Sunday, September 2, 2012

US Implicitly Approves Torture by Failing to Prosecutes Torturers

No Charges Filed on Harsh Tactics Used by the C.I.A. by Scott Shane. The New York Times August 30, 2012

[Excerpted] Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Thursday that no one would be prosecuted for the deaths of a prisoner in Afghanistan in 2002 and another in Iraq in 2003, eliminating the last possibility that any criminal charges will be brought as a result of the brutal interrogations carried out by the C.I.A. 

Mr. Holder had already ruled out any charges related to the use of waterboarding and other methods that most human rights experts consider to be torture. His announcement closes a contentious three-year investigation by the Justice Department and brings to an end years of dispute over whether line intelligence or military personnel or their superiors would be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. 

The closing of the two cases means that the Obama administration’s limited effort to scrutinize the counterterrorism programs carried out under President George W. Bush has come to an end. Without elaborating, Mr. Holder suggested that the end of the criminal investigation should not be seen as a moral exoneration of those involved in the prisoners’ treatment and deaths. 

MAJIA HERE: I understand that prosecution is complicated but without prosecution there is no legitimacy to democracy. Secret prisons, water-boarding, and harassment of journalists are crimes against human rights and democratic principles.

Now the fascist tendencies of the US state are leading to legal assaults against domestic US civil liberties. I've posted on these tendencies. They should be alarming to US citizens.

Below read a narrative I've written about how the secret prisons and torture were legitimized:

The Bush administration pursued secret detention and rendition of “terrorist” suspects within the U.S. and abroad. These suspects, some of whom are citizens of western “democratic” states such as the U.S., Canada, and Australia, often end up in “secret” prisons abroad where they are subject to “aggressive” interrogation techniques including psychological and corporeal torture (Moore, 2007), and lack access to juridical protections. Journalists seeking to publicize these events have been threatened with censorship and criminal charges, including war crimes accusations (Stone, 2006). When forced to vindicate illegal extraditions and torture, the Bush administration asserted detainees were war combatants who lack protection by Geneva Conventions (DeYoung, 2007). U.S. judicial authorities stymied efforts by the wrongly accused to challenge detention and torture, arguing judicial review would expose state secrets (Sherman, 2007).
As the recent declassification of the CIA’s “family jewels” illustrates, U.S. political actors and petty tyrants knowingly violated the constraints of international and national law across the second half of the twentieth century using banned strategies such as press censorship and harassment, targeted assassinations, and torture (DeYoung & Pincus, 2007, A1).
What was new with Bush was the transformation of law to legitimize these acts of sovereign decisionality. After the Supreme Court’s ruling that enemy combatants were protected by Geneva Conventions, the Bush administration passed new rules in 2006, and again in 2007, for interrogation and prosecution allowing aggressive methods, retroactively protecting American military and personnel who previously tortured suspects, and severely limiting courtroom rights for those defendants fortunate enough to be granted trials (DeYoung, 2007; Fletcher, 2006a). The 2006 rules were justified by their purported role in preventing terrorist attacks:
This program has been one of the must successful intelligence efforts in American history. . . . It has helped prevent attacks on our country. And the bill I sign today will ensure that we can continue to use this vital tool to protect the American people for years to come. (Bush cited in Fletcher, 2006a, p. A4)
Continued allegations of CIA detainee abuse in 2007 met with claims that CIA interrogation programs were conducted “lawfully, with great care and close review, producing vital information that has helped disrupt terrorist plots and save lives” (cited in White & Tyson, 2007, p. A1).
The rules passed in the summer of 2007 provided new protocols allowing “harsh interrogation” while offering only the most basic levels of biological protection to prisoners, rendering them simply bare life. Accordingly, a senior administration official stated any future use of “extremes of heat and cold” would be subject to a "reasonable interpretation . . . we're not talking about forcibly induced hypothermia" (quoted in DeYoung, 2007, p. A1).

Asthana, A., & DeYoung, K. (2006, September 8). Bush calls for greater wiretap authority. The Washington Post, p. A1.
DeYoung, K. (2007, July 21). Bush approves new CIA methods. The Washington Post, p. A1.
DeYoung, K., & Pincus, W. (2007, June 22). CIA to air decades of its dirty laundry. The Washington Post, p. A1.
Fletcher, M. A. (2006a, October 18). Bush signs terrorism measure. The Washington Post, p. A4.
Fletcher, M. A. (2006b, September 6). Bush warns of enduring terror threat. The Washington Post, p. A1.
Moore, M. (2007, June 9). Report gives details on CIA prisons. Washington Post, p. A1.
More breaches were discovered at foreign factories last year. (2006, September 6). The Wall Street Journal, p. A12.
Stone, G. (2006, May 8). Scared of scoops. The New York Times, p. A21.

White, J., & Tyson, A. S. (2007, March 31). Detainee alleges abuse in CIA prison. The Washington Post, p. A1.

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