Restriction on the use of cruel and unusual punishments

Reference

Amendment VIII to the U.S. Constitution
"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Articles

Getting Away with Torture, by Sheldon Richman, 17 Dec 2014
Examines some of the responses to the report on the CIA's post-9/11 use of "enhanced interrogation techniques"
"No excuse for torture is acceptable. Apologists for the CIA, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and former CIA Director Michael Hayden, may use all the convoluted arguments they can muster to claim that EITs do not constitute torture. But they cannot change the facts. Any government unfriendly to the American empire that had used these techniques would have been condemned by the U.S. government as barbaric."
Happy Counterterrorism Day, by Scott Horton, Harper's Magazine, 5 Nov 2007
Recounts the history of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot and proposes three lessons to be learned from it for the present age
"Torture was a weakness, not a strength, of the government. In twenty-three years, this would be the accepted wisdom of a society sickened and revolted by the official use of cruelty and of torture. In one hundred and seventy years, a nation would be born committed to suppressing it forever ... or, as it turns out, until the arrival of George W. Bush."
Related Topic: George Washington
My Time in the Tower of London, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Dec 2006
Compares the torture of centuries past in the Tower of London with the 2006 legalization of similar practices in the United States
"... in late September 2006, Congress voted to effectively legalize torture and to pardon all the torturers and torture policymakers. Has the U.S. Capitol building acquired at least an odor of the Tower of London? ... the law that Congress passed will be a cornucopia of barbarity that will be likely to afflict people around the world."
Punishment and Proportionality, by Murray N. Rothbard, 1982
Chapter 13 of The Ethics of Liberty
"The proportionality rule tells us how much punishment a plaintiff may exact from a convicted wrongdoer, and no more; it imposes the maximum limit on punishment that may be inflicted before the punisher himself becomes a criminal aggressor. Thus, it should be quite clear that, under libertarian law, capital punishment would have to be confined strictly to the crime of murder."
Shssh! Don't Tell Americans How We Treat "Enemy Combatants", by Jacob G. Hornberger, 21 Mar 2007
"Reality is the power to subject American and foreign 'enemy combatants' to extreme isolation and sensory deprivation over long periods of time. ... power to subject 'enemy combatants' to waterboarding and similar forms of 'alternative-interrogation techniques.' ... power to inject substances into 'enemy combatants.'"
The Bush Torture Memos, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Nov 2006
Examines how the Bush Justice Department and the Pentagon twisted legal interpretations to absolve themselves of charges of torture
"President Bush is proposing to medievalize the American legal code by permitting the use of coerced confessions in judicial proceedings. ... the Bybee memo ... began by largely redefining torture out of existence. It then explained why even if someone died during torture, the torturer might not be guilty if he felt the torture was necessary to prevent some worse evil."
The Confession Backfired, by Paul Craig Roberts, 17 Mar 2007
"I remember speaking years ago with Soviet dissident Valdimir Bukovsky about the behavior of Soviet dissidents under torture. He replied that people pressed for names under torture would try to remember the names of war dead and people who had passed away. Those who retained enough of their wits under torture would confess to an unbelievable array of crimes in an effort to alert the public to the falsity of the entire process."
The Pentagon's Power to Arrest, Torture, and Execute Americans, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 28 Feb 2007
"... U.S. officials would undoubtedly prefer to keep secret from the American people — a method of 'touchless' torture that the CIA and the Pentagon have long been employing involving isolation and sensory deprivation. As Alfred McCoy described in his book A Question of Torture, this particular type of torture technique is specifically intended to cause mental damage to its victims."
Why Did They Torture Jose Padilla?, by John Grant, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 Dec 2006
Examines the Jose Padilla case in view of Alfred McCoy's A Question of Torture
"Why did the administration decide to dishonor the Constitution and do this to a U.S. citizen arrested on American soil? Clearly, it hoped to ferret out leads to more arrests. ... The Padilla case is about the psychological breakdown of a single man, but it should send a shudder down the spine of every freedom-loving American."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

It helps us pass a lie detector ..., by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 26 Oct 2007

Videos


Jesse Ventura On Larry King Live Part 1 Of 2 May.11, 2009, by Jesse Ventura, 11 May 2009
Among other things, Ventura discusses waterboarding and torture, including his own Navy Seal training experience with it

Mancow Waterboard, by Erich 'Mancow' Muller, 22 May 2009
Mancow is waterboarded and says it is "absolutely torture", "horrific"

The CIA's Detention, Interrogation, and Rendition Program, by Joanne Mariner, 3 Jun 2007
Speech given at the Future of Freedom Foundation's 2007 conference "Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties"