Recently ( April 1) the Pentagon released a previously secret document authored by John Yoo – a lawyer for the Justice Department – that provides more evidence that we ran and probably still are running a torture system with the so called enemy combatants being systematically tortured. The document by Yoo, who was a key player in the legal policy of the Bush Administration after 9/11 dismisses several legal impediments to the use of interrogation techniques that have been classified by the Bush camp as “harsh” and the world as torture. Even Presidential candidate John McCain was against it at first but has been since won over by Bush.

In the memo he says the Constitution was not in play with regard to the interrogations because the Fifth Amendment (which provides for due process of law) and the Eighth Amendment (which prevents the government from employing cruel and usual punishment) does “not extend to alien enemy combatants held abroad.”. It goes on to explain that federal criminal statutes regarding assault and other crimes against the body don’t apply to authorized military interrogations overseas and that statutes that do apply to the conduct of U.S. officials abroad pertaining to war crimes and torture establish a limited obligation on the part of interrogators to refrain from bodily harm. It also defines the United States’ obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other international treaties prohibiting torture to be confined to ensuring that interrogators do not apply “cruel and unusual punishment” as defined by American constitutional law, regardless of differing international standards. All the while stating the oft repeated view that the Geneva Convention does not apply to members of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

If an interrogation led to the physical harm or death of a purported al Qaeda member the defendant ( the interrogator) would have been acting under the executive branches constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack. This is ludicrous, but who would decide if the person was actually al Qaeda or not? Of course if the subject were to die he automatically became a terrorist.

Read the memo for yourself. (.pdf)——— Part 1 ———– Part 2

Listen to Keith Olbermann about it.

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