No Comment — April 6, 2009, 8:31 pm

“Investigate and Punish the Perpetrators”

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?

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us If You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Body Politic·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘He wrote all these love poems, but he was a son of a bitch,’ said a reporter from a wire service.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
Love Crimes·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If a man rapes a woman, she might be forced to marry him, because in Afghanistan sex before marriage is dishonorable.”
Photographs © Andrew Quilty/Oculi/Agence VU
Article
Game On·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had posed a truly existential threat.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Come With Us If You Want to Live·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I was startled that all these negative ideologies could be condensed so easily into a positive worldview.”
Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:

36,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today