Anonymous sources quoted by New York Times US government’s unofficial defense of torture: “The lead article in Sunday?s New York Times is a backhanded defense of torture given by officials within the Bush administration. Consisting largely of citations from unnamed ?current and former government officials,? the article??Aides Say Memo Backed Coercion for Qaeda Cases,? by David Johnston and James Risen?implicitly presents a justification for torture as a necessary tool in the so-called ?war on terrorism.?

The article relates to a memo prepared by the Justice Department in August 2002 that provided a legal interpretation of an American anti-torture law passed in accordance with the International Convention Against Torture. The memo essentially concocted a legal justification for the use of torture. It outlined an extremely narrow interpretation of torture that allowed for a wide range of methods banned by international anti-torture conventions. It also outlined a number of legal justifications?including the supposedly unlimited war-time powers of the president as commander-in-chief?to disregard even these limits (see ?Washington Post publishes memo implicating White House in torture of prisoners?).”

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