Green Party: Prosecute Officials Who Approved Torture

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Green Party of the United States supports the demand by a U.N. special investigator that U.S. officials and CIA personnel who authorized and carried out torture must be prosecuted.

Ben Emmerson, the United Nation's special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, called for prosecution in the wake of a Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture and "black sites" in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, released on Tuesday. Greens urged Sen. Mark Udall (D-Col.) to release the full report before he leaves office.

"The torture revelations -- some of which were already known -- show the extent to which the U.S. has turned into a 'security state' in which human rights and the rule of law have been abandoned. The Senate report exposes the appalling complicity of the Bush and Obama administrations and Democratic and Republican leaders in allowing torture and shielding officials who ordered or approved it from punishment," said Darryl! L.C. Moch, national co-chair of the Green Party.

"The mentality that favors impunity for officials who authorized torture and other serious war crimes is the same mentality that defends impunity for police who commit murder and brutality and the use of civilian police forces as occupation armies in targeted Black neighborhoods," said Mr. Moch.


The Green Party has supported investigation and prosecution of torture and war crimes ever since reports began to surface in the wake of President Bush's order to invade Iraq, asserting in 2006 that such abuses of power were grounds for impeachment (http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2006_01_03.shtml).

Greens said that former President George W. Bush should be among those prosecuted in light of an admission in "Decision Points," his memoir published in 2010, that he personally approved the use of waterboarding against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed. The Bush Administration ordered the Justice Department to provide legal justifications for torture and claimed the right to use waterboarding, even though Japanese military officers were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II.

Former Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who've admitted their support for torture, must also be investigated and prosecuted, as well as Obama Administration officials who enabled torture and indefinite detention of prisoners known to be innocent to continue despite President Obama's promise to end "enhanced interrogation" techniques and close Guantanamo Bay, said Green Party leaders.

Greens also called for President Obama to overturn the conviction of John Kiriakou, the CIA whistle-blower who is serving a 30-month sentence for exposing the agency's torture program (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/10/cia-torture-prosecution_n_6298646.html). CIA employees who have refused to participate in such crimes or who have exposed them must be shielded from prosecution and retaliation.

As the CIA itself has publicly acknowledged, torture is not a reliable method for gathering accurate information (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/world/senate-torture-report-shows-cia-infighting-over-interrogation-program.html). Instead, it often provides useful lies because torture victims tend to tell interrogators what they want to hear. Torture under the U.S.'s extraordinary rendition program provided the Bush Administration with false reasons for launching its war on Iraq in 2003, leading to the deaths of over 4,000 U.S. troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

Greens said that U.S. laws and international agreements to which the U.S. is signatory (Geneva conventions, U.N. Convention Against Torture) provided the legal basis for the U.S. justice system and International Criminal Court to begin prosecuting officials responsible for torture and related crimes.

Failure to punish officials will ensure that future administrations will engage in torture and other crimes. Green Party leaders stressed that top-level officials, rather than low-level employees following orders, must be held accountable to prevent a repeat of such abuses of power.

"Torture by the U.S. and the existence of secret prisons have long been a recruitment tool for violent groups like al-Qaeda. The main purpose of torture is to inflict terror. The Bush Administration turned the U.S. into a terror state," said Starlene Rankin, co-chair of the Green Party.

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See also:

Live Coverage of the Senate Torture Report
By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, December 9, 2014
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/09/live-coverage-release-senate-torture-report

U.S. Faulted for Undermining Torture Convention
By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service, December 11, 2014
http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/12/us-faulted-for-undermining-torture-convention/

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