No Accountability for Torturers
2012-09-06 0:00

By Marjorie Cohn |

The Obama administration has closed the books on prosecutions of those who violated our laws by authorizing and conducting the torture and abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that his office would investigate only two incidents, in which CIA interrogations ended in deaths. He said the Justice Department has determined that an expanded criminal investigation of the remaining matters is not warranted. With that decision, Holder conferred amnesty on countless Bush officials, lawyers and interrogators who set and carried out a policy of cruel treatment.

Now the attorney general has given a free pass to those responsible for the deaths of Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi. Rahman froze to death in 2002 after being stripped and shackled to a cold cement floor in the secret Afghan prison known as the Salt Pit. Al-Jamadi died after he was suspended from the ceiling by his wrists which were bound behind his back. MP Tony Diaz, who witnessed al-Jamadis torture, said that blood gushed from his mouth like a faucet had turned on when he was lowered to the ground. A military autopsy concluded that al-Jamadis death was a homicide.

Nevertheless, Holder said that based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.

Amnesty for torturers is unacceptable. General Barry McCaffrey declared, We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the CIA. Major General Anthony Taguba, who directed the Abu Ghraib investigation, wrote that there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account. Holder has answered Tagubas question with a resounding no.


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US: Torture and Rendition to Gaddafis Libya

From:Human Rights Watch

The United States government during the Bush administration tortured opponents of Muammar Gaddafi, then transferred them to mistreatment in Libya, according to accounts by former detainees and recently uncovered CIA and UK Secret Service documents, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. One former detainee alleged he was waterboarded and another described a similar form of water torture, contradicting claims by Bush administration officials that only three men in US custody had been waterboarded.

The 154-page report, Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafis Libya, is based on interviews conducted in Libya with 14 former detainees, most of whom belonged to an armed Islamist group that had worked to overthrow Gaddafi for 20 years. Many members of the group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), joined the NATO-backed anti-Gaddafi rebels in the 2011 conflict. Some of those who were rendered and allegedly tortured in US custody now hold key leadership and political positions in the country.

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