March 28

Jan. 2009: President Obama declares no prosecution for torturers

President Obama issued an executive order indicating that any legal interpretation of the law governing torture and interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody issued by the Department of Justice between Sept. 11, 2001 and Jan. 20, 2009 were unreliable. (DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility Report, July, 2009) President Obama also declared that there will be no prosecution for anyone involved in coercive interrogations, as his intention is “looking forward” instead of backward.

What was done at Guantanamo and CIA’s black sites could not have been more criminal in nature, whether judged by U.S. or international law. The President ignored the fact that when investigating a crime, all law enforcement procedures require looking backward to ascertain the facts. So, “looking forward” clearly means turning a blind eye to the worst of crimes.

By February, 2009, reports from prisoners charged that torture at Guantanamo was worsening; prisoners complained of “beatings, dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper into closed cells, forced feeding and more. The Pentagon reported it had received new reports of prisoner abuse. (Luke Baker. Lawyer Says Guantanamo abuse Worse Since Obama, Reuters, Feb. 2009)

While shielding the torturers, Newsweek reported that the Obama Administration conceals evidence in the form of 2,100 Abu Ghraib pictures:

“The nightmarish images from Abu Ghraib are still seared into the American consciousness: piles of naked bodies, detainees being led on leashes and U.S. soldiers giving a thumbs-up as it all happens. But now, a decade after they were made public, the U.S. government is trying to conceal as many as 2,100 additional photographs that are said to be even more disturbing.” (Lauren Walker. Remember the Remember the Abu Ghraib Torture Pictures? Newsweek, Oct, 2014)

But while our political leaders try to cover-up and pretend it didn’t happen, those who remember cannot forget so easily.

“I Can’t Be Forgiven for Abu Ghraib: The Torture Report Reminds Us of What America Was”  an OpEd article by Eric Fair, a veteran who acknowledges having tortured when he was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib, stated: “the Senate released its torture report. Many people were surprised by what it contained: accounts of waterboardings far more frequent than what had previously been reported, week long sleep deprivation, a horrific and humiliating procedure called “rectal re-hydration.” I’m not surprised. I assure you there is more; much remains redacted. Most Americans haven’t read the report. Most never will. But it stands as a permanent reminder of the country we once were.” (Eric Fair. “I Can’t Be Forgiven for Abu Ghraib: The Torture Report Reminds Us of What America WasThe New York Times, Dec. 2014)

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