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Human Rights Law

: Never In Our Names

Torture Memo August 1, 2002 Excerpts

By possum

The promised torture memos are released at last.  The ACLU has full links to the .pdf forms of all four new memos here.  The reading is tough going and frightening beyond words to describe.

Some excerpts follow.  More to come as time allows for sifting through this horror.
From the 2002 memo by Jay Bybee concerning the interrogation of Zubaydah.  Written in response to John Rizzo, acting general counsel for the CIA at that time.  

The memo begins with some descriptions of various forms of "alternative interrogation" which are permissable and describes in detail how those maneuvers are performed.  Following a very graphic description of waterboarding comes this tidbit.

You have orally informed us that this procedure triggers an automatic sense of drowning that the individual cannot control...
Approved for use on Zubaydah knowing he was injured before the time of the interrogation.

More on waterboarding beginning with words saying what you (Rizzo?) told the legal staff.

It was reported to be almost 100 percent effective in producing cooperation among the trainees.  ...but idt did not result in physical harm to the student.

In describing the act of leaning people at a 45 degree angle against a wall and forcing their remaing there for lengthy periods of time, Bybee finds this treatment does not rise to the level of torture.

Any pain associated with muscle fatigue is not of the intensity to amount to "severe physical pain or suffering" under the statute, nor despite its discomfort, can it be said to be difficult to endure.
Who is he kidding??  Try this one for yourself and let the rest of us know how you feel after an hour or two without being allowed to reposition your body.
Based on the information you have given us, we are not aware of any evidence sleep deprivation results in severe physical pain or suffering.
Mental apparently does not count for Bybee and friends.

Later on waterboarding.

The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.
Aaaaarrrrrggggghhh.  What more is there to say?

In putting more than one technique together Bybee still argues against pain and suffering.

Even when all these methods are considered combined in an overall course of conduct, they still would not inflict severe pain or suffering.

At the end of 18 pages, Bybee concludes with a summary sentence of real import.

We wish to emphasize this is our best reading of the law...
Twisted as it may be that was the best Bybee could produce.

The full memo is worth reading but be prepared for a shock.  The descriptions are terrible in and of themselves.  Imagining the treatment of another human being in those ways is beyond belief.


UPDATE 1:  Late on Thursday Obama

assured government officials today that they will not be prosecuted for their interrogation tactics.

Full post as published by Never In Our Names on April 16, 2009 (boomark / email).

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