Saturday, September 26, 2009

David Cole - NYRB

The podcast of the New York Review of Books (feed) is always worth to take a listen. I choose my subjects as I do with so many other interview and lecture podcasts. The latest issue was one I listened to with great interest.

Lawyer David Cole was interviewed on the subject of lawyers who authorize torture. About the subject he also wrote an article in the NYT called The Torture Memo. He refers to memo's that came from lawyers who informed the Bush administration how they could legally use enhanced interrogation techniques (a euphemism for torture) or alternately use them and avoid being called to defend the use in court. These memos have been secret until recently, but bit by bit are becoming public only now, thanks to legislation under the Obama administration.

The picture becomes clear of what Cole and his fellows long guessed was the case: torture was widely used and intentionally so. The legal foundation of it, he argues, has created a situation that torture is at the discretion of the president. If you have a president who wants to use torture, it shall be used and the cases shall be held out of court. The implicit argument is that this has no place in a state under the rule of law, according to Cole.

More NYRB podcast:
Amateur Science - Freeman Dyson,
Roger Cohen in Tehran,
Ronald Dworkin.

More David Cole:
Less safe, less free.

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