s skippy the bush kangaroo

skippy the bush kangaroo



Tuesday, June 08, 2004

you'll just have to trust us, we hate torture

attorney but not military general john ashcroft testified before the senate judiciary committee today, but refused to hand over, or even discuss, the now-famous 2002 memo that allegedly approved of the u.s. using torture on people because, after all, we're right, we must be, we're rich, so god said it's ok. bloomberg:

democratic members of the senate judiciary committee asked ashcroft about reports in the wall street journal, the washington post and the new york times that the justice department advised the white house in 2002 and 2003 that it might not be bound by u.s. and international laws prohibiting torture. ashcroft said he wouldn't reveal advice he gave to president george w. bush or discuss it with congress.

“the president has a right to hear advice from his attorney general, in confidence,'' ashcroft said. he also refused to answer whether he personally believes torture can be justified under certain circumstances.
the democrats on the committee let him have it with both barrels:

senator joseph biden, a delaware democrat, challenged ashcroft to say whether he was invoking executive privilege in refusing to give congress the justice department memos. ashcroft said he wasn't invoking executive privilege.

“you might be in contempt of congress, then,'' biden replied. “you have to have a reason. you better come up with a good rationale.''

later, senator richard durbin, an illinois democrat, said ashcroft had to cite a federal statute to justify not sharing the requested information. ashcroft replied that his refusal was “protected by the doctrine of separation of powers in the constitution.'' durbin shot back, “you are not citing a law.''
well, if the dems really wanted to find out what was in the memo, why don't they just read the washpost? reporters dana milbank and r. jeffrey smith have apparently seen it:

if a government employee were to torture a suspect in captivity, "he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the united states by the al qaeda terrorist network," said the memo, from the justice department's office of legal counsel, written in response to a cia request for legal guidance. it added that arguments centering on "necessity and self-defense could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability" later…

in the justice department's view -- contained in a 50-page document signed by assistant attorney general jay s. bybee and obtained by the washington post -- inflicting moderate or fleeting pain does not necessarily constitute torture. torture, the memo says, "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

by contrast, the army's field manual 34-52, titled "intelligence interrogations," sets more restrictive rules. for example, the army prohibits pain induced by chemicals or bondage; forcing an individual to stand, sit or kneel in abnormal positions for prolonged periods of time; and food deprivation. under mental torture, the army prohibits mock executions, sleep deprivation and chemically induced psychosis.
but that's not really torture, now, is it? it's just college hi-jinks, right?
posted by skippy at 12:01 PM |

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