Thursday, April 16, 2009


Today, US President Barack Obama released the memos that the Bush/Cheney Administration relied on to justify torture (with only the proper names censored). These are not all the memos. The American Civil Liberties Union is asking for more releases but the damaging information that was only known in "leaked versions" before has now been officially revealed.

Andrew Sullivan describes the memos "... as chilling an artefact as you are ever likely to read in a democratic society, the work clearly not of a lawyer assessing torture techniques in good faith, but of an administration official tasked with finding how torture techniques already decided upon can be parsed in exquisitely disingenuous ways to fit the law, even when they clearly do not. This is what Hannah Arendt wrote of when she talked of the banality of evil.

To read a bureaucrat finding ways to describe and parse away the clear infliction of torture on a terror suspect well outside any "ticking time bomb" scenario is to realize what so many of us feared and sensed from the shards of information we have been piecing together for years. It is all true. These memos form a coda to the Red Cross report, confirming its evidentiary conclusions, while finding exquisite, legalistic and preposterous ways to deny the obvious.

I do not believe that any American president has ever orchestrated, constructed or so closely monitored the torture of other human beings the way George W. Bush did. It is clear that it is pre-meditated; and it is clear that the parsing of torture techniques that you read in the report is a simply disgusting and repellent piece of dishonesty and bad faith. Read more from Sullivan

President Obama declared that the main purpose of these revelations was to put an end to the practices. He further declared that the CIA officials who conducted the procedures would not be prosecuted but it is still unknown as to whether the policies will be traced to higher-level officials and if they will be held accountable for war crimes.

Read President Obama's Statement

Read the memos

Human Rights groups are criticizingCIA immunity on interrogations.

Sullivan's Daily Dish is a great site for following many further developments and reactions.

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