Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Time for prosecutions

The US Senate Intelligence Committee has finally released the redacted summary of its investigation into CIA torture, and its about as awful as you'd expect:

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.'s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.'s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”

The report also suggests that more prisoners were subjected to waterboarding than the three the C.I.A. has acknowledged in the past. The committee obtained a photograph of a waterboard surrounded by buckets of water at the prison in Afghanistan commonly known as the Salt Pit — a facility where the C.I.A. had claimed that waterboarding was never used. One clandestine officer described the prison as a “dungeon,” and another said that some prisoners there “literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled.”

And the CIA repeatedly lied to Congress and the White House about all of these things.

In typical American fashion, the debate is about whether that torture was "effective" or not. That misses the point. It was wrong, and it was illegal. And now its (even more) part of the public record, everyone involved in the programme, from the politicians who authorised it, through the CIA officials who planned and organised it, down to the pilots who shipped prisoners from one black prison to another and the lowly mooks who drowned, beat, froze and violated suspects need to be dragged into court, prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and if convicted, jailed for long jail terms - just as the US did to Nazi torturers after WWII. But this being America, where "accountability" is for little people and the powerful enjoy impunity no matter what they do, that won't happen. Instead, the best we can hope for is that some low-ranking official will be tried for lying to Congress, they'll be pardoned by the President to "bring closure", and the rest of them will get away scot free and go right back to torturing people. And then they'll wonder again why the rest of the world hates them...