By Debra Sweet
August 24, 2009
CIA Torture Report to be Released
The release of the long-anticipated CIA report, quashed since 2006 by the Bush regime, and then postponed several times by the Obama administration, is set for Monday August 24. It’s been leaked. Newsweek and the Guardian UK, “Bombshell report on CIA interrogations is leaked” report the CIA used mock executions to terrorize detainees through threatening the use of pistols and electric drills.
It’s reported that the Attorney General will make a decision in the next few days on whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture. The New York Times analyzed the problem Eric Holder is up against, having been instructed by Barack Obama not to look “backward” while saying “we do not torture”:
“Mr. Holder has told associates he is weighing a narrow investigation, focusing only on C.I.A. interrogators and contract employees who clearly crossed the line and violated the Bush administration’s guidelines and engaged in flagrantly abusive acts. But in taking that route, Mr. Holder would run two risks. One is the political fallout if only a handful of low-level agents are prosecuted for what many critics see as a pattern of excess condoned at the top of the government. The other is that an aggressive prosecutor would not stop at the bottom, but would work up the chain of command, and end up with a full-blown criminal inquiry into the intelligence agencies – just the kind of broad, open-ended criminal investigation the Obama administration says it wants to avoid.”
Clearly, the interests of the people living in this country who care about humanity are not conflicted at all. The war crimes should be prosecuted! The CIA agents, contractors, and the lawyers and “deciders” who were in the White House should all face justice.
CBS News also weighs
the danger for the Obama administration in prosecuting, and in failing to
prosecute. Even the New York Times is now allowing a debate
among lawyers on whether John Yoo should be prosecuted. This issue
is not dead. Those of us who’ve been calling for an end to the US torture
state are right, and we should be more insistent than ever.
Arrogance And Torture: A History of Guantánamo
If you’re looking for an introduction to the extra-legal horrors of Guantánamo, and the casual, almost mundane manner in which randomly-seized prisoners, who were not even screened according to the Geneva Conventions, found themselves the victims of a torture policy designed to make them reveal their mostly non-existent secrets, then you may like this article, which I wrote for the Future of Freedom Foundation, for whom I write a weekly column.
The mesh-wire cages, suitable only for animals, are empty now and overgrown, but they will stand forever as a symbol of the Bush administration’s inept, brutal and destructive “War on Terror” policies, implemented in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the US mainland on September 11, 2001.
This is Camp X-Ray, the first of the prison camps at the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and it was here that the grimly iconic photos were taken, on January 11, 2002, showing the first prisoners arriving at the prison from Afghanistan. The images of these shackled and dehumanized figures, clad in orange, kneeling on gravel in painful stress positions, and with their eyes and ears blocked, have come to define the “War on Terror” as much as the notorious photos of abuse in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Call to reopen US prison abuse cases: report
By Agence France-Presse
August 24, 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing CIA employees and contractors to prosecution for their treatment of terrorism suspects, The New York Times reported Monday.
Citing an unnamed “person officially briefed on the matter,” the newspaper said the recommendation was made recently by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility and presented to Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Justice Department will disclose on Monday new details on prisoner abuse that were gathered in 2004 by the Central Intelligence Agency’s inspector general but have never been released, the report said.
The inspector general has reportedly found that CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten a captured Al-Qaeda commander, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, into giving up information.
Nashiri, who was captured in November 2002 and held for four years in one of the CIA’s secret prisons, ultimately became one of three Al-Qaeda leaders subjected to waterboarding, according to earlier media reports.
Nashiri’s interrogation is said to have included episodes in which the detainee reportedly was threatened with death or grave injury if he refused to cooperate.
When the CIA first referred its inspector general’s findings to prosecutors, they decided that none of the cases merited prosecution, The Times said.
But Holder’s associates say that when he took office and saw the allegations he began to reconsider, the paper noted.
The recommendation to review the closed cases, in effect renewing the inquiries, centers mainly on allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, the report said.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Citing unnamed senior administration officials, the newspaper said the decision was part of a broader effort to revamp US policy on detention and interrogation.
Obama signed off on the unit, named the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) late last week, the report said.
It will be made up of experts from several intelligence and law enforcement agencies and housed at the FBI, the paper noted.
The group will be overseen by the National Security Council, which means shifting the center of gravity away from the CIA and giving the White House direct oversight, The Post said.
Obama moved to overhaul interrogation and detention guidelines soon after taking office, including the creation of a task force on interrogation and transfer policies, the report said.
The task force, whose findings will be made public Monday, recommended the new interrogation unit, along with other changes regarding the way prisoners are transferred overseas, The Post pointed out.