World » Americas

US memo, at the highest levels, torture may be justified

The Washington Post has gotten a copy of a 1 August memo, issued by the US Justice Department that says torture of POWs may be justified.  
The memo "Re: Standards of Conduct for Interrogation under 18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A” written by Alberto R. Gonzales, legal counsel to President Bush, wrote the memo on behalf of the CIA who wanted broader authority to engage in hostile interrogations of the Iraq POWs.   

The CIA had petitioned the White House for extended and more aggressive means, and the White House passed the request to the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. 

To quote: “In this case, the memorandum was signed by Jay S. Bybee, the head of the office at the time. Bybee's signature gives the document additional authority, making it akin to a binding legal opinion on government policy on interrogations. Bybee has since become a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.”  

And further quote: “Another memorandum, dated March 6, 2003, from a Defense Department working group convened by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to come up with new interrogation guidelines for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, incorporated much, but not all, of the legal thinking from the OLC memo. The Wall Street Journal first published the March memo.

At a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, senators asked Attorney General John D. Ashcroft to release both memos. Ashcroft said he would not discuss the contents of the Justice and Pentagon memos or turn them over to the committees” 

Bush has stated that he expects US Authorities to abide by the law, but he stopped short of saying what law, what conditions, and the legal implications of the memo.  Nor did he discuss the phrasing of language so as to bend US Law.

Comments