Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced late last week that the Administration had finally fulfilled the promise of President Barack Obama when, soon after taking office, he promised CIA employees that no one would be charged with torture despite his acknowledgement that water boarding is clearly torture under domestic and international law. Holder announced that the final investigation into deaths of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002 and 2003 respectively would not result in a single charge of any kind. Recently, John Cusack published an interview with me where we discussed the abandonment of core civil liberties principles as well as the expansion of unilateral executive power under President Obama. Now, just before the uncontested Democratic nomination convention, the Administration is reminding civil libertarians that it stands firmly on blocking the prosecution of what is widely viewed as war crimes by the U.S. After the creation of a comprehensive and premeditated torture program, not a single person will be charged despite acknowledged waterboarding and deaths of detainees. The Department did say that it was uncertain of the “propriety of the examined conduct.” War crimes is now a matter of uncertain “propriety.”
Thus, with little more than a whimper, a three-year investigation of torture came to a predictable and disgraceful end. The Justice Department simply announced “Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The latest questions of propriety involve the deaths of Gul Rahman in 2002 after he was shackled to a concrete wall in near-freezing temperatures in the famous CIA-ran “Salt Pit.” He was suspected of being a militant. The other case is Manadel al-Jamadi who died in 2003 at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
In a truly spellbinding moment, Holder blames the “statutes of limitations and jurisdictional provisions.” Of course, it was the Justice Department that delayed prosecution and the military that botched an investigation in a way that made prosecution difficult.
However, there is going to be one prosecution. Former CIA official John C. Kiriakou, is awaiting trial on criminal charges after disclosing information on the torture programs and those who committed the torture.
Source: NY Times