Now Playing: Bush Torture Memos
BTL:Bush Torture Memos Reveal Premeditated Brutality
Bush Torture Memos Reveal Premeditated Brutality
Interview with Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, conducted by Scott Harris
After a heated debate among his advisers, President Obama released memos from Bush administration officials detailing their authorization of interrogation techniques used against terrorist suspects held by the U.S. that are widely acknowledged as acts of torture. The memos, released on April 16, described the use of water-boarding - or drowning techniques - used on two al-Qaeda suspects on 266 occasions, up to six times a day in one case.
CIA interrogators also subjected 14 high-level U.S.-held prisoners to sleep deprivation, forced nudity and the use of painful positions. The president declared that he would not prosecute CIA personnel who participated in torture and who had relied on Bush administration legal opinions issued after the September 11th attacks.
But Obama left the door open to possible future criminal prosecution of the Bush administration architects of the interrogation techniques, that violated both U.S. and international law. The president said it would be up to his Attorney General Eric Holder on whether or not to prosecute these officials, and urged that any congressional investigation be organized "in a bipartisan fashion." Former vice President Dick Cheney and Bush's CIA Director Michael Hayden have both criticized the release of the torture memos, asserting that the information will be useful to al-Qaeda. Between The Lines Scott Harris spoke with Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who discusses what we've learned from the recently released torture memos and the need to hold government officials accountable for the commission of war crimes.
Michael Ratner is author of the book, "The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld, A Prosecution by Book." Contact the Center for Constitutional Rights by calling (212) 614-6464 or visit their website at www.ccrjustice.org
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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit: http://www.btlonline.org
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