Human Rights Groups to White House: Act on CIA Torture Allegations

In a new report, Human Rights Watch argues that the federal government has the information needed to prosecute CIA officials who the group says allowed torture to take place after the 9/11 attacks. The problem, advocates say, is that the Obama administration has failed to act on the information.

According to Human Rights Watch, everything that Obama administration officials need to prosecute Bush-era intelligence officials for human rights violations is right in front of them; they just have to act.

That’s the crux of a recent report by the advocacy group. No More Excuses: A Roadmap to Justice for CIA Torture, a 153-page document available online, breaks down in great detail the tactics used by intelligence officials to detain and torture terror suspects, including “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding and the use of secret prisons called “black sites” that were created in collaboration with other countries.

A Buzzfeed story described the report as “basically a blueprint for prosecuting CIA torturers.” The problem, says HRW, is that the Obama administration has refused to deal with this issue, despite the fact that the U.S. Senate has already created a report of its own researching the matter.

“It’s been a year since the Senate torture report, and still the Obama administration has not opened new criminal investigations into CIA torture,” HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said in a news release. “Without criminal investigations, which would remove torture as a policy option, Obama’s legacy will forever be poisoned.”

HRW’s stance has some existing support within the world of associations. Earlier this year, the American Bar Association called on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the torture allegations. ABA President Paulette Brown re-emphasized that stance in a video produced by HRW.

“What we’ve asked the Justice Department to do is take a fresh look, a comprehensive look, into what has occurred, to basically leave no stone unturned into investigating possible violations,” she said in the video. “And, if any are found, to take the appropriate action as they would in any other matter.”

The controversy over tactics used to fight terrorism still lingers in the news cycle, especially in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. Recent comments made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump helped to revive the controversial use of waterboarding in particular.

“I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they’d do to us. … I would absolutely bring back interrogation, and strong interrogation,” Trump said in an ABC “This Week” interview last month, according to The Washington Post.

(Alex Wong/Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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