US exonerates authors of Bush torture memos + Spanish judge to probe Guantanamo torture claims

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by Kate Randall
2 February 2010

Bush administration lawyers whose secret memos justified waterboarding and other forms of torture will not be referred to authorities for possible sanctions, according to a forthcoming ethics report.

Unnamed sources who spoke to Newsweek magazine said the Obama Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has concluded that John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who penned the infamous memos, used “poor judgment” but will not be subject to disciplinary action. Yoo and Bybee worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, along with Steven Bradbury, who is also named in the report.

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I’ve Seen 1,200 Torture Photos By David Swanson

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Dandelion Salad

By David Swanson
July 13, 2009 “

This moment, in which the Attorney General of the United States claims to be considering the possibility of allowing our laws against torture to be enforced seems a good one in which to reveal that I have seen over 1,200 torture photos and a dozen videos that are in the possession of the United States military. These are photographs depicting torture, the victims of torture, and other inhuman and degrading treatment. Several videos show a prisoner intentionally slamming his head face-first very hard into a metal door. Guards filmed this from several angles rather than stopping it.

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) of Australia revealed several of these photographs, video of the head slamming, and video of prisoners forced to masturbate, as part of a news report broadcast in 2006. But the full collection has not been made available to the public or to a special prosecutor, although it was shown to members of Congress in 2004. When these photos are eventually made public, I encourage you to take a good look at them. After you get over feeling ill, it might be appropriate to consider Congress’ past 5 years of inaction. You’ll be able to feel sick all over again.

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It Could Happen to Yoo By David Swanson

It Could Happen to Yoo

By David Swanson
Thu, 2009-06-18 17:36

Sometimes, during a tsunami of bad news, it’s nice to come up for a breath of encouraging air. The only way to do that this week that I know of is to read a beautiful 42-page order by a judge (PDF). Usually such things don’t strike me as beautiful, but this one says that leading torture lawyer John Yoo can be sued in court by one of his victims. It also says that his arguments for immunity are a load of crap, his arguments for the legality of torture are at least plausibly as fetid a pile of feces as they appear to the naked eye, and the treatment received by Jose Padilla is rather glaringly in conflict with our laws, basic standards of decency, and the wisdom of those who have gone before us and warned against sacrificing our rights on the temple of war. Here’s an analysis of exactly how well thought out (not just beautiful) this order is, and how very likely it is to withstand challenge.

So, while Congress and the Ministry of Truth, er … I mean the Department of Justice (DOJ), hold off on any attempts to hold anyone accountable for torture until the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility releases a report on the conduct of Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury — a report already delayed for six weeks of integrating edits made by the three men who are supposedly the subject of the report — a judge, by simply comparing Yoo’s publicly available confessions in the form of torture memos with actual legal standards, has produced the outline of an indictment that a special prosecutor could pick up and use to put John Yoo behind bars. The only thing missing is the creation of such a special prosecutor, something Attorney General Eric Holder would have to do. Meanwhile the House of Representatives is impeaching a judge for groping female employees, but can’t be bothered to impeach another judge, Jay Bybee, who was John Yoo’s boss during much of the torturing, who himself signed torture memos, and who signed a memo purporting to place the “legal” power of aggressive war in the hands of any president.


via It Could Happen to Yoo |


New Revelations About The Torture Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi by Andy Worthington

Obama’s Confusion Over Guantánamo Terror Trials by Andy Worthington

Torture on Dandelion Salad

Anti-torture Coalition Files Disciplinary Complaints Against 12 Bush Administration Lawyers by Andy Worthington

by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
18 May 2009

The following is a statement issued today by Disbar Torture Lawyers, a newly-formed organization that has just filed disciplinary complaints against the twelve Bush administration lawyers who were most closely involved with “violat[ing] the rules of professional responsibility by advocating torture, which is illegal under both United States and international law.”

On Monday, May 18, 2009, a broad coalition of organizations dedicated to accountable government, and representing over one million members, filed disciplinary complaints with state bar licensing boards against twelve attorneys who advocated the torture of detainees during the Bush Administration. These detailed complaints with over 500 pages of supporting exhibits have been filed against John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Stephen Bradbury, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington. The complaints, filed with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, seek disciplinary action and disbarment. Copies of the complaints and exhibits are available on the Disbar Torture Lawyers website. Continue reading

Revealing the Secrets in Room 101 By Scott Horton

Dandelion Salad

By Scott Horton
April 22, 2009 “Harpers

On Thursday the spirit of George Orwell visited America, three times.

The first visit can be found in four memoranda prepared by Bush Administration lawyers which gave the actual go-ahead for the use of specific torture techniques on specific individuals, thus demolishing forever the absurd contention that the torture lawyers were ever only engaged in some abstract exercise without any direct application to incidents of torture. Here, we discover that Room 101 of the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) has been faithfully recreated by the Bush Team. In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Room 101 contained whatever a prisoner feared most, which would be let loose against him in an act calculated to inspire pure terror in the victim, to break him as an individual and to produce human material suitable for reconditioning. As a reminder, here’s the way the disclosure of Room 101 is realized in the excellent film version directed by Michael Radford (it begins at roughly 3:20 in the clip): Continue reading