"The Jewish people as a whole will be its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races...and by the establishment of a world republic in which everywhere the Jews will exercise the privilege of citizenship. In this New World Order the Children of Israel...will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition..." (Karl Marx in a letter to Baruch Levy, quoted in Review de Paris, June 1, 1928, p. 574)

Friday, 12 November 2010

US must begin criminal investigation of torture following Bush admission


PRESS RELEASE, Amnesty International

Amnesty International today urged a criminal investigation into the role of former US President George W. Bush and other officials in the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" against detainees held in secret US custody after the former president admitted authorizing their use.

Amnesty International today urged a criminal investigation into the role of former US President George W. Bush and other officials in the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" against detainees held in secret US custody after the former president admitted authorizing their use.

In his memoirs, published yesterday, and in an interview on NBC News broadcast on 8 November 2010, the former President confirmed his personal involvement in authorising "water-boarding" and other techniques against "high value detainees".

"Under international law, the former President's admission to having authorized acts that amount to torture are enough to trigger the USA's obligations to investigate his admissions and if substantiated, to prosecute him," said Claudio Cordone, Senior Director at Amnesty International.

"His admissions also highlight once again the absence of accountability for the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance committed by the USA."

In his memoirs, former President Bush focused on the cases of two detainees held in the secret program.

Abu Zubaydah was held at various undisclosed locations from April 2002 to September 2006, In August 2002, he was subjected to "water-boarding," in which water is used to begin the process of drowning, more than 80 times.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested on 1 March 2003 in Pakistan and transferred to secret CIA custody. That same month he was "water-boarded" 183 times, according to a report by the CIA Inspector General.

After three and a half years being held incommunicado in solitary confinement in secret locations, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was transferred to military custody in Guantánamo, where he and Abu Zubayhdah remain held without trial, along with more than 150 others.

Water-boarding was far from the only technique alleged to have been used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubayhdah and others held in the secret program that violated the international prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Other techniques included prolonged nudity, threats, exposure to cold temperatures, stress positions, physical assaults, prolonged use of shackles, and sleep.

"Under international law, anyone involved in torture must be brought to justice, and that does not exclude former President George W. Bush. If his admission is substantiated, the USA has the obligation to prosecute him," said Claudio Cordone.

"In the absence of a US investigation, other states must step in and carry out such an investigation themselves," said Claudio Cordone.


The USA ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) in 1994. Under UNCAT, in every case where there is evidence against a person of their having committed or attempted to commit torture, or of having committed acts which constitute complicity or participation in torture, the case must be submitted to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

Failing to proceed with a prosecution on the basis that the accused held public office of any rank, or citing justifications based in "exceptional circumstances", whether states of war or other public emergencies, is not permitted by UNCAT.

In another development yesterday, the US Department of Justice announced that no one will face criminal charges for the destruction by the CIA in 2005 of nearly 100 videotapes made of interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and 'Abd al-Nashiri, another detainee held in the secret CIA program. Twelve of the tapes depicted use of "enhanced interrogation techniques", including "water-boarding". 'Abd al-Nashiri was subjected to waterboarding in late November 2002.
Again, torture and enforced disappearance are crimes under international law. As such, the destruction of the tapes may have concealed government crimes.

In a brief statement released on 9 November 2010, however, the Department of Justice announced that after an "exhaustive investigation" into the matter a federal prosecutor had concluded that he would "not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation tapes".


Prosecute Bush, Danish NGO says

A Danish center for torture victims has called for former US president George W. Bush to be prosecuted for allowing torture, an act he acknowledged in his recently released memoirs

"Especially with waterboarding, Bush tried to hollow out the definition of torture, and he further approved of the United States violating the (international) ban on torture," said Tue Magnussen, the advocacy coordinator at the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT), AFP reported on Friday.

Magnussen's call came in response to Bush's new book Decision Points, in which he claimed that the use of waterboarding had directly prevented attacks in Britain and the United States.

"Interrogations helped break up plots to attack American diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets in the United States," Bush wrote in his newly released book.

"Three people were waterboarded and I believe that decision saved lives,” Bush said in a recent interview with The Times of London.

"Bush's comments emphasize the necessity of the Obama government prosecuting and attributing blame for the torture that took place during the Bush years," Magnussen said.

Magnussen added that the RCT was "shaken" by the former US president's attitude toward the waterboarding torture technique.

"The United States has, according to the (Geneva) Convention, a duty to prosecute those responsible for torture. In principle, it is important that torture is not carried out with impunity," Magnussen said.

"We owe it to the victims of torture that those responsible be prosecuted and sentenced. If (US President Barack) Obama himself will not take the initiative, other countries should encourage the United States" to do so, the RCT official stated.

Magnussen is of the opinion that Denmark especially should pressure Obama to prosecute those responsible for the torture during the Bush years.

And "if hypothetically it should happen that Bush shows up (in Denmark, Copenhagen) should take the step and prosecute Bush," he said.


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