Declassified memo authorized US to torture enemy combatants
(via BoingBoing. Reprinted in full)
Here’s a declassified copy of one of the 2003 “Yoo Memos” issued by William J. Haynes II, General Counsel of the Department of Defense and written by John C. Yoo, then a deputy, in which they argue that torture of foreign nationals is lawful provided that it takes place offshore and that they are “enemy combatants” (whatever that means). It was rescinded after nine months.
- Sent to the Pentagon’s general counsel on March 14, 2003, by John C. Yoo, then a deputy in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, the memo provides an expansive argument for nearly unfettered presidential power in a time of war. It contends that numerous laws and treaties forbidding torture or cruel treatment should not apply to U.S. interrogations in foreign lands because of the president’s inherent wartime powers.
- “If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network,” Yoo wrote. “In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch’s constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions.”