Will America Come Clean On CIA War Crimes?

We do our dirty laundry in public, or so we used to say,

A military judge has rejected the US government’s attempts to keep accounts of the CIA’s torture of a detainee secret, setting up a fateful choice for the Obama administration in staunching the fallout from its predecessor’s brutal interrogations.

In a currently-sealed 24 June ruling at Guantánamo Bay – described to the Guardian – Judge James Pohl upheld his April order demanding the government produce details of the detentions and interrogations of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri during his years in CIA custody. The Miami Herald also reported on the ruling, citing three sources who had seen it.

Miami Herald link here,

After the Miami Herald disclosed the order Thursday morning, Nashiri’s civilian lawyer, Rick Kammen, cast it as material that “the prosecution has publicly resisted producing.”

“The prosecution’s argument that the defense is precluded from checking the government’s work is frivolous. One of the defense functions is to check the government’s story,” he said. “The biggest cause of reversals in capital cases is due to prosecutorial withholding of exculpatory material including material relevant to punishment.”

He added: “We also note that the CIA has lied to at least three federal courts, the 9/11 Commission and, according to the newspapers, Congress. This demonstrated history of lying clearly obligates us to a full investigation.”

Even if the prosecution does secure the information from the CIA and releases it to Nashiri’s lawyers, that does not necessarily mean that the public will get to know the details.

If we wish to continue the pretense of being a democratic republic, maybe we should,

The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document.

“The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one U.S. official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is no.”

Emptywheel has more.

I’m not so much interested in punishing individuals, there are plenty of other people and nations to do that, but in general we should be concerned about soul of American and the fabric of our national pride and ethics. We can of course listen to, and opt into position of the voices of hatred, but America, at least in my lifetime, has been about doing the right thing, and justice. Perhaps that was a charade, the afterglow of World War 2 and the Nuremberg trials, but I would hate to think that we have sunk to that low.

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