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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/13/09

ICRC's Damning ExposÚ of US Torture

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Health Provision and the Role of Medical Staff

Detainees said medical personnel:

-- monitored their regular torture and directly participated in the use of certain methods; they also instructed interrogators to continue, adjust, or at times stop particular procedures; they told detainees that treatment depended on their cooperation; condoning and participating in torture is a serious breach of medical ethics;

-- performed medical checks before and right after each transfer; and

-- treated the effects of torture as well as ailments and injuries during incarceration.

Legal Aspects in Relation to Undisclosed Detention

The report noted "a basic tenet of international law" - that "any person deprived of liberty must be registered and held in an officially recognized place of detention," not somewhere in secret. International humanitarian law has provisions for registering persons deprived of their liberty. It requires that organizations like ICRC get access and prohibits forced disappearances.

The 14 in question were denied these rights "outside the protection of the law during the time they spent in CIA custody." They had no access to judicial or administrative review, were denied contacts with their families, and had no idea why they were held or so badly treated. "The totality of the circumstances in which the fourteen were held effectively amounted to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty and enforced disappearance, in contravention of international law."
Their treatment was "severe and multifaceted," absent any "scrutiny by an independent entity, including the ICRC."

Fate of Other Persons Who Passed Through the CIA Detention Program

Post-9/11, many hundreds of them were victimized like the 14 here in question. Some were returned to their home countries "for prosecution or detention by their governments," according to George Bush. Washington provided ICRC no information about them so it's unable to monitor their treatment and "ensure communication with their families."

Given how the above 14 were treated, ICRC expressed grave concerns that many others were subjected to similar tortures and mistreatment.

Future Use of the CIA Detention Program

US authorities told ICRC that "no persons were held in the (program) as of October 2006." Such claims are false given that George Bush (in September 2006) said CIA detentions hadn't been discontinued and could be used at any time in the future.

The same holds under Obama. He pledged to protect CIA, military and Bush officials from investigation and prosecution as well as continue its foreign wars and occupation. The CIA's Director of Public Affairs, Mark Mansfield, told The New York Times that agency chief Leon Panetta said "repeatedly that no one who took actions based on legal guidance from the Department of Justice at the time should be investigated, let alone punished."

Now it's policy in Panetta's April 9 internal memo announcing the administration's blanket amnesty for all Bush officials torturers and war criminals. It's the same position Obama took on ABC's January 11 This Week that he intends "to look forward as opposed to looking backward....we have to focus on getting things right in the future (not) looking at what we got wrong in the past."

He assured continuity from one administration to the next, repeated violations of domestic and international laws, and torture remaining official US policy along with foreign wars, occupation, counterterrorism, and subversion with the largest ever FY 2010 defense budget to pursue them, way exceeding $1 trillion, and excluding extras, 78% more than for FY 2000 at a time America has no enemies.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.
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