View Full Version : Bush-era interrogation memo: No torture without pain intent

04-16-2009, 08:23 PM
Interrogation tactics such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, slapping and "wall standing" did not violate laws against torture when there was no intent to cause severe pain, according to a Bush-era memo on the tactics released Thursday.

"To violate the statute, an individual must have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering," said an August 2002 memo from then-Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee to John Rizzo, who was acting general counsel for the CIA.

"Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture. ... We have further found that if a defendant acts with the good faith belief that his actions will not cause such suffering, he has not acted with specific intent," Bybee wrote.

The Bybee opinion was sought on 10 interrogation tactics in the case of suspected al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah.

On waterboarding -- in which a person gets the sensation of drowning -- "although the waterboard constitutes a threat of imminent death, prolonged mental harm must nonetheless result" to violate the law, the memo says.

In addition, Bybee wrote: "You would like to place Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect. You have informed us that he appears to have a fear of insects. In particular, you would like to tell Zubaydah that you intend to place a stinging insect into the box with him. You would, however, place a harmless insect in the box."

The memo says this would be allowed if Zubaydah was informed the insect's sting would not be fatal or cause severe pain.


That's bull, and they know it. Every person who is prosecuted because of torture, uses the defense technique shown in this memo.