Other Governments Investigating Bush-Era Torture; Obama Administration Silent

Friday, August 20, 2010
(photo: Brennan Linsley, AP)

What the Executive and Judicial branches of government have been reluctant to do in the U.S, their counterparts in other countries are confronting head-on. Judges in the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Poland and Lithuania are preparing to hear allegations that their governments helped the CIA run secret prisons in their countries or cooperated in illegal U.S. treatment of terrorism suspects.

Another case sits before the European Court of Human Rights in France, where Khaled El-Masri of Germany—whose case was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court—is suing the government of Macedonia for handing him over to CIA agents, who allegedly tortured him in Afghanistan.
In Spain, prosecutors are pursuing criminal charges against six senior Bush administration officials who approved the use of torture on detainees held in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere.
In November 2009, a court in Italy convicted 23 Americans accused of kidnapping a Muslim cleric, Abu Omar (real name Osama Hassan Nasr), from Milan in 2003 and shipping him to Egypt, where he claims he was tortured. Robert Seldon Lady, the CIA’s chief in Milan at the time, told an Italian newspaper that he was “only responsible for carrying out orders that I received from my superiors.”
The new British prime minister, David Cameron, has announced an inquiry into whether British intelligence agents participated in torture.
“This is the remarkable thing: Other countries are reckoning with the legacy of the Bush administration’s torture program, and meanwhile the United States is not,” Jameel Jaffer, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s national security program, told McClatchy Newspapers. “That’s part of why we’re so concerned. The Obama administration, rather than investigate the abuses of the last eight years, has increasingly become an obstacle to accountability.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Other Countries Probing Bush-era Torture — Why Aren't We? (by Shashank Bengali, McClatchy Newspapers)


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