS OF AL QAEDA. Indeed, the trial judge even excluded THE VOLUNTARY TESTIMONY OF OTHER MEMBERS OF AL QAEDA on the grounds that the U.S. government would not have known that those individuals had such knowledge in the absence of "torture" employed on members of Al Qaeda other than defendant Ghailani.

The "torture" that was found to exist by the federal trial judge presumably included water boarding. However, Yours Truly has not had time to read the opinion to ascertain whether that decision was based on a retroactive application of President Obama's Executive Order banning water boarding.

The reason for the comment about "posture" in the third-preceding paragraph is that if the federal trial judge had permitted the testimony to be given, Ghailani presumably would have been convicted on all of the nearly-300 charges - and he would have been able to appeal those convictions in the course of which the U.S. Supreme Court would then have been in a position to issue a definitive decision of the meaning of "torture" in the federal statute and whether President Obama's Executive Order should be applied retroactively.

However, since the trial judge made his own decision and it resulted in acquittals, the Constitutional ban against double jeopardy prevents an appeal of his ruling.

As reported in Bob Woodward's new book, water boarding (as well as sleep deprivation) was banned by Executive Order of President Obama.

Accordingly, the Democratic Party has assumed the political exposure shunned by Sen. Kennedy in the event of a nuclear attack on the U.S. as a result of Osama bin Laden's fatwa to nuke 10 million Americans.

Question 11

Under which U.S. President did the C.I.A. begin the practice of "rendering" - that is, sending prisoners to other countries to be interrogated?

Answer 11

President Bill Clinton.

Question 12

What should U.S. policy be with regard to imposing capital punishment on American citizens without a trial? With regard to questioning them in the event they happen to be captured rather than executed?

Answer 12

Let's discuss this at our meeting!!!

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Pres. Bill Clinton's Policy of Water Boarding

Post by Pat »

President Bill Clinton’s Ticking Time Bomb Policy To Subject Terrorists To Water Boarding -- Which Has Never Been Found To Be Torture By Any International Court

Q&A 8 & 9 discuss President Bill Clinton’s Ticking Time Bomb policy that he would water board any terrorist to save innocent lives by obtaining information quickly – and Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s rejection of that policy before she was aware that her husband, as President, had embraced it.

The 9/26/2007 Presidential Debate at Dartmouth College - Hanover NH was the event described in Q&A 9 when Hillary Clinton rejected the Ticking Time Bomb policy, when she was then speechless after being informed by the Moderator that it had been embraced by President Bill Clinton, and when she regained her composure after 2-3 seconds by saying, with a smile, “I’ll talk to him later.”

The Debate Moderator who informed Hillary Clinton, to her surprise, that President Bill Clinton had approved water boarding under such circumstances was Tim Russert who passed away on 6/13/2008 after serving for 17 years as Moderator of NBC's Meet the Press and Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News.

Support for Torture of Any Type From Some Surprising Sources

Alan Dershowitz (since 1964, a star of the Harvard Law Faculty and probably the most famous criminal-defense attorney in America) supports the idea that torture can be justified.

He also argued that human nature can lead to unregulated abuse "off the books" and, accordingly, it would be better if there were a regulated procedure through which an interrogator could request a "torture warrant" which would establish a paper trail of accountability whereby torturers could be held to account for excesses. Dershowitz's suggested torture warrants, similar to search warrants and phone tap warrants, would spell out the limits on the techniques that interrogators may use, and the extent to which they may abridge a suspect's rights.

When reviewing for The New Republic (9/2002) Alan Dershowitz's book 12 months after 9-11 -- "Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge" -- Richard Posner (for the last 30 years a Judge on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and its Chief Judge 1993-2000) wrote --

“If torture is the only means of obtaining the information necessary to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in Times Square, torture should be used - and will be used - to obtain the information. ... no one who doubts that this is the case should be in a position of responsibility.”

On 2/16/2010, Bruce Anderson, a columnist for Britain’s The Independent, wrote that the British government would have not just the right, but the duty, to torture if there was a ticking bomb, and that they should torture the relatives of suspects if they believed that doing so would yield information that would avert a terrorist attack –

“We have captured a terrorist, but he is a hardened character. We cannot be certain that he will crack in time. We have also captured his wife and children. After much agonising, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one answer -- torture the wife and children.”

Although going even further afield from our topic of the U.S. Gov’s “Kill List” to Assassinate U.S. Citizens in Yemen, Bruce Anderson’s comments about torturing the wives and children of terrorists -- in effect, extending President Bill Clinton’s water boarding policy -- deserves some additional comment.

As we have studied in the past, the reason why close friends and relatives of an Islamic terrorist/martyr are often seen rejoicing is not because of some notion that the 72 virgins will be waiting in heaven for the terrorist/martyr.

Instead, as we have studied, Islam has a very scary view of THE JUDGMENT DAY on which everyone will be prosecuted before Allah (the Arabic word for God) by avenging angels. And as we have studied, the only way to by-pass THE JUDGMENT DAY is to be an Islamic martyr – OR TO BE ONE OF 72 RELATIVES AND CLOSE FRIENDS OF THE MARTYR WHO ALSO BY-PASS THE JUDGMENT DAY.


The Russian policy, which only had to be employed once (if memory serves) approx. 50 years ago as a demonstration, was to track down and kill the 72 relatives and close friends of any Muslim who had kidnapped or tortured or killed a Russian.

An interesting question would be why Russians have been harmed, in Moscow itself no less, by Chechnyan rebels who are, after all, Muslim though not Arab. Does Russia employ its famed 72-assassination policy in the case of the Chechnyan rebels? If so, why has it been ineffectual with the Chechnyans? If it has not been employed with respect to the Chechnyans, why not?

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