Posted 10 months ago on April 26, 2013, 10:01 a.m. EST by shadz66
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
i) "United States Engaged in the Practice of Torture : Report"
by Jesselyn Radack.
"Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment Does What Government Won't"
The 'Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment', is an independent, non-partisan group that produced a report comprehensively documenting the United States' descent into torture.
The Task Force released a 600-page report.
Among the Report's many conclusions :
- "U.S. forces, in many instances, used interrogation techniques on detainees that constitute torture. American personnel conducted an even larger number of interrogations that involved “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment. Both categories of actions violate U.S. laws and international treaties. Such conduct was directly counter to values of the Constitution and our nation."
- "There is no firm or persuasive evidence that the widespread use of harsh interrogation techniques by U.S. forces produced significant information of value. There is substantial evidence that much of the information adduced from the use of such techniques was not useful or reliable."
The Senate Intelligence Committee approved its own 6,000 page report,
which similarly concludes that torture occurred and was ineffective at gleaning intelligence, but Congress refused to release the report publicly. Shame on Congress.
Along the same vein, the Obama administration has said it wants to "look forward, not backward" on torture, and the Justice Department has declined to prosecute any of the government officials who ordered torture, the doctors who supervised it, the lawyers who justified it, or the agents who actually tortured people. Shame on the Obama administration.
The Justice Department instead chose to prosecute CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who refused to participate in torture and helped exposed the torture program :
The Task Force places much of the blame for torture on the high-level officials that ordered and authorized the practices, but finds that culpability also lies with the lawyers who rationalized torture. The report found that :
- "Lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) repeatedly gave erroneous legal sanction to certain activities that amounted to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in violation of U.S. and international law, and in doing so, did not properly serve their clients : the president and the American people."
Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department absolved the torture memo authors (Jay Bybee and John Yoo) of any professional accountability for torture.
The Task Force was also critical of the excessive secrecy surrounding the torture program :
- ''The high level of secrecy surrounding the rendition and torture of detainees since September 11 cannot continue to be justified on the basis of national security''.
If national security is no longer a justification for secrecy, as the Task Force concludes, then the only reason for continued secrecy is to cover-up torture and cover for the officials who perpetuated the torture program & I've written about the lengths to which the executive branch - particularly the CIA - has gone to protect and promote torturers.
M.K.Gandhi said : "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members."
We have been protecting the wrong people.
Jesselyn Radack is the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project. www.pinterest.com/jesselynradack
ii) "Blue Ribbon Task Force : U.S. Tortured Detainees - Leaders Responsible",
by Alexander Abdo (Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project)
Nearly two years ago, a non-partisan, constitutional think tank called the Constitution Project assembled its blue-ribbon Task Force on Detainee Treatment to examine the treatment of detainees in the years following 9/11. Today, the Task Force released its report—a 550-page, comprehensive condemnation of the role of senior Bush administration officials in the torture and abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody.
Before getting to the report's findings, it's worth highlighting two things about the Task Force.
First, the Task Force was composed of an impressive array of former government officials, members of the armed services, politicians, diplomats, and professors. To give just a few examples, it included: Asa Hutchinson (a former Arkansas Congressman who served in President Bush's administration), David Irvine (a retired Army brigadier general who taught interrogation and military law for 18 years), Claudia Kennedy (the first woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the Army), Thomas Pickering (a retired ambassador with a diplomatic career spanning five decades), and William Sessions (the former director of the FBI under Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton).
Here's how the Task Force describes its members:
- "The Task Force members include Democrats and Republicans; those who are thought to be conservatives and those thought to be liberals; people with experience in and sensitivity to national security issues and those who have an understanding that the government's reach and authority is subject to both tradition and law to appropriate limits."
In other words, the Task Force members crossed ideological and political divides.
Second, the Task Force reviewed countless pages of government documents relating to detainee treatment, including many of the approximately 150,000 pages of government torture documents obtained by the ACLU through years of Freedom of Information Act litigation. (You can read those primary-source materials in our Torture Database, the single most comprehensive and searchable repository of the government's own documents showing how the Bush administration's torture policies were formulated and the devastating impact on the victims and this nation's commitment to the rule of law.)
Also, importantly, the Task Force interviewed around 100 individuals involved in the U.S. detention and interrogation program: service members, interrogators, former detainees, lawyers, and politicians, among others.
What did this thorough and impressively staffed Task Force conclude?
It issued 24 findings, but the first two are the most essential. It concluded first "that it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture." And second that "[t]he nation's most senior officials...bear ultimate responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of illegal and improper interrogation techniques."
Of course, these two findings are not new. We and many others have pointed out for years that our country tortured detainees after 9/11 and that senior members of the Bush administration were responsible. Now, however, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon task force - composed of experienced military members, interrogators, politicians, and professors - has added its considered judgement to those conclusions.
In its many recommendations, the Task Force has also joined the call for our leaders to acknowledge the torture that took place after 9/11, to disclose important but still secret documents relating to that torture, and to cooperate with pending investigations and lawsuits in the United States and abroad.
We wholeheartedly agree with these core conclusions and recommendations of the Task Force. Without taking these first steps toward reckoning with the torture that took place in our name, our nation will not be able to move beyond our shameful legacy of torture.
Finally, further consider :
Both items above, copied under ''Fair Use'' from : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34640.htm & use this url to access all the essential corroborative links. This is a complex issue and important report and these two items above, have very far reaching ramifications and are also alluded to here :
- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/world/us-practiced-torture-after-9-11-nonpartisan-review-concludes.html .
fiat lux ; fiat pax ; fiat justitia ruat caelum ...