Monday, September 03, 2012

No justice for CIA torture

When Obama was running for election in 2008, he promised that those responsible for CIA torture would be held to account. Now, his Justice Department has just whitewashed the entire affair:

The US justice department has ended its investigation into the CIA's interrogation programme for terror detainees, without bringing charges.

The probe, which studied two deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, ends a series of reviews into the treatment of 101 detainees in US custody since 9/11.

Attorney General Eric Holder said there was not enough evidence to "sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt".

A prominent civil rights group said the result was a "scandal".

And it is. The CIA have been allowed to get away with torture and murder here. In the cases in question, they froze one man to death, and beat and asphyxiated another. It was unquestionably criminal under US and international law, even allowing for the self-serving resurrection of the "Befehl ist Befehl" defence they rejected at Nuremburg. And they know who did it (hell, I've even named the murderer of one of those prisoners right here on this blog). This is not a failure of evidence; it is a refusal to confront it, a failure of political will, a failure of justice.

Still, there's always international law. And the scary thing is that by authorising this impunity, Obama and his Cabinet have just put themselves on the hook as well as co-conspirators.