Torture Isn’t Illegal If It’s Done Overseas
Here are some highlights from the May 30, 2005 memo from former Office of Legal Counsel director Steven Bradbury:
- The Convention Against Torture does not apply outside the United States, or anywhere where the US does not have de facto control: hence, it does not apply to CIA “black sites”, which are in other countries. Therefore, the CIA can torture people there and not have to worry about the law.
- However, even if the CAT did apply, it only applies if the techniques “shock the conscience” in a constitutional sense. Because the methods are derived from SERE techniques which are part of U.S. military training (albeit training for soldiers to resist torture by foreign captors), and because the techniques are “carefully limited to further the Government’s paramount interest in protecting the Nation while avoiding unnecessary harm,” the OLC concludes that they do not “shock the conscience.”