New Bush Torture Bombshell Memos: 10 Horrifying Discoveries
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The Obama administration has finally released four long-awaited legal memos used by the Bush administration to design its torture program -- and although their existence, like U.S. torture itself, has been an open secret for years, the memos are nonetheless shocking.
Written in a dispassionate legal tone, the documents contain the professional opinion of Office of Legal Council attorneys Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury as they assessed the CIA's "harsh interrogation techniques" between 2002 and 2005. Each method is described in sadistic detail, and each would surely be heinous if experienced on its own. But, as pointed out in the famous "Bybee" memo, dated August 1, 2002 -- the "interrogation team planned to use these techniques "in some sort of escalating fashion, culminating with the waterboard, though not necessarily ending with this technique."
The torture memos are available on the ACLU website. But if you can't bring yourself to read them, below are ten disturbing excerpts that provide a hideous glimpse of what was done in the name of Americans in the so-called "war on terror." As you read them, keep in mind that the Obama administration has already announced that it will not seek charges against the people who carried out the actions they describe. "In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution," Obama said in a statement.
"This is a time for reflection, not retribution. ... We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past."
Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement, too. "It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department," he said.
Which was exactly what the Bush administration intended.
1. Walling (Bybee memo, August 1, 2002)
"A flexible false wall will be constructed. The individual is placed with his heels touching the wall: The interrogator pulls the individual forward and then quickly and firmly pushes the individual into the wall. It is the individual's shoulder blades that hit the wall. During this motion, the head and neck are supported with a rolled hood or towel that provides a c-collar effect to help prevent whiplash …
"You have orally informed us that the false wall is in part constructed to create a loud sound when the individual hits it, which will further shock or surprise the individual. In part, the idea is to create a sound that will make the impact seem far worse than it is and that will be far worse than any injury that might result from the action."
2. The Facial (or Insult) Slap (Bybee memo, August 1, 2002)
"With the facial slap or insult slap, the interrogator slaps the individual's face with fingers slightly spread. The hand makes contact with the area directly between the tip of the individual's chin and the bottom of the corresponding earlobe. The interrogator invades the individual's personal space. The goal of the facial slap is not to inflict physical pain that is severe or lasting. Instead, the purpose of the facial slap is to induce shock, surprise, and/or humiliation …"
3. Cramped Confinement& insects Placed In a Confinement Box (Bybee memo, August 1, 2002)
"You would like to place (Abu) Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect. You have informed us that he appears to have a fear of insects. In particular, you would like to tell Zubaydah that you intend to place a stinging insect into the box with him. You would however, place a harmless insect in the box. You have orally informed us that you would in fact place a harmless insect such as a caterpillar in the box with him...