Inconvenient truth 19.1 Yoo Mar 2003 Torture Memo

(Note:  This is part of a series of posts that will detail how torture came to be mandated by the highest levels of government, and the path to the illegal treatment and torture of “enemy non-combatants” by the Bush Administration)…

This declassified document gives the opinion of John Yoo, Office of Legal Counsel in the Bush Administration, on torture.  It is the memo that outlined John Yoo’s reasoning for the use of torture, and gave the administration top cover for their “enhanced interrogation techniques”; in effect this was a “blueprint” checklist on how to weave around any/all statutes against torture.  For instance, if you caused an organ in the body to fail, as long as the “intent” of your interrogation was not to cause the organ to fail, you were not guilty of torture.   You will also see why the torture of detainees took place, not at American bases on U.S. soil, but at Guantanimo (and later Iraq/Afghanistan).  Read the key findings I have included below, and then the entire document, and see if you come to a conclusion other than utter disgust and shame at what our country did, and continues to do, under the name of “freedom”…

Final note: Though this post is longer than normal, I believe by showing you, in John Yoo’s own words, how psychotic and deranged the thinking was, will speak louder than anything I could add…

You can view the memo HERE: (key points are highlighted in the document)

Below are some of the key findings discussed in the memo.

  1. (p. 2)”Customary international law is not federal law and that the President is free to override it at his discretion.”
  2. (p. 2)”Two constitutional provisions that might be thought to extend to interrogations-the Fifth and Eighth Amendments-do not apply here. The Fifth Amendment provides in relevant part that “[n]o person … shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” U.S. Const., amend 2 .The Eighth Amendment bars the “inflict[ion]” of “cruel and unusual punishments.” U.S. Const., amend. Vill. These provisions, however, do not regulate the interrogation of alien enemy combatants outside the United States during an international armed conflict.”
  3. (p. 10) “As the Supreme Court has explained, the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause “was designed to protect those convicted of crimes…The Eighth Amendment thus has no application to those individuals who have not been punished as part of a criminal proceeding, irrespective of the fact that they have been detained by the government.”
  4. (p. 13) “In order to respect the President’s inherent constitutional authority to direct a military campaign against al Qaeda and its allies; general criminal laws must be construed as not applying to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief authority.
  5. (p. 13) “Moreover, we do not believe that Congress enacted general criminal provisions such as the prohibitions against assault, maiming, interstate stalking, and torture pursuant to any express authority that would allow it to infringe on the President’s constitutional control over the operation of the Armed Forces in wartime.”
  6. (p. 13) “To avoid this constitutional difficulty, therefore, we will construe potentially applicable criminal laws, reviewed in more detail below, not to apply to the President’s detention and interrogation of enemy combatants pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief authority.”
  7. (p. 16) “While the Geneva Convention (TIl) Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Aug. 12,1949, 6 U.S.T. 3316, T.I.A.S. 3364 (“GPW”), imposes restrictions on the interrogations of prisoners of war, it does not provide prisoner of war status to those who are unlawful combatants. See Treaties and Laws Memorandum at 8-9. Those restrictions therefore would not apply to the interrogations of unlawful belligerents such as Al Qaeda or Taliban members.
  8. (p. 16) “Although the torture statute, as we explain below, applies to persons acting under color of law, the legislative history indicates no intent to apply this to the conduct of military personnel. Indeed, as we explained in discussing the prerogative of the sovereign, it is well established that the sovereign retains the discretion to treat unlawful combatants as it sees fit.
  9. (p. 18)”Even if these statutes were misconstrued to apply to persons acting at the direction of the President during the conduct of war, the Department of Justice could not enforce this law or any of the other criminal statutes applicable to the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction against federal officials acting pursuant to the President’s constitutional authority to direct a war.
  10. (p. 19) “Congress can no more interfere with the President’s conduct of the interrogation of enemy combatants than it can dictate strategic or tactical decisions on the battlefield.”
  11. (p. 21)”So, for example, a federal, non-military officer who is conducting interrogations in a foreign location, one that is not on a permanent U.S. military base or diplomatic establishment, would not be subject to the federal criminal laws applicable in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction.”
  12. (p. 29)…as long as the interrogators do not intend to murder the detainee, they will not have run afoul of this section…”
  13. (p. 30) “…the interrogator would have to intend to cause other severe physical pain or suffering or to cause prolonged mental harm. Absent such intent, the interrogator would not have committed assault with intent to torture.”
  14. (p. 31) “…Because the statute requires specific intent, i.e., the intent to maim, disfigure or torture, the absence of such intent is a complete defense to a charge of maiming.
  15. (P. 34) “…We further found that common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions covers either traditional wars between state parties to the convention or non-international civil wars, but not an international conflict with a non-govemmental terrorist organization. As a result, conduct toward members of al Qaeda could not constitute a violation of common Article 3, see Treaties and Law Memorandum at 9, and thus could not violate Section 2441 (c)(3).”
  16. (p. 35) (as pertaining to the Geneva Conventions)”…Thus, for example, interrogations conducted at GTMO would not be subject to this prohibition…” (because they would take place outside the territorial U.S.)
  17. (p. 36)”…The criminal prohibition against torture therefore would not apply to their conduct of interrogations at U.S. military bases located in a foreign state.
  18. (p. 37) “…Thus, even if the defendant knows that severe pain will result from his actions (i.e., torture), if causing such harm is not his objective, he lacks the requisite intent.
  19. (p.38) “…(in torture) the pain or suffering must be severe…Such damage must rise to the level of death, organ failure, or the permanent, impairment of a significant body function…”
  20. (p. 39) (In the case of mental torture )”…A defendant must specifically intend to cause prolonged mental harm for the defendant to have committed torture.
  21. (p. 41) (in the case of mental torture)”…A defendant could show that he acted in good faith by taking such steps as surveying professional literature, consulting with experts, .or reviewing evidence gained from past experience.”
  22. (p.42) (In the case of using mind-altering drugs)-“…For drugs or procedures to rise to the level of “disrupt[ing] profoundly the senses or personality,” they must produce an extreme effect. And by requiring that they be “calculated” to produce such an effect, the statute requires that the defendant has consciously designed the acts to produce such an effect.”
  23. (p. 43) (pertaining to use of mind-altering drugs)-“…By requiring that the procedures and the drugs create a profound disruption, the statute requires more than that the acts “forcibly separate” or “rend” the senses or personality. Those acts must penetrate to the core of an individual’s ability to perceive the world around him, substantially interfering with his cognitive abilities, or fundamentally alter his personality…”
  24. (p. 45) (This is his requirement that an act would have to entail to rise to the level of torture):
    “…The victim must experience intense pain or suffering of the kind that is equivalent to the pain that would be associated with serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure, or permanent damage resulting in a loss of significant body function will likely result. If that pain or suffering is psychological, that suffering must result from one of the acts set forth in the statute. In addition, these acts must cause long term mental harm. Indeed, this view of the criminal act of torture is consistent with the term’s common meaning. Torture is generally understood to involve “intense pain” or “excruciating pain,”or put another way, “extreme anguish of body or mind.”
And on, and on, and on, and on….
You can view the memo HERE: (key points are highlighted in the document)
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About SleepNoMore

"Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." -1984
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, CIA, False Flag, Iraq, Terrorism, The Vault, Torture, War Crimes. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Inconvenient truth 19.1 Yoo Mar 2003 Torture Memo

  1. Pingback: Inconvenient Truth 9.2: John Yoo on Domestic Military Operations | It Was Only A Dream

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