Scott Horton

The meaning of the torture memos


The Other Scott Horton, international human rights lawyer, professor and contributing editor at Harper’s magazine, discusses the torture memos [.pdf] released at Obama’s behest, delays in the Spanish war crimes case against Bush administration lawyers, the Orwellian torture procedures revealed in the memos and the legal precedents for prosecuting crime-enabling lawyers.

MP3 here. (41:52)

The Other Scott Horton (no relation) is a New York attorney known for his work in emerging markets and international law, especially human rights law and the law of armed conflict. He is a contributing editor at Harper’s magazine and writes the blog No Comment.

10 thoughts on “Scott Horton”

  1. An impressive interview with a professional who knows the subject and the facts. It clarifies aspects of the current legal situation, both here and in Spain, surrounding torture institution of the U.S. government, that are easily lost in the cacophony of wire reports.

    Of course, that one doubts that any “elected” criminals, past and present, will ever actually meet justice would be an understatement; these caretakers for the wealthy have had over two centuries to perfect their games around bothersome legalities.

  2. Rahm Emanuel closed the door on prosecuting anyone, including the lawyers and their masters.

    Scott Horton, as much as I think he's great, is naive about Obama and the rule of law. In so many ways, Obama is the third W term.

    As for Obama's "sincerty" on not torturing, I think that's about as reliable as his word has been on all other subjects to date, i.e., believe the opposite of what he says.

    The U.S. has always tortured. Read Overthrow for an early example in the U.S. counterinsurgency in Philippines. The CIA's record is in Legacy of Ashes: war, proxy war, imagined war, any excuse is good enough.

    I got a good laugh out of KSM's alleged confessions. Apparently Cheney believed them all.

  3. Kudos to Scott Horton for fleshing out the secrets of an evil administration. I think we all expect that while an element of lip service will from time to time surface regarding the inhumane practices of the Bush barbarians, Obama and his democratic accomplices will work to forever bury their enabling role in covering up war crimes for which this nation prosecuted and executed others.

    This inhumanity, arrogance and mockery of justice by a government of the United States will soon dull the shine of Obama’s current rock star personna with this latest example of legal gymnastics. And, as is all too obvious, Obama’s campaign promises (“Change we can believe in”, “transparency in government” and “no one is above the law”) as with most government accountability, have been relegated to the proverbial s***t-hole of history. Bruce G. Richardson

  4. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there will be ‘no’ prosecutions for these heinous acts. After all, there are a lot of nations in the world who now see the United States as being so hypocritical and lacking of any moral centre, that it will denigrate other countries such as China for human rights abuses, and at the same time, defend monsters who tortured children using insects in close confines.

    Obama really is a bad liar if he thinks that nobody will ultimately care that he has given aid and comfort to enemies of not only decency, but such principles that the United States was allegedly founded upon.

    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness now ought to be replaced by; “watch your back, WE ARE, and if we decide you’re an enemy of the STATE, we reserve the right to torture you or kill you and your murderers and torturers will walk, scot free.

    very sad day in the world when a so-called world leader will whitewash CIA torture of detainees it had an obligation to treat humanely.

    very sad day.

  5. The only thing I can strain myself to give excuses for the Obama administration behavior is that they are trying to rope-a-dope the repbulicans. They are lulling the Republicans into thinking that Obama is on thier side with this torture issue. They will continue to release torture memos to check for sufficient outrage. They will let the republicans flail at him and weaken their polticial base with their racist and exclusive-rich tinged rhetoric. Eventually the Obama group will release something so damning that the public will demand a trial.
    Now I can go home and write my letter to Santa.

    I do wonder why this administration is lining up with many Bush policies. Is it because they agree with them, because they feel there are more important political fish to fry, or is it because they are afraid of retribution from the intelligence community if they cross them?
    Personally I think too many Clinton era people were brought into this administration and they can’t help themselves but repeat mistakes as well as cover up mistakes made by any or all (because they can be tied back to when Clinton was in power). Moving on and not dealing with a known problem is a similar to the slavery issue of the 1800s. Eventually an administration will do something so horrible that we will have to rebel. We need to clean house now, or it will just get uglier later.

  6. “Eventually the Obama group will release something so damning the public will demand trial”

    I am in complete agreement with you, Alex. Eventually, something will be released which will so offend and endanger the public that action will be demanded. If the US ever gets a chance to see and interact and try to care for and defend themselves from what is left of the military force we sent to Afghanistan and Iraq they will demand action.
    That is why the most important objective for the US military is to prevent any interval of relative peace which could afford an accounting for the last eight years.
    Obama has decided, I fear, to become their chump.

  7. The military and all it’s associated businesses must be very happy about now. They really have made a trifecta!
    First, they got Obama to reverse his campaign promises, and adopt all the same Bush-era bullshit about war on Iraq and Afghanistan. First win!
    Now, they can go on doing things in the same way, with all the same corruption, safe from accounting. Second win!
    And then, to top in off, every time something goes wrong, every time another atrocity is revealed, or another domestic right abrogated, they all scream in unison: “Obama made us do it! We wanted to stop after Bush, but Obama made us go on fighting, torturing, droning, whatever!”
    Win-Win-Win, along with a thoroughly punked Obama.

  8. As long as this shit goes unpunished, President Obama The Divine had better not lecture anyone else about human rights violations.

    America’s reputation in the world is lower than a snake’s ass. The world sees us and Israel as being lawless thugs (and with good reason).

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