Proponents of torture frequently argue that the very concept of accountability has a “chilling effect” on the noble patriots who are merely trying to keep the Homeland safe.
Well, it should.
Torture is a crime. Those who practice it are criminals. If they do so with Government sanction they are War Criminals and they, and those complicit including especially Government officials should be prosecuted, convicted, and punished to the full extent of the law.
Let them rot in Spandau next to Hess and Speer.
This is a civil suit for monetary damages, not true justice, but at least it makes the point that what we already know, what has already been made public, is sufficient to convict these scum.
Judge Grants Torture Victims Their First Chance to Pursue Justice
by Jenna McLaughlin, The Intercept
Apr. 22 2016, 4:11 p.m.
A civil suit against the architects of the CIA’s torture program, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, will be allowed to proceed, a federal judge in Spokane decided on Friday.
District Judge Justin Quackenbush denied the pair’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit launched against them on behalf of three victims, one dead, of the brutal tactics they designed.
“This is amazing, this is unprecedented,” Steven Watt, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union representing the plaintiffs told The Intercept after the hearing. “This is the first step towards accountability.”
What’s so unprecedented is that this is the first time opponents of the program will have the chance to seek discovery evidence in the case unimpeded by the government. In every other past torture accountability lawsuit, the government has invoked its special state-secrets privileges to purportedly protect national security.
But since the extraordinarily detailed and revealing executive summary of the Senate’s torture report was published in 2014, after years of investigation, the government now says almost everything is declassified already.
The three plaintiffs are Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and the estate of Gul Rahman, who died at a CIA black site known as the “Salt Pit.” Each was kidnapped and subject to extreme physical and psychological torture and experimentation, though none was ever charged with a crime.
Mitchell and Jessen’s proposed framework for “enhanced interrogation” involved trying to drive detainees to a point of “learned helplessness” through unbearable suffering, to the point they would be willing to totally comply. The theories behind the tactics were drawn from the psychologists’ experiments on dogs decades prior.
“They did not make decisions about Plaintiffs’ capture, treatment, confinement conditions, and interrogations; and they did not perform, supervise or control Plaintiffs’ interrogations,” defense attorney Christopher Tompkins argued in a brief filed in the case.
Drod Ladin, the ACLU attorney who argued in court at Friday’s hearing, argued that Mitchell and Jessen directly composed and supervised the program, and were paid to do so for years—and therefore should not escape responsibility.