America’s Moment of Truth on Torture
JURIST Guest Columnist Benjamin Davis of the University of Toledo College of Law says that three memos written by the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel in the Bush administration authorizing specific interrogation techniques amounting to torture need to be disclosed and should not be held back for fear of political reprisals….
On April 16, 2009 the Obama Administration will have to file a submission in court and decide whether to publicly disclose under a Freedom of Information Act request three memos written by the Office of Legal Counsel in the previous administration that authorized specific interrogation techniques that are torture. Published reports suggest that a battle is roiling in the highest levels of the government about publicly releasing those memos as well as the Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility’s allegedly scathing review of the lawyering of the memos’ key architects. It is also reported that the nominations of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel and Dean Harold Hongju Koh to be the United States Department of State Legal Adviser are being threatened or held hostage by members of the Senate who are strongly resisting the release of the memos and the review, threatening to “go nuclear.”
Enough is enough. It is long past time for citizens to go nuclear on the shucking and jiving by the political class about the release of these memos and this OPR review. We can guess what they say from the published reports and it is awful. But, even if it is awful, it is high time that the public no longer be kept in the dark about these key documents of our national embarrassment from the torture policy hatched in late 2001. After all, these things were said to have been done in our name.
If what is reported is true, these memos and review will show us how high-level civilians did authorize the horrendous torture that we have seen discussed for nigh on 5 years now. These documents will point fingers high up. These documents will name names high up. They will force all to answer one question, “What did you do when these things were coming up to avert this long national nightmare?” that started in the late fall 2001 when plans to torture were hatched and implemented.
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