Sunday, March 29, 2009

Torture: It’s illegal, it’s immoral, and it does not work.

(Composite photo; originals from Wikipedia)

Finally, they admit the obvious, that torture is not effective:
“When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.

“The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

“In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida -- chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates -- was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.”

[...]

“Abu Zubaida’s revelations triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA and FBI investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantoms. The interrogations led directly to the arrest of Jose Padilla, the man Abu Zubaida identified as heading an effort to explode a radiological ‘dirty bomb’ in an American city. Padilla was held in a naval brig for 3 1/2 years on the allegation but was never charged in any such plot. Every other lead ultimately dissolved into smoke and shadow, according to high-ranking former U.S. officials with access to classified reports. ‘We spent millions of dollars chasing false alarms,’ one former intelligence official said.”

Washington Post, 29 March 2009
And finally, someone has taken responsibility to uphold the law:
“A Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation into allegations that six former high-level Bush administration officials [John Yoo; Douglas Feith; Jay Bybee; William Haynes II; Alberto Gonzales; David Addington] violated international law by providing the legal framework to justify the torture of prisoners...

“The [Spanish Court’s] move represents a step toward ascertaining the legal accountability of top Bush administration officials for allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in the campaign against terrorism. But some American experts said that even if warrants were issued their significance could be more symbolic than practical, and that it was a near certainty that the warrants would not lead to arrests if the officials did not leave the United States.”

[...]

“[Spanish lawyer] Mr. Boye said that lawyers should be held accountable for the effects of their work. Noting that the association he represents includes many lawyers, he said: ‘This is a case from lawyers against lawyers. Our profession does not allow us to misuse our legal knowledge to create a pseudo-legal frame to justify, stimulate and cover up torture.’ ”

New York Times, 29 March 2009

Bravo, Mr. Boye! But I think you’ve overlooked a couple more perps...

(Can I be the only one to find it wryly amusing that these fellows are effectively exiled to their country?)

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