(this is amazing – promoted by pfiore8)
Cross-posted at DailyKOS
Memos written at the request of high-ranking government officials by Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo on August 1, 2002 (also signed by Jay Bybee, now a federal judge) and March 14, 2003, assured the Bush administration that
. . . . the Department of Justice would not enforce the U.S. criminal laws against torture, assault, maiming and stalking, in the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants.”
Of course, we know that the purpose of Yoo’s memos were simply established as a means of legal clearance for all that ensued thereafter.
Daniel Levin, Acting Assistant Attorney General Office of Legal Counsel (December 30, 2004)
. . . . specifically rejects Yoo’s definition of torture, and admits that a defandant’s motives to protect national security will not shield him from a torture prosecution. The rescission of the August 2002 memo constitutes an admission by the Justice Department that the legal reasoning in that memo was wrong. But for 22 months, the [sic] it was in effect, which sanctioned and led to the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody.”
Note: all quoted material above from Marjorie Cohn, President National Lawyers Guild.
On May 6, 2008, three very distinguished law professors gave testimony before the House Judiciary Committee– the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. They are:
Marjorie Cohn, President, National Lawyers Guild
Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Philippe Sands, Professor Laws, University College, London
Barrister, Matrix Chambers
David Luban, Professor of Law, Legal Ethics
Georgetown University Law Center
Ms. Cohn’s opening statement stands out sharply:
What does torture have in common with genocide, slavery, and wars of aggression? They are all jus cogens. Jus cogens is Latin for “higher law” or “compelling law.” This means that no country can ever pass a law that allows torture. There can be no immunity from criminal liability for violation of a jus cogens prohibition.
I think after listening to the testimony of each of these three individuals, you will conclude that it is compellingly and overwhelmingly clear as to the legality of our role as torturers. In fact, it would be interesting to see if there is anyone who can challenge these testimonies.
There appears to be little, if any, mainstream coverage of this very important event before the House Judiciary Committee.
While I’m not sure what or how the testimony of these expert legal scholars was prompted, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, is done with it and the perpetrators (named) of war crimes. But, somehow, just knowing that this testimony has been given provides some (hope) and sense of justice. We shall see!