Demands for Torture Accountability Grow, WH: No Comment

Washington Post

And the judgment of the Red Cross is very important: The agency’s unique status as a monitor of prisons around the world is based on its professionalism and impartiality. If it has accused the United States of torture, the charge — which could indelibly stain the nation’s global reputation — must be taken seriously.

That’s why it remains imperative for the Obama administration and Congress to cooperate in the creation of an independent commission to investigate the treatment of foreign detainees at Guantanamo and other foreign detention sites since 2001. A commission could determine exactly what was done to senior al-Qaeda detainees; it could evaluate the claims of former vice president Richard B. Cheney and other defenders of tough interrogation techniques that such methods produced information that saved lives. It could identify who was responsible for ordering illegal acts — even if, as President Obama has suggested, criminal prosecutions are not appropriate.

Full disclosure is one way of undoing the damage done by the secret prisons and Guantanamo. It should not be left to the International Red Cross to document alleged instances of torture and other abuses; the United States should show itself capable of investigating and fully disclosing its own human rights violations.

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder reiterating its call for the Department of Justice to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the authorization to use torture at CIA secret prisons. This follows recent revelations that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) concluded in 2007 that the treatment of detainees being held by American personnel constituted torture, as well as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The ICRC report is based on harrowing accounts from detainees about the treatment to which they were subjected.

The ACLU’s letter, signed by Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, states in part:

“The fact that such crimes have been committed can no longer be doubted or debated, nor can the need for an independent prosecutor be ignored by a new Justice Department committed to restoring the rule of law … Given the increasing evidence of deliberate and widespread use of torture and abuse, and that such conduct was the predictable result of policy changes made at the highest levels of government, an independent prosecutor is clearly in the public interest. The country deserves to have these outstanding matters addressed, and have the assurance that torture will stop and never happen again. An independent prosecutor is the only sure way to achieve these goals.”

The Baltimore Sun

Who is to be held accountable for these acts committed in the name of the American people? Notwithstanding former Vice President Dick Cheney’s disgusting attempt over the weekend to paper over CIA misdeeds as vital to national security, denial is not an option.

President Barack Obama is understandably reluctant to launch a criminal investigation of the spy agency whose support he still badly needs, even after having repudiated the Bush administration’s acquiescence in torture outlined in internal Justice Department memos released last week. But Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is vowing to get to the bottom of the matter in public hearings, and his inquiry need not turn into a partisan witch hunt if properly handled.

President Obama has said his administration won’t countenance the torture of prisoners. But finding out exactly how the nation went so wrong over the last eight years is an essential first step toward ensuring it won’t happen again.

Human Rights Advocates, via Raw Story

But his administration will face renewed pressure to take action following the leaking of the internal document from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which describes abuse in harrowing detail.

“The more these kind of reports come out, the more pressure it puts on the government to do something,” said Sarah Mendelson, director of the human rights and security initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“I think there is enough evidence in the public domain to warrant a much more serious investigation than has been conducted thus far,” Jameel Jaffer, director of ACLU’s national security program, told AFP.

“And there’s certainly enough evidence out there to warrant the appointment of an independent prosecutor to look into criminal responsibility for the torture of prisoners in CIA custody,” Jaffer said.

New York Times….from December 17, 2008

We can understand that Americans may be eager to put these dark chapters behind them, but it would be irresponsible for the nation and a new administration to ignore what has happened – and may still be happening in secret C.I.A. prisons that are not covered by the military’s current ban on activities like waterboarding.

A prosecutor should be appointed to consider criminal charges against top officials at the Pentagon and others involved in planning the abuse.


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  1. Photobucket

  2. just did a quick pop on the google…



    Bush Lied:  Democracy Now

    The Torture Doctors Andrew Sullivan

    Filed under the tab “US Elections”… The Australian

  3. seems content to let the statue of limitations run out. After it has expired, then I predict they will show an interest in uncovering the crimes. But, of course, it will be too late to hold anyone accountable. This is what I think there strategy is.

  4. letters to President, right? We have to keep the pressure on even as it grows!  

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