Tuesday, February 17

Yoo, Bybee may be Disbarred for Torture Memos

Last night on Rachel, Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff revealed that an internal DOJ OPR report strongly criticizes the various memo's justifying and excusing "Enhanced Interrogation" techniques as "sloppy and "unethical".

But it gets even worse, Isikoff explains...

First there is the fact that former Attorney General Mukasey deliberately delayed the report

Mr. Jarrett’s office completed a draft report late last year, but Michael B. Mukasey, the attorney general at the time, and his deputy, Mark R. Filip, insisted that it not be considered final until written responses from Mr. Yoo, Judge Bybee and Mr. Bradbury could be incorporated. The three are now in the process of submitting their responses, according to an official who agreed to speak about the internal report only on condition of anonymity.

Officials said the report assesses the reasoning used in justifying the harsh methods and pressure from the White House to reach particular conclusions. The Office of Professional Responsibility can refer cases for criminal investigation, but legal experts say a more likely possibility is a referral to bar associations for potential disciplinary action.

I think it might be somewhat difficult to continue serving on the Federal Bench - as Jay Bybee currently does - if you aren't a lawyer anymore. (He coule possibly be Impeached!) The same goes for John Yoo who is currently "teaching" law at Berkeley and being on staff at Chapman University). (Correction: Apparently NOT - Yoo has tenure at Berkeley, and would need to be convicted of a crime to be booted!)

Once these responses are received, hopefully, the final report will land on the desk of AG Eric Holder who has already stated not only is Waterboarding is Torture, but that the President doesn't have some "Magical Article 2 Power" to make torture legal with the wave of his pen.

In his appearance on Rachel, Isikoff suggests that the reason disbarment may be the recommendation of the report may be because rather than being the honest opinion and result of an honest view of the law, the opinions from Yoo, Bybee and their boss Steven Bradbury may have been specifically crafted to reach the White Houses desired conclusions. Apparently the reports doesn't recommend prosecution - but if it did there are plenty of fertiles grounds. If Isikoff is correct, the memos weren't legal guidance for the White House to follow - they were excuses and legal cover for the White House to get away with War Crimes.

If that's true - It could be prosecuted as Conspiracy under 18 USC 2441.

(A) Torture.— The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.

What happens when you violate 2441? This:

(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

The ACLU has just released formerly classified documents uncovering at least two detainees who were beaten and tortured to death at Bagram AFB in AFghanistan. If - and that's a BIG IF - the tactics used can be traced back to techniques authorized by Bush under justifications provided by Yoo, Bybee and Bradbury - we're talking Grey-bar Hotel and maybe even Old Sparky for the lot of them.

Investigation of two deaths at Bagram. Both detainees were determined to have been killed by pulmonary embolism caused as a result of standing chained in place, sleep depravation and dozens of beatings by guards and possibly interrogators. (Also reveals the use of torture at Gitmo and American-Afghani prisons in Kabul )

The OPR reports doesn't attempt to make such a connection - but perhaps someone should. Particularly since previously released autopsy reports show that those two were only the tip of the iceberg.

""There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths,"" said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. ""High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable. America must stop putting its head in the sand and deal with the torture scandal that has rocked our military.""

The documents released today include 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of individuals apprehended in Iraq and Afghanistan. The documents show that detainees died during or after interrogations by Navy Seals, Military Intelligence and ""OGA"" (Other Governmental Agency) -- a term, according to the ACLU, that is commonly used to refer to the CIA.

According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides. Eight of the homicides appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees, in some instances, by the CIA, Navy Seals and Military Intelligence personnel. The autopsy reports list deaths by ""strangulation,"" ""asphyxiation"" and ""blunt force injuries."" An overwhelming majority of the so-called ""natural deaths"" were attributed to ""Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease.""

Yoo, Bybee and Bradbury have alot to answer for - but then Justice is probably far too much to expect. At the very least we can hope for an Independant Counsel for War Crimes! (Crossing fingers) Pretty Please Mr. Holder?


In the name of the Holy
The greatest sins are done
The righteous point a finger
Like the barrel of a gun

From the song "Justified" by ME!

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