Abby Martin speaks with human rights lawyer, David Remes, about the contents of the newly released Senate torture report summary and how it will impact the future of the “war on terror”.
The U.S. Torture Program: A Blueprint for Accountability
With the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s several-hundred-page summary of its landmark investigation into the CIA’s use of torture, the United States has a critical opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law and provide long-overdue accountability for the Bush administration’s illegal torture program.
During the Bush administration, many hundreds of people were tortured and abused by the CIA and Department of Defense, primarily in Afghanistan, Guantánamo, and Iraq, but also in other countries after unlawful rendition. Our government’s embrace of torture as official state policy shattered lives, shredded our nation’s reputation in the world, and compromised our national security as well as our diplomatic efforts to promote human rights. These conclusions are once again borne out by the Intelligence Committee’s report. Yet, to date, there has been little accountability for these wrongs.
In January 2009, shortly after entering office, President Obama took important steps to dismantle the torture program. But in the following years, the Obama administration undermined that early promise by thwarting accountability for torture. It succeeded in extinguishing lawsuits brought by survivors of U.S. torture and secret imprisonment. It fought to keep secret many documents that would allow the public to understand the extent of the abuse. And it failed to conduct a robust investigation of torture architects and perpetrators.
The long-awaited release of the summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report brings our nation—and the Obama administration—to a crossroads. As the United States has repeatedly told other nations that commit human rights violations, a nation cannot move forward without reckoning with the abuses of the past. Whether President Obama is willing to pursue justice and accountability for torture will help determine the human rights legacy he leaves for the United States and the world.
By taking steps in the five key areas described below, the Obama administration can begin to redress the abuses perpetrated in our names, comply with U.S. obligations under international law, and rebuild American moral authority and credibility when holding other nations to account for human rights abuses. Most importantly, by pursuing accountability for torture, President Obama and his administration can help ensure that the United States never tortures again.
Accountability for torture is a moral, legal, and national security imperative.
Full article at ACLU