Justice Department Closes the Book on CIA Torture and Deaths in Custody
The Justice Department has closed a probe on Bush-era torture and killings by CIA agents, and has decided against prosecuting anyone.
Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that the Justice Department “declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The probe was opened in 2009, and looked at the cases of about 100 prisoners. The last two cases looked at are now officially closed, with no charges coming.
The probe of the CIA was the Obama administration’s only effort to look at prosecuting those who implemented the Bush regime of torture on alleged militants and terrorists captured in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the administration never considered going after those top-level administration officials who crafted the rationale behind the torture of prisoners, which violated US and international law.
Antiwar.com has more on the cases of the two specific prisoners’ cases that Holder closed the book on:
The investigation centered on Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi, both of whom died after being tortured by CIA interrogators. Rahman in 2002 after being shackled to a cold concrete wall in a secret CIA prison in northern Kabul, Afghanistan, known as the Salt Pit.
Jamadi died in 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq after CIA officers beat him severely, stripped him naked, put a bag over his head, cuffed his hands behind his back and chained his arms to a barred window, stretching and breaking his arms.
One witness to Jamadi’s treatment, reported Jane Mayer inThe Dark Side, recalled that as Jamadi was being beaten he moaned “I’m dying, I’m dying.” To which the CIA interrogator replied, “I don’t care. You’ll be wishing you were dying.” A military autopsy later declared al-Jamadi’s death a homicide.
That the Justice Department will hold no one accountable for the killing of prisoners in CIA custody is nothing short of a scandal. The Justice Department has declined to bring charges against the officials who authorized torture, the lawyers who sought to legitimate it, and the interrogators who used it. It has successfully shut down every legal suit meant to hold officials civilly liable.
Continuing impunity threatens to undermine the universally recognized prohibition on torture and other abusive treatment and sends the dangerous signal to government officials that there will be no consequences for their use of torture and other cruelty. Today's decision not to file charges against individuals who tortured prisoners to death is yet another entry in what is already a shameful record.