Thursday, April 05, 2012

No, the torture issue isn't going away

It's too big and the implications are too far-reaching for it to go away before there's a real reckoning. As in, people going to jail for ordering and implementing torture, unambiguous official condemnations of the practice, and US laws written to specify that they apply no matter how some crooked torture lawyer in the Justice Department or the White House may want to interpret them.

Spencer Ackerman does some journalism in CIA Committed 'War Crimes,' Bush Official Says Danger Room 04/04/2012.

The short version is that State Department advisor "counselor" Philip Zelikow wrote to his boss Condi-Condi and told her clearly that the US was practicing criminal torture and that it wasn't aimed at getting useful intelligence but at producing propaganda. He provides a copy of the six-page memo of 02/15/2006 at links in his article. He also interviewed Zelikow for the piece:

Zelikow’s warnings about the legal dangers of torture went unheeded — not just by the Bush administration, which ignored them, but, ironically, by the Obama administration, which effectively refuted them. In June, the Justice Department concluded an extensive inquiry into CIA torture by dropping potential charges against agency interrogators in 99 out of 101 cases of detainee abuse. That inquiry did not examine criminal complicity for senior Bush administration officials who designed the torture regimen and ordered agency interrogators to implement it.

"I don’t know why Mr. Durham came to the conclusions he did," Zelikow says, referring to the Justice Department special prosecutor for the CIA torture inquiry, John Durham. "I’m not impugning them, I just literally don’t know why, because he never published any details about either the factual analysis or legal analysis that led to those conclusions."

Also beyond the scope of Durham’s inquiry: The international damage to the U.S. reputation caused by the post-9/11 embrace of "cruel, inhuman and degrading" interrogation methods; and the damage done to international protocols against torture.
The torture issue isn't going away.
See also:

Marcy Wheeler's well-informed analysis in Philip Zelikow Saves Condi Rice’s Hiney (Again) Emptywheel 04/04/2012: "Philip Zelikow did really important work fighting the Bush Administration’s efforts to defy international obligations on torture. But the written record, at least, shows that he was fighting, in part, against the negligence of his boss, Condi Rice."

Marcy does what good investigative reporters do: she spends a lot of time carefully reviewing the contents of relevant documents and relating them to each other.

Charlie Pierce's thoughts on it in Democracy On A Waterboard Esquire Politics Blog 04/04/2012: The Zelikow memo "It blows up (yet again) the standard Bush Administration alibi that they thought they could do whatever they wanted to whomever they wanted because their pet DOJ lawyers told them it was OK, and also because, you know, 9/11!".

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