Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Torture derives from the latin word for bend or twist

Torture derives from the latin word for bend or twist:
A Guide to the Memos on Torture

Records Released in Response to Torture FOIA Request

Bush's Counsel Sought Ruling About Torture

“Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel, intervened directly with Justice Department lawyers in 2002 to obtain a legal ruling on the extent of the president's authority to permit extreme interrogation practices in the name of national security, current and former administration officials said Tuesday.”

Mr. Gonzales's role in seeking a legal opinion on the definition of torture and the legal limits on the force that could be used on terrorist suspects in captivity is expected to be a central issue in the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings scheduled to begin on Thursday on Mr. Gonzales's nomination to be attorney general.

The request by Mr. Gonzales produced the much-debated Justice Department memorandum of Aug. 1, 2002, which defined torture narrowly and said that Mr. Bush could circumvent domestic and international prohibitions against torture in the name of national security.

Until now, administration officials have been unwilling to provide details about the role Mr. Gonzales had in the production of the memorandum by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Mr. Gonzales has spoken of the memorandum as a response to questions, without saying that most of the questions were his.

Current and former officials who talked about the memorandum have been provided with firsthand accounts about how it was prepared. Some discussed it in an effort to clear up what they viewed as a murky record in advance of Mr. Gonzales's confirmation hearings. Others spoke of the matter apparently believing that the Justice Department had unfairly taken the blame for the memorandum.

A White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, said Tuesday that while Mr. Gonzales personally requested the August opinion, he was only seeking "objective legal advice and did not ask the Office of Legal Counsel to reach any specific conclusion."

As the White House's chief lawyer, Mr. Gonzales supervised the production of a number of legal memorandums that shaped the administration's legal framework for conducting its battle against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Of the documents that have been made public, only one was written by Mr. Gonzales. In that memorandum, dated January 2002, he advised Mr. Bush that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to fighters captured in Afghanistan. The next month the White House decided that the Geneva Conventions would be applied to Taliban captives but not to detainees linked to Al Qaeda.

As a result, a major area of questioning at his confirmation hearing is expected to be the role he played in the production of the other documents, like the August 2002 memorandum. That memorandum concluded that interrogators had great leeway to question detainees using coercive techniques that they could assert were not torture.
con·cept: Torture derives from the latin word for bend or twist