The Opening Statement of Chief Justice Robert L. Jackson at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1945 states in part:

    "And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn, aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment." (emphasis added)
Today’s news points out that Democrats were briefed by the CIA, to a decidedly uncertain extent, on the torture and degrading treatment of prisoners, This is by the CIA’s own admission, in a letter linked to at this article.

However, the dirty details are not likely to be as important as one might think, because the absolute prohibitions on both inhumane degrading treatment of prisoners as well as torture are of the same status: absolute, binding without treaty, and provide for no exceptions in “time of war.” Indeed, it is largely in wartime situations that the prohibitions against torture, mistreatment of prisoners, genocide and slavery are most needed, even if they are not the only time these bright line prohibitions are needed.

Torture, degrading and inhumane treatment of prisoners, genocide and slavery are virtually unique in the law of nations or international law, specifically admitting of no exceptions regardless of whether or not a given country has signed the Geneva Convention. This is because these absolute prohibitions are universally accepted norms ”in the civilized world," a.k.a. "jus cogens norms of international law. Jus cogens is the Latin term for those universally binding norms of international law that are binding on all countries regardless of treaty ratification. In other words, they are universal and absolute human rights.

Without this very absoluteness, even in times of war, there would be no meaningful human rights at all, since all rules would go out the window in any given war. Thus, exceptions to jus cogens norms are not even fairly debatable, at least not in any Nuremburg-style war crimes tribunal that fairly reviews the very clear law on this matter, much of it set or heavily influenced by the USA itself.

There are a few more principles of universal law laid down at Nuremburg that are worth keeping in your memory somewhere to apply as needed, in the interests of keeping our world from becoming a barbarian’s paradise. From Justice Jackson, at the Nuremberg Trials,
    "We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. ... Our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy."
    --Chief Justice Robert L. Jackson, at Nuremberg, August 12, 1945 (emphasis added)
Does anyone recall from the pre-2000 era how “wars of aggression” was a universal term of condemnation in US media?

From the Statement of the Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal:
    "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore (individual citizens) have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."
That is, no memo or act of Congress or order from a superior office is a defense to a charge of crimes against peace and humanity, such as torture, inhumane treatment of prisoners, slavery or genocide. Civil disobedience is required.

Oddly, Germany now sets a political/moral example for the USA in the area of freedom in elections. By way of background, the present German Constitution or "Basic Law" ratified in 1949 could only take effect after meeting the specific conditions of the USA and other occupying powers for (1) a complete renunciation of master race theory together with (2) unconditional acceptance of human rights as inalienable, inviolable and self-evident.

This Germanified US Constitution that went into effect in post-WWII Germany recently resulted in a decision by the German High court regarding what the term "public elections" means and requires under this US-imposed and US-signed constitution. The German high court held that the German electronic voting act was unconstitutional because it did not give the required full “publicity” or transparency required for public elections. Among other things, the German court held that no amount of government checks or government tests could ever substitute for public observation of all essential steps of the voting process – especially observation of the vote counting process. The German court went even further, saying the requirement of any technical or expert knowledge was impermissible. Think of it this way: any such expert knowledge requirement takes the "public" out of “public elections” making the elections instead for the aristocratic or expert few to truly understand and participate in. See also.

Such publicity or transparency of all essential steps of voting, or “global transparency” includes campaign finance and is necessary for the preservation of free democratic societies. In contrast, the secret vote counts on optical scans and DRE touch screens give us no assurance whatsoever that corrupt incumbents can be removed from power. Without that guaranteed ability, no society is free.

It seems the Germans learned many of their lessons from WWII. We've now to REMEMBER our own lessons, the ones we taught at Nuremberg and the requirement of public elections we imposed in the 1949 German constitution we actually signed off on.

We are lucky in that we seek a restoration of concepts Americans have long broadly believed in, as opposed to having the burden of educating or convincing everyone to believe something new. Therein is the hope for a renewed America, provided We the People don’t abdicate our duty to hold our government to the letter of all of these most basic rights and promises of freedom.

All of us should make clear where we stand, applying the above clear principles of human rights and not by our silence becoming in any way complicit with crimes against humanity for which we have no defense.