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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jay Bybee: NYT Calls For Impeachment Of Torture Memo Author

Senator Graham Fox News Sunday April 19, 2009
Sunday's New York Times called on Congress to impeach federal judge Jay Bybee over his now infamous role in authoring one of the Bush administration memos arguing for the legality of torture.
"These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution," wrote the paper. "Congress should impeach him."
Separately, Sen. Claire McCaskill left open the door to pursuing such a course during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. Asked by host Chris Wallace whether she would favor the impeachment of Bybee, who sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Missouri Democrat replied: "I think we have to look at it. But I think we do need to sort out how do you get lawyers at the top levels of the Justice Department to give this kind of advice."
"The lawyers that gave this advice, what's scary to me is one of them got a lifetime appointment on the federal bench," McCaskill said earlier. "Yikes! A lawyer responsible for this kind of advice that clearly went too far in terms of stretching what our law is. It worries me that he's sitting on the federal bench right now. Now, whether we should go down the road, I don't think we want to look in the rearview mirror. I think this president has made that very clear. We've got big problems ahead of us we need to focus on. But I do think there probably needs to be more questions asked of the lawyers who gave this advice."
Congress has the political authority to impeach a lifetime-appointed federal judge, but it's unclear whether the move would have sufficient support. The Senate confirmed Bybee by a 74 to 19 vote, and many congressional Republicans would likely resist impeachment.
But as the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin recently noted, Bybee was confirmed before the torture memos became public: LinkHere

What a Wanker, Lyndsey Graham is!!!!!!!!

As Report Shows Bybee's Torture Culpability, Conyers Says: 'We're Coming After These Guys'
Bush administration attorney Jay Bybee, now a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals serving a lifetime appointment, crafted legal justifications for torture after intelligence officials began to adapt techniques already deemed illegal by U.S. and international law, according to a report released Tuesday evening by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The 232-page report leaves no doubt that the interrogation techniques were torture and were long known to be illegal. The Bush administration's program of torture was "reverse engineered," in the words of Richard Shiffrin, the general counsel for intelligence for the Department of Defense in 2002, from communist Chinese techniques designed to elicit false confessions. In that respect, the program worked well, as tortured detainees told officials whatever they could think of and sent CIA agents chasing bogus tips around the globe, according to press reports.
The program that the torture was developed from was known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE). The purpose of SERE was to teach American soldiers to resist torture - not to establish a set of practices to torture detainees.
SERE was run by the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA). One JPRA instructor told the committee that the set of techniques in the program, such as waterboarding, were "based on illegal exploitation...of prisoners over the last 50 years."
On August 1, 2002, Bybee signed two memos that purported to justify the torture, arguing that for it to be torture it "must inflict pain that is difficult to endure," using as examples "serious physical injury, such as organ failure." His second memo, released after the report was finished, justified specific acts of torture that had been deemed illegal for the past 50 years by U.S. and international law. The report was embargoed until Tuesday night.
Much of the abuse disclosed in the committee's report had previously been made public by either the International Committee of the Red Cross, news reports or in books such as Jane Mayer's "Dark Side". But the committee report demonstrates how torture was first justified by the White House for Guantanamo detainees, but then spread by official edict to Afghanistan and Iraq - even after the authority to torture was rescinded for Guantanamo agents. The Bush administration had argued that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply in Afghanistan, but never tried that argument in Iraq. Still, the torture memos written for Guantanamo, where international law was unilaterally suspended, were used, the report shows, to legally justify torture in Iraq.


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