Balkinization  

Friday, November 02, 2007

Now Why Didn't I Think of That? Washington Post Proposes That Senate Ban Torture!

Marty Lederman

The Washington Post today, straining to demonstrate Solomonic wisdom, urges Senators to do two things simultaneously: They should confirm Judge Mukasey and, at the same time,
they should do something which, for all the rhetoric, they have so far declined to do: ban torture, by passing the National Security with Justice Act sponsored by Sen. Joseph R. Biden (D-Del.). The act would limit all United States personnel -- military and civilian -- to using only interrogation techniques authorized by the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation, which expressly prohibits waterboarding and which military leaders have said gives them the tools they need to get reliable information from difficult subjects.
Has it really come to this? Can one of the nation's leading newspapers actually decide to publish the words that it's about time "the Senate" finally "ban torture" -- something it has thus far "declined to do"?

-- On July 6, 1955, the Senate unanimously gave its advice and consent to the ratification of the Geneva Conventions, each of which (in Article 3, which applies to al Qaeda detainees) categorically prohibits "torture" (not to mention "cruel treatment").

-- On October 27, 1990, the Senate unanimously gave its advice and consent to the ratification of the Convention Against Torture, article 2(1) of which obligated the United States to "take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction."

-- In compliance with article 2(1) of the CAT, in 1994 the Senate and House approved, and on April 30, 1994 President Clinton signed, the Torture Act, which categorically prohibits torture outside the United States (18 U.S.C. 2340A(a)).

-- And it's not as if torture was legal even before the Senate, House and President acted on these instruments. As the Supreme Court recently explained, under international law (including the laws of war binding on the executive branch), the flat ban on torture is among the handful of international law norms with the greatest "definite content and acceptance among civilized nations": Even for purposes of civil liability, "the torturer has become–like the pirate and slave trader before him–hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind".

All of which is to say -- and it's fairly amazing that this still needs to be said in this day and age -- if there is any single thing imaginable that the Senate, the Congress, and the world community have not "declined to do," it is to ban torture categorically. (Even Judge Mukasey understands this: He writes it dozens of times in his responses to the Senate.)

That's not to say it would not also be a good thing to enact the Biden bill, which would specifically require all United States personnel, including the CIA, to use only interrogation techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual. That would be yet another step that would help prevent the Bush Administration from violating the current bans on torture by doing things such as implausibly characterizing its torture as "not torture."

HOWEVER . . .

1. Whether or not the Biden bill ever becomes law, it remains the case that the torture is, in fact, unlawful -- and that the Senate and the Congress have voted repeatedly for actual laws and treaties (the supreme Law of the Land) that say so.

and,

2. Just in case the Washington Post has forgotten about yet another legal text, it's worth reminding Fred Hiatt that although the Senate's vote to confirm Judge Mukasey would effectively make him the Attorney General, the Senate does not have the power to "pass" the Biden bill. That would require President Bush's signature, as well (or supermajority votes of both chambers) -- and President Bush won't sign such a bill, precisely because he wants to be able to keep violating the longstanding legal prohibitions on torture and cruel treatment.

* * * *

What the Post might have written that might have made some sense: "Because Judge Mukasey and the Bush Administration do not seem to understand that the techniques they refuse to disclaim are torture and cruel treatment that are already unlawful several times over, the Senate should tell President Bush that it will confirm Judge Mukasey if and only if -- and after -- the President signs the Biden bill."

That wouldn't be a panacea -- because President Bush could always rewrite the Field Manual. (Don't put it past him.) But it would be a start. And it would make sense. Today's Washington Post editorial, however . . .

[ADDENDUM: The Post editorial is obviously motivated by a sense that Michael Mukasey is a thoughtful and serious person, with the sort of gravitas and integrity that the Department of Justice desperately needs right now. I have every reason to think that is correct -- indeed, Scott Horton has worked with him and strongly vouches for his character, to the point where Scott had been urging his confirmation. But as Scott himself notes today, the vote is no longer about Mukasey's character -- or not only about it, anyway:
I have very strong conflicting views about the vote which is coming in the Judiciary Committee. I believe that Mukasey, as an individual, is exceptionally well qualified to serve as attorney general. I would approve the Mukasey who says he "personally" finds waterboarding abhorrent. But I am troubled by the "official" Mukasey who is being trotted out as something different. And I believe that the nation cannot, at this stage, accept the appointment of an attorney general who refuses to come clean on the torture issue. In the end this is essential to national identity, and to the promise of the Justice Department to serve as a law enforcement agency. Too much of what the Justice Department has done of late has little resemblance to law enforcement. Rather it looks to be just the opposite.

If the Bush Administration wants to turn torture into a litmus test, so must Congress. The question therefore ultimately becomes one of principle and not personality. The Judiciary Committee should not accept any nominee who fails to provide meaningful assurance on this issue. And, though it saddens me to say this, Michael Mukasey has not.
P.S. I really, really hope that the DOJ-arranged meeting Scott describes, between Mukasey and "movement conservatives," did not actually occur -- or that, if it did, Mukasey rebuked them in the strongest possible terms. If the account is accurate, it's pretty chilling.]

Comments:

But, obviously, Bush would feel as free to violate the Biden bill (with or without adding a signing statement that reads it out of existence) as he has felt to violate all the other laws that you mention. The only solution is impeachment, removal from office, and prosecution for war crimes. Anything short of that continues Congress' complicity in Bush's war crimes.
 

Back in high school in the mid 1940s I met a new classmate, Joe. He came from another section of Boston and he had a sense of humor that was most welcome. Joe had interesting sayings that he would come up with from time to time and the one that comes to mind frequently is:

"Halitosis is better than no breath at all."

That seems to sum up the Post's position on Mukasey. But halitosis is not waterboarding.
 

There is a world of difference between banning generic "torture" or CID without any workable definition of what is meant by that term and the Biden bill incorporating the a detailed US Army Field manual describing what is and is not permissible.

Even the WP, if not others who should know better, can recognize that the former is completely unworkable.
 

Any person who needs to have described to him what constitutes torture in order that he knows not to do it, that he knows what is illegal and what not, is a moral monster unfit to serve in any position of responsibility.

Any ethical person possessed of humanity knows that one does not even so much as slap a helpless captive; that slap might not itself constitute torture, but it is an undeniable expression of sadism, of the merciless, arbitrary and implacable authority wielded by the powerful over the powerless; it is a first step over the threshold to torture, and it reveals the inhumanity of the man (or woman) willing to slap a helpless captive.
 

robert cook said...

Any person who needs to have described to him what constitutes torture in order that he knows not to do it, that he knows what is illegal and what not, is a moral monster unfit to serve in any position of responsibility.

Be sure to send a letter to the Army telling them that they can replace the dozens of pages of detailed instructions on how to and not to conduct interrogation with the single line: "Thou shalt not Torture."

After all, only an "[im]moral monster" needs any more guidance than that...
 

Fred Hiatt is a fool if he thinks that the Boy King George W can be constrained by any law. Bush has gone out of his way to repudiate the rule of law and instead to substitute his own personal sovereignty over all of his fellow citizens. According to the Boy King, 300 million of us citizens could demand -- again -- that torture be banned but Little George has the "constitutional" authority to defy us all.

Bart: why don't you go pollute some other web site with your immoral obfuscations and rationalizations? I thought you boys were known for touting your own "moral clarity"? The war criminals in the Bush Administration and their supporters, like Bart, lost any kind of moral vision years ago -- assuming they ever had any in the first place, a dubious assumption.

You all are nothing but filth to be democratically removed from the political system you hate.

Go away, little boy.
 

Bart, for once you are correct. Military personnel should need no further instruction than "Thou shalt not Torture."

However, I suspect (although I do not know) that the "dozens of pages" of pages instructing personnel how to and how not to conduct interrogation contain lessons in techniques intended to elicit responses WITHOUT using physical force; this would be useful information, as most of us lack the training or experience to know how to seduce information out of subjects. To the extent there is explicit prohibition against physical abuse, it is likely there for legalistic purposes, to allow the military plausible claim that they abide by the Constitution and the law and prohibit torture or abuse.

After all, anyone should know that subjecting any restrained, helpless captive to physical abuse of any kind--even a slap--is wrong. Don't you?
 

Bart: Let's see just exactly how difficult it is for you immoral monsters to stand up for what is right.

Do you, Bart DePalma, personally acknowledge that waterboarding is torture and an abomination to all who are guided by morality?

Do you, Bart DePalma, acknowledge that cold showers, ice baths etc. in air conditioned rooms and other methods of inducing hypothermia or near hypothermia are torture and an abomination to all who are guided by morality?

Do you, Bart DePalma, personally acknowledge that forcing people into stress positions and hanging them by their hands from ceilings is torture and an abomination to all who are guided by morality?

Do you, Bart DePalma, personally acknowledge that injecting people with psychotomimetic drugs is torture and an abomination to all who are guided by morality?

Do you, Bart DePalma, need to consult an Army Field Guide or any other document to answer these questions?
 

Don't know how often I have to say this, but -- like the 500 or so posts that have preceded it -- this is *not* a post about Bart. And unlike Michael Mukasey and Fred Hiatt, Bart has no influence on public policy or the national debate. So *please* stay on-point and make the comments section something worth reading. Much appreciated.
 

It's really very simple, Bart. Pay attention now. Prisoners of War are protected under international and American law. They are no longer combatants. You can't use force OF ANY KIND on them to try to coerce them into giving information. You have to get your information some other way. That is what the law and morality demands.

We know you are really, really angry and you really, really want to torture somebody, but you're not allowed.

If you or your friends break the law and do what you have been rightfully and lawfully forbidden to do, then the force of the state can and should be used to humanely punish you and your friends with lawful imprisonment, where you will not be waterboarded, given an ice bath, put into a stress position, or injected with drugs.
 

It won't make any difference. The Bush administration would just outsource the torture, like they are already doing. The bill would have to contain provisions that cover this situation.
 

Today is the day, Leahy will announce his take on the nominee at 3pm EST. Critical Schumer vote hangs in balance and poor Schumer got a problem here - as a senator from New York he is expected to support local NY boys unquestionably. Very clever of them.

Apart from that the calculus seems to depend on how one estimates the chances that GOPers will manage to stay in the office in 08. Having Mukasey bring some semblance of professional integrity to the department makes a lot of sense, having him staying for another 4 years much less given that the gentleman is politically, philosophically more or less full monty Cheney, as sad as that is.

Being professionally smooth Mukasey will be far more effective implementer of their agenda that Cheney who's not longer much more than a caricature of himself.
 

All of these posts are on point, Marty. Care to join in on the conversation?
 

Torture was barred by US law even before we ratified the Geneva Conventions:

“There have been, and are now, certain foreign nations with governments dedicated to an opposite policy: governments which convict individuals with testimony obtained by police organizations possessed of an unrestrained power to seize persons suspected of crimes against the state, hold them in secret custody, and wring from them confessions by physical or mental torture. So long as the Constitution remains the basic law of our Republic, America will not have that kind of government.” Ashcraft v. Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143, 155 (1944). And see Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278 (1936).
 

cmarshall4 said...

Do you, Bart DePalma, personally acknowledge that waterboarding is torture and an abomination to all who are guided by morality?

No. Waterboarding for a moment or two is neither torture under the statutory definition nor what I would personally define as torture.

Do you, Bart DePalma, acknowledge that cold showers, ice baths etc. in air conditioned rooms and other methods of inducing hypothermia or near hypothermia are torture and an abomination to all who are guided by morality?

Inducement of the physical state of hypothermia is torture.

Merely shifting the temperature up and down to disorient the subject without causing actual physical harm is not torture.

Do you, Bart DePalma, personally acknowledge that forcing people into stress positions and hanging them by their hands from ceilings is torture and an abomination to all who are guided by morality?

Hanging which causes severe physical pain and makes it impossible to breathe is torture.

A stress position meant to make you uncomfortable and fatigued is not.

Do you, Bart DePalma, personally acknowledge that injecting people with psychotomimetic drugs is torture and an abomination to all who are guided by morality?

Yes.

Do you, Bart DePalma, need to consult an Army Field Guide or any other document to answer these questions?

For most of your broad questions, yes.
 

-wg- said...

Today is the day, Leahy will announce his take on the nominee at 3pm EST. Critical Schumer vote hangs in balance and poor Schumer got a problem here - as a senator from New York he is expected to support local NY boys unquestionably. Very clever of them.

Schumer recommended Mukasey for the nomination.
 

cmarshall4 said...

It's really very simple, Bart. Pay attention now. Prisoners of War are protected under international and American law. They are no longer combatants. You can't use force OF ANY KIND on them to try to coerce them into giving information. You have to get your information some other way. That is what the law and morality demands.

You are correct. Captured enemy combatants who fit the definition of POW in GC3 may not be coerced in any way during interrogations.

al Qaeda and its allies do not fit the definition of POWs in GC3.

This is why the comparison of what may be done to our troops who fall under the POW definition and what can be done to al Qaeda unlawful enemy combatants who do not is inapposite.
 

-wg- writes, "Having Mukasey bring some semblance of professional integrity to the department makes a lot of sense."

If Leahy or Schumer vote for Mukasey, then they vote for torture. That should be their sole consideration. It didn't matter if Mussolini made the trains run on time.
 

Mukasey's nomination makes for a good venue to air the waterboarding issue, but I'm not sure it makes sense to use him as a proxy for administration policy.

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While one may wish for the new guy to come in and either force correction or admission on issues that have heretofore been sequestered as "state secret" or "executive privilege," I think the application of practical politics (realpolitik) indicates the vector for solution lies "above the pay grade" of the AG.

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He's going to do what he's told, on certain matters.

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As to Marty's "P.S.", I have no reason to doubt the story, nor the expression of expectation that Mukasey will protect executive privilege regarding the replacement of US Attorneys, and will protect state secret on the use of waterboarding and other harmless techniques, like temporary hypothermia and temporary suffocation.
 

Bart said "Waterboarding for a moment or two".

Get real Bart. A moment or two. What a crock. In another context, that would be comical. Here it's more, shall we say, banal. You also can't shock people for a moment or two.

Same with stress positions. Torture doesn't have to be like in the movies where the evil Nazi has a table full of stainless steel torture implements. The body is capable of producing extreme distress from things, like a simple toothache, that can be construed by sophists as being trivial but are not all when you actually experience them.

The ban on torture is a blanket ban. You can't do any of that crap. If you have any doubt about what you're about to do, don't consult the Field Guide, just don't do it. Hands off.

Its very simple for people who aren't immoral. But for Bart these things are all very complicated.

I can see Bart arguing with God after he dies.

BART: "Buh-buh-but jeez god if you hold the Geneva Conventions up to the light a certain way and squint your eyes just right you'll see that these enemies of ours in the War on Terra aren't really fighting a war or something and they're not really prisoners...that's the ticket!

GOD: But, Bart, they were people weren't they?

BART: Well I don't know. You see if you really get down in the weeds the whole idea of a species is a form of essentialism that went out with Wittgenstein. It's all very complicated, god.

GOD: Well, Bart, here is something even someone as morally retarded as you can understand. You're going to Hell now. I'm god and I DO use torture. But don't worry Bart. Its only for an eternity or two.
 

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

It's the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution- It's pretty fricken clear to me. Don't need no stinkin clarification!
 

Brian De Palma said:

"Captured enemy combatants who fit the definition of POW in GC3 may not be coerced in any way during interrogations.

al Qaeda and its allies do not fit the definition of POWs in GC3."

Doesn't matter. The prohibition against torture is in what's called the Common Article - and it's called the Common Article because it doesn't just appear in the Geneva Convention dealing with POWs, but in ALL the Geneva Conventions.

You can't torture ANYBODY - not POWs, not 'unlawful combatants', not random civilians - not ANYBODY.
 

[Prof. Lederman, from the post]: They should confirm Judge Mukasey and, at the same time,

they should do something which, for all the rhetoric, they have so far declined to do: ban torture, by passing the National Security with Justice Act sponsored by Sen. Joseph R. Biden (D-Del.)....


... and while they're at it, pass a legal requirement that from now on, all pigs will fly.

I understand that they're taking the absurd position so au courant in RW "talking points" circles (coinkidence? I think not....) that the problem is that torture is poorly defined and we need to ban specific procedures (which of course, would just allow other "twists" [so to speak] on the banned procedures; enough to escape the legal strictures, and things would go merrily on). Torture is not poorly defined, and those that keep insisting that such is true just want to be able to "draw a line" between what is permitted and what is not permitted (and why), thereby winning by default the argument that coercion is a morally justifiable procedure (see, e.g. David Luban's paper in Greenberg's "The Torture Debate In America"). Once you've allowed that a certain procedure is justified for purposes of "gathering intelligence", you've allowed that such procedures do have a moral basis. The trick is to ask whether the same procedure would be justified absent that "purpose". If not, then you lay bare the "whatever it takes", "the ends justify the means" rationale behind he arguments for such, and the moral stance (and the slippery slope) becomes clear.

Then there's the problem that, once you say that certain ends ("intelligence gathering") justify such procedures, you find out that in fact the argument is then made that since you are in fact seeking to do a "greater good" (and the utilitarian calculus from such procedures results in a net benefit to society so as to make them palatable), that in fact the most effective means need to be used to make sure the "end" is attained. And that would mean the means should be as comprehensive, as "effective", and pretty much as severe as possible.....

Cheers,
 

All of which is to say -- and it's fairly amazing that this still needs to be said in this day and age -- if there is any single thing imaginable that the Senate, the Congress, and the world community have not "declined to do," it is to ban torture categorically.



That there is "debate" in this country surrounding these questions is itself a "shock to the conscience." And the tangle of outrage and incredulity with which we are slapped -- facing advocacy FOR, and the certain excercise of TORTURE, by the highest legal officers of our nation -- is almost insuperable.

Say what? Say WHAT?!

I find myself slapped into a state insensibility by the mere argument. Which is to say, I am foisted into confronting the criminal mindset -- specifically, the criminal mindset of torture advocates and torturers, themselves -- a place of brute moral and ethical bankruptcy, unaffected by reason, let alone "law."

How and when do we intervene in the life of Johnny Meth-Head, engaged in a string of armed liquor store robberies? Johnny's got his "reasons," his motivations, his rationale. Do we "debate" with the guy and entertain his prevarications and "justifications?"

And how (oh how!) and when do we intervene in the lives of national leaders, bent upon the commission of "supreme" international crimes?

Some radicals go all 7th-century on us, so we, the United States of America, are gonna go all 12th-century on them? And the belligerents, on both sides of this radical insanity, employing 21st-century technology and weaponry? Blood lust (not to mention oil lust) unleashed, and centuries of jurisprudence -- "civilization's" core, our core -- abandoned and defied.

It is just so monumentally horrible. I reel . . . stagger -- pommelled into insensibility.

The Cheneys and Addingtons and Yoos and DePalmas and Johnny Meth-Heads of this country are not going to be talked out of their criminal mindsets. Not even by the august, legal, one-two punch of Lederman and Horton, found here.

Arrest and trial is civilization's answer to criminal behavior.
 

Marty,

Like Scott, I had hopes for Mukasey, but Scott's report rings sadly true. In fact it's the mirror image of Bush's ludicrous lie that Mukasey isn't privy to the (open) secret that waterboarding goes on and is torture plain and simple. Under the circumstances the Department of Justice has as much room for an attorney general as a crime ring has for a legal compliance officer.

Addington and Bradbury are our attorneys general, and they and those who've acted on their say-so – telecoms included – have too much to answer for to allow someone in who might force an answer. Even a course reversal or winding down are unthinkable: either would put past acts under the wrong light and, inevitably, the light of day. The Goldsmith, Comey, and Ashcroft stories say it all. Their departures narrowed the job description of the next Attorney General, if any, down to that of an accomplice in crime.

Torture and warrantless surveillance will therefore continue. So will political prosecutions, vote suppression, and pressure on US attorneys to play or pay, for we are headed into an election that, unless tampered with, will be a Republican fiasco and lead to new rules written on a clean slate as well as the accounting that none of these culprits has the balls to face.

Thanks are due to Pelosi for her bargain with the devil. When she took impeachment off the table she set us up for this crisis. The once "untold consequences" are now easily sayable, here and at a hundred other junctures. And given what's gone on, it would be easier for a scriptwriter to craft a Hollywood ending to Faust than pen a plausible future for constitutional governance and the rule of law in this nation.

The only confirmation that should come out of the Mukasey nomination – and any other I can realistically imagine – is confirmation of the above.
 

Unfortunately, Chuck Schumer followed the Post's cue in his statement today justifying his intention to vote for Mukasey. According to the AP Story:

"Schumer, who was Mukasey's chief Democratic sponsor, said the retired judge told him that if Congress passes a law banning waterboarding "the president would have absolutely no legal authority to ignore such a law." Schumer said Mukasey said he would enforce any congressional ban the controversial interrogation method."
 

cmarshall4 said...

Torture doesn't have to be like in the movies where the evil Nazi has a table full of stainless steel torture implements. The body is capable of producing extreme distress from things, like a simple toothache...

A simple tooth ache is torture?

If there was any doubt as to the completely personal subjectivity as to the meaning of "torture," this post should remove all doubt.
 

Phil said...

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

It's the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution- It's pretty fricken clear to me. Don't need no stinkin clarification!


Really?

Feel free to give us all an objective definition of what is and what is not a "cruel and unusual punishment." It is impossible to do so.

This passage is an open invitation to the courts to impose their own subjective policy preferences.
 

JoyceLH said...

Brian De Palma said...

Brian is the director who made some pretty good film noir and and an execrable recent propaganda film implying that our soldiers are murderers and rapists. For good or ill, he is a distant relative of mine.

BD: "Captured enemy combatants who fit the definition of POW in GC3 may not be coerced in any way during interrogations.

al Qaeda and its allies do not fit the definition of POWs in GC3."

Doesn't matter. The prohibition against torture is in what's called the Common Article - and it's called the Common Article because it doesn't just appear in the Geneva Convention dealing with POWs, but in ALL the Geneva Conventions.


GC3, Art 17 on interrogation only applies to thise who fit the GC definition of a protected POW. This article does not extend to non protected enemy combatants.
 

People who are not protected by Geneva III are protected by Geneva IV, which also prohibits torture, and does the US Constitution, not that I'd expect the fanatics who support these criminals care about that any more than they do the Geneva Conventions.

Meanwhile, I see that Senators Schumer and Feinstein have decided to vote for the Mukasey nomination -- that's disappointing but understandable. Once he's confirmed, they need to put his feet to the fire on this issue until DOJ comes clean and discloses the memos.
 

A link to this blog should be sent to Sen. Schumer to remind him that waterboarding is already banned so "passes" is not the correct word ... "passed" is.

But, M. has a healthy vision (fantasy, perhaps) of executive power (which is not negated by "unconstitutional" legislation), so Schumer's assurance is probably rather naive anyway.

Talking Points Memo passes (natch) along a note from John Dean suggesting, as Congress did in the Nixon years, demand a special prosecutor be agreed to by the putative new AG or not confirm him.

Finally, the Senate confirming M. would bring to mind Justice Jackson's dissent in Korematsu:

"A military commander may overstep the bounds of constitutionality, and it is an incident. But if we review and approve, that passing incident becomes the doctrine of the Constitution. There it has a generative power of its own, and all that it creates will be in its own image."

Ditto when Congress reviews and approves unconstitutional and unlawful behavior. It worsens and normalizes it. Adds insult to injury. etc.

Schumer wants to settle. Is this what we have become?
 

-- Ditto when Congress reviews and approves unconstitutional and unlawful behavior. It worsens and normalizes it. --

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No so much when Congress does it. Congress and the executive don't have the same sort of deliberative mojo that the Courts are supposed to have -- although their respective spheres of duty are clearly different.

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Congress does all sorts of weird, politically expedient things, ranging from paralysis to inaction, to finger pointing, to over-reaching. The ONLY principle is "Whatever it takes to be reelected."
 

it remains the case that the torture is, in fact, unlawful

But you've also given the opinion that the unlawful is immunized by a piece of paper from OLC, so it's hard to understand the reaction to the WaPo approach.

You've said it is immunized and that immunity is presumably ongoing and continuing until something, somewhere, somehow, ratchets it back.

You don't think the Sup Ct did it with Hamdan, bc the OLC piece of paper was still there. You don't think that the fact that no one in their right mind would ever call those things being done, and done cumulatively, anything but torture avoids the immunization.

What then?

Have Congress do nothing and allow the OLC opinions to stand unchallenged (if I understand what you've argued, even the statute won't change your immunization approach for so long as OLC still claims their interpretation)?

Rely only on statements in treaties with no executing legislation so that the President can claim his power to interpret?

I'm pretty blown away by the approach that anyone would think we need something other than the the plain language in the Constitution to make it very very clear that the things being done are unConstitutional, but even your own arguments are that Bush and the OLC have created a failsafe recipe for violent overthrow of any part of the Constitution they choose, and visiting any violence up on the persons of citizens and non-citizens that they choose. A piece of partisan paper. I can't really even call it partisan, since torture seems to have large bipartisan support in Congress.

How do you address your own catch-22 of "unlawful, but immunized"?

Wait for personalities to come and go at OLC?

There's a lovely thought for the stability of the rule of law.

I think either the argument is that, OLC opinions or legislation aside, torture is clearly criminal behavior prohibited by the Constitution or that OLC opinions and legislation can "make" torture legal or illegal, on whim.
 

Joe said...

A link to this blog should be sent to Sen. Schumer to remind him that waterboarding is already banned so "passes" is not the correct word ... "passed" is.

Apparently the Senate does not believe this because they failed to pass a bill expressly making waterboarding illegal. No need to enact a bill if the current statute was at all clear.
 

-- Apparently the Senate does not believe [that waterboarding is already banned] because they failed to pass a bill expressly making waterboarding illegal. No need to enact a bill if the current statute was at all clear. --

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As though Congress enacting a bill will make things clear.
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I've pointed out more than a few times that Congress passed legislation that is bipolar. Waterboarding is expressly forbidden by Congress, as being forbidden "cruel and unusual" per the Eight amendment, which has been imported to the ratification of the Convention Against Torture. The prohibition of this flavor of "cruel and unusual" was reaffirmed in October 2006, by passage of P.L. 109-366.

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However, the forbidden activity of waterboarding carries no criminal penalty under that US law because the harm to the boardee doesn't suffer harm to the extent necessary to meet the definition of harm that Congress established for the war crime of cruel and unusual.

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Congress intends the practice of waterboarding to be banned, but imposes no penalty under law for engaging in the banned practice.

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"Cruel and unusual" has one meaning under the constitution, and a different meaning under the war crimes statute.

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Don't hold your breath for Congress to apply similar logic to tax law.
 

"the forbidden activity of waterboarding carries no criminal penalty under that US law"

Can I do it then? I know you don't mean me, of course, since if I did it to someone I didn't like, I would be liable. Others probably might disagree with you even in more narrow cases. But, hey, I'm just a simple taxpayer. I want to waterboard too w/o criminal penalty! wah!

[I assume btw if an federal officials breaks a law w/o a criminal penalty as such, impeachment is possible, civil penalties, and perhaps a requirement by law that only those not doing said act be able to serve (and get paid) in that position.]

As to Congress not being the same courts, sure. But, this doesn't mean their decisions -- especially in areas specific to their spheres that are largely 'poltical questions' not touched by the courts in most cases -- aren't important. In many cases, as the Federalist Papers etc. so argue, their "voice" is quite important.

Likewise, in real life, the courts are affected by legislative and executive action. See, e.g., Payton v. NY ("reasonableness" per 4A). This might not be appreciated by some people, but realistically, the courts are affected by what is deemed acceptable by political actors.

Courts have a special "mojo," if not as often as some like, but the other two branches aren't chopped liver. Many things in real life simply will not be addressed by the courts. Some standards should still apply.

If it is just what gets you elected or whatever, well, you don't respect the Constitution. This might be the case now, but it isn't as if it HAS to be or that we should deem that acceptable.
 

In fact, as suggested by my legal cite, in various cases, legislative and societal action are important markers when courts interpret such things as 'due process' and 'cruel and unusual.'

Normalizing things -- for whatever reason -- by some legal alchemy can very well result in changing legal standards in the courts too.
 

Bart said:

"Feel free to give us all an objective definition of what is and what is not a "cruel and unusual punishment." It is impossible to do so."

This, and Bart's other comments in re: the subjectivty of the definition of torture goes right to the heart of the matter, and this is another reason why even so much as slapping a restrained or otherwise helpless captive is objectionable. Bart's own rather liberal (heh) consideration of what constitutes torture illustrates his own point perfectly: treatment that I or many others find cruel and sadistic (waterboarding) is A-OK with Bart. (Makes me very glad he had no distant relations helping to draft the Bill of Rights.)

Aside from this, let's say we all somehow lost our senses and decided to agree that a slap, just one little slap was acceptable, was not abusive or sadistic; what about two slaps, then? Or three? Or two soft slaps and one very HARD slap? Or a punch? How about a kick to the gut or groin? That's not bad...we have men who do that professionally to each other for money...it's called "ultimate fighting." And what if the slaps and punches and kicks don't elicit "helpful" responses from the subject? After all that effort expended--in good faith, for a good cause--it would be a waste to stop there. How about pulling one, just one fingernail out with pliers? That'll show the bastard we mean business!! That motherfucker! How dare he try to kill us and then clam up when we want to ask him some questions? What? He says he's innocent and doesn't know anything? All the more proof he's a wretched fuck, a lying shit!!

Let's put some wires on his balls and give him a shock! That'll show him who's boss around here!

Ahem. Well, you get my point, I hope. Where does it stop? Where is the line between "acceptable"(sic) "coercive interrogation" and abuse and torture? If torture is subjective, how can we reach consensus on where it starts?

The Bill of Right's prohibition agains "cruel and unusual" punishment is broadly stated for just this reason: it is a blanket prohibition, as has already been stated here. We do not subject prisoners to abuse, both because of our fearful knowledge of it having been used against us by the King's men, and because of our repugnance at the destruction of the humanity of the men and of the regimes that practice torture.
 

-- Many things in real life simply will not be addressed by the courts. ... Some standards should still apply. --

.

Many things in real life simply will not be addressed. Period, end of sentence. It's the way of the world. The application of standards (indeed, the application of all legal systems) bottoms out on force. Force of votes, passive resistance, physical force, etc., all old rhetoric here, by now.
 

There is a letter to the editor in the New York Times this morning (Sat., Nov. 3) stating an obvious reason why those who tortured on Bush's behalf need not worry about prosecution: Bush can pardon them before they face it.
 

"the way of the world"

First, again, when dealing with various constitutional principles, the courts recognize what the "way of the world" (the use of international law, of clear issue here, suggests quite literally) happens to be, and takes it into consideration when deciding things.

And, as many note here over many posts, it's an ever changing thing, influenced by many things, including what our representatives do. See, especially, Prof. Balkin's interpretation of "due process," as applied to gay rights and other issues.

Second, a core issue here is that the "way of the world" is in various ways wrong now, and we need to change it. And, not enable the wrong, even if we cannot for various reasons stop it as such. Surely, not in a particularly heinous way.

Repeating the truism that life is tough and might makes right (or whomever has the money or whatever) doesn't change that. Talk about old rhetoric.
 

Bart seems to think that it is reasonable to apply these techniques to people not covered by one section of the Geneva Conventions. Actually they are covered in the OTHER section of the Geneva Conventions...they are civilians. Civilians who may have violated the law. The Convention on Civilian Populations deals with civilians who attack occupying forces. They are given trials, they cannot be tortured. There is no such category in the Geneva Conventions as a "illegal enemy combatant". It's a legal fiction.

And the idea that some hard-core terrorist would recant after "a few seconds" of waterboarding is absurd. If the individual was so ready to turn over information they would have already done so, or none violent methods could have been used.

It's only the physical torture or threat of torture (mental torture) that triggers the mental stress necessary to obtain the confession or information.
It is, in fact, the involuntary confession or information that is the hallmark that this is torture. An individuals will has been broken by the procedure or a future procedure to the point that they give up information/confession (sometimes false...such as "I am a witch", or "I will convert to Christianity") that they would not give voluntarily.

One can waterboard a person repeatedly to the point where they break, they can't accept another bout. Same with stress positions or physical activities. Maybe you think that a decathlon of short-term tortures makes all of this okay? Hot room, cold room, waterboarding, flashing dark/lights in the room. High dB sound, silence, high dB, silence every two seconds...

"But we didn't play the loud music continuously, sir...we didn't waterboard them continuously. We gave them break every two seconds...then poured another gallon of water on their face!"
 

robert cook said...

BD: "Feel free to give us all an objective definition of what is and what is not a "cruel and unusual punishment." It is impossible to do so."

This, and Bart's other comments in re: the subjectivty of the definition of torture goes right to the heart of the matter, and this is another reason why even so much as slapping a restrained or otherwise helpless captive is objectionable...Aside from this, let's say we all somehow lost our senses and decided to agree that a slap, just one little slap was acceptable, was not abusive or sadistic; what about two slaps, then? Or three? Or two soft slaps and one very HARD slap? Or a punch? How about a kick to the gut or groin?


You make a very sound argument.

There is no way to objectively define what constitutes "torture" based solely on that term or the current definition of severe physical or mental pain or suffering.

Instead, you have offered an objective definition of where you would draw the line. Unlike "severe pain," your definition can be easily understood and followed.

While we all will differ on where to draw the line, I do not know why we cannot agree that the current statute does not draw anything one can call a clear line.
 

While we all will differ on where to draw the line, I do not know why we cannot agree that the current statute does not draw anything one can call a clear line.

Because while there have been many statements by various service people who have undergone SERE training, which is supposed to represent torture that they may undergo if captured by the enemy (originally Russia, now others), and who have stated that the techniques are torture, you and other apologists continually come up with technically, if tortuously, accurate definitions to avoid what had been commonly accepted definitions used by our armed forces and legal system. And you have continually justified such arguments by stating that, on one hand, they are necessary techniques to have a triumph of will in the contest with the horrible boogie men as these techniques will crack the will power of hardened terrorists, while on the other hand they are so gentle that they will not even cause pain or trauma except, possibly, to an infant.

Such claims are farcically disingenuous, impossibly non-sensical to argue with, and repeated so often they gain currency by simple background noise. It's not that we can't come to an agreement; we had one already. It's just that we can't come to a new agreement on your terms (because 9/11 changed everything) which you would accept, and so you must continually ask your inane questions.

It's very much like Bush asking for bi-partisan agreement, and then stating that Congress must pass the law that he wants. It's bipartisanship, but only in the sense that the two parties came to an agreement that only one of them originally wanted, instead of meeting somewhere in the middle, or, heaven help us, somewhere near where it used to be accepted practice to act.
 

mesothelioma Mesotheliomais a form of cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to Asbestos In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the heart the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart or tunica vaginalis.
Most people who develop
mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways. Washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos can also put a person at risk for developing Mesothelioma Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking but smoking greatly increases risk of other asbestos induced cancer.Compensation via
Asbestos funds or lawsuits is an important issue in
mesothelioma The symptoms of
mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan and is confirmed with a biopsy (tissue sample) and microscopic examination. A thoracoscopy inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to take biopsies. It allows the introduction of substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (called pleurodesis, which prevents more fluid from accumulating and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease carries a poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for the early detection of mesothelioma is ongoing.
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural
mesotheliomaSymptoms of peritoneal
mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal
mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
These symptoms may be caused by
mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.
Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:
chest wall pain
pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
shortness of breath
fatigue or anemia
wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up hemoptysis
In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung The disease may metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.
Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:
abdominal pain
ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
a mass in the abdomen
problems with bowel function
weight loss
In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:
blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
disseminated intravascular coagulation a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
low blood sugar level
pleural effusion
pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
severe ascites
A
mesothelioma does not usually spread to the bone, brain, or adrenal glands. Pleural tumors are usually found only on one side of the lungs
Diagnosing
mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical history. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical suspicion for
mesothelioma A physical examination is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos exposure and increases suspicion of
mesothelioma A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI is usually performed. If a large amount of fluid is present, abnormal cells may be detected by cytology if this fluid is aspirated with a syringe. For pleural fluid this is done by a pleural tap or chest drain, in ascites with an paracentesis or ascitic drain and in a pericardial effusion with pericardiocentesis. While absence of malignant cells on cytology does not completely exclude
mesothelioma it makes it much more unlikely, especially if an alternative diagnosis can be made (e.g. tuberculosis, heart failure
If cytology is positive or a plaque is regarded as suspicious, a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of
mesothelioma A doctor removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples.
If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a laparoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
There is no universally agreed protocol for screening people who have been exposed to
asbestosScreening tests might diagnose mesothelioma earlier than conventional methods thus improving the survival prospects for patients. The serum osteopontin level might be useful in screening asbestos-exposed people for
mesotheliomaThe level of soluble mesothelin-related protein is elevated in the serum of about 75% of patients at diagnosis and it has been suggested that it may be useful for screening. Doctors have begun testing the Mesomark assay which measures levels of soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) released by diseased mesothelioma cells
Incidence
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. The incidence rate is approximately one per 1,000,000. The highest incidence is found in Britain, Australia and Belgium: 30 per 1,000,000 per year. For comparison, populations with high levels of smoking can have a lung cancer incidence of over 1,000 per 1,000,000. Incidence of malignant mesothelioma currently ranges from about 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in industrialized Western nations, depending on the amount of asbestos exposure of the populations during the past several decades. It has been estimated that incidence may have peaked at 15 per 1,000,000 in the United States in 2004. Incidence is expected to continue increasing in other parts of the world. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age. Approximately one fifth to one third of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.
Between 1940 and 1979, approximately 27.5 million people were occupationally exposed to asbestos in the United States.[ Between 1973 and 1984, there has been a threefold increase in the diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma in Caucasian males. From 1980 to the late 1990s, the death rate from mesothelioma in the USA increased from 2,000 per year to 3,000, with men four times more likely to acquire it than women. These rates may not be accurate, since it is possible that many cases of mesothelioma are misdiagnosed as adenocarcinoma of the lung, which is difficult to differentiate from mesothelioma.
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure exists in almost all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. In rare cases, mesothelioma has also been associated with irradiation, intrapleural thorium dioxide (Thorotrast), and inhalation of other fibrous silicates, such as erionite.
asbestos
is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven.
asbestos
has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.
The combination of smoking and
asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the airways (lung cancer bronchial carcinoma). The Kent brand of cigarettes used
mesothelioma in its filters for the first few years of production in the 1950s and some cases of
mesothelioma have resulted. Smoking modern cigarettes does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma.
Some studies suggest that simian virus 40 may act as a cofactor in the development of mesothelioma.
Asbestos was known in antiquity, but it wasn't mined and widely used commercially until the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during World War II Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with
asbestos exposure were not publicly known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of
asbestos exposure in the workplace, and created guidelines for engineering controls and respirators, protective clothing, exposure monitoring, hygiene facilities and practices, warning signs, labeling, recordkeeping, and medical exams. By contrast, the British Government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states formally that any threshold for
mesothelioma must be at a very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does exist at all, then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical purposes, therefore, HSE does not assume that any such threshold exists. People who work with
asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Recent findings have shown that a mineral called erionite has been known to cause genetically pre-dispositioned individuals to have malignant mesothelioma rates much higher than those not pre-dispositioned genetically. A study in Cappadocia, Turkey has shown that 3 villiages in Turkey have death rates of 51% attributed to erionite related
mesotheliomaExposure to
asbestos fibres has been recognised as an occupational health hazard since the early 1900s. Several epidemiological studies have associated exposure to asbestos with the development of lesions such as asbestos bodies in the sputum, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis, carcinoma of the lung and larynx, gastrointestinal tumours, and diffuse mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum.
The documented presence of
asbestos fibres in water supplies and food products has fostered concerns about the possible impact of long-term and, as yet, unknown exposure of the general population to these fibres. Although many authorities consider brief or transient exposure to
asbestos fibres as inconsequential and an unlikely risk factor, some epidemiologists claim that there is no risk threshold. Cases of mesothelioma have been found in people whose only exposure was breathing the air through ventilation systems. Other cases had very minimal (3 months or less) direct exposure.
Commercial
asbestos mining at Wittenoom, Western Australia, occurred between 1945 and 1966. A cohort study of miners employed at the mine reported that while no deaths occurred within the first 10 years after crocidolite exposure, 85 deaths attributable to mesothelioma had occurred by 1985. By 1994, 539 reported deaths due to mesothelioma had been reported in Western Australia.
Family members and others living with
asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing
mesothelioma and possibly other asbestos related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to
asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of
asbestos workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestosMany building materials used in both public and domestic premises prior to the banning of
asbestos may contain
asbestos Those performing renovation works or activities may expose themselves to asbestos dust. In the UK use of Chrysotile asbestos was banned at the end of 1999. Brown and blue
asbestos was banned in the UK around 1985. Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos materials.
For patients with localized disease, and who can tolerate a radical surgery, radiation is often given post-operatively as a consolidative treatment. The entire hemi-thorax is treated with radiation therapy, often given simultaneously with chemotherapy. Delivering radiation and chemotherapy after a radical surgery has led to extended life expectancy in selected patient populations with some patients surviving more than 5 years. As part of a curative approach to
mesothelioma radiotherapy is also commonly applied to the sites of chest drain insertion, in order to prevent growth of the tumor along the track in the chest wall.
Although
mesothelioma is generally resistant to curative treatment with radiotherapy alone, palliative treatment regimens are sometimes used to relieve symptoms arising from tumor growth, such as obstruction of a major blood vessel.
Radiation Therapy when given alone with curative intent has never been shown to improve survival from
mesothelioma The necessary radiation dose to treat mesothelioma that has not been surgically removed would be very toxic.
Chemotherapy is the only treatment for
mesothelioma that has been proven to improve survival in randomised and controlled trials. The landmark study published in 2003 by Vogelzang and colleagues compared cisplatin chemotherapy alone with a combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) chemotherapy) in patients who had not received chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma previously and were not candidates for more aggressive "curative" surgery. This trial was the first to report a survival advantage from chemotherapy in malignant pleural
mesothelioma showing a statistically significant improvement in median survival from 10 months in the patients treated with cisplatin alone to 13.3 months in the combination pemetrexed group in patients who received supplementation with folate and vitamin B12. Vitamin supplementation was given to most patients in the trial and pemetrexed related side effects were significantly less in patients receiving pemetrexed when they also received daily oral folate 500mcg and intramuscular vitamin B12 1000mcg every 9 weeks compared with patients receiving pemetrexed without vitamin supplementation. The objective response rate increased from 20% in the cisplatin group to 46% in the combination pemetrexed group. Some side effects such as nausea and vomiting, stomatitis, and diarrhoea were more common in the combination pemetrexed group but only affected a minority of patients and overall the combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin was well tolerated when patients received vitamin supplementation; both quality of life and lung function tests improved in the combination pemetrexed group. In February 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved pemetrexed for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. However, there are still unanswered questions about the optimal use of chemotherapy, including when to start treatment, and the optimal number of cycles to give.
Cisplatin in combination with raltitrexed has shown an improvement in survival similar to that reported for pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin, but raltitrexed is no longer commercially available for this indication. For patients unable to tolerate pemetrexed, cisplatin in combination with gemcitabine or vinorelbine is an alternative, although a survival benefit has not been shown for these drugs. For patients in whom cisplatin cannot be used, carboplatin can be substituted but non-randomised data have shown lower response rates and high rates of haematological toxicity for carboplatin-based combinations, albeit with similar survival figures to patients receiving cisplatin.
In January 2009, the United States FDA approved using conventional therapies such as surgery in combination with radiation and or chemotherapy on stage I or II Mesothelioma after research conducted by a nationwide study by Duke University concluded an almost 50 point increase in remission rates.
Treatment regimens involving immunotherapy have yielded variable results. For example, intrapleural inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in an attempt to boost the immune response, was found to be of no benefit to the patient (while it may benefit patients with bladder cancer.
mesothelioma cells proved susceptible to in vitro lysis by LAK cells following activation by interleukin-2 (IL-2), but patients undergoing this particular therapy experienced major side effects. Indeed, this trial was suspended in view of the unacceptably high levels of IL-2 toxicity and the severity of side effects such as fever and cachexia. Nonetheless, other trials involving interferon alpha have proved more encouraging with 20% of patients experiencing a greater than 50% reduction in tumor mass combined with minimal side effects.
A procedure known as heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy was developed by at the Washington Cancer Institute. The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible followed by the direct administration of a chemotherapy agent, heated to between 40 and 48°C, in the abdomen. The fluid is perfused for 60 to 120 minutes and then drained.
This technique permits the administration of high concentrations of selected drugs into the abdominal and pelvic surfaces. Heating the chemotherapy treatment increases the penetration of the drugs into tissues. Also, heating itself damages the malignant cells more than the normal cells.

What is the mesothelium?
The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs to glide easily against adjacent structures.
The mesothelium has different names, depending on its location in the body. The peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The
mesothelioma tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.
What is mesothelioma?
mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs.
cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.
How common is mesothelioma?
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.
What are the risk factors for mesothelioma?
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to
Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.
Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the air passageways in the lung.
Who is at increased risk for developing mesothelioma?
asbestos has been mined and used commercially since the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos. Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure.
The risk o f asbestosrelated disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. However, some individuals with only brief exposures have developed mesothelioma On the other hand, not all workers who are heavily exposed develop asbestos-related diseases.
There is some evidence that family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to
asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of
asbestos workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to
asbestos fibers, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.
What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to
asbestos Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
These symptoms may be caused by
mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions. It is important to see a doctor about any of these symptoms. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis
How is
mesotheliomadiagnosed?
Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. In an MRI, a powerful magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed.
A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In a biopsy, a surgeon or a medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer) removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the
cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. If the
cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a peritoneoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small opening in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument called a peritoneoscope into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
If the diagnosis is mesothelioma, the doctor will want to learn the stage (or extent) of the disease. Staging involves more tests in a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to which parts of the body. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.
Mesothelioma is described as localized if the cancer is found only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified as advanced if it has spread beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
How is
mesotheliomatreated?
Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the location of the
cancerthe stage of the disease, and the patient's age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, these treatments are combined.
Surgery is a common treatment for
mesotheliomaThe doctor may remove part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it. For cancer of the pleura (pleural
mesotheliomaa lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed.
Stereo Tactic Radiation Therapy also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill
cancercells and shrink tumors Radiation therapy affects the
cancercells only in the treated area. The radiation may come from a machine (external radiation) or from putting materials that produce radiation through thin plastic tubes into the area where the
cancercells are found (internal radiation therapy).
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Most drugs used to treat
mesotheliomaare given by injection into a vein (intravenous, or IV). Doctors are also studying the effectiveness of putting chemotherapy directly into the chest or abdomen (intracavitary chemotherapy).
To relieve symptoms and control pain, the doctor may use a needle or a thin tube to drain fluid that has built up in the chest or abdomen. The procedure for removing fluid from the chest is called thoracentesis. Removal of fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis. Drugs may be given through a tube in the chest to prevent more fluid from accumulating. Radiation Therapy and surgery may also be helpful in relieving symptoms.
 

A career as an occupational therapy will offer you a great number of benefits, rewards and other positive factors. From one person to the next, every individual may have a different reason for getting started down this path, or for why they love it as much as they do. Visit website for the details.
 

To keep your hair good looking follow tips.Take care of your hair with tips your own house and keep good and healthy.
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