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Tomorrow: torture critic Mike Ritz at J&W

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A local appearance tomorrow by former Army interrogator Mike Ritz is especially timely given fresh revelations about the Bush administration's support of waterboarding:

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaida suspects - documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents. Although Justice Department lawyers, beginning in 2002, had signed off on the agency's interrogation methods, senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing.

I wrote about Ritz as part of my recent story on John McCain, and how critics say he has been less than consistent in opposing torture. Here, courtesy of PBN, are the details for Ritz's appearance: 

October 16, 2008 former military interrogator and current CEO of Team Delta, Mike Ritz, will present “Torture & Interrogation” to Johnson & Wales students in the Pepsi Forum at 11:30am. Ritz’s talk includes a controversial and widely telecast news video where he demonstrates the torture-lite technique of waterboarding. Professor Peter Margulies of Roger Williams University School of Law will then discuss waterboarding and torture legalities, followed by a detailed account by Ritz of the practicalities of using physical techniques during interrogation in the war on terror. A 40-minute question and answer discussion will follow the presentation.

“I’m concerned with our society’s acceptance of torture as a viable method for eliciting intelligence information. Putting the moral debate aside, my peers and I have been advocating against these techniques for practical reasons based on interrogation results. I hope to spark discussion with future leaders through student forums such as these,” stated Ritz. . . .

Ritz is also scheduled to speak to 125 graduate students at Roger Williams University School of Law at 12:30pm on Nov. 12th.

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