The summary of the Feinstein report which was released this afternoon confirms what the international community has long believed - that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration, which allowed to commit systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law.Yes, but they believed they had the authority, right? I mean the OLC drafted a memo or two saying it was OK, right? I mean even if subsequent officials in charge decided the memos were less than valuable, at the time they believed their now-criminal actions to be OK, right?
The identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the programme.
It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.
And the president even gave the order to waterboard, so it must've been OK, right?
Uh, no. From Emmerson, again:
The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.Furthermore, The President says:
International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes.
As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.
The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention. It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.Wait. Obama said THAT?!?
The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called "universal jurisdiction." Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.
Um, no. That would be President Ronald Reagan, when he signed the law in 1988.
Torture occurred. We've known that for a while. Reagan signed the UN Convention against torture that requires the prosecution of the torturers (both the people who did it and the people who ordered it).
For the sake of our stained national honor, for any claim to be a nation of laws, for any claim to be a beacon for all those who must have freedom, President Obama:
This is your legacy, now.Prosecute the torturers.