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Video: ACLU Releases Video Featuring Prominent Figures Calling for Accountability for Torture

August 6, 2009

NEW YORK, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ — The American Civil Liberties Union released a video today featuring prominent figures, including Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Oliver Stone, reading from one of the infamous Bush administration legal memos used to justify the use of torture against detainees in U.S. custody. The video calls for accountability and the restoration of the rule of law.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/aclu/39457/

“The chilling and clinical nature of these memos really sinks in when you hear them read aloud,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “These memos shamefully contorted the law to justify the crime of torture, and now it’s time for those responsible for this dark episode in our history to be held accountable to the American people.”

The two-minute online video, entitled “Tortured Logic,” includes appearances by Stone, 9/11 family member Patricia Perry, actors Rosie Perez, Noah Emmerich, John Doman and Reg E. Cathey, and musical composer Philip Glass, among others, reading directly from a memo authored by Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under the Bush administration. The memo was released in April as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

The video is housed at www.aclu.org/torturedlogic, a site that contains a pre-written letter that viewers can send to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, along with the video, calling for a full and comprehensive investigation of the Bush administration’s torture policies.

The video’s release comes amid recent news reports suggesting that Attorney General Holder is considering appointing a prosecutor to investigate torture. However, press reports indicate that Holder envisions an investigation narrow in scope that would focus only on low-level interrogators and contract employees.

“There is ample evidence already in the public domain that widespread and systemic torture of detainees was authorized at the highest levels of the Bush administration,” said Romero. “We cannot move forward confidently knowing that the abuses of the past will not be repeated by future administrations as long as everyone knows that the powerful people who perpetrated and enabled these crimes got off scot-free. The attorney general should appoint a special prosecutor who will follow the facts where they lead, whether it be to prisons overseas or to the halls of power at home.”

The video begins with Stone reading directly from the memo, authored by Bybee in 2002. “In order for pain and suffering to rise to the level of torture, the statute requires that it be severe,” Stone reads. “The use of these procedures would not constitute torture within the meaning of the statute.” This is followed by a description, as outlined in the memo, of 10 different interrogation techniques authorized by the Bush administration, including attention grasps and wall standing, “which are intended to induce shock, surprise and humiliation” as well as waterboarding, “which, we acknowledge, constitutes a threat of imminent death.”

The new ACLU video, “Tortured Logic,” along with a list of participants in the video, can be viewed online at: www.aclu.org/torturedlogic

Additional information about the ACLU’s push for accountability and the restoration of the rule of law is available online at: www.aclu.org/torture

SOURCE American Civil Liberties Union


Source: newswire



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