Former president George W. Bush and a raft of senior US officials from his administration should be investigated for conspiracy to torture and for other crimes, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
In a scathing report, the international rights group decries the lack of prosecutions of those involved in the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret program to torture detainees in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
It said there is enough evidence for the attorney general to order criminal probes.
The 153-page report outlines evidence to support the main criminal charges that could be brought against those behind what is referred to so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques, and challenges claims that prosecutions are impossible.
“US officials who created, authorized and implemented the CIA program should be among those investigated for conspiracy to torture as well as other crimes,” the report summary states.
It lists several top Bush officials, including the former president himself, then CIA director George Tenet, former attorney general John Ashcroft and former vice president Dick Cheney.
Additionally, the report says James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen — who devised the program under a CIA contract — should also be investigated for their roles in the initial conspiracy.
The American Civil Liberties Union last month sued the two psychologists on behalf of a group of former prisoners from the early days of America’s “war on terror.”
The CIA’s use of torture was detailed in an explosive report released a year ago that describes the agency’s interrogation of Al-Qaeda suspects, including beatings, rectal rehydration and sleep deprivation.
Such mistreatment was more brutal than had been previously acknowledged — and did not produce useful intelligence.
“It’s been a year since the Senate torture report, and still the Obama administration has not opened new criminal investigations into CIA torture,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
“Without criminal investigations, which would remove torture as a policy option, Obama’s legacy will forever be poisoned.”
Human Rights Watch said that although much of the abuse took place a decade or more ago, statutes of limitation do not preclude criminal charges.
“The statute of limitations for the crime of conspiracy may be extended if those responsible conceal a central component of the plot, which was the case with the CIA program,” the group said in a statement.
Under the UN Convention against Torture, ratified by the United States in 1988, governments are meant to investigate allegations of torture.
“The failure to investigate and prosecute CIA torture increases the danger that some future president will authorize similar illegal interrogation methods in response to an inevitable serious security threat,” the group said.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump recently called for the return of waterboarding, a simulated drowning interrogation technique widely denounced as torture, saying it was “peanuts” compared to what the Islamic State group is doing.
The report is available at: hrw.org/node/283564
Utah Republican is in deep trouble after trying to defend Trump’s breaking of the law
President Donald Trump's poor standing in Utah could cause big electoral problems for one of his loudest defenders in the state.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) said Trump would be "foolish" if he did not illegally accept election help from foreign adversaries.
On Saturday, Stewart was blasted by former CIA officer Evan McMullin.
McMullin was born in Provo, attended Brigham Young University, is Mormon and a also prominent conservative critic of Trump.
In 2016, McMullin ran against Trump as an Independent and received 21.3 percent of the vote in Utah during the general election. Trump also had problems in Utah during the Republican primary, receiving only 14 percent of the vote.
Trump ‘will not leave his office if he narrowly loses in 2020’: Conservative columnist issues dire warning
President Donald Trump will fight to remain in power regardless of the outcome if the 2020 election is close, a conservative columnist warned on Saturday.
Andrew Sullivan blasted Trump in New York magazine, honing in on the commander-in-chief's lying.
"For Trump, lying is central to his disturbed psyche, and to his success. The brazenness of it unbalances and stupefies sane and adjusted people, thereby constantly giving him an edge and a little breathing space while we try to absorb it, during which he proceeds to the next lie," he wrote.
‘Veto the Cheato’: Americans gathered nationwide for #ImpeachTrump rallies
Frustrated Americans on Saturday attended #ImpeachTrump rallies from coast-to-coast.
The rallies were organized by MoveOn, Indivisible, Democracy for America, the Women's March, Credo and other progressive organizations.
Over 140 events were held nationwide.
[caption id="attachment_1513038" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Map of #ImpeachTrump rallies in the contiguous United States.[/caption]
Many attendees took the time to create hand-made protest signs, while others held printed banners.