Obama Administration coverup of US torture regime continues
Obama deservedly earns a lot of disrespect for his decision to flout the law in order to protect torturers. Why does he do that? I suspect he’s simply fearful of Republicans, but that is not, IMO, an adequate reason to break the law, in particular in order to protect people who tortured prisoners, some perfectly innocent. Andrew Rosenthal comments in the NY Times:
In Strasbourg, France, a 17-judge panel of the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously on Thursday that U.S. intelligence did in fact kidnap a German citizen in Macedonia. The court said he was locked in a hotel room for 23 days, then handed over to a C.I.A. rendition team at an airport, where he was “severely beaten, sodomized, shackled and hooded.” Later he was sent to Afghanistan and illegally detained for months. The German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, had no connection to terrorism, unless you count the fact that U.S. officials were seeking an Al Qaeda operative with a similar name. The court ordered Macedonia to pay Mr. Masri $78,000 in damages.
Meanwhile, in Washington, officials still won’t acknowledge Mr. Masri’s kidnapping and torture, which was just one example of President George W. Bush’s “extraordinary rendition program.” He has been refused a day in American courts on flimsy claims of national secrets (that the names of the men who broke the law brutalizing him might be revealed).
No official has been held accountable for his illegal detention and torture – or for that matter for the similar beastly treatment of other prisoners.
On Thursday the Senate Intelligence Committee finally approved, by a 9-6 party-line vote, a 6,000-page report on C.I.A. detention and interrogation—but it remains classified. Among other things, the report reviews claims that tortured prisoners provided vital intelligence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden – claims Republicans make to this day to justify the brutality they supported for years, but which virtually everyone else disputes, including those how actually conducted those interrogations.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairman of the intelligence committee, has said that information obtained from torture victims did not play a major role in hunting down Mr. bin Laden, but she did not have much to say yesterday about the report—because it remains classified.
Republicans attacked the report as flawed and incomplete, like they do whenever a report makes their team look bad. Ms. Feinstein, however, said it covered every detainee held by the C.I.A., “the conditions under which they were detained, how they were interrogated, the intelligence they actually provided and the accuracy or inaccuracy of C.I.A. descriptions about the program to the White House, Department of Justice, Congress and others.”
The report has 35,000 footnotes and covers more than 6 million pages of records, Ms. Feinstein said. Sounds pretty thorough. She said it “uncovers startling details about the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight.”
How many of those startling conclusions will the public see? I’m guessing, not many. No decision was made yesterday about releasing the report and it will not be made until after the committee receives comments from the executive branch, Ms. Feinstein said, a euphemism for allowing the administration a chance to heavily censor the document.
Meanwhile, the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay remains open, an indelible stain on the American justice system. There is no plausible reason to keep the prison open.
In late November, Ms. Feinstein released a study by the Government Accountability Office that said . . .
The US conduct in this matter is shameful and dishonorable.