CNN–Previously secret torture memo released
“WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Bush administration told the CIA in 2002 that its interrogators working abroad would not violate U.S. prohibitions against torture unless they ‘have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering,’ according to a previously secret Justice Department memo released Thursday.
“The interrogator’s ‘good faith’ and ‘honest belief’ that the interrogation will not cause such suffering protects the interrogator, the memo adds.
“‘Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture,’ Jay Bybee, then the assistant attorney general, wrote in the memo.”
Oh yeah, and Tinkerbell will be saved if everyone says, I DO believe in fairies. Basically, what the memo is saying is that intent is more important than what you actually do. Like if you shoot someone, but don’t intend to kill them, it’s not murder if they die. After all, you didn’t think they would die, did you? So, if your superior tells you, don’t worry, it isn’t really gonna hurt them, you’re fine. Or if you’re a Pollyanna or think that these people you’re torturing are just characters in a Warner Brothers cartoon.
Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern have a good discussion on the lies the administration told us and itself to justify its use of torture in ConsortiumNews: <A href=”http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/071808e.html”>’Justifying’ Torture: Two Big Lies.</A> They make the interesting point that torture does NOT get us any real information, but it CAN be used to get “confirmation” of misinformation we want to spread. Say WMDs. Ordinary questioning reveals that the WMDs had been destroyed in the 1990s. Torture gets the prisoner to “admit” knowing about secret caches of them and continuing programs. Now you have “plausible evidence” to accuse Iraq of a WMD program. Is it true? WTF cares, the tanks have to roll by March…
Stand up and sing the National Anthem, Mr. Ashcroft.
I wrote this past column before the news came out that Bob Novak was ill with a brain tumor. There is a good possibility that the brain tumor was contributory to the accident because one of the neurologists said that you should be tested for brain tumor if you have an accident and don’t realize it. I think that one could hit something and not notice, but well, it does seem hard to notice that a homeless person was splayed across your windshield, but who knows? Nevertheless, Bob is ill and should have the benefit of the doubt. Consequently, I’m deleting my cartoon and most of the column and wish Bob a speedy recovery.
So, once again, news columnist Bob Novak is himself in the news. No, he didn’t commit treason this time, no secret agents were outed on the orders of Darth Cheney. This time, he ran into a pedestrian and then calmly drove off. The pedestrian was splayed across the hood of his Corvette, but Bob kept driving until a bicyclist stopped him and said, “HEY MAN, you just hit someone.”
You know what I really like about this Administration–it’s even more post-modern than Clinton’s. Nothing IS ever what it seems to be because, presumably, it all depends on what IS means. Consequently, it isn’t really torture–it’s stress positions. It isn’t really surveillance against citizens, it’s a necessity of the war on terror. We aren’t really negotiating with Iran, we’re holding non-negotiating talks. And now, it isn’t really a bail-out. It IS… well, I’m not sure what it IS yet. Don’t you wish WE could play this game? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all decide that Bush really isn’t President? That we could put the last seven years aside as some deranged fantasy?keep looking »