Posted by: conservativecritic | March 5, 2013


A United Nations investigator has demanded that the US publish
classified documents regarding the CIA’s human rights violations under
former President George W. Bush, with hopes that the documents will
lead to the prosecution of public officials.

Documents about the CIA’s program of rendition and secret detention
of suspected terrorists have remained classified, even though
President Obama’s administration has publicly condemned the use of
these “enhanced interrogation techniques”. The US has not prosecuted
any of its agents for human rights violations. 

UN investigator Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on the
promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism,
said that the classified documents protect the names of individuals
who are responsible for serious human rights violations.

“Despite this clear repudiation of the unlawful actions carried out
by the Bush-era CIA, many of the facts remain classified, and no
public official has so far been brought to justice in the United
States,” Emmerson said in a report to the UN Human Rights Council,
according to Reuters.

Kept in secret prisons around the world, the CIA’s detainees were
subjected to torture including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and
various other interrogation techniques that violate human rights. The
detainees were often subjected to clandestine transfers to secret
prisons known as CIA ‘black sites’.

“There is now credible evidence to show that CIA ‘black sites’ were
located on the territory of Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania and
Thailand, and that the officials of at least 49 other states allowed
their airspace or airports to be used for rendition flights,” Emmerson
said, describing how suspected terrorists were often detained without
being charged for any crimes, receiving extradition procedures or
having access to lawyers.

Emmerson has urged the US to prosecute any public official who was
involved in setting up the CIA "black sites" at which human rights or
legal violations occurred. Even though the Obama administration has
condemned those who promoted the use of such facilities for inhumane
procedures, the administration has taken no steps to punish any of its
public officials. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that the
Justice Department would not take legal actions against those who
"acted in good faith" and followed the guidelines provided by the
Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush era.

But without names and details about the involvement of US officials
at CIA black sites, the government is maintaining a level of secrecy
and “perpetuating impunity for the public officials implicated in
these crimes,” Emmerson said.  A Senate committee led by Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.) previously investigated the CIA’s interrogation
program and may have had complete access to classified information
about it.

Emmerson has called for this information to be published “without
delay, and to the fullest extent possible.”

While the UN special rapporteur lacks the power to force the Obama
administration to release this information, his report puts further
pressure on the US government to expose a practice it publicly
condemns, but continues to keep secret.

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