Revolution #280, September 16, 2012
Complete Exoneration of CIA Torturers:
This Is the Imperialist System...
This Is What They Want You to Vote For
On August 30, the U.S. Justice Department announced that no one will be prosecuted in the two cases that had been under investigation for the torture deaths of prisoners at the hands of the CIA under George W. Bush.
In 2008, one reason some people got behind Obama’s candidacy for president was his promise to end, and bring to justice those responsible for, one of the most hideous and dangerous crimes of the Bush regime—the torturing of people in secret prisons, many put there merely on the suspicion of being members of al-Qaeda and other groups opposed to the United States. This was an outrageous violation of international law—but the Bush regime openly justified and legitimized this torture. In fact, there is evidence that more than 100 people died while in U.S. custody—not by “rendition” (sending the prisoners to countries, like Mubarak’s Egypt, to be tortured, murdered, and permanently disappeared), but at the direct hand of CIA torturers.
When Obama ran for president in 2008 he said, if elected, his attorney general would “immediately review” evidence of criminality in these torture programs because “nobody is above the law.” But then, before he was even inaugurated, Obama made clear he was opposed to any such investigations, citing what he called “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” He announced complete immunity from prosecution for any officials who had carried out acts of torture that had been officially declared legal by John Yoo and other Department of Justice lawyers.
After this, in August 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said there would be an investigation into whether charges should be brought in over 100 cases of “severe abuse.” In June 2011, he announced that of those 100, only two cases would be pursued.
One was Gul Rahman, who froze to death in the “Salt Pit,” a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan, after being stripped, beaten, and shackled to a cement wall in freezing temperatures. The other was Manadel al-Jamadi, whose frozen body, wrapped in plastic, was seen around the world in the photographs of the torture victims at the CIA-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The autopsy couldn’t settle whether he’d been killed by “blunt-force trauma” (the beating itself), or by suffocation; because after having six ribs broken, he was shackled and suspended upside down with a hood over his head, in a position where he was no longer able to breathe.
(And, by the way, Romney says he “does not believe waterboarding is torture,” doesn’t think “it’s wise ... to describe precisely what techniques we’ll use in interrogating people,” defends detaining people indefinitely without trial, and opposes closing the U.S. torture dungeon at Guantánamo.)
NOBODY in the U.S. government will now be held accountable for the torture that was carried out systematically, all over the world, for almost 10 years under the Bush regime. As Glenn Greenwald points out in the Guardian UK (August 31, 2012):
“This is so despite the findings of General Antonio Taguba, who investigated the torture regime and said that ‘there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes’ and ‘the only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.’ And it is done even in the face of General Barry McCaffrey’s extraordinary observation that: ‘We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the CIA.’”
At the same time, the Justice Department IS bringing criminal charges against John C. Kiriakou, a former CIA officer who spoke publicly about waterboarding, accusing him of giving journalists the identity of other officers who took part in interrogations. And Obama’s Justice Department is carrying out a vicious prosecution against Bradley Manning, a 24-year-old private in the U.S. Army, facing a military court-martial for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents later published by the website WikiLeaks. Manning has been imprisoned for nearly two years, often in conditions constituting torture.
So Obama and his U.S. “Justice” Department has closed the books on cases of CIA torture, insuring NO ONE will be punished for horrendous torture directly carried out by the U.S. government. But in instances where crimes against humanity by the U.S. are brought to light—the Obama administration is vigorously using all its power to punish, imprison, and even torture people.
This Is the Imperialist System...This Is What They Want You to Vote For.
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