Monday, July 04, 2011

Nothing to celebrate today

Its July 4th, the day when Americans celebrate their nation and its ideals. While I'd like to post something about the US's dedication to democracy, freedom of speech, justice and human rights, I can't. Because I've just read this:

In August, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder -- under continuous, aggressive prodding by the Obama White House -- announced that three categories of individuals responsible for Bush-era torture crimes would be fully immunized from any form of criminal investigation and prosecution: (1) Bush officials who ordered the torture (Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld); (2) Bush lawyers who legally approved it (Yoo, Bybee, Levin), and (3) those in the CIA and the military who tortured within the confines of the permission slips they were given by those officials and lawyers (i.e., "good-faith" torturers). The one exception to this sweeping immunity was that low-level CIA agents and servicemembers who went so far beyond the torture permission slips as to basically commit brutal, unauthorized murder would be subject to a "preliminary review" to determine if a full investigation was warranted -- in other words, the Abu Ghraib model of justice was being applied, where only low-ranking scapegoats would be subject to possible punishment while high-level officials would be protected.

Yesterday, it was announced that this "preliminary review" by the prosecutor assigned to conduct it, U.S. Attorney John Durham, is now complete, and -- exactly as one would expect -- even this category of criminals has been almost entirely protected, meaning a total legal whitewash for the Bush torture regime

(Emphasis added)

So, they torture hundreds, murder dozens of them in the process, and at the end of it all only a couple of low-level mooks, whose real crime seems to have been allowing their actions to become public, are held accountable for it. Meanwhile, the rest of the torturers, not to mention the architects of the system, who pushed for people to be beaten, frozen, and waterboarded out of sadism and a weird belief that this would make them tell the truth (rather than tell their torturers whatever they wanted to hear) get off scot free, despite having clearly violated both US and international law.

This isn't justice. It is a crime in and of itself. And the people responsible for it should be in the dock besides the people they are protecting, just as the Nazi judges and lawyers who devised and excused their torture, their disappearances, their gross human rights abuses, ended up in the dock as well. And if the US won't do that job, won't police its own, then it is the job of the international community to do it for them.