Saturday, April 18, 2009

What about the Geneva Conventions, Mr. President?


"Guantanamo Bay Prisoner" by Banksy

"You asked me once," said O'Brien, "what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."

"The worst thing in the world," said O'Brien, "varies from individual to individual. It may be burial alive, or death by fire, or by drowning, or by impalement, or fifty other deaths. There are cases where it is some quite trivial thing, not even fatal."
~
George Orwell, 1984


The ACLU got its wish and Obama released the Bush administration's "torture memos" to the public. These detail the sick tactics used at Abu Ghraib, Gulag Guantanamo and elsewhere that had Cheney and Rumsfeld licking their chops with excitement.

Former CIA inspector general Fred Hitz told Voice of America, "I was appalled. When you read through it it's sort of like it's a memo out of some science fiction movie. It's like you're reading a manual that would have been more appropriate during the Nazi era than in the United States of America."

Although I am a big fan of Obama, I am disappointed that he's letting the CIA torture team off the hook. 95 year-old Nazis are still hauled into court. Pol Pot's regime used waterboarding. Yet our President wants to simply "reflect?" on illegal torture? Shiny surfaces reflect. If you want to uphold something, Mr. President, put down the mirror and pick up a copy of the Geneva Conventions. Uphold those.

It states in the third Convention against Torture, and basic precepts of customary international law—each country has the obligation to investigate and prosecute persons alleged to have committed torture and other violations of the laws of war.

Anderson Cooper had a great segment last night on this topic. Very much worth watching.



COOPER: Well, we've seen the pictures from Abu Ghraib, of course, when we've heard the stories of brutality and abuse. And while we can't confirm the numbers, an AP report says at least 108 detainees held by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have died in American custody; most reportedly died violently.
A quarter of those deaths were investigated as a result of possible abuse by U.S. personnel. That report was from 2005. We don't have numbers after that.

And as we told you before the break, the Justice Department released the memos detailing interrogation techniques endorsed by the Bush administration from the very top. CIA operatives though, who carried out those techniques will not face prosecution.

In a statement released today, President Obama said, quote, "This is a time for reflection, not retribution. Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past."
Um, yes it would. That something to be gained is justice. As in the Department that authorized the torture to begin with. We need to hold accountable those responsible for the war crimes they committed, starting with that schmucky, torture-loving Alberto Gonzales -- who's now enjoying what looks like a really successful lecture circuit.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

that graffiti is by; www.banksy.co.uk