Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.09 Rainforest destruction from gold mining hits all-time high in Peru

11.09 A new way to make steel could cut 5% of CO2 emissions at a stroke

11.08 Medicaid’s stunning victory

11.06 On Eve of Midterms, Americans Urged to Vote 'Like the Planet Depends On It—Because It Does'

11.06 Big Oil Spending Tens of Millions to Defeat Washington State's Groundbreaking Carbon Fee Initiative [2:09 video]

11.06 India: Delhi pollution level deteriorates to 'hazardous' category

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.12 When Obstruction of Justice Is Glaringly Obvious

11.11 These 14 Democrats Are at Core of What Bernie Sanders Calls the 'Most Progressive Freshman Class' in Modern US History

11.10 Dear Democrats: Don’t be corporate stooges too

11.10 Trump's acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings [Absense of morals and empathy are a prerequisite in the Trump administration]

11.09 The Philly Suburbs Purge Once Dominant Republican Party

11.09 Jeff Sessions Replaced by Aide Who Said Mueller Should Be Barred From Probing Trump Finances

11.09 A Different Kind of Democratic Party Is Rising in the South

11.09 Democrat Kyrsten Sinema pulls ahead in Arizona Senate race

11.09 Democratic wins in these 9 states will have seismic policy consequences

11.09 House Democrats must resist Trump’s infrastructure trap

11.09 Half of white women continue to vote Republican. What's wrong with them?

Justice Matters

11.09 Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally [Making America Less Great Again...]

High Crimes?

11.10 US stops refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in Yemen war [But there are a few children still alive. It's too soon!]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.11 Tax reform: down with the ‘stepped-up basis’

11.08 Canada is richer than the US, according to a new wealth ranking — in fact, the US doesn't even make the top 10 [Graph of richest countries based on median wealth per adult]

11.05 Under Trump, Corporate Giants See Massive Drop in Penalties: NYT [Mafia-government...]

11.02 Los Angeles’ Measure B Is a Moonshot Aimed at Creating a Public Bank [Could save the public $Billions if setup smartly]

International & Futurism

11.12 With Trump sitting nearby, Macron calls nationalism a betrayal [Trump was confused...; video]

11.11 The message from the midterms: a new, progressive US is slowly taking shape

11.09 US navy ship ignored sinking migrants' cries for help, say survivors [Making America Less Great Again...]

11.05  Interview:  Joseph Stiglitz: 'America should be a warning to other countries'

11.03 Trudeau won’t stop $12bn of arms sales to Saudi after Khashoggi’s death because money always wins over murder [Capitalism Trumps Morality...]

11.03 The Guardian view on Brazil’s new president: a global danger [Note the omission of the US as a prospective partner for doing good...]

11.03 US rebuffs Europeans over ensuring Iran sanctions exempt food and medicine [Unwarranted, heinous cruelty to innocent civilians]

11.02  The Unforgotten:  Becoming Anne Frank [They were—most acutely—human beings!]

11.02  The Dispossessed:  This French Town Has Welcomed Refugees for 400 Years [How strange: They behave like... human beings!]

11.01 I live among the neo-Nazis in eastern Germany. And it’s terrifying [A Mass Sociopathic Psychosis grows for a better future, but attacks the wrong causes and enemies...; 1:07 video in Chemnitz, 1:09 video in Chemnitz]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  'Torture Memo' May Finally Go Public
Newspaper logo

COMMENTARY:

'Torture Memo' May Finally Go Public

by Jason Leopold
3 April 2009

The world may finally get to read the Bush administration’s infamous “torture memo,” the Aug. 1, 2002, document that provided legal cover for the brutal and humiliating treatment of detainees in George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

Though the general contents of that memo have been described in books, congressional reports and news articles, the document itself was kept as a highly classified secret by the Bush administration.

In its first two months in office, the Obama administration has released several other legal memos relating to Bush’s expansive views of his powers, but has withheld key memos on the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

On Thursday, the Justice Department said it had negotiated an extension to a court deadline in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the ACLU seeking interrogation-related documents, in part, by agreeing to add the “torture memo” to other documents that might be released within two weeks.

Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security project, said he “reluctantly consented” to the extension because acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin said the package of documents under review would include the Aug. 1, 2002, legal opinion.

The Justice Department had been deliberating whether to release three legal memos from May 2005 that, in effect, reaffirmed Bush’s right to authorize the harsh interrogations, after the earlier memos had been withdrawn in 2003 and 2004 by Deputy Attorney General Jack Goldsmith.

But Goldsmith resigned in 2004 under White House pressure and his replacement as head of the powerful Office of Legal Counsel, Steven Bradbury, reasserted Bush’s sweeping powers in May 2005. Bradbury reissued some of the OLC’s opinions from 2002 and 2003 that argued that Bush’s Commander-in-Chief authority permitted him to override laws in the name of national security.

In the first months of the Obama administration, release of the interrogation memos has been the subject of a fierce bureaucratic battle, with former CIA Director Michael Hayden reportedly incensed over their possible disclosure and Attorney General Eric Holder arguing for their declassification.

The Justice Department’s request for the deadline extension – and its willingness to include the so-called “torture memo” in the package – suggest that President Barack Obama has sided with Holder in the dispute and that the extra time is needed for final clearances.

In a two-page letter to the New York federal court that is hearing the ACLU’s lawsuit, acting U.S. Attorney Dassin wrote, “Plaintiffs have informed the Government that they consent to this extension based on Government’s representation that high-level Government officials will consider for possible release the three Office of Legal Counsel memoranda ... and an August 1, 2002 OLC memorandum.”

Dassin's letter added, “The Government has further represented that any release of information from these documents will take place on or before April 16, 2009.”

Yoo’s Memo

The Aug. 1, 2002, memo, written by John Yoo, then a deputy assistant attorney general at the OLC, was “one of the cornerstones of the CIA’s torture program,” the ACLU’s Jaffer said.

“Collectively, these memos supplied the framework for an interrogation program that permitted the most barbaric forms of abuse, violated domestic and international law, alienated America's allies and yielded information that was both unreliable and unusable in court,” Jaffer added.

“While we are disappointed that the Bradbury memos were not released today, we are optimistic that the extension will result in the release of information that would not otherwise have been available to the public.”

Yoo worked closely with Bush's White House in developing the legal arguments to enable Bush to essentially operate beyond the law. Jay Bybee, who was Yoo’s boss at the OLC and is now a 9th Circuit Appeals Court Judge, signed Yoo’s August 2002 memo. The OLC is the agency that advises Presidents on the extent of their constitutional powers.

Another Aug. 1, 2002 memo, written by Yoo and signed by Bybee, described specific interrogation methods — such as the drowning technique known as waterboarding — which CIA interrogators could use to extract information from detainees.

Jack Goldsmith, who succeeded Bybee as OLC chief in October 2003, determined that the Aug. 1, 2002, memo was “sloppily written” and “legally flawed.” His decision to withdraw the memo and other opinions granting Bush expansive powers touched off a nasty fight with Bush’s White House – especially with Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal counsel David Addington – and pushed Goldsmith to resign.

In May 2005, as acting OLC chief, Bradbury reinstated key elements of the memos granting Bush virtually unlimited powers over the detainees, according to a list summarizing the still-secret documents.

The Yoo-Bybee and Bradbury memos also became the subject of a four-year-long internal investigation conducted by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The probe centered on whether the three lawyers provided the White House with poor legal advice and violated "professional standards" in interpreting the Constitution.

The OPR investigation was completed last December and reportedly was sharply critical of the trio’s legal opinions. However, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, his deputy and the OLC – which was still under Bradbury’s command – succeeded in getting the report revised, according to a Justice Department letter sent to two U.S. senators last week.

The OPR’s report may undergo further changes based on responses from the subjects of the inquiry, the letter indicated.

Two weeks ago, the ACLU called on Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to launch a probe into the Bush administration's torture practices.


Jason Leopold has launched his own Web site, The Public Record, at www.pubrecord.org.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on April 3, 2009.

 

Public Service Ads: