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Reply #30: Lawyers Decided Bans on Torture Didn't Bind Bush (NYT) [View All]

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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-04 08:05 AM
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30. Lawyers Decided Bans on Torture Didn't Bind Bush (NYT)
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/08/politics/08ABUS.html?...

June 8, 2004
Lawyers Decided Bans on Torture Didn't Bind Bush
By NEIL A. LEWIS and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON, June 7 A team of administration lawyers concluded in a March 2003 legal memorandum that President Bush was not bound by either an international treaty prohibiting torture or by a federal antitorture law because he had the authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation's security.

The memo, prepared for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, also said that any executive branch officials, including those in the military, could be immune from domestic and international prohibitions against torture for a variety of reasons.

One reason, the lawyers said, would be if military personnel believed that they were acting on orders from superiors "except where the conduct goes so far as to be patently unlawful."

(snip)

The March memorandum also contains a curious section in which the lawyers argued that any torture committed at Guantnamo would not be a violation of the anti-torture statute because the base was under American legal jurisdiction and the statute concerns only torture committed overseas. That view is in direct conflict with the position the administration has taken in the Supreme Court, where it has argued that prisoners at Guantnamo Bay are not entitled to constitutional protections because the base is outside American jurisdiction.


Kate Zernike contributed reporting for this article.



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