High level officials of the George W. Bush administration, including White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, now 9th Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, Jack Goldsmith and John Yoo, have pieced together a set of legal doctrines that form the foundation for the Adminstration's disregard for human rights, notion that the President is above the law, and disregard for international law. These legal doctrines have been used to justify torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Bagdhad, at other prisons in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a U.S. Naval Base, and in Afghanistan. Some of these ideas have been discredited by the U.S. Supreme Court in the The Enemy Combatant Cases.
A comprehensive analysis of the torture memos can be found here.
Some of the legal analysis in the torture memos can also be attributed to a long line of cases in which the courts have basically rendered the 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment meaningless outside certain method of execution cases.
The Torture Memos
- Aug 1, 2002, Memo of Judge Bybee
- March 6, 2003 Defense Department Memo
- Alberto Gonzalez Memo to the President
- Dissenting Secretary of State Colin Powell Memo
Press Coverage of Torture Memos
- Washington Post Coverage of Memos
- Slate Coverage of Torture Memos
- LA Times Op-Ed
- John Ashcroft's Take on Washboarding as Torture