Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Justice for CIA torture?

So far the US courts have ruled that those tortured illegally by the CIA can receive no justice from their torturers. But there is someone they can go after: the unethical psychologists who designed the torture programs:

A civil lawsuit brought by three victims of the CIA’s torture program against the two psychologists who created it will go to court on 5 September in Washington state, after a judge ruled that more than a year of discovery had yielded sufficient evidence to support the plaintiffs’ claims.

Judge Justin Quackenbush issued a written opinion on Monday in the suit, in which James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen are accused of designing, promoting and sharing responsibility for the interrogation methods to which the three men were subjected.

It will now be up to a jury in Spokane, Washington, to decide if the psychologists, who reportedly were paid $75m-$81m under their contract with the CIA to create the so-called enhanced interrogation program, are financially liable for the physical and psychological effects of their torture.

At least 39 men were tortured using Mitchell and Jesson's techniques, and at least one of them died. Its entirely right that they be held liable for that. But they're not the only ones, and it shouldn't just be civil. The CIA thugs who drowned people on the waterboards and the suited policy-makers who approved it should all be facing criminal charges, and long terms of imprisonment if convicted. The US's refusal to allow this is a betrayal both of its own professed values, and of its obligations under the Convention Against Torture.