“The Torture Never Stops”

Scott Horton, at Harper’s:

Cherif Bassiouni, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago, was one of the key authors of the Convention Against Torture and is one of the world’s preeminent experts in international criminal law, particularly from the prosecutor’s perspective. He has just published The Institutionalization of Torture by the Bush Administration: Is Anyone Responsible?, a scholarly work that documents the development of torture policy in the Bush Administration and presents a roadmap for the use of future prosecutors. …

Bassiouni: “President Obama has made the political decision not to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Bush Administration policy of torture, and he is reported not to have authorized Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct individual criminal investigations. In fact, Holder did not even investigate the CIA’s destruction of the torture tapes, which were protected by a court order. Destruction of evidence is a crime. This reflects the adage that “power protects power. …

Various international investigations and prosecutions, including those in Spain, Italy, Germany, and Poland, have all sought legal assistance from the United States on the basis of international treaty obligations. Basically, the Justice and State Departments have stonewalled these inquiries, and that could only have occurred with instructions from the White House. …

The Obama Administration’s conduct so far amounts to every bit as much of a cover-up of the torture crimes as we witnessed in the Bush years. By taking this course, responsible senior officials have made themselves accomplices or accessories after the fact. They may not be obligated to prosecute, because that turns on the outcome of a criminal investigation, but they are obligated to investigate under U.S. law, and failed to do so. What’s worse, they apparently did all this for political reasons.”

The Institutionalization of Torture—Six Questions for Cherif Bassiouni—By Scott Horton (Harper’s Magazine)


Flies all green and buzzin’
In this dungeon of despair …
He stands and shouts
All men be cursed
And disagree … , well no one durst ..

And the torture never stops
The torture never stops
The torture never stops
The torture never stops

–Frank Zappa

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This entry was posted in Cultural Comment, International Relations, Law, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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