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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Justice Attempts to Justify Torture

Yet another in a series of secret Justice Department memos which provided the White House with a “legal justification” for its policy of “enhanced interrogation” was finally declassified and released to the public yesterday according to a report by the Washington Post.

The 81-page document, which was authored by former Office of Legal Counsel Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, explained that if the “government…were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, [it] would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network.” Apparently Yoo, who is now a law professor at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, believed that the determination of what interrogation techniques are “conscience-shocking” and therefore constitute torture depends “in part on whether it is without any justification.” Basically, the ends justify the means and if a few laws get broken along the way...well, them's the breaks. Not exactly what you'd hope to hear from a Justice Department official who swears to uphold the law, rather than circumvent it.

While the existence of memos like Yoo’s has been known for some time, the release of this document provides one of the first opportunities for the public to examine these controversial documents which provided the basis for the White House’s controversial interrogation policy.

Alliance for Justice is currently examining the memo and we will be posting a more in-depth examination on Huffington Post soon. Until then, you can read the document yourself here: Justice Memo: Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.

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