Human Rights Groups Call for Torture Prosecutions of U.S. Officials

23 April 2009

Human Rights Groups Call for Torture Prosecutions of U.S. Officials

By Karla E General
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

WASHINGTON, United States – A complete unclassified version of a report released by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday found that Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney gave explicit permission to use interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, a technique that Obama has recently classified as ‘torture.’ The report, titled “Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody” can be found here.

The report reveals that Rice, as national security adviser at the time, gave permission to the CIA to use waterboarding techniques as early as July 2002, despite her testimony that says otherwise. Rice went on to become secretary of state. The extensive 232-page report is said to undercut the claim of then deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq was the work of “a few bad apples.” The report notes: “The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of “a few bad apples” acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.” With the release of this once-classified information under the Obama administration, the door is open for possible prosecution of members of the Bush administration.

The revelations against Rice, Cheney, and others in the Bush administration come just one day after Attorney General Eric Holder publicly stated “We are going to follow the evidence, follow the law and take that where it leads. No one is above the law.” Human rights groups have demanded that Holder appoint a special prosecutor to investigate since Obama has noted it is ultimately up to Holder to decide whether to proceed with prosecutions of those in the Bush administration who provided legal justification for torture.

Author: Impunity Watch Archive