[Marxism] Human Rights Watch report says' Investigate Rumsfeld, Tenet for Torture'
r_chase at sympatico.ca
Mon Apr 25 23:00:13 MDT 2005
Human Rights Watch
Investigate Rumsfeld, Tenet for Torture
(New York, April 24, 2005)—"The soldiers at the bottom of the chain are
taking the heat for Abu Ghraib and torture around the world, while the guys
at the top who made the policies are going scot free,” said Reed Brody,
special counsel for Human Rights Watch. “That’s simply not right.”
The United States should name a special prosecutor to investigate the
culpability of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and ex-CIA Director
George Tenet in cases of detainee torture and abuse, Human Rights Watch said
in releasing a new report today.
The report, "Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S.
Abuse of Detainees" http://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/us0405/, is issued on
the eve of the first anniversary of the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos
(April 28). It presents substantial evidence warranting criminal
investigations of Rumsfeld and Tenet, as well as Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez,
formerly the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Gen. Geoffrey Miller the former
commander of the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Human Rights Watch said that there was now overwhelming evidence that U.S.
mistreatment and torture of Muslim prisoners took place not merely at Abu
Ghraib but at facilities throughout Afghanistan and Iraq as well as at
Guantánamo and at “secret locations” around the world, in violation of the
Geneva Conventions and the laws against torture.
“This pattern of abuse across several countries did not result from the acts
of individual soldiers who broke the rules,” said Brody. “It resulted from
decisions made by senior U.S. officials to bend, ignore, or cast rules
Among Human Rights Watch’s findings:
1. Secretary Rumsfeld should be investigated for potential liability in war
crimes and torture by US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo under
the doctrine of “command responsibility”—the legal principle that holds a
superior responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates when he knew
or should have known that they were being committed but fails to take
reasonable measures to stop them. Secretary Rumsfeld approved interrogation
techniques which violated the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against
Torture, such as the use of guard dogs to frighten prisoners and painful
“stress” positions. There is no evidence that, over a three-year period of
mounting reports of abuse, Rumsfeld exerted his authority and warned those
under his command that the mistreatment of prisoners must stop. Had he done
so, many of the crimes committed by U.S. forces certainly could have been
2. Under George Tenet’s direction, and reportedly with his specific
authorization, the CIA has “rendered” detainees to countries where they were
tortured, making Tenet potentially liable as an accomplice to torture. The
CIA has also “disappeared” detainees in secret locations and it is said to
have used “waterboarding,” in which the detainee’s head is pushed under
water until he believes he will drown, also reportedly with Tenet’s
3. Gen. Sanchez approved illegal interrogation methods—again, including the
use of guard dogs to frighten prisoners—which were then applied by soldiers
at Abu Ghraib. Gen. Sanchez does not appear to have intervened to stop the
commission of war crimes and torture by soldiers under his direct command.
4. Gen. Miller, as commander at the tightly-controlled prison camp at
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, may bear responsibility for war crimes and acts of
torture there. He may also bear responsibility for bringing illegal abusive
interrogation tactics to Iraq.
Despite this evidence, Human Rights Watch said, the United States has
deliberately shielded the architects of illegal detention policies through
the refusal to allow an independent inquiry of prisoner abuse and the
failure to undertake criminal investigations against those leaders who
allowed the widespread criminal abuse of detainees to develop and persist.
Rather, the Department of Defense has established a plethora of
investigations, all but one in-house, looking down the chain of command.
Prosecutions have commenced only against low-level soldiers and contractors.
“A year after Abu Ghraib, the United States continues to do what
dictatorships and banana republics do the world over when their abuses are
discovered—cover up the scandal and shift blame downwards,” said Brody. “A
wall of immunity surrounds the architects of the policy that led to all
Human Rights Watch requested the appointment of a special prosecutor, saying
that because Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was himself deeply involved
in the policies leading to these alleged crimes, he had a conflict of
interest preventing a proper investigation of detainee abuse. U.S.
Department of Justice regulations call for the appointment of an outside
counsel when such a conflict exists and the public interest warrants a
prosecutor without links to the government.
Human Rights Watch also repeated its call to Congress and the president to
establish a special commission, along the lines of the 9/11 Commission, to
investigate the issue of prisoner abuse. Such a commission would hold
hearings, have full subpoena power, and be empowered to recommend the
creation of a special prosecutor to investigate possible criminal offenses,
if the attorney general had not yet named one. Although Human Rights Watch
said that existing evidence already necessitated criminal investigations, it
emphasized that an independent commission could compel evidence that the
government has continued to conceal, including the directives reportedly
signed by President Bush authorizing the CIA to establish secret detention
facilities and facilitating the “rendition” of suspects to brutal regimes.
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