The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment had no access to classified records. It was led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — Asa Hutchinson (Republican) and James R. Jones (Democrat) and concluded that the use of torture had “no justification,” “damaged the standing of our nation” and “potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel.”
There is another report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, 6,000 pages long, that covers the CIA’s record and is based on agency records, rather than interviews, but that one is still classified.
Here are some excerpts that confirm what many of us already knew: That the Bush administration should be prosecuted for what they did to human beings who they renditioned to secret black sites and then abused and tortured.
A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.
The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning. [...]
The task force found “no firm or persuasive evidence” that these interrogation methods produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. While “a person subjected to torture might well divulge useful information,” much of the information obtained by force was not reliable, the report says [...]
But the report’s main significance may be its attempt to assess what the United States government did in the years after 2001 and how it should be judged. The C.I.A. not only waterboarded prisoners, but slammed them into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing and kept them awake for days on end.
It also confirms a report by Human Rights Watch that at least one Libyan militant was waterboarded by the C.I.A. The CIA has said that they only waterboarded three Al Qaeda detainees.
By the way, Asa Hutchinson, who served in the Bush administration as chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration and under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was a torture denier... until now. But he still believes BushCo "acted in good faith." Someone please tell me how one tortures "in good faith."
So, President Obama, do you still want to “look forward, not backward”? Maybe this is why he is reluctant to check the ol' rearview mirror:
While the Constitution Project report covers mainly the Bush years, it is critical of some Obama administration policies, especially what it calls excessive secrecy.
Citing state secrets to block lawsuits by former detainees is part of that secrecy.
All my previous posts on this subject matter can be found here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.
Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.
More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.