Monday, April 20, 2009

Tortured Memos



Last week, the Obama administration released another set of so-called "torture memos" from the previous Bush White House. Like something out of a spy thriller, the memos detailed the use of sleep deprivation, and even live insects among what were deemed "approved techniques." While the memos themselves were startling, so was an accompanying statement by the Chief Executive. While noting the importance of these revelations, President Obama ruled out prosecutions against anyone who might have been involved in torture, stating that now is a "time for reflection, not retribution." Since then, the heat has been intense from both sides. Congressional Republicans and former Bush administration officials, are howling that the release of the memos will now jeapordize US national security. In fact, there was a significant amount of push back from the intelligence establishment that threatened to make certain the memos never saw the light of day. On the other side of the equation are anti-torture advocates (from constitutional/legal scholars to human rights groups) who balk at the idea that torturers (especially those that ordered them) may now walk free.

Above is a response to the memo release, and the seeming "Presidential pardon" that was meted out by Keith Olbermann.

More on the controversey after the fold...



Torture Memos Gave CIA Legal O.K. to Bring Detainees to Brink of Death
Friday 17 April 2009
Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Report

CIA interrogators were given legal authorization to slam an alleged "high-value" detainee's head against a wall, place insects inside a "confinement box" to induce fear and force him to remain awake for 11 consecutive days, according to a closely guarded August 1, 2002, legal memo released publicly by the Justice Department for the first time on Thursday.

Full article here.


The Torture Memos, Obama and the Banality of Evil
Richard Kim on 04/17/2009 TheNation

Even as President Obama acted in the name of transparency and accountabilty in releasing the Bush administration's OLC's torture memos, he made assurances that the CIA agents who used the "enhanced interrogation techniques" meticulously detailed within would not be subject to criminal prosecution. Glenn Greenwald at Salon, Jeremy Scahill on his blog, David Bromwich at Huffington Post and Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic all have good takes on why Obama's decision is wrong. I concur. However politically expedient, Obama's nearly carte blanche absolution of torture was morally wrong, and his justification of it, from a professor of constitutional law, is intellectually dishonest.

Full article here.

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