Sunday, April 19, 2009

More on Torture Memos-- Four Items

1. CIA waterboarded Al Qaeda suspect 183 times in 1 month, memo reveals-- Unless you're a fan of willful ignorance, you know all about the four Bush administration torture memos released Thursday by the Justice Department. Those memos revealed Bush lawyers authorized the use of insects in interrogations, among other shocking and disturbing strategies for getting detainees to talk.

But perhaps more shocking than these newly revealed torture methods is a memo's reference to the fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (still in U.S. custody) was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah (the man who allegedly fears insects) was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002.

This insane frequency would seem to make (even more) self-evident the fact that waterboarding is not an effective anti-terror tool. Putting aside the moral and legal outrages for a moment, these statistics do not show waterboarding to be the ace in the hole "enhanced" technique Bush et al. claimed it was. Quite the opposite.

2. Bush memos parallel claim 9/11 mastermind’s children were tortured with insects--

Bush Administration memos released by the White House on Thursday provide new insight into claims that American agents used insects to torture the young children of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

In the memos, released Thursday, the Bush Administration White House Office of Legal Counsel offered its endorsement of CIA torture methods that involved placing an insect in a cramped, confined box with detainees. Jay S. Bybee, then-director of the OLC, wrote that insects could be used to capitalize on detainees’ fears.

3. Accounts of Torture, Abstract and Experienced-- TAP compares the "enhanced interrogation" memos to Red Cross accounts of what happened...

4. NYT: Impeach Bybee-- These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

A general point is the sheer astounding evil displayed by the torture memos -- the people who did this and approved this are monsters, pure and simple.


Anonymous said...

The Obama administration should definitely look into the issue and not allow the defense of "I was just following orders" to be any form of a deterrent. Whether or not torture is effective is not the issue. Rather, it's whether or not the acts were illegal. To see my position discussed in further detail you can visit my blog at:

spooked said...

Thanks-- though the acts were clearly illegal--

and CIA agents are civilians and thus cannot use the following orders defense.