The CIA now has a de facto U.S. government license to torture prisoners to death.
No criminal charges will be filed and no one will be prosecuted or otherwise held accountable for the brutal torture deaths of two prisoners held in secret CIA prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq declared Attorney General Eric Holder last week.
Gul Rahman, a prisoner suspected of being a militant, died in 2002 after being shackled to a concrete wall in near-freezing temperatures at a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit. Manadel al-Jamadi, another hapless prisoner died in CIA custody in 2003 at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where his corpse was photographed packed in ice and wrapped in plastic.
Holder had earlier ruled out any criminal charges for CIA water boarding incidents and other torture tactics. No one will be held accountable and a three-year Justice Department investigation will be closed. The end of the criminal investigation, though, should not be seen as a moral exoneration of those involved in the prisoners’ treatment and deaths, he suggested with tongue in cheek.
In November 2010, the Justice Department said there would be no charges in the destruction of the videotapes of CIA interrogations, and in June 2011, Holder said that of more than 100 prisoners whose treatment had been reviewed, only the final two cases remained under investigation.
The investigation, he admits: “was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.”
He knows it’s wrong and he’s not going to do a damn thing about it.
It’s a flashing green light for the U.S. government to torture prisoners at will and a victory for Osama Bin Laden who has exposed the ugly underbelly of American justice.
We are now officially a torture nation and the only question left is when torture methods will be sanctioned for criminal suspects at the local police station in Heartland America.
President Obama, who denounced what he called torture and abuse of prisoners under his predecessor, promised to rectify the unconstitutional counter terrorism programs carried out under President George W. Bush.
“It is hugely disappointing that with ample evidence of torture, and documented cases of some people actually being tortured to death, that the Justice Department has not been able to mount a successful prosecution and hold people responsible for these crimes,” said Elisa Massimino, president of Human Rights First. “The American people need to know what was done in their name.”
Holder and Obama are going to let the tortures go, but John C. Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who spoke publicly about water boarding, is awaiting trial on criminal charges that he disclosed to journalists the identity of other C.I.A. officers who participated in the interrogations.
That’s the kind of upside down justice we practice in America today.
“As intelligence officers, our inclination, of course, is to look ahead to the challenges of the future rather than backwards at those of the past,” said CIA director, David H. Petraeus of Holder’s decision.
Translation: Oops, we tortured some people to death but now it’s time to forget about it and think about future abuses.
“I am pleased that the attorney general’s re-examination of these cases has come to a close and that he recognizes that filing criminal charges in these cases is inappropriate,” said Michigan Republican Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “These intelligence officers can now continue to focus on the hard work at hand, protecting our national security.”
He means the “hard work” of torturing prisoners and violating their due process rights.
Last June the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a case examining whether government officials who order the alleged torture of a US citizen on American soil can be sued for violating the citizen’s constitutional rights.
So, former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in the case of American citizen Jose Padilla, got a free pass to order the torture of Americans in America.
“The Supreme Court’s refusal to consider this case leaves in place a blank check for government officials to commit any abuse in the name of national security, even the brutal torture of an American citizen in an American prison,” said Padilla’s lawyer, Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union. “To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration’s torture regime has received his day in court.”
“It is precisely the role of the courts to ensure that allegations of grave misconduct by executive branch officials receive fair adjudication,” Wizner added. “That vital role does not evaporate simply because those officials insist that their actions are too sensitive for judicial review.”
That used to be the law in America but not anymore.
Torture: It’s legal now.