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Thursday, June 10

Daily Mislead


President Bush has claimed that the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib was
"disgraceful conduct by a few American troops,"[1] and had nothing to do
with broader administration policy. But according to a March 2003 Pentagon
memo, Bush administration lawyers issued legal justifications for torture,
specifically claiming, "President Bush was not bound by either an
international treaty prohibiting torture or by a federal anti-torture
law."[2] The revelations have now forced the President to backtrack from his
previous denials of culpability, with the White House yesterday admitting
for the first time that Bush did, in fact, "set broad guidelines"[3] for
interrogation in Iraq - a tacit admission that Bush himself "opened the
door"[4] to the torture tactics in the first place.

Now, the U.S. Senate is demanding the full Pentagon memo from the Bush
administration. But the President has refused, instead dispatching Attorney
General John Ashcroft to tell "lawmakers he won't release or discuss"[5] the
memo, even if he is cited for contempt of Congress. This is the same
Ashcroft who "conveniently declassified"[6] internal Justice Department
memos in an effort to slander 9/11 commissioner Jamie Gorelick. It is also
the same Bush administration that leaked the classified name of a CIA
officer[7] in an effort to intimidate a former ambassador who had debunked
their false WMD claims.[8]


1. Presidential Speech, White House Website, 5/24/04,
2. "Lawyers Decided Bans on Torture Didn't Bind Bush", The New York Times, 6/08/04
3. "Memo on Torture Draws Focus to Bush", The Washington Post, 6/09/04
4. "The Roots of Torture", Newsweek, 5/24/04
5. "U.S.'s Ashcroft Won't Release or Discuss Torture Memo (Update 2)",, 6/08/04
6. "Mr. Ashcroft's Smear", The Washington Post, 4/20/04
7. "Mission to Niger",, 7/14/03
8. "White House "warned over Iraq claim", BBC News, 7/09/03

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