Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The United States of Torture

John Yoo has much to be despised for, but the history books are yet to be written cataloging the US's sweeping powers on who could be outside US law, remain a citizen and torture the Hell out of whom they chose. Bybee is the signatory name on the March 14, 2003 doc, but the 81 page memo magically appeared the day after his exit from the DOJ from Yoo. The first drafts of history are replete with the twisted sadistic thinking of someone who is teaching Berkeley law students today while giving the Torturer-in-Chief sweeping powers to launch those tactics against people suspected - not proven - to be Enemies of the American state.
Former aides to John Ashcroft say the then-attorney general privately dubbed Yoo "Dr. Yes" for being so closely aligned with lawyers at the White House.
From one misbegotten masochistic memo, we have senior Bush bums in the administration acting as if they had a Divine legalistic right to torture, based on their personal game of being judge, jury and torturer - that accidentally executed a few folks, guilty or not. The Rule of Law was captured and taken to Guantanamo Bay never to be seen again by Americans until the grumpy clown that is the US head of State, is out of office.

Mr. Yoo’s memorandum is the latest document to illuminate the legal foundation that Bush administration lawyers used after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to give the White House broad powers to capture, detain and interrogate suspects around the globe.

Some legal scholars said Tuesday that they were amazed at the scope of the memorandum.

“This is a monument to executive supremacy and the imperial presidency,” said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School and the Washington College of Law at American University. “It’s also a road map for the Pentagon for fending off any prosecutions.”

The memorandum gave the military broad latitude to use harsh interrogation methods. It reasoned that federal laws prohibiting assault were not applicable to military interrogators dealing with members of Al Qaeda because of White House authority during wartime. It also argued that many American and international laws would not apply to interrogations overseas.

“Even if an interrogation method arguably were to violate a criminal statute, the Justice Department could not bring a prosecution because the statute would be unconstitutional as applied in this context,” it reads.

Bottom line is John Yoo and all of the people that used that legal abomination of a memo as a thin sheet of coverup for their nefarious activities, became what they sought to protect Americans from, terrorists. In order to become a More Perfect Union, a nation cannot turn into what it despises and holds in contempt. It took over nine months before the Department of Defense legal beagles thought to rescind the memo - not the practices. The Bush administration used bad karma, mental midget judo, and how-low-can-you-go legal limbo to justify its squalid behavior as being more Noble than the terrorist activity being hatched by a stupendously wealthy terrorist with a turban, salt and pepper beard, hiding out in a first century cave in Tora Bora that was never apprehended for his self-righteous schemes and ponzi Death crimes against the world's people either.

This (mis)administration still cannot speak clearly with one united voice about keeping to the decades old Geneva Conventions, nor define torture without a long drawn out explanation about how the US does not torture but reserves the right to use certain "enhanced" interrogation techniques against enemy combatants who have no habeas corpus rights because the US said so. Logically, if US trained Iraqis captured an American and cut off their fingers without going through the benefit of the Rule of law, its in the same nebulous ballpark.
While the military has banned the use of waterboarding and other harsh methods considered by some rights advocates to be torture, the U.S. Intelligence community has not. Bush authorized the CIA to use waterboarding after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 but has repeatedly insisted that the United States does not torture prisoners.
The loss of humanity within the folks who pen or follow these anti-freedom legal screeds that inhabited this malevolent administration muck below the River Styx to places deep in a murky underworld to guide their actions, will have lasting ramifications, known as blowback, for US international relationships. How does the US in its wheezing asthmatic moral condition advocate from a position of authority for Human Rights elsewhere, when the Monopoly House is full of mold, mildew and rotting legal memos collecting 200 prisoners and jumps straight into penthouse Hell?

In the Office of Legal Council, OLC, there was someone who disagreed with the memo from Hell. Bush's US tax payer paid lackeys/torture, two time failed Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld & five deferments from military service Dick Cheney oversaw the application of the John Yoo memo into formal US policy and brooked no interference. No senior people were ever indicted in Abu Gharib or the secret US renditions that picked up innocents that were sent to nations where America outsourced its torture. Read all about the legal wars in side the ironic Department of Justice in Jack Goldsmith's book, The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration.

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