Torture – and our previous Administration’s shady past with it – have been hot topics lately, with many of us calling for actual accountability on behalf of our former leaders. We may soon get our wish – just today, the New York Times published a story that details the Office of Professional Responsibility’s formal advice to open several C.I.A. prisoner abuse cases that were shelved for undisclosed reasons. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to step up and pursue the cases, which could mean criminal prosecution for guilty parties in the agency.
From the story:
“Mr. Holder, who questioned the thoroughness of previous inquiries by the Justice Department, is expected to announce within days his decision on whether to appoint a prosecutor to conduct a new investigation; in legal circles, it is believed to be highly likely that he will go forward with a fresh criminal inquiry.”
The cases themselves (of which there are approximately twelve) involve allegations of severe prisoner abuse, including “how C.I.A. officers carried out mock executions and threatened at least one prisoner with a gun and a power drill.” Manadel al-Jamadi’s 2003 death (which occurred as he was being held by the C.I.A.) is among the cases in question.
Torture is a grievous violation of basic human rights – and basic decency – and the apparent widespread abuse of prisoners in the years following the 9/11 attacks proves just how vital accountability is. If these accusations are correct, we should actively pursue justice and advocate for an end to so-called “advanced interrogation” techniques that so plainly violate civil liberties.