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white house memo on justification of torture

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by seeking, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    didn't know what else to call the thread.
    passed on to me today.
    yakoff shmirnoff was right...america is wicked awesome.

    Memo Offered Justification for Use of Torture
    Justice Dept. Gave Advice in 2002
    By Dana Priest and R. Jeffrey Smith
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Tuesday, June 8, 2004; Page A01

    In August 2002, the Justice Department advised the White House that torturing al
    Qaeda terrorists in captivity abroad "may be justified," and that international
    laws against torture "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations"
    conducted in President Bush's war on terrorism, according to a newly obtained

    If a government employee were to torture a suspect in captivity, "he would be
    doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the Al
    Qaeda terrorist network," said the memo, from the Justice Department's office
    of legal counsel, written in response to a CIA request for legal guidance. It
    added that arguments centering on "necessity and self-defense could provide
    justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability" later.

    The memo seems to counter the pre-Sept. 11, 2001, assumption that U.S.
    government personnel would never be permitted to torture captives. It was
    offered after the CIA began detaining and interrogating suspected al Qaeda
    leaders in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the wake of the attacks, according to
    government officials familiar with the document.

    The legal reasoning in the 2002 memo, which covered treatment of al Qaeda
    detainees in CIA custody, was later used in a March 2003 report by Pentagon
    lawyers assessing interrogation rules governing the Defense Department's
    detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At that time, Defense Secretary
    Donald H. Rumsfeld had asked the lawyers to examine the logistical, policy and
    legal issues associated with interrogation techniques.

    Bush administration officials say flatly that, despite the discussion of legal
    issues in the two memos, it has abided by international conventions barring
    torture, and that detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere have been treated
    humanely, except in the cases of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq for which
    seven military police soldiers have been charged.

    Still, the 2002 and 2003 memos reflect the Bush administration's desire to
    explore the limits on how far it could legally go in aggressively interrogating
    foreigners suspected of terrorism or of having information that could thwart
    future attacks.

    In the 2002 memo, written for the CIA and addressed to White House Counsel
    Alberto R. Gonzales, the Justice Department defined torture in a much narrower
    way, for example, than does the U.S. Army, which has historically carried out
    most wartime interrogations.

    In the Justice Department's view -- contained in a 50-page document signed by
    Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee and obtained by The Washington Post --
    inflicting moderate or fleeting pain does not necessarily constitute torture.
    Torture, the memo says, "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain
    accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of
    bodily function, or even death."

    By contrast, the Army's Field Manual 34-52, titled "Intelligence
    Interrogations," sets more restrictive rules. For example, the Army prohibits
    pain induced by chemicals or bondage; forcing an individual to stand, sit or
    kneel in abnormal positions for prolonged periods of time; and food
    deprivation. Under mental torture, the Army prohibits mock executions, sleep
    deprivation and chemically induced psychosis.

    Human rights groups expressed dismay at the Justice Department's legal reasoning

    "It is by leaps and bounds the worst thing I've seen since this whole Abu Ghraib
    scandal broke," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "It appears that
    what they were contemplating was the commission of war crimes and looking for
    ways to avoid legal accountability. The effect is to throw out years of
    military doctrine and standards on interrogations."

    But a spokesman for the White House counsel's office said, "The president
    directed the military to treat al Qaeda and Taliban humanely and consistent
    with the Geneva Conventions."

    Mark Corallo, the Justice Department's chief spokesman, said "the department
    does not comment on specific legal advice it has provided confidentially within
    the executive branch." But he added: "It is the policy of the United States to
    comply with all U.S. laws in the treatment of detainees -- including the
    Constitution, federal statutes and treaties." The CIA declined to comment.

    The Justice Department's interpretation for the CIA sought to provide guidance
    on what sorts of aggressive treatments might not fall within the legal
    definition of torture.

    The 2002 memo, for example, included the interpretation that "it is difficult to
    take a specific act out of context and conclude that the act in isolation would
    constitute torture." The memo named seven techniques that courts have
    considered torture, including severe beatings with truncheons and clubs,
    threats of imminent death, burning with cigarettes, electric shocks to
    genitalia, rape or sexual assault, and forcing a prisoner to watch the torture
    of another person.

    "While we cannot say with certainty that acts falling short of these seven would
    not constitute torture," the memo advised, ". . . we believe that interrogation
    techniques would have to be similar to these in their extreme nature and in the
    type of harm caused to violate law."

    "For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture," the memo said, "it
    must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g.,
    lasting for months or even years." Examples include the development of mental
    disorders, drug-induced dementia, "post traumatic stress disorder which can
    last months or even years, or even chronic depression."

    Of mental torture, however, an interrogator could show he acted in good faith by
    "taking such steps as surveying professional literature, consulting with
    experts or reviewing evidence gained in past experience" to show he or she did
    not intend to cause severe mental pain and that the conduct, therefore, "would
    not amount to the acts prohibited by the statute."

    In 2003, the Defense Department conducted its own review of the limits that
    govern torture, in consultation with experts at the Justice Department and
    other agencies. The aim of the March 6, 2003, review, conducted by a working
    group that included representatives of the military services, the Joint Chiefs
    of Staff and the intelligence community, was to provide a legal basis for what
    the group's report called "exceptional interrogations."

    Much of the reasoning in the group's report and in the Justice Department's 2002
    memo overlap. The documents, which address treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban
    detainees, were not written to apply to detainees held in Iraq.

    In a draft of the working group's report, for example, Pentagon lawyers
    approvingly cited the Justice Department's 2002 position that domestic and
    international laws prohibiting torture could be trumped by the president's
    wartime authority and any directives he issued.

    At the time, the Justice Department's legal analysis, however, shocked some of
    the military lawyers who were involved in crafting the new guidelines, said
    senior defense officials and military lawyers.

    "Every flag JAG lodged complaints," said one senior Pentagon official involved
    in the process, referring to the judge advocate generals who are military
    lawyers of each service.

    "It's really unprecedented. For almost 30 years we've taught the Geneva
    Convention one way," said a senior military attorney. "Once you start telling
    people it's okay to break the law, there's no telling where they might stop."

    A U.S. law enacted in 1994 bars torture by U.S. military personnel anywhere in
    the world. But the Pentagon group's report, prepared under the supervision of
    General Counsel William J. Haynes II, said that "in order to respect the
    President's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign . .
    . [the prohibition against torture] must be construed as inapplicable to
    interrogations undertaken pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief authority."

    The Pentagon group's report, divulged yesterday by the Wall Street Journal and
    obtained by The Post, said further that the 1994 law barring torture "does not
    apply to the conduct of U.S. personnel" at Guantanamo Bay.

    It also said the anti-torture law did apply to U.S. military interrogations that
    occurred outside U.S. "maritime and territorial jurisdiction," such as in Iraq
    or Afghanistan. But it said both Congress and the Justice Department would have
    difficulty enforcing the law if U.S. military personnel could be shown to be
    acting as a result of presidential orders.

    The report then parsed at length the definition of torture under domestic and
    international law, with an eye toward guiding military personnel about legal

    The Pentagon report uses language very similar to that in the 2002 Justice
    Department memo written in response to the CIA's request: "If a government
    defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner
    that might arguably violate criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order
    to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist
    network," the draft states. "In that case, DOJ [Department of Justice] believes
    that he could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to
    protect the nation from attack justified his actions."

    The draft goes on to assert that a soldier's claim that he was following
    "superior orders" would be available for those engaged in "exceptional
    interrogations except where the conduct goes so far as to be patently
    unlawful." It asserts, as does the Justice view expressed for the CIA, that the
    mere infliction of pain and suffering is not unlawful; the pain or suffering
    must be severe.

    A Defense Department spokesman said last night that the March 2003 memo
    represented "a scholarly effort to define the perimeters of the law" but added:
    "What is legal and what is put into practice is a different story." Pentagon
    officials said the group examined at least 35 interrogation techniques, and
    Rumsfeld later approved using 24 of them in a classified directive on April 16,
    2003, that governed all activities at Guantanamo Bay. The Pentagon has refused
    to make public the 24 interrogation procedures.
  2. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    now this has to be bad.
  3. metallix

    metallix Elite Member

    Joined: Oct 7, 2001 Messages: 2,955 Likes Received: 1
  4. heavyLox

    heavyLox Veteran Member

    Joined: Feb 2, 2002 Messages: 7,196 Likes Received: 17
    this memo has been in the news for a while now, although i nev er gotten to read it.

    whats funny is when i write a memo its like, "get milk", or "pick up dry cleaning". short and to the point. when a memo turns into a multi page document then its no longer a memo.
  5. GnomeToys

    GnomeToys Elite Member

    Joined: Jun 24, 2003 Messages: 2,616 Likes Received: 4
    For those too lazy to read all of this, here is the condensed version:

  6. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    dont feel like making another topic.

    in case no one saw this before.

    Berg beheading: No way, say medical experts
    By Ritt Goldstein

    American businessman Nicholas Berg's body was found on May 8 near a Baghdad overpass; a video of his supposed decapitation death by knife appeared on an alleged al-Qaeda-linked website (www.al-ansar.biz) on May 11. But according to what both a leading surgical authority and a noted forensic death expert separately told Asia Times Online, the video depicting the decapitation appears to have been staged.

    "I certainly would need to be convinced it [the decapitation video] was authentic," Dr John Simpson, executive director for surgical affairs at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, said from New Zealand. Echoing Dr Simpson's criticism, when this journalist asked forensic death expert Jon Nordby, PhD and fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, whether he believed the Berg decapitation video had been "staged", Nordby replied: "Yes, I think that's the best explanation of it."

    Questions of when the video's footage was taken, and the time elapsed between the shooting of the video's segments, were raised by both experts, reflecting a portion of the broader and ongoing video controversy. Nordby, speaking to Asia Times Online from Washington state, noted: "We don't know how much time wasn't filmed," adding that "there's no way of knowing whether ... footage is contemporaneous with the footage that follows".

    While the circumstances surrounding both the video and Nick Berg's last days have been the source of substantive speculation, both Simpson and Nordby perceived it as highly probable that Berg had died some time prior to his decapitation. A factor in this was an apparent lack of the "massive" arterial bleeding such an act initiates.

    "I would have thought that all the people in the vicinity would have been covered in blood, in a matter of seconds ... if it was genuine," said Simpson. Notably, the act's perpetrators appeared far from so. And separately Nordby observed: "I think that by the time they're ... on his head, he's already dead."

    Providing another basis for their findings, in the course of such an assault, an individual's autonomic nervous system would react, typically doing so strongly, with the body shaking and jerking accordingly. And while Nordby noted that "they rotated and moved the head", shifting vertebrae that should have initiated such actions, Simpson said he "certainly didn't perceive any movements at all" in response to such efforts.

    During the period when Berg's captors filmed the decapitation sequence, circumstances indicate that he had already been dead "a quite uncertain length of time, but more than ... however long the beheading took", Simpson stated. Both Simpson and Nordby also noted the difficulty in providing analysis based on the video, the inherent limitations presented by this. But both also felt that Berg had seemed drugged.

    A particularly significant point in the video sequence occurred as Berg's captors attacked him, bringing the supposedly fatal knife to bear. "The way that they pulled him over, they could have used a dummy at that point," reflected Simpson regarding what the video portrayed. Separately, Nordby said Berg does not "appear to register any sort of surprise or any change in his facial expression when he's grabbed and twisted over, and they start to bring this weapon into use".

    Subsequently, Nordby said it was likely that the filming sequence was manipulated at the point immediately preceding this, allowing Berg's corpse to be used for the decapitation sequence. Nordby also emphasized that the video "raises more questions than it answers", with the most fundamental questions of "who are you, and how did you die", being impossible to answer from it. But broad speculation exists regarding a number of factors surrounding both Berg's death and the video, and its timing in regard to revelations of US prison atrocities.

    In a May 13 article, the Arabic newsgroup Aljazeera reported that a Dubai-based Reuters journalist first broke the story, "but while Fox News, CNN and the BBC" were able to secure the video from the "Arabic-only website" that hosted it, Aljazeera was unable to locate it. And also on May 13, the Associated Press (AP) reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency had determined that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the individual who beheaded Berg.

    Since Secretary of State Colin Powell's United Nations presentation of February 5, 2003, al-Zarqawi has been portrayed as the single most dangerous element facing the Bush administration's "war on terror". Powell's UN presentation has since been widely accepted as empty; nevertheless, al-Zarqawi appears to have surpassed even Osama bin Laden as the administration's No 1 terror target. And on May 15, Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt, the Coalition Provisional Authority's chief Iraq military spokesman, declared that al-Zarqawi will be eventually caught, though that may prove particularly difficult.

    On March 4, Brigadier-General David Rodriguez of the Joint Chiefs of staff revealed that the Pentagon didn't have "direct evidence of whether he's [al-Zarqawi] alive or dead", providing commentary on the nature of prior "evidence" linking al-Zarqawi to attacks and bombings. But that same day, AP reported that an Iraqi resistance group claimed al-Zarqawi had been killed the April prior in the US bombing of northern Iraq.

    Speaking off the record, intelligence community sources have previously said they believe it "very likely" that al-Zarqawi is indeed long dead. Such a fact makes al-Zarqawi's alleged killing of Berg difficult to reconcile, and there has been broad speculation that blaming al-Zarqawi is an administration ploy. Further anomalies surrounding Berg's death have fueled added speculation.

    According to e-mails sent from a US consular officer in Baghdad, Beth Payne, to the Berg family, Nick Berg was being held in Iraq "by the US military in Mosul". A May 13 AP report notes that a US State Department spokesperson subsequently said this was untrue, an error, and that Berg was being held by Iraqi authorities. But another May 13 AP report quoted "police chief Major-General Mohammed Khair al-Barhawi" as claiming that reports of Iraqi police having held Berg were "baseless".

    And Berg is seen on the beheading videotape in what appears to be US military prison-issue clothing, sitting in what appears to be a US military-type white chair, virtually identical to those photographed as used at Abu Ghraib prison. However, the taking of hostages has occurred in the region, and beheadings are not unheard of.

    According to a February 2003 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), on September 23, 2001, radical Islamists captured a group of 25 Kurdish fighters in the Iraqi village of Kheli Hama. "Some prisoners' throats had been slit, while others had been beheaded," HRW reported, noting that the television station KurdSat had broadcast pictures of the dead that September 26. The report also noted that a videotape "apparently filmed" by those committing the atrocities had been found.

    The strict Islamist community in Iraq denied that the acts were committed by their people, stating that the incident was fabricated.

    Additional reports of beheadings also exist, with the victims usually noted as killed with a bullet before the beheading occurs. But HRW's report also raised an issue that the Berg video's makers, and Berg's father, both raised: prisoner exchange.

    HRW noted that Iraq's radical Islamists did pursue exchanges of captives, and the Berg video specifically noted that his captors claimed they were killing him as their attempts to exchange Berg had been rebuffed by US authorities. Berg's father, Michael, has pressed the administration of US President George W Bush as regards what the facts of this allegation are, with the administration denying any knowledge that such a trade was offered. And added questions still exist.

    Because Iraq's radical Islamists speak in a particular manner, and live by a closely proscribed code, apparent contradictions between these ways and the way Berg's captors appeared has generated speculation. Some observers have speculated on the possibility that the individuals weren't native Arabic speakers. Conversely, it is reported that in Saudi Arabia, where Sharia law allows for beheadings in cases of severe crimes, the condemned is heavily drugged with tranquilizers prior to the execution, reportedly leaving them in a state similar to that which Berg appeared in during parts of the video.

    Again, Nordby emphasized that the video "raises more questions than it answers".

    Ritt Goldstein is an American investigative political journalist based in Stockholm. His work has appeared in broadsheets such as Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, Spain's El Mundo and Denmark's Politiken, as well as with the Inter Press Service (IPS), a global news agency.

    (Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact [email protected] for information on our sales and syndication policies.)
  7. BROWNer

    BROWNer Guest

    so if he was drugged, it still wouldn't explain the supposed lack of profuse bleeding.

    on an unrelated note, seeking, was it you that was on here talking about the official story of the plane that hit the pentagon awhile back????
    yesterday somebody brought it up and they are really convinced that the official
    story is total bullshit. they cited some AP photo that apparently showed a hole that was only 14ft in diameter with zero wreckage anywhere...i knew about the lack of wreckage but..
    i haven't bothered to look into it much, nor did i pay much attention at the time this
    seemed to be hot topic on the net..
    but i certainly started to think, how the fuck does a jumbo jet aircraft 'vaporize'?
    oh yea...speed + fuel=complete vaporization?
  8. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    ...and so continues our demise

    we have totally become The Evil Empire.

    this is really just another cog in out foreign policy machinations of death.

    anyone who thinks this is new for our government should learn more about our foreign policy.

    it's just now, we have a president so stupid, he doesn't know or understand how to keep it covert.

    the hypocrisy is gonna come back to kick our ass

  9. 0scarmire

    0scarmire Member

    Joined: Jan 14, 2004 Messages: 457 Likes Received: 0
    No one in this war is following the rules of war
  10. The worst part is that there's a good number of people in the country that not only won't give a fuck about this memo, but will actually be in total agreement with what it details.
  11. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    this isnt a war, it's an occupation.

    ive always talked about it. there is a very detailed story with alot of photos on the whole thing, but i dont have thelink. check in the last couple of political threads. probably the original nick berg thread. in it, there is either a link to that exact thing, or a link to a site that has it prominently displayed on their site.
    i'll do some digging myself.
    it's a very good write up with alot of pictures.

    im not sure what the point about the drugging was, but i think its kind of irrelivent. i think what really matters were the words of the 2 dr's, who echoed (with more credibility, although less detail) exactly what i said in the original thread on this topic. (thank you very much ;) )
  12. wiseguy

    wiseguy Elite Member

    Joined: Mar 1, 2002 Messages: 2,543 Likes Received: 1
    yeah, fucking awesome. we're all fucked now.
  13. villain

    villain Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2002 Messages: 5,190 Likes Received: 2
    Stop the world! I wanna get off....
  14. Ski Mask

    Ski Mask 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Apr 11, 2000 Messages: 11,114 Likes Received: 209
    we would never use torture! we just wrote up the memo because...you know....we wanted to see what our options are.

    anybody buy that?
  15. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Nov 16, 2000 Messages: 10,259 Likes Received: 18
    READ THIS. I mean it. Read it. Now.

    From Billmon:


    [b][SIZE=2]Praise the Lord and Pass the Thumbscrews[/b][/SIZE]

    It's been pointed out to me (tip of the hat to Bernhard H.) that the team of lawyers who wrote the Pentagon's treatise on presidential torture powers was led by [url=http://www.pwfsd.org/article.php?sid=238]this woman[/url]:
    [quote][b]U.S. Air Force's General Counsel, Mary L. Walker, discusses what it takes to leave a legacy of significance.[/b][/quote]
    Ms. Walker, it turns out, is a long-time Republican political appointee first brought to Washington during the Reagan administration to help oversee the looting of America's natural resources, um, that is, I mean, to serve as principal deputy in the environmental division at Ed Meese's Justice Department.

    It also appears that Ms. Walker is a devout Christian - much like her fellow Reagan alum and environmental despoiler, Interior Secretary James "I don't know how many generations we've got until the Lord returns" Watt. And she's the co-founder of a San Diego group called [url=http://www.pwfsd.org/]Professional Women's Fellowship[/url], an offshoot of the Campus Crusade for Christ "dedicated to helping professionals find balance, focus and direction in life."

    God knows, we all need balance, focus and direction in our lives - and I'd be the last person to criticize Ms. Walker for looking for it in Jesus. As a devoted follower of John Lennon (bigger than Christ, but we won't dwell on that) I'm a firm believer in whatever gets you through the night. It's all right. It's all right.

    But knowing what we now know about the subject matter of the Pentagon report, and the legal theories expounded therein, I do have to wonder how seriously Ms. Walker takes her Golden Rule.

    At the very least, the report lends a curious overtone to some of the comments in this [url=http://www.pwfsd.org/article.php?sid=238]interview[/url] with Walker, which was published on the PWF web site:

    [quote][b][b]Walker[/b]: "I wanted to be involved in policy development at the highest level, and lawyers in our society are often involved in shaping policy."

    [b]The report[/b]: After defining torture and other prohibited acts, the memo presents "legal doctrines ... that could render specific conduct, otherwise criminal, not unlawful."

    [b]Walker[/b]: "I can't divorce faith from success because God is the foundation for my life."

    [b]The report[/b]: "Good faith may be a complete defense" to a torture charge."

    [b]Walker[/b]: "My relationship with God and with others in the community of faith has been central in my life."

    [b]The report[/b]: "The infliction of pain or suffering per se, whether it is physical or mental, is insufficient to amount to torture." It "must be of such a high level of intensity that the pain is difficult for the subject to endure."

    [b]Walker[/b]: "It helped to find someone who could mentor me and help me see my faith as relevant to the challenges of life and work."

    [b]The report[/b]: For involuntarily administered drugs or other psychological methods [to be considered torture], the "acts must penetrate to the core of an individual's ability to perceive the world around him."

    [b]Walker[/b]: "When God is the center of your life and everything you do revolves around His plans for you and the world, then that is when life really gets exciting."

    [b]The report[/b]:The executive branch [has] "sweeping" powers to act as it sees fit because "national security decisions require the unity in purpose and energy in action that characterize the presidency rather than Congress."

    [b]Walker[/b]: It's a travesty to be in a place of strategic importance to the world as a business or political leader and not allow God to accomplish the truly significant through you.

    [b]The report[/b]: To protect subordinates should they be charged with torture, the memo advised that Mr. Bush issue a "presidential directive or other writing" that could serve as evidence, since authority to set aside the laws is "inherent in the president." [/b][/quote]
    And of course, I saved the best for last:

    [quote][b][b]Walker[/b]: "Making moral decisions in the workplace where it is easy to go along and get along takes courage. It takes moral strength and courage to say, 'I'm not going to do this because I don't think it's the right thing to do.' "

    [b]The report[/b]: Officials could escape torture convictions by arguing that they were following superior orders, since such orders "may be inferred to be lawful" and are "disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate."[/b][/quote]
    And so there you have it: Mary L. Walker - Christian, Republican, Patriot, Torture Attorney.

    I know my personal military hero, [url=http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/]Gen. J.C. Christian, Patriot[/url], is already married. But if he ever feels like emulating the prophets of old and taking unto him a concubine, as Abraham knew Hagar, I think this just might be the girl for him.​