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When Will Court Trials Begin on CIA Torturers or Their Government Authorizers?

December 17, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

So with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s patriotic report on the CIA’s years of torture after 9/11, a surprisingly disappointing reaction came from Rand Paul, most likely running as the Constitution’s candidate for the presidency:

“I think we should not have tortured,” he told The New York Times (“Torture Report Puts Politicians in Quiet Mode,” Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael Barbaro, The New York Times, Dec. 11).

However, according to the Times story, Paul “questioned whether releasing gruesome details would be ‘beneficial or inflammatory.’”

That, sir, is not leadership.

By contrast, in a press release for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law, which continues Justice William Brennan’s constitutional legacy, Michael German declares:

“The release of a small portion of the Senate’s report on abusive CIA interrogations should only be the first step toward full accountability. The public needs to be fully informed and all involved need to be held responsible to ensure our country never embraces a policy of official cruelty again” (“Senate Report Concludes CIA Torture Brutal, Ineffective,” brennancenter.org, Dec. 9).

German, who is a fellow at the Brennan Center, continues: “It is also important to remember that there were those both inside and outside government who opposed the use of torture and cruel treatment from the very beginning on the grounds that it was illegal, immoral, ineffective and would ultimately do great harm to our troops and our nation’s security.

“We should honor those who stood against torture when it was most difficult to do so.”

I know Mike German, a former undercover FBI agent who became an unyielding defender of the Constitution. Some of us do learn and change.

A more predictable response to the Senate torture report was found on the Dec. 10 Wall Street Journal editorial page: “The report on CIA interrogations is a collection of partisan second-guessing … The report is more important for illustrating how fickle Americans are about their security, and so unfair to those who provide it” (“Spooks of the Senate,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 10).

I and many others are being unfair to the torturing CIA? Actually, there are reporters on The Wall Street Journal who are independent of its editorial line, and are probably embarrassed by this opinion.

And lo and behold, writing in the New York Daily News is Jon Yoo, who, while at the Justice Department, helped create the “torture memos” that gave George W. Bush and Dick …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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