S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, April 17, 2009

OLC torture memos revealed - an overview


The  -foot (  m  )  diameter granite CIA seal ...Image via Wikipedia

President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder should be given a great deal of credit for releasing the latest memos produced by the Bush Office of Legal Counsel, to the American Civil Liberties Union. Glenn Greenwald makes this point strongly in his first post following the release of the mostly unredacted material. It contains a number of excerpts from the memos with interesting points about each. He and many others were unsure at the start of the day what the President would do, given the huge fight going on within the administration. Greenwald is sharply critical of the administration's decision not to prosecute however, pointing to an inability to reconcile certain basic principles of the rule of law, treaty obligations, etc.

President Obama's written statement upon the release of the memos, is included in Firedoglake blogger, emptywheel's post, which adds to the discussion and reflections on the lack of accountability for the wrong-doing. She makes a couple of useful points about the release: "The ICRC report may have made a difference in this fight. . . No mention of who wrote these memos. . ." And Wheeler closes with this: "If we're a nation of laws, then we cannot let those who have broken the laws to go unpunished. That's not retribution. That's what 'nation of laws' means."

More from emptywheel -- A further point made by this outstanding investigative writer, who labels the OLC memos "erroneous and inflammatory assumptions, and John Rizzo's lies," is that the OLC memos should not be taken as authoritative regarding the events surrounding the interrogation program. For example, the section on the supposed mental health of Abu Zubaydah is patently wrong. Also the ICRC report contradicts the section on the frequency and harshness of the use of sleep deprivation. Another post links to the ACLU website that has the original memos (in pdf) posted, and reminds us that the ACLU lawsuit was what freed up the memos from the DOJ in the first place.

Here is the latest on the torture memos from the investigative journalism organization, ProPublica:
1) Newly Released Memo Inadvertently Reveals CIA Held and Abused Missing Prisoner.
2) Obama Promises to Defend Interrogators, But No Promise on the Bush Lawyers Who Signed Off.
3) Resource: The Missing Memos

References: Following are several authoritative and complete articles on the story of the release of these OLC memos:

See also Behind the Links, for further info on scandals and excesses.

Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.

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