Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Deaths caused by US torture

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This is important to know. Glenn Greenwald writes:

After numerous delays sought by the Obama administration, it is expected that a 2004 CIA Inspector General’s Report — aggressively questioning both the efficacy and legality of Bush’s interrogation tacticswill be released tomorrow.  A heavily redacted version of that document was already released by the Bush administration in response to an ACLU lawsuit and it remains to be seen how much new information will be included in tomorrow’s version.

In anticipation of the release of that report, there is an important effort underway — as part of the ACLU Accountability Project — to correct a critically important deficiency in the public debate over torture and accountability.  So often, the premise of media discussions of torture is that “torture” is something that was confined to a single tactic (waterboarding) and used only on three “high-value” detainees accused of being high-level Al Qaeda operatives.  The reality is completely different.

The interrogation and detention regime implemented by the U.S. resulted in the deaths of over 100 detainees in U.S. custody — at least.  While some of those deaths were the result of “rogue” interrogators and agents, many were caused by the methods authorized at the highest levels of the Bush White House, including extreme stress positions, hypothermia, sleep deprivation and others.  Aside from the fact that they cause immense pain, that’s one reason we’ve always considered those tactics to be “torture” when used by others — because they inflict serious harm, and can even kill people.  Those arguing against investigations and prosecutions — that we Look to the Future, not the Past — are thus literally advocating that numerous people get away with murder.

The record could not be clearer regarding the fact that we caused numerous detainee deaths, many of which have gone completely uninvestigated and thus unpunished.  Instead, the media and political class have misleadingly caused the debate to consist of the myth that these tactics were limited and confined.  As Gen. Barry McCaffrey recently put it:

We should never, as a policy, maltreat people under our control, detainees. We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A.

Journalist and Human Rights Watch research John Sifton similarly documented that “approximately 100 detainees, including CIA-held detainees, have died during U.S. interrogations, and some are known to have been tortured to death.”

* * * * *

The ACLU has posted online numerous autopsy reports of detainee deaths in U.S. custody.  These are documents prepared by the U.S. military, and they are as chilling as they are reflective of extreme criminality.  Here are just a few illustrative examples (click on images to enlarge):

Autopsy ME-4309 — 27 y/o male civilian – Mosul: …

Continue reading. The details are both important and staggering. Some of thus murdered by torture were totally innocent—for example, the member of the Afghan Army (on our side, you know) who was mistakenly picked up.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 June 2009 at 2:01 pm

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