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Monday, December 15, 2014

CIA torture revelations reveal transparency and accountability differences as well

The redacted Executive Summary pdf (525 pages) "Study of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, "describes in more than 500 pages a dysfunctional agency so unprepared to handle suspected terrorist detainees after 9/11, that the CIA bought into private contractors' proposals for torture, and then lied to Congress, President Bush, the Justice Department, the public, and to itself about the purported effectiveness of the program." (National Security Archive).

US reaction
" welcomes the long-overdue release of the Executive Summary of the (report). We were appalled by the 11th-hour attempt to intimidate Senator Feinstein and the Intelligence Committee out of releasing the report, and relieved that she resisted that pressure. The argument that government abuses cannot be revealed because of their severity is incompatible with the First Amendment, the rule of law, and accountable government.
As Senator Claire McCaskill said yesterday, this was “gut check time for our democracy.”’s Executive Director, Dr. Patrice McDermott, stated, “the suppression of the report would have ended the last, best hope of ending the unjustified secrecy regarding CIA torture. Instead, we have taken a meaningful first step towards restoring oversight and democratic accountability.”
 UK reaction
Tony Blair to face grilling over CIA torture as his own Labour party calls for evidence
Tony Blair and his former ministers face a grilling over what they knew about CIA torture as their own Labour party demanded they come clean. A chorus of senior Labour figures yesterday said the former Prime Minister along with Jack Straw and David Miliband should appear before the parliamentary committee examining whether Britain was complicit in the brutal US interrogation programme. It came as Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), gave the strongest signal that the trio would be called before him. But pressure was also growing for a full judicial public inquiry to investigate the claims...
Australian reaction
Professor George Williams Blood on many hands in CIA torture scandal
There is no suggestion that Australian officials used torture. Instead, we were complicit in the US torture program. In contrast to the UK, which successfully demanded the return of its citizens from Guantanamo Bay, Australia failed to take action to protect Habib and Hicks, despite emerging evidence of their mistreatment.  The problem was not merely one of silence and acquiescence. Australia's political leaders, including Prime Minister John Howard, were some of the strongest international supporters of US actions at Guantanamo Bay. Despite irrefutable evidence of what occurred there, this support has never been retracted.
In other nations, the harm done to citizens at the hands of the US has led to wide ranging inquiries. By contrast, Australia's leaders have shown no appetite to investigate these matters. Both sides of politics have resisted any inquiry that could determine whether Hicks was tortured, and whether Australian officials bear responsibility for the treatment of him and Habib.
America has a lot of soul-searching to do about its departure from the most basic standards of decency. We also need to come to terms with our involvement in these programs. It is past time that a judicial inquiry was held to ascertain how Habib and Hicks were treated, and whether any compensation is due to them. The public has a right to know the truth of what occurred, and to know that measures will be taken to ensure that our leaders do a better job of protecting Australian citizens in the future.

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