Amnesty International Accuses Obama of Sweeping Torture Crimes under the Carpet

Friday, April 24, 2015
(AP photo)

President Barack Obama has had months, if not years, to demonstrate that the seizing and torturing of people by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last decade was wrong. But given his lack of action on this important matter, it would seem he simply wants to bury the wrongs instead of righting them, according to a leading human rights organization.


Amnesty International says it is unacceptable that the Obama administration has done nothing to the CIA since the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its summary report on the secret CIA detention program four months ago.


The administration appears uninterested in ending “impunity for the torture and enforced disappearances committed in the program,” Amnesty International wrote. “Indeed, it has failed to meaningfully respond to the report in any way whatsoever.”


The group points out that the Departments of Justice and State, which were implicated in the Senate report, have kept the full, 6,700-page classified version of the report hidden away, making any accountability even less likely under the current administration.


“The Obama administration is attempting to sweep the report – and the crimes committed in the program – under the carpet,” Amnesty International says. Such an approach, it adds, is essentially “engaging in a de facto amnesty,” and is akin to what the George W. Bush administration, which authorized the abuse, did with respect to violating international law regarding torture and enforced disappearance.


In fact, in his first year in office, Obama informed the CIA that its employees and contractors were safe from being prosecuted by his Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder gave similar assurances, publicly stating his agency “will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees.”


“This arrogation of judicial function by the Obama administration,” says Amnesty International, “can be seen as a continuation of the Bush administration’s deliberate and calculated removal of the judiciary from any oversight over the secret detentions in question, during the course of which multiple crimes under international law were committed, crimes which the Obama administration is now effectively insulating from judicial determination of individual criminal responsibility.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

USA: Crimes and Impunity (Amnesty International)

USA Crimes and Impunity: Full Senate Committee Report on CIA Secret Detentions Must Be Released, and Accountability for Crimes under International Law Ensured (Amnesty International) (pdf)

Senate Report Rejects Claim that Torture Helped Search for Bin Laden (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Senate Committee Accused of Failing to Interview Men Tortured by CIA for its Torture Report (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Senators Complain about Obama Administration Censorship of Torture Report (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Still Secret Report Accuses CIA of Fighting White House, Congress and its own Inspector General to Hide Torture Details (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


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