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The Red Cross apparently thinks that a number of senior Bush Administration figures belong in jail. Its report on “high-value detainees” from February 2007 has just been published by the New York Review of Books. It can be downloaded here(PDF).
A stand-out among the conclusions:
…That the US authorities investigate all allegations of ill-treatment and take steps to punish the perpetrators, where appropriate, and to prevent such abuses from happening again.
As we know, the treatment of the sixteen high-value detainees was reviewed and approved at a very high level. The specific regimen for these detainees was presented to and approved by the Principals Committee of the National Security Committee, chaired by Condoleezza Rice. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a recent interview with Rachel Maddow, properly focused our attention on the fact that an extensive paper trail exists which has not yet become public. Powell said it should be public and the participants should be questioned about it. I give him points for all of that, particularly in that he will himself figure as a target of this inquiry.
The Red Cross does not reach quickly to an “investigate and punish” recommendation. That happens only where the evidence of criminal conduct is manifest. And it was in this case. They use the word “torture” repeatedly, without equivocation or qualification.
Given that six of the key Bush Administration perpetrators now face a criminal investigation in Spain, the publication of the Red Cross report makes it far more likely that the Spanish prosecution will go forward. The question, however, is for the Obama Administration: why has Eric Holder blocked the criminal investigation that a proper understanding of his duties would lead him to initiate?
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”