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BlueJessamine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:06 PM
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Patrick Leahy: Lifting the Bush-era veil of secrecy

Lifting the Bush-era veil of secrecy

On US torture, we need to find out what happened - and why

By Patrick Leahy

May 3, 2009

THE OBAMA administration's decision to release more Bush-era memoranda, which sought to rationalize torture, shows that President Obama is following through on his promise to ban torture and to provide transparency to our government. The Bush-Cheney administration not only broke the law, it shattered the public trust and undermined America's reputation around the world.

After withdrawing the so-called Bybee "torture memo," the Bush-Cheney administration secretly reinstated the torture policy. While repeatedly claiming that the United States did not torture, the Bush-Cheney administration secretly authorized techniques that included waterboarding - up to 183 times in one case. This was not an "abstract legal theory," or "hypothetical," as Alberto Gonzales dismissively described in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. These were specific techniques, authorized by high-ranking US government officials and used on real people. We have prosecuted people for these kinds of acts against Americans, and condemned other nations for sanctioning these methods.

The techniques are wrong and their supposed legal rationale is just as bad. The idea that the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel would be used to contort our laws on subjects as serious as torture is appalling. The rationalization of these memos showed a willingness to ignore legal requirements as long as there is no clear mechanism of enforcement. These memoranda seem calculated to provide legal cover - a legal free pass - for these unlawful policies. The Justice Department was apparently being used to immunize government officials to conduct torture by defining it down and building in legal loopholes.

The apparent predetermined outcome of these legal memos raises the question of where the demand for this outcome and for approving these policies arose. Press accounts indicate that these were not the results of requests from CIA officers on the ground and in the field, but arose through pressure from senior administration officials in Washington.

I have fought for years for access to these documents. When the Bush-Cheney administration stonewalled, I worked to have the Senate Judiciary Committee issue a subpoena for them. Under the Obama administration, the veil of secrecy is finally being lifted.

Senator Leahy's op-ed Continues here: /
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:36 PM
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1. .
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:05 PM
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2. The Guilty must be made to a jail term or two would do...
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:31 PM
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3. Jonathan Alter was on Olbermann making some lame case against prosecution.
Did I see that? I think I did. And i was not happy. But Leahy's editorial gives some optimism that we're going to see fireworks before the typical Pinochet time frame.

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