Propelling Prisoners' Heads into Concrete Walls

SUMMARY OF PRELIMINARY MEMORANDUM OF THE JUSTICE ROBERT H. JACKSON CONFERENCE ON FEDERAL PROSECUTION OF WAR CRIMINALS

Propelling prisoners’ heads into concrete walls by means of towels wrapped around their necks, savage beatings with fists and rifles that left prisoners crippled, hanging prisoners by the arms with their arms strung up behind them, depriving prisoners of sleep for weeks on end, which has been thought the worst torture possible for 500 years, causing prisoners to freeze — sometimes to death, and waterboarding are but a partial list of the torture methods ordered by America’s highest officials. In the “Preliminary Memorandum of the Justice Robert H. Jackson Conference on Federal Prosecutions of War Criminals,” law school Dean Lawrence Velvel, the founder of the Jackson Conference, details the full spectrum of tortures performed in wholesale combinations — not one torture by itself — on detainees around the world. His Preliminary Memorandum is a precursor to a formal legal complaint to be filed with the Justice Department this spring.

The Preliminary Memorandum identifies 31 culprits and details the war crimes they committed, the laws they broke, and the many fulsome warnings they received regarding their actions from numerous governmental lawyers and officials high and low, including the Judge Advocate Generals of all the armed services. The culprits who should be prosecuted include Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Addington, Tenet, Bybee, Yoo, Haynes, Chertoff and others.

The Preliminary Memorandum calls the Bush administration’s illegal acts “an attempted constitutional revolution that succeeded for years.” It began six days after 9/11, when Bush secretly gave the CIA permission to “murder . . . people all over the world.” It continued in a series of secret, wholly specious legal memos authorizing torture, electronic eavesdropping, wholesale violations of law, and Presidential usurpation of the role of Congress.

Public pressure eventually forced the administration to declassify a few of the memos. These purported to authorize war crimes outlawed by the Geneva Conventions and U.S. anti-torture laws. Among them was John Yoo’s infamous “torture memo” defining torture as “requiring the pain associated with organ failure or death,” saying torture supposedly couldn’t exist if the torturer wanted information, and urging that the President could do anything he wanted, including paying no attention whatever to Congressional laws. Meanwhile, Bush administration officials and lawyers ignored extensive warnings given them by government officials that they were engaging in criminal acts; the warnings were given both orally and in extensive memos.