A Vast Criminal Conspiracy to Torture

It is worth going back a few weeks to call attention to the remarkable Dec. 21 New York Times editorial scolding the Obama administration for failing to prosecute previous administration for their torture regime. For the normally staid Grey Lady, the Times editorial board commentary is astonishingly sharp. The editors quote a ACLU-Human Rights Watch letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding an investigation into “a vast criminal conspiracy, under color of law, to commit torture and other serious crimes.”

The summary of the Senate report – with its gory details of “rectal feeding” (state-conducted rape) and manslaughter from the establishment itself – seems to have allowed the paper of record to open up. It is now finally possible to accept as fact that many innocents were among the prisoners; that the torture (yes it can now be called ‘torture’ and the euphemisms retired) did not yield useful intel.

The Times chastises Obama for his “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards” rhetoric (a doctrine appreciated by every criminal).

“…as hard as it is to imagine Mr. Obama having the political courage to order a new investigation, it is harder to imagine a criminal probe of the actions of a former president.

But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos. There are many more names that could be considered, including Jose Rodriguez Jr., the C.I.A. official who ordered the destruction of the videotapes; the psychologists who devised the torture regimen; and the C.I.A. employees who carried out that regimen.” …

“Because of the Senate’s report, we now know the distance officials in the executive branch went to rationalize, and conceal, the crimes they wanted to commit. The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions.”


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