Friday, April 17, 2009

Torture, Who Me? (Part I)

Ok, it's taken me a bit of work to get these images up here, but I thought this deserved at least this much. This is the full text of one of the four previously classified Bush government internal memos released by the Obama administration today in response to a court order. Collectively these memos are known as the "torture memos" in which the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel provided legal justification for the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the CIA. The memos are only lightly censored.

The one on display here (for some reason I think I will have to break up the upload into groups of 5 pages) is the earliest of these, an August 1, 2002 memo signed by then Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee, offering supposedly "legal advice" to the CIA about how to go about torturing Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah (who as you may remember was arrested from Faisalabad after a shootout) so that the always upright agency would not fall foul of US laws. Jay S. Bybee, the legal eagle here by the way, now serves as federal appeals court judge (!).

This memo had, in fact, been partly leaked about five years ago causing an outcry but the entire text of the memo had never been made public until now.

I don't know if any of you has the patience to go through the entire memo, but I did. And what struck me was the bone-chillingly clinical nature in which this man, a US government official, and a lawyer, discusses elements of torture. I don't know about you but I really don't see the difference between this and the documentation of the horrific Nazi experiments on human beings, to which as we know, Americans never stop expressing shock and incredulity.

Would Jay S. Bybee and his superiors such as Attorney General John Ashcroft and President George W. Bush - who himself authorized torture of detainees - be now hauled before a Nuremburg-style trial court for documented war crimes?

I wouldn't hold my breath.

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