Tag: torture memos

9th Circuit Rules John Yoo has Immunity in Torture Suits

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a district court ruling that the lawsuit filed by former detainee Jose Padilla can proceed against Bush Administration official John Yoo, who authored the infamous torture memos.

The memos authorized CIA interrogators to use waterboarding, keep detainees naked, hold them in painful standing positions and keep them in the cold for long periods of time. Other techniques included depriving them of solid food and slapping them. Sleep deprivation, prolonged shackling and threats to a detainee’s family were also used.


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Judiciary Committee Releases Bybee Deposition Transcript

The House Judiciary Committee has released the deposition transcript of former Bush legal counsel Jay Bybee, author of two infamous memos on enhanced interrogation techniques, aka torture. Chairman John Conyers writes:

"This testimony reveals that many brutal techniques reportedly used in CIA interrogations were not authorized by the Justice Department – the author of these legal memos has now admitted this on the record," Conyers said. "These statements are highly relevant to the pending criminal investigation of detainee abuse and I have provided the Committee’s interview to the Justice Department and directed my staff to cooperate with any further requests for information."

The fact sheet is here. The full transcripts are here. The ACLU's reaction is here. [More....]

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DOJ Report on Bush Torture Memos: Move Along

The Department of Justice OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) Report on the torture (interrogation) memos from the Bush Administration has been released. You can access all here. It finds the memos did not violate professional ethics.

The report focuses on three men who worked at Justice under President Bush: John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury. All three worked in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, crafting the standards for interrogating high-value terrorism detainees.

....the report says the men "exercised poor judgment." That means the men will not face disbarment or criminal punishment.

The report includes e-mails between DOJ, the White House and the CIA. Shorter version: Move along, no misconduct here.

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ACLU Releases New Torture Documents

The ACLU has rreceived and posted new torture documents obtained in its FOIA lawsuit. What's in them? Thanks to CBS Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen for doing the heavy lifting, via Twitter:

More below:

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Judge Bybee Breaks Silence, Defends Torture Memos

Judge Jay Bybee broke his silence on the torture memos Tuesday, in responses to questions from the New York Times.

The reason for breaking his silence: He disagreed with an article in the Washington Post alleging he had regrets over the signing. Bybee says:

“The central question for lawyers was a narrow one; locate, under the statutory definition, the thin line between harsh treatment of a high-ranking Al Qaeda terrorist that is not torture and harsh treatment that is. I believed at the time, and continue to believe today, that the conclusions were legally correct.”

He should have just kept silent. As a Judge, he should know by now that the 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination, even if just in the court of public opinion, is there for a reason: Use it or lose it.

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Three Takes on the Torture Memos

Ohio State Law Professor Peter Shane served as Attorney-Adviser in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel from 1978 to 1981.

Today, he provides three takes on the torture memos. He ends with:

When I read the just-released opinions, I felt like throwing up. As an American, as a lawyer, as an OLC alum, I cannot help but take this personally.

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Text of the Torture Memos

Here is the DOJ press release on the four torture memos released today. They are:

  • A 18-page memo, dated August 1, 2002, from Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF]
  • A 46-page memo, dated May 10, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF]
  • A 20-page memo, dated May 10, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF]
  • A 40-page memo, dated May 30, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF]

Here is the ACLU's press release.

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