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ABUSE CRISIS: U.S. Releases New Memo Defining Torture

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posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 09:50 AM
The U.S. Justice Department has released a rewritten memo on how it defines torture. Prior to the abuse scandal, they felt that to qualify as torture, the subject had to undergo excruciating and agonizing pain. The previous definition release in 2002 also had stated that that President Bush, as commander in chief in wartime, had authority superseding U.S. anti-torture laws and that U.S. personnel had several legal defenses against criminal liability. The new document states that torture is against U.S. and world law.
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department released a rewritten legal memo on what constitutes torture, backing away from its own assertions prior to the Iraqi prison abuse scandal that torture had to involve "excruciating and agonizing pain."

The 17-page memo omitted two of the most controversial assertions made in now-disavowed 2002 Justice Department documents: that President Bush, as commander in chief in wartime, had authority superseding U.S. anti-torture laws and that U.S. personnel had several legal defenses against criminal liability in such cases.

The new document said torture violates U.S. and international law.

"Consideration of the bounds of any such authority would be inconsistent with the president's unequivocal directive that United States personnel not engage in torture," said the memo from Daniel Levin, acting chief of the Office of Legal Counsel, to Deputy Attorney General James Comey.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

It is believed by some that the framework of the initial document led to the abuses in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Following those revelations, the Justice department voided its previous opinion and reworked it. The timing is also interesting. Alberto Gonzales is set to begin Senate hearing for the Attorney General post, and Democrats have already indicated that they will ask about the memos he has written that bear similarities to the now disavowed documents.

posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 09:57 AM
Here is a quote from the article:

And, it says, the interrogator cannot justify torture after telling the victim that he could avoid it if only he would cooperate.

So my question is: If they cant be threatened with it, then why is it being considered a viable method of information gathering? I do not condone torture or inhumane treatment for anyone. This seems to quantify a reason for use without an actual need for the act.

posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 10:08 AM
One would think that "physical assault" being a crime in virtually every jurisdiction on the planet would have informed the Administration that physical assault is not a valid way to "get information."

I hope they--the Cabinet and Executives that sent out the first memo--are prosecuted for war crimes and human rights abuses; it would serve them right.

Such a case might well follow the same procedures as Impeachment itself.

From the looks of Bush at his last press conference, who knows if he (and/or Cheney) will survive to experience their trials.

posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 10:28 AM
You have to go beyond "U.S. personnel," and include private subcontractors, as well as other foreign nationals acting in any way under our purview.

The strongest statement of principles is highly indicated, otherwise we may once again abandon moral integrity. We are caretakers, stewards to humanity. Surely the minimum force to obtain an objective is a far better policy than always unleashing a Leviathan.

Such a statement is weakened by ommisions, and continuation of policies to export people for interrogation into other countries. We should fully persuade all countries to abandon torture. To discourage in the strongest words policies of torture is at the core of our values.

[edit on 31-12-2004 by SkipShipman]

posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 09:04 PM
I'm wondering if these international laws of torture were written before the threat of millions of people in a mass murder were possible.

Scenario: Terrorists have been captured and they give out information that there are several nuclear bombs set to go off in several large cities and will kill millions within hours but they aren't talking anymore. They know where the bombs are at but they aren't talking. Isn't torture justified in this situation? Maybe we should be more politically correct and say we are persuading the enemies to talk. If some of you still don't believe torture is justified in this case, then I believe you are in effect sentencing the millions of innocent people in these cities to death at your hands. I am against torture in general but when millions or even just several hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake, causing pain on one person to make them talk doesn't sound so bad. This new definition of torture seems to go too far. Anyone agree?

posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 10:24 PM
Nope. Don't agree.

Just as soon as you torture people, rampant revenge becomes appropriate from the point of view of Justice.

The principle of Karma becomes activated, and one loses all grounds for claiming innocence.

We now deserve to be terrorized by bomb threats because we have tortured people. Since we are no longer innocent, what returns to us as retribution is what is now justified.

We are the enemy; they is us.

posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 11:46 PM
Under that new "version" of torture, people could bitch about almost any treatment they recieve if it rubs them the wrong way.As for Karma, as soon as these muslim terrorists get caught and tourtured, thier karmic debt IS coming back to them.If you belive what they(the terrorists) are doing is right then strap a bomb to YOUR child and send them off for some pointless revenge.I would guess execution of serial murderers could be considered torture as well.....come on thats just bull.Whats with all this PC crap.

posted on Jan, 1 2005 @ 08:56 AM
Yikes. Politically correct? . . . Violence is what is now politically-correct.

I see you do buy into violence as a method for restoring justice from the ground up.

I disagree. I have yet to see a case where violence settled anything, ever.

"Destruction is never a blessing; Life itself is never the problem."

"Ye shall reap what ye sow," is the operative principle here; and it's a good description of karma ("What goes around, comes around.")

FYI you also seem to believe Muslims have had something to do with terrorism in this nation. I do not believe that, either. I'm certain they are being scapegoated and goaded into hating us. It's just more "dialectics" by the Big Boys. No doubt, Congress is funding both sides of this war, just to keep people distracted with something, keep "defense" and death industries' cash registers ringing.

The whole thing--war, currency troubles and national bankrupcty--are gambits by the Rich for the Rich, to which I refuse to consent.

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