– Part 1, Article 2 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987)
... In 2003, for example, President George W. Bush called on all governments to join the USA in “prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment." In 2004, he promised that the USA would “investigate and prosecute all acts of torture and undertake to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment in all territory under our jurisdiction”. And in 2005, he reaffirmed the USA’s “commitment to the worldwide elimination of torture” and “to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.” (source)
In 1764, the work of Cesare Beccaria, author of On Crimes and Punishments, became so influential as to lead to the banning of judicial torture in criminal proceedings Europe. Beccaria saw torture as a means of ‘conviction of weak innocents’.
The 20th Century saw a revival of torture techniques against perceived opponents of the state, and priority was given to state security. The Stalinist regime of the 1930s used torture to instil terror into the population, marking a convergence away from its traditional use to generate confessions. The atrocities of World War II, including the Nazi torture chambers, and continuing violence over the century, sparked a need to address the issue in international law. Despite various treaties addressing torture, states are finding ways to evade their responsibilities under international law and torture is sliding under the carpet. (source)
Torture Memo Author elevated to Federal Judge, Still Justifying Torture, this time in American prisons...
On January 31st, in a 2-1 ruling authored by Judge Bybee, the 9th Circuit reversed a federal trial judge’s ruling that had permitted a prisoner’s civil rights lawsuit to proceed a little further toward trial. The prisoner, Rex Chappell, had alleged that he was tortured by his guards...
Solitary Confinement is Torture
The devastating psychological and physical effects of prolonged solitary confinement are well documented by social scientists: prolonged solitary confinement causes prisoners significant mental harm and places them at grave risk of even more devastating future psychological harm and at times, these harms were found to be permanent or persist even after one was released from solitary.
Researchers have demonstrated that prolonged solitary confinement causes a persistent and heightened state of anxiety and nervousness, headaches, insomnia, lethargy or chronic tiredness, nightmares, heart palpitations, fear of impending nervous breakdowns and higher rates of hypertension and early morbidity. Other documented effects include obsessive ruminations, confused thought processes, an oversensitivity to stimuli, irrational anger, social withdrawal, hallucinations, violent fantasies, emotional flatness, mood swings, chronic depression, feelings of overall deterioration, as well as suicidal ideation.
Exposure to such life-shattering conditions clearly constitutes cruel and unusual punishment – in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Further, the brutal use of solitary has been condemned as torture by the international community. (source)
Some are held in solitary confinement for as long as 43 years.
The difference between something that is legal or illegal is a matter of interpretation of the language of the law. More could be said for what we know of as 'right and wrong'. Something that is easy for anyone to understand is that torture is a source of a sick kind of pleasure for the powerful as they torture the weak. Torture is disguised in many ways with fancy language. Regardless of the use of words, in so many ways that are easy to define, the United States qualifies as The Torture Nation.