Human Rights Watch demands U.S. criminal probe of CIA torture
By David Rohde
Yahoo News | 2015-12-01T14:39:29Z
By David Rohde
(Reuters) – Human Rights Watch called on the Obama administration on Tuesday to investigate 21 former U.S. officials, including former President George W. Bush, for potential criminal misconduct for their roles in the CIA’s torture of terrorism suspects in detention.
The other officials include former Vice President Dick Cheney, former CIA Director George Tenet, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
Human Rights Watch argued that details of the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program that were made public by a U.S. Senate committee in December 2014 provided enough evidence for the Obama administration to open an inquiry.
“It’s been a year since the Senate torture report, and still the Obama administration has not opened new criminal investigations into CIA torture,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “Without criminal investigations, which would remove torture as a policy option, Obama’s legacy will forever be poisoned.”
Representatives for Bush and Tenet declined comment. Representatives for Cheney, Ashcroft and Rice could not immediately be reached for comment.
Former Bush administration officials and Republicans have argued that the CIA used “enhanced interrogation techniques” that did not constitute torture. They argue that the Senate report was biased.
“It’s a bunch of hooey,” James Mitchell, one of the architects of the interrogation program told Reuters nearly a year ago after the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings. “Some of the things are just plain not true.”
In a video released in conjunction with the report, “No More Excuses” “A Roadmap to Justice for CIA Torture,” the president of the American Bar Association calls for a renewed investigation as well. In June, the ABA sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch also saying that the details disclosed in the Senate report merited an investigation.
“What we’ve asked the Justice Department to do is take a fresh look, a comprehensive look, into what has occurred to basically leave no stone unturned into investigating possible violations,” said American Bar Association President Paulette Brown. “And if any are found to take the appropriate action as they would in any other matter.”
CIA interrogators carried out the program on detainees who were captured around the world after the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks on the United States.
In 2008, the Bush administration opened a criminal inquiry into whether the CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogations. After taking office in 2009, the Obama administration expanded the inquiry to include whether the interrogation program’s activity involved criminal conduct.
In 2012, the Obama administration closed the criminal inquiry. Then Attorney General Eric Holder said that not enough evidence existed for criminal prosecution, including the death of two detainees.
Human Rights Watch argued that the Senate report contained new information that showed detainees were tortured in violation of U.S. and international law, including rectal feedings and unauthorized forms of “waterboarding,” which makes the person feel as though they are drowning.
Laura Pitter, Human Rights Watch’s senior national security counsel and the lead author of the report, said that calls from some Republican Presidential candidates for the revival of the CIA interrogation techniques made the need for a renewed inquiry that much more important.
“Until the inherent criminality of these acts is made clear,” she said, “there is a danger that future administrations will use the same tactics again.”
(Reporting by David Rohde in New York; Editing by Grant McCool)
Amechi’s Brief Comment:
The Mafia Gang Theory of American Presidents:
President Obama has refused to investigate the crimes of Bush administration, thus confirming my theory that American presidents have constituted themselves into a criminal mafia club against the American people. And like a mafia club, they have both written and unwriiten rules and codes that forbade them to snitch one another just like any other in Chicago or New York or even like any other school or neighborhood gang. They have a code of conduct which no member should breach without serious consequences. I call this “the mafia gang theory of American presidents”. And I hope that one day one of my students or someone else might do a research to test the theory by testing all the know gang behaviors with those of American presidents.
The Mafia Gang Theory of American Presidents has been percolating in my brain for a long time but it was the behavior of President Obama that gave impetus and confirmed and crystallized it for me. For those of us who have been following and studying President Obama, his presidential behaviors confirmed that once he was elected president, his behavior and the way he talks to us changed right from the time he came out of his election headquarters in Chicago to talk to us as the President-elect of the United States in the night of November 4, 2008.
His tone, language and aura around him changed dramatically to reflect he was no longer one of us — to show that he had become part of that special breed, part of that mafia that is fundamentally different from the common run of us. I believe that part of the phone calls he received in his hotel room confirming that he had actually been accepted as the president-elect must be from the American bosses who read the American mafia code for him and made him swear that he would never violate the code.
I do not expect President Obama or any other president to agree to the existence of such a code, but judging from his actions and that of all the presidents, it is clear that protection of the presidency from their legal malfeasances is a central part of the code.
Thus we will never have an American president give the type of secret speech, the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev gave in 1956 where he detailed and unequivocally condemned the actions and policies of Joseph Stalin, his predecessor.
To me, therein lied one fundamental superiority of the Soviet system . That a system was so structured that its leader could talk to her people openly about the crimes and atrocities of its previous leader an unassailable systemic virtue.
Unlike the United States where every president feels it his duty to protect and shield his predecessors from legal jeopardy. Thus there was no human rights committee or any other civil organizations that pressured Nikita Khrushchev to make that speech and vowed that Soviet system would change and would never become the gulag archipelago that Joseph Stalin had made it.
Rather in United States, in spite of horrible and criminal and globally horribly consequential W. Bush administration was, the current administration has continued as if it does not know that Bush committed major national and international crimes by his unnecessary and illegal invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq — reasons why we have the national and global chaos today.
The Human Rights group are today again asking President Obama to investigate the Bush gang, and let us add the pressure because it is a necessary thing to do if America is to redeem itself.