ACLU Demands Disclosure of Torture Memos
ACLU expresses concern that the US President might not publicly release the previous administration’s memos authorizing torture.
“Withholding this information would be completely inconsistent with the Obama administration’s promise of transparency and its commitment to turn the page on the abuses of the last eight years,” said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
A federal court has given the government until Thursday to either turn over the memos in response to a freedom of information act lawsuit brought by the ACLU, or explain why they cannot be released.
Jaffer argued that full disclosure was “vital to the historical record and to informing the public about what actions were carried out in its name.”
Meanwhile, a Spanish court has initiated criminal proceedings against six former officials of the former Bush administration, John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes and Douglas Feith who may face charges in Spain for authorizing torture, according to the memos.
If arrest warrants are issued, Spain and any of the other 24 countries that are parties to European extradition conventions could arrest these six men when they travel abroad.
CIA officials who participated in enhanced interrogations during the Bush administration will be defended by government attorneys should charges be brought against them.
According to a published statement from the Department of Justice:
The Attorney General has informed the Central Intelligence Agency that the government would provide legal representation to any employee, at no cost to the employee, in any state or federal judicial or administrative proceeding brought against the employee based on such conduct and would take measures to respond to any proceeding initiated against the employee in any international or foreign tribunal, including appointing counsel to act on the employee’s behalf and asserting any available immunities and other defenses in the proceeding itself.
To the extent permissible under federal law, the government will also indemnify any employee for any monetary judgment or penalty ultimately imposed against him for such conduct and will provide representation in congressional investigations.
“It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department,” Holder said.