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Justice Department Releases Bush Administration Torture Memos

17 April 2009

Bradbury And Bybee Memos Are Released In Response To Long-Running ACLU Lawsuits

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NEW YORK – In response to litigation filed by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Justice Department today released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture. The memos, produced by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), provided the legal framework for the CIA's use of waterboarding and other illegal interrogation methods that violate domestic and international law.

The ACLU has called for the Justice Department to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate torture under the Bush administration.

"We have to look back before we can move forward as a nation. When crimes have been committed, the American legal system demands accountability. President Obama's assertion that there should not be prosecutions of government officials who may have committed crimes before a thorough investigation has been carried out is simply untenable. Enforcing the nation's laws should not be a political decision. These memos provide yet more incontrovertible evidence that Bush administration officials at the highest level of government authorized and gave legal blessings to acts of torture that violate domestic and international law," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "There can be no more excuses for putting off criminal investigations of officials who authorized torture, lawyers who justified it and interrogators who broke the law. No one is above the law, and the law must be equally enforced. Accountability is necessary for any functioning democracy and for restoring America's reputation at home and abroad."



0 # ramsis 2009-04-17 18:37
First off,the audacity of the aclu to lecture anyone on "political decisions" is just ridiculous. The fact that their organization itself is nothing more the than a left wing political organization gives its opinions on matters such as these zero credibility. this is nothing more than their political witch hunt and a flagrant attempt to stay relevant in an era which they have very little usefulness. personally I applaud all of G.Ws efforts on keeping myself and my fellow Americans safe from threats abroad. By releasing these memos we are only giving AQ an idea on what they need to prepare for and in turn putting our citizens as well as our troops or as Napolitano would call em "future right wing extremists" at risk. The truth is the rules are yet to be written in dealing with enemy combatants or detainees or whatever you might want to call em. But one thing is for sure by definition of the Geneva convention they were NEVER prisoners of war. As for referring to these INTERIGATION MEMOS as "torture memos you are simply fueling this obvious political fire meant to do nothing but undermined our efforts at protecting American lives.
0 # ramsis 2009-04-17 18:41
First off,the audacity of the aclu to lecture anyone on "political decisions" is just ridiculous. The fact that their organization itself is nothing more the than a left wing political organization gives its opinions on matters such as these zero credibility. this is nothing more than their political witch hunt and a flagrant attempt to stay relevant in an era which they have very little usefulness. personally I applaud all of G.Ws efforts on keeping myself and my fellow Americans safe from threats abroad. By releasing these memos we are only giving AQ an idea on what they need to prepare for and in turn putting our citizens as well as our troops or as Napolitano would call em "future right wing extremists" at risk. The truth is the rules are yet to be written in dealing with enemy combatants or detainees or whatever you might want to call em. But one thing is for sure by definition of the Geneva convention they were NEVER prisoners of war. As for referring to these INTERIGATION MEMOS as "torture memos you are simply fueling this obvious political fire meant to do nothing but undermined our efforts at protecting American lives.
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-17 21:58
Torture goes against my gut feeling as to what my country stands for. There is no proof that torture has ever resulted in actionable intelligence (I am loathe to take the word of those who authorized torture). All evidence suggests that torture does not work. The ACLU is one of the few organizations that protect the constitution. I dislike many of their stands (fighting for the right of the KKK to hold rallys for one) but the constitution was written for all, not just me. This is an extremely troubling issue but I am viscerally against torture.
0 # Bill R. 2009-04-18 02:03
So does this mean that anyone who has gone through SERE Training can sue the goverment? These "revelations" in the memo aren't torture. The ACLU doesn't fight for the constitution. They choose which battles to fight and have consistantly gone against the framers' intent. The techniques described may make enemy combatants uncomfortable but are certainly not torture.
0 # scott Dudley 2009-04-18 15:18
In fact, according to US and international law, it was torture. What is legal is not an individual choice. As to SERE, those undergoing the training are volunteers.
0 # Carol 2009-04-18 17:19
I saw a post today that says what I feel. The time spent talking about how awful America is by those who believe we torture to me is wasted. Torture is when you cut an innocent person's head off with a five-inch. dull knife. I'm really sick of all you smarter-than-me people who are so damn sure our country has tortured thugs. If those so-called murderers we've "tortured" are dead, then I'll agree we've tortured human beings. Until then, talk about something else.

Evidence to the Contrary
By J.G. Thayer - 04.18.2009 - 11:37 AM
Critics of the Bush administration are doing handsprings over the release of detailed memos that outline the interrogation techniques used by the CIA on captured terrorist suspects. We now know about such techniques as ƒ??dietary manipulation,ƒ?  ƒ??attention grasp,ƒ? ƒ??walling,ƒ? ƒ??facial hold,ƒ? ƒ??facial slap,ƒ? ƒ??cramped confinement,ƒ? ƒ??wall standing,ƒ? ƒ??stress positions,ƒ? ƒ??sleep deprivation,ƒ? ƒ??insects placed in confinement box,ƒ? and the infamous ƒ??waterboardin g.ƒ? This is the anti-Bush crowdƒ??s Holy Grail, the virtual confession of horrific misdeeds. BUSH LIED!!!!! BUSH TORTURED!!!!! and all the rest.

But between the evidence and the conclusion lies a great gap that critics cheerfully leap over: do these techniques constitute ƒ??torture?ƒ?

Oh, absolutely, theyƒ??re unpleasant. I wouldnƒ??t want to undergo any of them. But do they constitute ƒ??torture?ƒ?

The problem with leaping to that conclusion is that while ƒ??tortureƒ? is an ancient word with many associations and definitions, only one really matters in this context: United States law. And the law seems pretty clear: no, they do not constitute ƒ??torture.ƒ?

One of the key elements of the law is the word ƒ??intent,ƒ? and intent is a terribly difficult thing to prove. One often has to infer intent from circumstantial evidence, and in this case there is a great deal of that showing the interrogators desperately wanted to remain within the letter of the law:

ƒ?› They repeatedly sought out legal advice from the Justice Department on interpreting the laws.

ƒ?› They had medically-train ed personnel on hand who could veto or end any interrogation techniques that they thought ran the risk of causing serious injury or lasting harm.

ƒ?› They thoroughly documented their techniques, including how they considered them legal under the letter of the law.

These are the actions of people trying to meet the demands of their superiors while obeying the letter of the law.

For millennia human beings have been finding new and inventive and horrific ways to inflict pain and suffering on each other. Genuine torturers would look at the techniques plied by our CIA against these terrorist suspects and laugh in derision.

If there were violations of U.S. laws regarding torture the documents released this week donƒ??t show it at all. On the contrary, they add to the evidence that the U.S. interrogators acted responsibly.
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-18 18:21
It is very difficult to that an intelligent discussion when participants don't understand the basic definitions

Or even understand the difference between torture and murder.
0 # Carol 2009-04-19 04:14
Couldn't understand your first sentence but got the insult, Mr. Dudley. Was just sharing my frustration that the country who sacrifices the most is held to a different standard than every other country.
0 # Bill R. 2009-04-19 16:18
Anyone who used Wikipedia as a reference on any topic is not very bright to begin with. Wikipedia is written by web users and is never to be used as a definitive source. Try again Dudley.
0 # Bill R. 2009-04-19 16:25
Do you know what would happen if someone were to write a paper citing Wikipedia as a source? They would get a failing grade. Wikipedia is a useless waste of cyberspace.
0 # Scott Dudley, CDR, USN ret 2009-04-19 20:19
I take it you have a reliable definition of torture. Please provide it along with the source. I am always willing to learn.
0 # senorlechero 2009-04-20 03:14
Forget for a moment Bush and the interogators, and think about the ACLUs statement toward the "lawyers who justified" supposed torture.

If Lawyers could be held responsible to wrong assesments and interpretations of the law, ALL, Lawyers would be in jail. The ACLU regularly puts forth opinions on the legality of acts like murder, rape, child molestation, and every other vile act commited by the worst criminals in the world. Their wrong opinions are responsible for many such murderers and child molesters being given tiny sentences then committing the same crimes upon release.

And what about our current Attorney General whos lame legal advise to Clinton led to the release of criminals and terrorists? Where is the ACLU outcry? It's non existant because they believe criminals and terrorists are a good thing.........i f they were all in jail they couldn't hire the ACLU lawyers.

These ACLU morons would have us all bowing to murderous thugs if they had their way. After we prosecute them I might consider prosecuting Bush Administration attorneys...... .....well, no, actually I wouldn't
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-20 12:39
There are, undoubtedly, tons of sites where everyone can bash the ACLU. Subject here is torture. Not surprised Bill R. has not provided a reliable definition of Torture. Seems he is all talk.
0 # OldSoldier54 2009-04-20 12:40
The Left wing looney tunes ACLU has got the credibility of a five year old on LSD.
0 # Bill R 2009-04-20 18:11
No, I'm not all talk, just been busy and this isn't really important. Webster's defines it as the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure. Don't see how what our agents did qualifies as torture. Waterboarding, which is what everyone seems to be up in arms about is scary in that your mind perceives that you are drowning. That isn't pain, just fright. What does the Geneva Convention say is permissible for combatants caught out of a legitimate uniform? Can't they be shot as spies or something?
0 # senorlechero 2009-04-21 04:08
And where does he get the authority to dictate what this discussion is about? There is less in Yon's post about "torture" than there is about the questionable legal minds at the ACLU.

In fact, there is nothing in the post about "torture".....z ero.

So dudley, what gives? Are you Mr. Yon's web site superviser or what?
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-21 15:17
Darn, and I thought the subject was release of torture memos. My bad.
0 # Bill R. 2009-04-21 17:39
Someone must have emailed FNC because they picked up on the fact that thousands of aircrew and SOF personnel have been waterboarded through the years and if it's not torture for them, why would it be for someone who doesn't even deserve rights under the Geneva Conventions. Whether they're volunteers or not, it's a legitimate question. They don't volunteer for waterboarding anyway, that is done after they are "captured" during the training.
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-21 18:51
In my SERE class of about 50, only 5 of us were waterboarded. John McCain thinks it is torture and opposes it but then who is he?
0 # senorlechero 2009-04-21 21:01
Well scott dudley, you pretty much just proved the point that waterboarding is NOT torture. Since only 3, of the thousands captured, terrorists were waterboarded, and they survived and have no lasting damage....just like the 5 guys in your SERE class. The guy sitting here next to me says only 4 or 5 of the guys in his SERE class were waterboarded (that he knows of), and that's out of 30 guys. So if we can waterboard 15% or more of our own pilots and special operators and it's NOT torture, how can you say waterboarding .01% of enemy combatants is torture?

Also, in one of your previous posts you made the most ignorant comment in this thread. You said waterboarding never works (or something to that effect) and that there is no evidence we ever got any "actionalble" intel from it. That is so wrong. You must have your head burried in the dailykos if you have not heard of the intel gathered from the 3 waterboarded terrorists. Just yesterday former Vice President Cheney said he has personally seen memos describing the evidence gathered from the harsh interogations of those head lopping off less than human creeps. No you may not believe Cheney, just like some don't believe the ice in the Antarctic is growing...but that just makes you ignorant, which of course most of us already knew.
0 # senorlechero 2009-04-21 21:39
For those who arn't as ignorant as dudley........

ƒ??The ƒ??waterboard,ƒ ?? which is the most intense of the CIA interrogation techniques, is subject to additional limits,ƒ? explained the May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo. ƒ??It may be used on a High Value Detainee only if the CIA has ƒ??credible intelligence that a terrorist attack is imminentƒ??; ƒ??substantial and credible indicators that the subject has actionable intelligence that can prevent, disrupt or deny this attackƒ??; and ƒ??[o]ther interrogation methods have failed to elicit this information within the perceived time limit for preventing the attack.ƒ??ƒ?

ƒ??In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including KSM and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques,ƒ? says the Justice Department memo. ƒ??Both KSM and Zubaydah had ƒ??expressed their belief that the general US population was ƒ??weak,ƒ?? lacked resilience, and would be unable to ƒ??do what was necessaryƒ?? to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals.ƒ?? Indeed

After he was subjected to the ƒ??waterboardƒ?  technique, KSM became cooperative, providing intelligence that led to the capture of key al Qaeda allies and, eventually, the closing down of an East Asian terrorist cell that had been tasked with carrying out the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

NO FURTHER DISCUSSION IS NECESSARY. If anyone reads this and still says waterboarding is "torture" and doesn't work they are worse than ignorant, they are fools.
0 # Carol 2009-04-22 01:53
Mr. Dudley, I just noticed on one of your posts you added "CDR USN (ret)" after your name. Just because you're retired military doesn't make you right. There are enough retired military who disagree with you. Time will tell how much Obama is weakening our country and emboldening our enemies. 9/11 changed me forever. If the Bush administration thwarted just one additional terror attack, thank you to President Bush, Dick Cheney and every single brave man and woman who has sacrified to protect me, a proud American living in the greatest country in the world, for the past eight years. Under Obama, I fear what is about to happen to our country. Watching him mishandle the recent pirate situation off the coast of Somali concerns me deeply. I'll eat my words if Obama turns out to be the best president ever. I hope you'll eat yours. Oh, wait, I forgot. It's Bush's fault that there are terrorists today, not the Islamic ideology that has killed so many innocents all over the world.
0 # Cecil Trotter 2009-04-22 02:08
ƒ??High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaƒ??ida organization that was attacking this country,ƒ? Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.

Now, can we dispense with the claims that enhanced interrogation techniques never work?
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-22 13:00
Your personal attacks indicate a weak mind. There are tons of current and former military (and CIA) that disavow "enhanced techniques" as a productive or acceptable method of obtaining information. KSM was waterboarded 183 times in one month. How is that effective? At some point, maybe after 125 times, doesn't it seem a waste of time? Would not another approach be considered?

I lean toward the Israeli model. Their policy is that torture is illegal. On the other hand, if it is used, those doing it must prove, in a court of law, that it was absolutely necessary, given the dictates of the situation. It is an extremely troubling subject that should transcend rhetoric. What values do we stand for as America?

Carol, I agree.
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-22 13:34
Thanks for the link, Cecil. What Adm. Blair said was....

ƒ??The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,ƒ? Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night. ƒ??The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."
0 # senorlechero 2009-04-22 19:56
Mr Dudley. If you think being told you are "ignorant" is a "personal alltack" you are even more ignorant than you have already displayed. You on the other hand use personal insults when you are proven cannot argue from facts.

You are not fooling anyone here. Saying there are "tons" of whoevers that do whatever is typical of the type of argument you "weak minded" liberals make. First of all "tons" is a unit of weight. Did you mean "many"? How many? Who are they? All the evidence points to the vast majority of interogators believing these techniques worked in this case. You are worse than ignorant if you continue to deny this fact.

Your agreement with the "israeli model" is a joke. The israelis regularly assasinate their enemies. They also make terrorists disappear to who knows where. So every terrorist taken into custody by the israelis knows that if they don't give intel they may well be let go then blown to bits, or worse, placed in some unknows location with the world famous israeli interrogators.. ...that "don't exist".
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-22 20:29
I rest my case.
0 # BlueJammy 2009-04-23 17:22
Carol you are dead on. Bravo. senorlechero, fantastic..

I try not visit this site to often becasue it smells of liberal agenda ever since the new president came on board. Well I'm not sure if he is "on board" or working with the enemy (i say that in jest, knowing what damage he is doing to us).

It does appear Scott that you have very thin skin. We have cahtted on a different thread and you always seem to get offended easily. You may be a very smart person, but your pompous and pious tone really gives you less credibility. The wiki "site" was pretty humourous and agree that no professor worth his salt would allow you to use wiki as a source.

All that being said, I doubt the MMS well ever tell us, nor the government release information that waterboarding or sleep deprivations or wearing panties on prisoners heads works or doesn't. But I would venture to say that if you walked into VA hospital and asked some of our bravest and posed the the following question they would have said "Hell Yes!"

"If you thought there was a remote possibility that torturing a suspect could have saved you from being here would you condone it?"

Chances are Scott you would as well, maybe you would say "Hell yes" if was your son, daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew. You see I make no exceptions. I say torture them all if all I have to do is make them feel like they are drowning to get information to save lives.

To the liberals, your going down in 2010.
0 # Scott Dudley 2009-04-23 19:42
Which is why I lean toward the Israeli model. If the person you are torturing is known to have information of an imminent attack, go ahead but be prepared to defend yourself in court. News indicates some were tortured to try to prove a link between Al Qaeda and iraq to justify invading. I don't condone that as it is directed toward getting a confession vice real information. I prefer to keep discussions on point vice namecalling, if that is thinskinned, so be it.
0 # C 2010-07-10 20:35
I swear sometimes people like senorlechero and Bill R make me lose faith in humanity. But then they are probably 13. SERE being equated with torture? Get real people. SERE it's a selection - i.e. you can quit any time you want. Just say I'm done! You can't quit torture - you can say what you think they torturer will like to hear so they will stop the torture but that won't do jack to stop it (they'll keep going - that's why it's torture). Ask Andy MacNabb (British SAS) - i.e. read his book (Bravo Two Zero) and see how different SERE is from real life torture.

Scott Dudley - I have no idea how you managed to keep a straight face through this interaction.
My theory is that some people just watch too much Bauer and play too much Modern Battlefield 2.
Hey guys you're talking to real people, with real world experience, be respectful and write something that makes sense.

BlueJammy - you're a piece of work - "To the liberals"? that's how you sign off? - what's a liberal? somebody that doesn't like torture? well in that case YOU are a liberal - because I bet you wouldn't like torture if it was done to you.

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