Breaking News: Obama releases Bush torture memos

  • Insects, sleep deprivation and waterboarding are among the techniques approved by the Bush administration to interrogate “terrorists”. And the memos contain worse!
    Barack Obama at an official dinner yesterday in the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. Photograph: Reuters

    Barack Obama at an official dinner yesterday in the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. Photograph: Reuters

    Today, the American President, Barack Obama, released four top secret memos that allowed the CIA under the Bush administration to torture al-Qaida and other terror suspects held at Guantánamo and secret detention centers round the world.

    Yet, in his accompanying statement, Obama ruled out prosecutions against the CIA agents who were involved in these interrogations. It is a “time for reflection, not retribution,” he said.

    The Obama administration’s decision to release the “Top Secret” legal memos discussing specific interrogation techniques used against suspected terrorists was made against the objections of the intelligence community – and it expresses Obama’s determination to stay true to his campaign principles. The accompanying statements from the new American president and attorney general ruling out the prosecution of intelligence agents who relied on the legal advice contained in these memos is also not a surprise.
    However, it’s not the CIA agents who should be prosecuted, because they were just following orders. It those behind the decision of allowing torture (namingly Bush and his mob) who should in fact be prosecuted for torture, War crimes, and dragging the world into a cycle of violence.

  • REACTIONS TO OBAMA DECISION

    “The memos’ matter-of-fact clinical descriptions belie the harsh tactics to which they gave a green light. But… it is not enough to say that when we have a president who does not believe in cruel and inhuman treatment and torture, the United States will not engage in such practices. We must formally acknowledge that what was done was wrong, indeed criminal.

    Georgetown University Professor David Cole, debating the issue at The New York Times

    “By repudiating the memos, the Obama administration has again seized the high ground and restored some of the honor lost over the past few years. Yet the decision to forgo prosecutions should not prevent — and perhaps should even encourage – further investigation about the circumstances that gave rise to torture.”

    Editorial, The Washington Post

    “On the surface, the statement today looks like a big ol’ grant of immunity – or a concession – or a deliberate attempt to boost morale at the CIA… There are plenty of CIA officers who followed the rules and shouldn’t be prosecuted. They’re the ones who are a little relieved today… although they might have to explain some things to their priests and their families.

    Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic

    Download the pdfs:

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