Will Obama Take on Bush-era Torture?

Some officials in the formative administration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama have said they support the creation of a bipartisan congressional commission to investigate potentially abusive U.S. counter-terrorism policies, according to a Newsweek report Saturday. The officials have suggested that such an investigation should be similar to the 9/11 Commission, with a focus on making public the details surrounding the development and authorization of harsh interrogation techniques and other counter-terrorism policies, rather than incriminating those involved. Both Obama and his aides have said previously said that his administration is not likely to prosecute those who approved or carried out the torture or other harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, and will instead focus on the creation of new anti-torture laws.

Earlier this month, human rights experts at the University of California, Berkeley, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report urging Obama to form an independent, nonpartisan commission with subpoena powers to investigate the treatment of U.S. detainees in Guantanamo as well as in facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their proposal, however, was more directed at establishing accountability, as the authors warned that any commission established by Obama must not be undercut by the issuance of pardons, amnesties, or other shielding measures.

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