Toture Memos

The Obama administration today released a series of four torture memos (dating from August 1, 2002 through May 30, 2005). The FOIA and ACLU brought a lawsuit against the administration to press their being made public, which the administration complied with today. The memos are authored by Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, OLC (Office of Legal Council), and Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, in communication with General Council of the CIA.

This move by President Obama to respect the rule of law is encouraging - though I think the Democrats generally are dragging their feet in regards to legal action. AG Holder and Congress each have the power to investigate the illegal activity of the previous administration, but out of some sense of comity or bygones they have chosen a path of wait and see; they want to know that the public will is behind them. Of course, public will is a morphing leprechaun that promises gold but can never be pinned down. So good luck following the rainbow - better really that on this issue the administration sticks with black and white, law and the breaking of it.

In the late 90s the Republicans impeached a democratically elected president for playing around in the oval office. Republicans have nothing if not temerity - that they could impeach for a blow job and let Bush get away with war crimes is staggering. But our respect for the rule of law (legal, not parochial) is why this victory by the FOIA and ACLU in forcing the memo's public is important, because those that authorized the unlawful torture of detainees need to be investigated and brought to justice. We are a country of laws, not a country of men.

The Daily Dish provides a roundup of some of the initial reaction. Glen Greenwald is as always, an essential read.
These memos are now becoming available, and do appear to be almost entirely unredacted. They are unbelievably ugly and grotesque and conclusively demonstrate the sadistic criminality that consumed our government.
And this snip highlighted by TPM:
Sleep deprivation may be used. You have indicated that your purpose in using this technique is to reduce the individual's ability to think on his feet and, through the discomfort associated with lack of sleep, to motivate him to cooperate. The effect of such sleep deprivation will generally remit after one or two nights of uninterrupted sleep. You have informed us that your research has revealed that, in rare instances, some individuals who are already predisposed to psychological problems may experience abnormal reactions to sleep deprivation. Even in those cases, however, reactions abate after the individual is permitted to sleep. Moreover, personnel with medical training are available to and will intervene in the unlikely event of an abnormal reaction. You have orally informed us that you would not deprive Zubaydah of sleep for more than eleven days at a time and that you have previously kept him awake for 72 hours, from which no mental or physical harm resulted. (our itals)
(My Bold)

11 days.

The administration has been fiercely pragmatic though willing to capitulate at necessary moments...this being one of them. They hold all the cards right now; they're in a position of great strength when it comes to repairing the damage of the last 40 years.

Do yourself a favor and read some of the links. We all need to be reminded what happens when we elect bad leaders.


On the Backs of Giants

In Memoriam: Dr. Martin Luther King (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968).

Announcement given by a visibly shaken Robert F Kennedy, who, only two months later on 6/6/68, died at the hands of a gunman, like his brother JFK. I think in many ways it was the beginning of a new dark age in modern America, one that would take us forty years to shake out of. But, here we are, 41 years later, with a populous that is tending toward progressive causes and supporting progressive leaders. We couldn't have reached here without their help, and it is important to remember that.