The ACLU has winkled more torture docs out of the Justice Department.
In one, Jay Bybee (the John Yoo overseer who is now a judge on the “liberal” Ninth Circuit) provides the “mental harm” corollary to the advice that physical torture must arise to the level of pain caused by organ failure or death:
Prolonged mental harm is substantial mental harm of sustained duration, e.g. harm lasting months or even years after the acts were inflicted upon the prisoner.
So if the terror of thinking you’re going to die of drowning is temporary, by all means use it.
Bybee (and let’s be honest, this is probably Yoo’s handiwork, too) are also big on the intent to torture. In other words, it’s OK for your actions to otherwise constitute torture, as long as, deep down, in “good faith” you don’t intend to torture. And as long as you’re relying on the advice of experts, even unreasonable good faith is all the good faith you need.
A defendant acts in good faith when he has an honest belief that his actions will not result in severe pain or suffering. Although an honest belief need not be reasonable, such a belief is easier to establish where there is a reasonable basis for it. Good faith may be established by, among other things, reliance on experts. [emphasis added.]
Based on the information you have provided us, we believe that those carrying out these procedures would not have the specific intent to inflict severe physical pain or suffering. The objectives of these techniques is not to cause severe physical pain.
The evil circularity of this gives me a nosebleed, it makes me so angry.