Democracy Has Prevailed.

March 18, 2009

Yes, It Was Torture. And Yes There Needs To Be Action

On Olbermann last night:
The “New York Review of Books” has obtained a confidential report from 2007 by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which not only had access to Guantanamo Bay, but was allowed to interview 14 high-level detainees there. American officials, with green lights from Washington, five times in one week, wrapped a towel around Abu Zubaydah‘s neck and used it to swing him around, smashing his body against a wall. Then they put him into a box and cut off the air supply. Then they waterboarded him until he vomited.

Then there was Walid bin Attash, left hanging by his wrists for hours, standing on his one leg, in between his beatings. All of this and more credible enough for the Red Cross to call it literally torture. The Geneva Conventions, to which the United States is a signatory, establishes how it shall be determined whether, quote, torture has been committed. The ultimate deciding body, as agreed to by our country, is the Red Cross.

According to the authority recognized by the United States of America, the United States of America committed war crimes, violated the Geneva Conventions, committed torture. So the debate is over. Let the prosecutions begin. [emphasis added]

Watch it. It's about a minute in:

Here, by the way, is the article in the New York Review of Books.

About the ICRC report:

As the ICRC interviewers informed the detainees, their report was not intended to be released to the public but, "to the extent that each detainee agreed for it to be transmitted to the authorities," to be given in strictest secrecy to officials of the government agency that had been in charge of holding them—in this case the Central Intelligence Agency, to whose acting general counsel, John Rizzo, the report was sent on February 14, 2007. Indeed, though almost all of the information in the report has names attached, and though annexes contain extended narratives drawn from interviews with three of the detainees, whose names are used, we do find a number of times in the document variations of this formula: "One of the detainees who did not wish his name to be transmitted to the authorities alleged..."—suggesting that at least one and perhaps more than one of the fourteen, who are, after all, still "held in a high-security facility at Guantánamo," worried about repercussions that might come from what he had said.

In virtually all such cases, the allegations made are echoed by other, named detainees; indeed, since the detainees were kept "in continuous solitary confinement and incommunicado detention" throughout their time in "the black sites," and were kept strictly separated as well when they reached Guantánamo, the striking similarity in their stories, even down to small details, would seem to make fabrication extremely unlikely, if not impossible. "The ICRC wishes to underscore," as the writers tell us in the introduction, "that the consistency of the detailed allegations provided separately by each of the fourteen adds particular weight to the information provided below."

And here's the most important part of all - the conclusion:
The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. [emphasis added]
The debate is over. It was torture. The ICRC says so.

Prosecute the war crimes. It's the law.

1 comment:

Social Justice NPC Anti-Paladin™ said...

Since ill-treatment equal torture.

Police Beat a 15-Year-Old Girl

Prosecute the policeman for war crimes. It's the law.