Thursday, August 27, 2009

End Torture and Illegal Detention, Once and For All

End Torture and Illegal Detention, Once and For All
By Jerome Grossman

Amnesty International USA reports on the case of Mohammed Jawad, detained by U. S. intelligence five years ago at age 12 to 17 somewhere in the Middle East, sent to Guantánamo Bay prison, beaten, subjected to sleep deprivation and intense interrogation techniques, told his family would be killed if he did not confess, denied access to a lawyer. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court gave Jawad his day in court, he was ordered released, all charges were dropped and this week he arrived home.

This small positive step is encouraging but the bigger picture remains deeply disturbing:

• The CIA Inspector General's report revealed shameful stories about mock executions, death threats to detainees family members, a power drill placed to the head of the detainee, water boarding, as well as other CIA use of torture
• The CIA finally released two classified memos that then Vice President Cheney had insisted would justify the use of torture. Far from justifying torture in terms of effectiveness, the memos offer little evidence that attacks were prevented by obtaining intelligence through torture.
• While the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate alleged torture is a positive step, the scope of this investigation may be limited to the actions of a few mid-level personnel while the evidence puts responsibility for torture much higher up the chain of command. We need an Independent Commission of Inquiry to get the full truth and to prosecute all the miscreants.
• A negative development: the Obama administration will continue the Bush and Clinton practice of international rendition-sending detainees to other countries for interrogation, outside of U.S. judicial review. Obama officials say they will ensure that rendition detainees will not be tortured in the future, as they have been in the past. President George W. Bush made the same promise to no avail. Why use rendition at all? So that we can repudiate the brutal interrogation methods after-the-fact?
• CIA Director Leon Panetta recently told House and Senate leaders that he had only recently learned of a secret CIA program to kill top Al Qaeda leaders with assassination teams outsourced to Blackwater USA, a private company. Panetta has cancelled the contract

We must always remember that torture of any living creature is immoral and a sin against any society-and if that isn't enough to deter, reference the Federal Bureau of Intelligence(F.B.I) that warns us that torture is an ineffective method for obtaining actionable intelligence.


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