Insects, sleep deprivation and waterboarding are among the techniques approved by the Bush administration to interrogate “terrorists”. And the memos contain worse!
Today, the American President, Barack Obama, released four top secret memos that allowed the CIA under the Bush administration to torture al-Qaida and other terror suspects held at Guantánamo and secret detention centers round the world.
Yet, in his accompanying statement, Obama ruled out prosecutions against the CIA agents who were involved in these interrogations. It is a “time for reflection, not retribution,” he said.
The Obama administration’s decision to release the “Top Secret” legal memos discussing specific interrogation techniques used against suspected terrorists was made against the objections of the intelligence community – and it expresses Obama’s determination to stay true to his campaign principles. The accompanying statements from the new American president and attorney general ruling out the prosecution of intelligence agents who relied on the legal advice contained in these memos is also not a surprise.
However, it’s not the CIA agents who should be prosecuted, because they were just following orders. It those behind the decision of allowing torture (namingly Bush and his mob) who should in fact be prosecuted for torture, War crimes, and dragging the world into a cycle of violence.
REACTIONS TO OBAMA DECISION
“The memos’ matter-of-fact clinical descriptions belie the harsh tactics to which they gave a green light. But… it is not enough to say that when we have a president who does not believe in cruel and inhuman treatment and torture, the United States will not engage in such practices. We must formally acknowledge that what was done was wrong, indeed criminal.”
Georgetown University Professor David Cole, debating the issue at The New York Times
“By repudiating the memos, the Obama administration has again seized the high ground and restored some of the honor lost over the past few years. Yet the decision to forgo prosecutions should not prevent — and perhaps should even encourage – further investigation about the circumstances that gave rise to torture.”
Editorial, The Washington Post
“On the surface, the statement today looks like a big ol’ grant of immunity – or a concession – or a deliberate attempt to boost morale at the CIA… There are plenty of CIA officers who followed the rules and shouldn’t be prosecuted. They’re the ones who are a little relieved today… although they might have to explain some things to their priests and their families.”
Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic
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I found it peculiar that no one of I know have commented on the International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president.
Al-Bashir was indicted last Wednesday by the ICC at The Hague in the Netherlands for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, this is an unprecedented accusation, because it is the first against a sitting president. The ICC found al-Bashir guilty on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which include murder, rape and torture.
Al Jazeera reports:
“Al-Bashir has rejected the warrant, telling thousands of his supporters in Khartoum, the capital, on Thursday that Sudan was being targeted by Western powers and that the ICC was a tool of colonialists after Sudan’s oil.
Protesters carried banners branding Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, a criminal.”
In October 2008 : The UN estimated that up to 300,000 people have died in Darfur and some 2.5 million have fled their homes since 2003.
I’m not against the ICC decision, as much as I am questioning it’s motives.
I’m actually with the warrant, but I ask, why now?
The people of Darfur have undergone a terrible tragedy, but they have been undergoing this tragedy for a long time now… and as usual the world was watching… the Darfur tragedy started almost 15 years ago, and peaked in 2003 (thats 6 years ago)… it took the UN 2 years to prepare a report about, which came out in the beginning of 2005, and said that the UN can not label Darfur conflict as genocide because “genocidal intent appears to be missing”!!!
The United States, Britain and the European Union have repeatedly condemned the atrocities taking place in Darfur, but yet they never ACT-ed to stop it.
It wasn’t until October 2006, that the UN sent 200 troops (thats right, Two hundred!!!) to reinforce the pathetic 7,000, African Union troops, in Darfur.
Now, after an estimated three million people have been displaced and more than 300,000 have been killed, the ICC and UN remember to act? why now?
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On the other hand, Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statute (just like who? the USA of course), meaning that the ICC can not investigate crimes that may have taken place in Darfur (as much as they can not investigate crimes that took place in Iraq).
Yet still I’m not against the ICC arrest warrant…
My question is not whether the al Bashir should be prosecuted or not, apparently the ICC have already reached a decision on that; my question is, how many Iraqis died in the same period by the hands of the American liberators? Why is there no International movement to prosecute those responsible for the Iraqi tragedy?
I’m questioning the bias of the World Order, the double sidedness of it, and it’s constant failure to act until the harm is done and the tragedy is history that apparently no one learns from…
Till when will the rule of the law be applied to the poor only, not only on a national level, but on a global one too
IF THEY CAN PROSECUTE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE NOT RATIFIED THE ICC, SHOULDN’T THEY START BY THE ROLE MODELS AND LEADERS OF AGGRESSION WORLD WIDE?
NAMINGLY THE UNITED STATES AND ISRAEL