The Torturer in Chief

While the Obama Administration continues to block any independent investigation in this country or by other countries, Britain has angered Obama officials by confirming that a suspect was tortured as part of his interrogation by the United State in Morocco. The use of other countries to torture U.S. detainees through “extraordinary renditions” is well documented. However, the Obama Administration reportedly threatened to cut off Britain from access to intelligence if the country told the truth about the torture of Binyam Mohamed. Thus, while publicly condemning the desecration of dead Taliban as “deplorable” and promising an investigation (after the photos were published by the media), the Administration continues to use classification laws to prevent the truth from being revealed about American involvement in potential war crimes.

Mohammed was interrogated by U.S. officials and tortured during the two years he was held in Morocco. He was picked up in Pakistan in 2002 after American officials claimed that he was al-Qaeda training and preparing to detonate a “dirty bomb” in the United States. If you recall, the Bush Administration also made such a claim against Jose Padilla — a statement by John Ashcroft later retracted by the White House.

The CIA reportedly transferred Mohamed to Morocco after 18 months of interrogation — transported on CIA-chartered aircraft as part of the Bush Administration’s “extraordinary rendition program.” e was later taken to Guantanamo.

During his torture sessions, Mohamed was hanged from a wall with his feet unable to reach the floor and his chest and genitals were cut with a razor. Pictures, Mohammed said, were taken by a woman with an American accent. While the British government opposed release of evidence in the case, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) confirmed the allegation of torture. They further said the torture resulted in the provision of “information to the US authorities about Mohamed and supplied questions for the US authorities to put to Mohamed while he was being detained.”

What is most striking here is that it is the Obama Administration that is fighting the release of this information and threatening England — as it earlier threatened Spain when a court in that country sought to investigate our torture program. While President Obama has admitted that waterboarding is torture, he promised CIA employees that they would not be prosecuted for such a war crime. Not only has his Administration protected such individuals from prosecution, but it has opposed the release of evidence that confirms torture even worse than waterboarding. This is why so many civil libertarians have pledged not to support Obama. Even if Obama insists on violating treaty obligations to prosecute torture, there is no principled reason to refuse to acknowledge such crimes in past cases and to withhold confirmation of such practices. Obama has long sought to give the impression of someone concerns about torture while avoiding any responsibility or accountability for such crimes. This case shows how far Obama officials have gone to conceal our violations of international and domestic laws.

If this man’s account is true (and clearly Scotland Yard has supported the thrust of the allegations), American officials participated in a horrific interrogation involving cutting a detainee and other acts of classic torture. There may be photographic evidence of such crimes. They should be made public. His name and case are already public. The classification of such evidence is being used solely to shield officials from accountability and to protect the Administration from embarrassment.

Source: The Atlantic

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