Later On

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

Former CIA detainees claim US torture investigators never interviewed them

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I think it’s pretty obvious that any investigations that were done by the Executive Branch regarding the various US programs of torture were conducted to cover-up the truth, not reveal it. Obama signaled this at the start of his first term with his declaration that he would not investigate any allegations regarding the previous administration, and indeed he has done all he can to prevent the truth from coming out.

But this story in The Guardian from Spencer Ackerman is still of interest:

As the US government prepares to defend its record on torture before a United Nations panel, five Libyan men once held without charge by the CIA say the main criminal investigation into allegations of detainee abuse never even interviewed them.

The Libyans’ accusation reopens controversy over the 2012 pre-election decision by the prosecutor in the case not to bring charges against anyone involved in CIA abuse – an episode the US State Department has held up as an example of its diligence in complying with international torture obligations.

On Wednesday, a United Nations committee in Geneva is scheduled to hear a US delegation outline recent measures Washington has taken to combat torture. It will be the first update the US has provided to the committee since 2006, when the CIA still operated its off-the-books “black site” prisons. Human rights campaigners who have seen the Obama administration repeatedly decline to deliver justice for US torture victims consider it a belated chance at ending what they consider to be impunity.

Among the committee’s requested submissions, issued in 2010, is a description of steps the US has taken to ensure torture claims against it are “promptly, impartially and thoroughly investigated”. The committee specifically asked for a status update about the Justice Department’s since-concluded torture inquiry.

That high-profile inquiry, conducted by assistant US attorney John Durham, wrapped in 2012 without bringing criminal charges against anyone involved in the deaths of two detainees in CIA custody. That decision, heralding the end of federal investigations for post-9/11 detainee abuse, was preceded by Durham’s 2011 announcement that he would not proceed past a “preliminary review” for 99 out of 101 cases of suspected CIA torture.

The State Department, in a 2013 written submission to the UN committee, referred to Durham’s team as “experienced professionals” that found the “admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”

But the Libyans say that neither Durham nor his staff “ever sought or requested our testimony”.

The five – Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed al-Shoroeiya, Khalid al-Sharif, Majid Mokhtar Sasy al-Maghrebi, Saleh Hadiyah Abu Abdullah Di’iki and Mustafa Jawda al-Mehdi – wrote to committee secretary Patrice Gillibert in a 9 November letter urging Gillibert press the US delegation on the investigative omission.

All members of the now-defunct Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an anti-Gaddafi terrorist group with murky ties to al-Qaida, the five spent between eight months and two years in CIA custody before being rendered back to Muammar Gaddafi’s prisons. One of them, Shoroeiya, alleges that the CIA waterboarded him in Afghanistan, although he is not one of the three people on whom the CIA has acknowledged using the controversial mock-drowning technique. . .

Continue reading.

Later in the story:

Durham’s apparent lack of interest in interviewing them “raises serious questions about the thoroughness and adequacy of the Durham investigation, whether other important witnesses were also not interviewed for that inquiry, and whether the US has complied with obligations under article 12” of the UN convention against torture, they wrote.

Through a representative at the US attorney’s office for Connecticut, Durham declined to comment to the Guardian. It is unknown if Durham interviewed any victims of CIA torture at all, but a lawyer for one of the alleged 9/11 co-conspirators held at Guantanamo Bay said Durham never interviewed his client.

“It’s an omission from their point of view,” said James Connell, attorney for Ammar al-Baluchi, who added that he was unaware of Dunham interviewing any of al-Baluchi’s co-defendants.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 November 2014 at 12:23 pm

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