Thursday, June 26

Torture Hearings : Conyers vs Yoo and Addington

This Youtube clip shows the questions asked off John Yoo and David Addington by Rep John Conyers - and it's not pretty.

Questions asked:

Can the President order that a suspects child be tortured?

Is there anything that the President could not order to be done to a suspect, if he believed it neccesary for national defense?

Can the President order that someone be buried alive?

Was there a Principles meeting to approve interrogations techniques?

Do you believe that the Unitary Executive Theory allows the President to violate the law?

Questions answered:


These guys know they have to dance and dance hard to avoid what might be serious culpability for advising the violation of hundreds of federal laws.

As I've written about previous, it appears based on the reporting of the LA Times that various and sundry Yoo Memo's of infamy, which along with Jay Bybee's memos it was stated that torture isn't "torture" until someone is about die were written after such practices had already been implimented and performed on persons such as Abu Zubaydah.

... Yoo's account of how and why the torture memos were crafted may not hold up. Congress is preparing hearings into the subject, and they have invited Yoo to testify. International law scholar Philippe Sands and other writers have punched holes in Yoo's claims about the facts. It increasingly appears that the Bush interrogation program was already being used before Yoo was asked to write an opinion. He may therefore have provided after-the-fact legal cover. That would help explain why Yoo strained to take so many implausible positions in the memos.

And that is largely why his testimony today made essentially no sense. Now it's clear that John Conyers was being more than a little rough with both Yoo and Addington - but to understand why maybe we need to listen to a bit from Law Professor Phillip Sands.

Sands: From these conversations it became clear to me that the Administration has spun a narrative that is false. It claims that the impetous for the new interrogation techniques came from the "bottom up
". That is not true, the abuse was the result of pressures and actions driven from the very highest levels of the administration. The administration claims that it simply followed the law. My investigation indicated that the administration, driven by ideology, consciously sought legal advice to set aside international constrainst on detainee interroragations. The administration relied on a small number of political appointees, lawyers with no real background on military law, with extreme view on executive power and an overriding contempt for international rules, such as the Geneva Conventions. These are rules that the United States has done more than any other country to promote and put in place.

As a result of these actions War Crimes Were Committed I have no doubt that Common Article III of Geneva was violated, as long as various conventions of the 1984 Convention Prohibiting Torture.

What Sands describes is an Ideological Cabal imbedded deep in the White House intent of bending and twisting definitions of the law to allow for the use of torture and the commission of War Crimes, which - if the subject dies - is punishable by the Death Penalty.

So read several of the 44 US military autopsy reports on the ACLU website -evidence of extensive abuse of US detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan 2002 through 2004. Anthony Romero, Executive Director of ACLU stated, "There is no question that US interrogations have resulted in deaths." ACLU attorney Amrit Sing adds, "These documents present irrefutable evidence that US operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations."

It's no wonder that they will now then do everything they can to try and GET AWAY WITH IT.

So far at least 24 detainees - are likely far more - have died in custody as a result of mistreatment and abuse - much of that stemming from interrogation techniques that were legally justified and excused by Yoo and Addington.

They are War Criminals.

And tough hard questioning by Conyers is the least they deserve.


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