Obama must probe Bush, others over CIA torture: rights group

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WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama must investigate his predecessor George W. Bush and allies over the CIA’s torture of terror suspects, or stand complicit in a government ”cover-up,” Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

In a scathing report, the international rights group decried the lack of prosecutions of those involved in the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret program to torture detainees in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

”While the program officially ended in 2009, the cover-up of these crimes appears to be ongoing,” said the report, which argues there is enough evidence for the attorney general to order criminal probes.

HRW cited Bush along with top officials including then CIA director George Tenet, former vice president Dick Cheney, former national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and former attorney general John Ashcroft.

Kenneth Roth, HRW’s executive director, blasted Obama for his administration’s failure to act, as the report was presented in Washington.

”Without criminal investigations, which would remove torture as a policy option, Obama’s legacy will forever be poisoned,” he said.

In the years following 9/11, the CIA ”rendered” suspects to several countries where torture was tolerated and kept them locked up in secret prisons.

”Suspects basically disappeared and were subject to horrible brutality,” Roth said. ”Yet the Obama administration still has refused to act, to prosecute the senior officials who ordered or authorized the torture.”

The 153-page report outlines evidence to support the main criminal charges that could be brought against those behind what so-called ”enhanced interrogation” techniques, and challenges claims that prosecutions are impossible.

”US officials who created, authorized and implemented the CIA program should be among those investigated for conspiracy to torture as well as other crimes,” the report summary states.

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