CIA prison in Lithuania: were laws broken and who should be held responsible?

Story here.

So apparently it was in use for a year or more.

So, what laws, if any, were broken? And who should be held responsible? Should criminal charges be filed? Why or why not?

Since I guess that Lithuania doesn’t allow arbitrary detention, I would assume that Lithuanian law was, making of all people involved criminals.

Unless they okayed the prison in secret legislation of their own.

I was more curious about the US involvement. Don’t we have laws against this sort of thing? Or does the fact that it took place on Lithuanian soil absolve any Americans of any (possible) wrongdoing?

It’s only illegal if you get caught and convicted.

My guess is that no laws were actually broken…at least not in fact. In spirit…probably. However, we have a new administration and the the Dems control the House and Senate. IF any laws were actually broken I’m sure Obama et al will spare no expense or effort to find out and punish the wrong do-ers.

Not knowing any more than what was posted in the OP about this, and as with the endless ‘Bush should be impeached’ or the various ‘illegal’ acts that were supposedly common under his administration, I will await developments. I won’t be surprised if there WERE illegal acts committed…but I won’t be surprised if nothing happens this time either. Wolf!! has been cried so many times about this stuff that after a while it’s just background noise…


It seems to me that this would be a good time for the US to sign on to the International Criminal Court; perhaps with jurisdiction retroactive to ~2003.
I’m certain the court would be happy to determine precisely which laws were broken, maybe even take the perps off our hands following conviction.

No one says what they personally did there, but that human rights person claims, “sleep deprivation, forced standing, painful stress positions.” He also says the buzzword “torture.” So let’s assume it was, in fact, torture. We’ll strictly use American statutes that the Attorney General could file charges under, or a statute that the victim themselves could file a civil suit with.

If an American did the acts, he could be charged under these laws:

Torture Statute 2340A

War Crimes Act(likely a violation of a grave breach under Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions)

Depending on the year and whether it was military or CIA, Detainee Treatment Act.

Lots of those overlap and some are redundant.

If we just handed them over to foreigners and these acts were done to them by foreigners, then they could use US civil courts to sue for money damages under:

Torture Victim Protection Act (Can’t sue US citizens though)

Should criminal charges be filed? Depends on what kind of evidence you have, which I bet is not good or no longer exists.

Really? And when would that be? “Crying wolf” refers to making false alarms; not to pointing out actual atrocities that are ignored because Americans under the orders of Republicans did them.

And no, regardless of what happened, regardless of how good the evidence is I don’t expect anyone to be brought to justice. Justice is unAmerican.

Offhand (and IANAL) I’d say that nothing was technically a violation of American law. All of the torture occurred in Lithuania and presumedly no Americans were in the same room. So the issue is whether turning prisoners over to another country, even with the awareness that they’re going to be tortured, is illegal. And I think the answer is probably no. Prisoners have rights when they’re in American custody but I don’t think there’s a right to remain in American custody and not be handed off to another country’s custody.

I don’t know what laws would have been violated if the program was as described.

I do know that this suggestion:

… would be violative of our general prohibition against Ex Post Facto laws if conducted by an American court.

It’s not clear to me whether the Ex Post Facto clause would work to prohibit our signing a treaty that surrendered Ex Post Facto protections.

And I do find the glee with which Squink evidently contemplates imposing ex post facto penalties to be a bit disturbing.

The article isn’t clear on this, but it gives me the impression that it was only Americans involved, not Lithuanians.

Thanks to CoolHandCox for linking relevant statutes.

I agree with Bricker that any attempt to retroactively make something a crime is somewhat disturbing, but that isn’t what was suggested by Squink.

Bricker, the fact that these crimes did occur, and that our own government did them, and that so many people, including (ahem) you, approved of those actions is far more disturbing.

The article seemed ambiguous to me about exactly which roles were being carried out by Americans and which by Lithuanians. It’s reasonable however to surmise that if the American government went to such great lengths to create a facility outside of American jurisdiction in order to remain within the letter of American law, it wouldn’t have then turned around and used American agents in an incriminating role.

I guess this is a reversal of the old Nuremburg defense: “I never commited any war crimes personally. I just gave orders.”

I wouldn’t say “ambiguous”, as the article never mentions Lithuanians doing anything other than allowing the CIA to open the facility, except to talk about locals (Lithuanians) seeking employment there.

I just think It’d be a nice way of taking us down to the level of the last administration:
Oh no, we hanged George Bush and violated our deepest held principles to do it!

Then whenever a Dem mentions state sanctioned torture, you can bring up unjust hanging of presidents. :wink:

Still, it might be a good idea for the US to sign up with the international court now, so as to discourage future presidents from finding weaselly ways to protect themselves against prosecution for war crimes.

I agree that criminality hinges on two things: first, the acts committed by U.S. citizens as opposed to Lithuanians; secondly, what the specific acts were. As CoolhandCox correctly says:

Torture is defined for purposes of 18 USC § 2340A as: “Severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” Mental pain or suffering means:

For this reason, it’s not clear to me that the specifics described: sleep deprivation, forced standing, and painful stress positions – are “torture” within the meaning of 18 USC § 2340.

I’ll say! Everyone knows you shoot such people. Hanging is reserved for pirates. And beheading is just intolerably French.

It isn’t clear to you? Really? :dubious: It might be if you were subjected to it yourself, perhaps

FTR, your hero Gonzales was of the view that US law didn’t apply because this was war. The Geneva Conventions, then:

And, here’s the definition by the relevant UN treaty:

But then you know all that already, don’t you? :dubious:

What if we call it Freedom Execution?