UK to Conduct Torture Inquiry

The UK today announced a formal investigation into whether British security forces were complicit in the torture of Ethiopian-born UK resident Binyam Mohamed and others. Mohamed was tortured by foreign interrogators, who were allegedly fed questions via the CIA.

Mohamed was initially held in Pakistan in 2002, and then moved to Morocco and Afghanistan, where he alleges he was tortured. He was transferred to Guantanamo in 2004 and released in 2009. Our prior coverage of his case is assembled here. [More...]

The ACLU, which represents Mohamed and others in a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in Ghost Air, the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, calls upon President Obama to widen its investigation into the Bush-era torture program:

Following Prime Minister Cameron's announcement, the ACLU called on the Obama administration to broaden its own investigation into the Bush-era torture program to include top-level government officials who may have known about and authorized such abuse. Despite disavowing torture, the current administration continues to shield Bush administration officials from legal scrutiny or accountability for their role in the program. An ongoing Justice Department investigation of the torture program excludes top-level officials.

"An investigation into the role of government personnel in the abuse and torture of prisoners is exactly what the Obama administration should be initiating. And while we welcome Prime Minister Cameron's commitment to ensuring that torture survivors are acknowledged and compensated, this announcement also serves as a reminder of how little has been done here in the United States to reckon with the abuses of the last nine years," said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director. "The Obama administration continues to suppress documents that would allow the public to understand the full scope of the Bush administration's torture program. It continues to use the 'state secrets' privilege to extinguish civil litigation by torture victims. And thus far the only criminal investigation this administration has initiated is one that appears to be focused on interrogators, not on the senior officials who authorized torture."

President Bush assured the world the U.S. does not engage it torture. That does not appear to be the truth.

"Evidence of U.S. torture is widely known throughout the world. Yet, to date, no survivors of the United States' rendition and torture program have had their day in a U.S. court," said Steven Watt, staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program. "The Obama administration should not only end its efforts to prevent accountability for torturers and justice for survivors, but follow Britain's lead and broaden the investigation here in this country. It is time to reaffirm our commitment to human rights and the rule of law."

On a related note, two weeks ago, Human Rights Watch issued a 62-page report, No Questions Asked, that analyzes the ongoing cooperation of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom with foreign intelligence services in countries that routinely use torture.

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    You can thank the Liberal Democrats (none / 0) (#1)
    by Coldblue on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 10:45:12 PM EST
    for this. The "saintly" Labour Party are the ones that chose to ignore human rights.