Posts Tagged ‘torture memos’

US Justice Department report clears authors of Bush torture memos

February 22, 2010

By Kate Randall, wsws.org, Feb 22, 2010

A US Justice Department report released Friday has exonerated the Bush administration lawyers whose secret memos justified waterboarding and other forms of torture by CIA interrogators.

The ethics report of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) said that John C. Yoo, 42, and Jay S. Bybee, 56, authors of the August 2002 and March 2003 “torture memos,” had used “poor judgment” and flawed legal reasoning. However, the report concluded they were not guilty of “professional misconduct” and would face no sanctions. Yoo and Bybee worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), advising the White House.

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Chomsky: The Torture Memos

June 4, 2009

Torture has been routine practice from the early days of the Republic

By Noam Chomsky | Z Magazine, June 2009

rChomsky’s ZSpace page

The torture memos released by the White House in April elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable—particularly the testimony in the Senate Armed Services Committee report on the Cheney-Rumsfeld desperation to find links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, links that were later concocted as justification for the invasion, facts irrelevant. Former Army psychiatrist Major Charles Burney testified that “a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link…there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results”—that is, torture. The McClatchy press reported that a former senior intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue added that “The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime…. [Cheney and Rumsfeld] demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…. ‘There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder’.” These were the most significant revelations, barely reported.

While such testimony about the viciousness and deceit of the Administration should indeed be shocking, the surprise at the general picture revealed is nonetheless surprising. A narrow reason is that even without inquiry, it was reasonable to suppose that Guantanamo was a torture chamber. Why else send prisoners where they would be beyond the reach of the law—incidentally, a place that Washington is using in violation of a treaty that was forced on Cuba at the point of a gun? Security reasons are alleged, but they are hard to take seriously. The same expectations held for secret prisons and rendition, and were fulfilled.

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