WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, expressed shock and disgust in response to the latest revelations concerning the Bush administration’s use of legal opinions to justify the use of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment during interrogations. The Justice Department was forced to declare in 2004 that, “Torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms.” But after Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General, a secret legal opinion was issued which explicitly authorized torture techniques.

Rep. Markey, who is the author of H.R. 1352, a bill to ban extraordinary renditions to countries that engage in torture or other cruel interrogation practices, said, “The Bush administration repeatedly has claimed that it has changed its interrogation techniques to comply with the law. But what the administration has really done is contorted its interpretation of the law to comply with its interrogation techniques. Never before in the history of the United States has our government explicitly authorized the torture of human beings. The use of torture as government policy, standardizing the mistreatment of human beings with bureaucratic efficiency and legal justification, is a stain upon the soul of our nation.

“The Bush administration’s torture interrogations have grossly endangered our country because, as intelligence professionals will tell you, torture does not result in good information. Torturing a prisoner for information is turning a crucial element of our nation’s defense against terrorism into amateur hour: professionals do not use torture because torture does not work. As Gen. Petraeus wrote to his troops on May 10th, ‘beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary,’” Rep. Markey concluded.


October 4, 2007

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