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        class="header"> <b><small><small><a
href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/01/us-cia-torture-unfinished-business"
                id="reader-domain" class="domain"><a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/01/us-cia-torture-unfinished-business">https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/01/us-cia-torture-unfinished-business</a></a></small></small></b>
        <h1 id="reader-title">US: CIA Torture is Unfinished Business</h1>
        <div id="reader-credits" class="credits">December 1, 2015</div>
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              <p>(Washington, DC) – Obama administration claims that
                legal obstacles prevent criminal investigations into
                torture by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are
                unpersuasive, and risk leaving a legacy of torture as a
                policy option, Human Rights Watch said in a report
                released today. Sufficient evidence exists for the
                attorney general to order criminal investigations of
                senior United States officials and others involved in
                the post-September 11 CIA program for torture,
                conspiracy to torture, and other crimes under US law.<br>
              </p>
              <article class="node node-report align-right embed
                report--teaser report--longform-teaser clearfix"> <span
                  class="rdf-meta element-hidden" content="No More
                  Excuses"></span>
                <figure class="report-image"> <a
href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/01/no-more-excuses/roadmap-justice-cia-torture">
                    <br>
                  </a> </figure>
                <div class="report-content">
                  <p class="dateline--small"><time
                      datetime="2015-12-01T09:20:00-05:00" class="date">December
                      1, 2015</time> <span class="type">Report</span></p>
                  <h3 class="title"><a
href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/01/no-more-excuses/roadmap-justice-cia-torture">No
                      More Excuses</a></h3>
                  <p class="subtitle--tiny">A Roadmap to Justice for CIA
                    Torture</p>
                </div>
              </article>
              <p style="display: inline;" class="readability-styled">
                The 153-page report, “</p>
              <a href="http://hrw.org/node/283564">No More Excuses: A
                Roadmap to Justice for CIA Torture</a>
              <p style="display: inline;" class="readability-styled">,”
                sets out evidence to support the main criminal charges
                that can be brought against those responsible for
                state-sanctioned torture, and challenges claims that
                prosecutions are not legally possible. The report also
                outlines US legal obligations to provide redress to
                victims of torture, and steps the US should take to do
                so. It also details actions that other countries should
                take to pursue criminal investigations into CIA torture.</p>
              <br>
              <figure data-yt-id="BObYKGgAp2Y" class="embed node
                node-video node-promoted multimedia"> <span
                  class="rdf-meta element-hidden" content="US: No Excuse
                  for Failure to Investigate CIA Torture"></span> <figcaption
                  class="figure-info clearfix"> </figcaption>
              </figure>
              <p>“It’s been a year since the Senate torture report, and
                still the Obama administration has not opened new
                criminal investigations into CIA torture,” said Kenneth
                Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Without
                criminal investigations, which would remove torture as a
                policy option, Obama’s legacy will forever be poisoned.”</p>
              <p>On December 9, 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee
                issued a <a
href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/10/us-senate-report-slams-cia-torture-lies">scathing
                  summary</a> of the still classified 6,700-page report
                documenting the CIA’s detention and interrogation
                program. The Senate summary, while confirming <a
href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/09/05/us-torture-and-rendition-gaddafis-libya">previous
                  reporting</a>, also revealed that CIA torture was more
                brutal, systematic, and widespread than had been
                previously reported. It provided new details of abuse,
                such as so-called <a
href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/06/15/prosecute-cia-interrogators-sexual-assault">rectal
                  feeding</a> of some detainees, and gave information on
                the brutal impact that painful stress positions and
                sleep deprivation had on detainees. The summary focused
                on whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” were an
                effective means of gathering useful intelligence –
                concluding they were not – but it did not evaluate the
                legality of the program.</p>
              <p>The Justice Department says that it had <a
href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/14/world/europe/un-commission-presses-us-on-torture.html?_r=1">already
                  investigated</a> CIA abuses in 2009 and concluded
                there was insufficient admissible evidence to bring
                charges. But that investigation, headed by John Durham,
                examined only CIA abuses that went beyond “authorized”
                actions, instead of all CIA torture and ill-treatment.
                Even then, investigators do not appear to have <a
href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/11/14/dispatches-why-didnt-us-interview-cia-torture-victims">interviewed</a>
                any <a
href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/12/more-cia-detainees-come-forward-us-investigation-torture">former
                  detainees</a>, undercutting claims that their inquiry
                was thorough or credible.</p>
              <p> One defense frequently heard is that the CIA and
                senior White House officials relied on legal opinions by
                the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel
                purporting to find that “enhanced interrogation
                techniques” were lawful – the so-called Torture Memos.
                However, the Senate summary provides evidence that CIA
                officials knew from the outset that those practices
                would violate anti-torture laws. Other evidence shows
                that CIA and White House officials went shopping for
                guarantees against criminal prosecution and when that
                was refused, helped to craft those same legal opinions
                authorizing the torture that they would rely upon.</p>
              <figure class="embed block--ruled quote node node-quote
                align-left multimedia">
                <blockquote class="quote-content"> It’s been a year
                  since the Senate torture report, and still the Obama
                  administration has not opened new criminal
                  investigations into CIA torture. Without criminal
                  investigations, which would remove torture as a policy
                  option, Obama’s legacy will forever be poisoned. </blockquote>
              </figure>
              <p style="display: inline;" class="readability-styled">
                The Torture Memos were so strained in their legal
                reasoning that they cannot fairly be characterized as an
                honest interpretation of the law. These facts are the
                antithesis of the good-faith reliance on the advice of
                counsel that could serve as a legitimate defense to
                torture charges. Further, the Senate summary and other
                evidence show that the CIA abused detainees in ways that
                were not authorized and applied authorized techniques in
                ways that far exceeded authorizations.</p>
              <p> Although much of the torture and other abuse took
                place a decade or more ago, statutes of limitation do
                not bar several criminal charges. The usual five-year
                federal statute of limitations is not a bar to the
                crimes of torture or conspiracy to torture when there
                was a “foreseeable risk that death or serious bodily
                injury” may result, as well as for certain sexual abuse
                charges. In addition, the statute of limitations for the
                crime of conspiracy may be extended if those responsible
                conceal a central component of the plot, which was the
                case with the CIA program, Human Rights Watch said.</p>
              <p> Under the United Nations Convention against Torture,
                which the United States <a
                  href="http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=35858">ratified
                  in 1988</a>, governments are required to credibly
                investigate allegations of torture and to prosecute
                where warranted. The failure to investigate and
                prosecute CIA torture increases the danger that some
                future president will authorize similar illegal
                interrogation methods in response to an inevitable
                serious security threat. Several presidential candidates
                for the 2016 elections have <a
href="https://www.yahoo.com/politics/carly-fiorina-defends-bush-era-torture-and-spying-130015256041.html">defended
                  the use</a> of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and
                some have said they <a
href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-bring-back-waterboarding/story?id=35354443">would
                  use them again</a> if elected.</p>
              <p> The Convention against Torture, which the US
                government was instrumental in shaping, also requires
                redress and compensation to torture victims. But the
                Bush and Obama administrations have <a
                  href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/09/us/09secrets.html?_r=0">actively
                  thwarted</a> every attempt by former detainees to
                obtain remedies in US courts, invoking claims of
                immunity and national security to get lawsuits dismissed
                before the plaintiffs could even introduce evidence of
                abuse.</p>
              <p> The Justice Department should appoint a special
                prosecutor to conduct new investigations ensuring that
                all relevant witnesses, including claimed victims of
                torture, are interviewed and all available relevant
                physical evidence is collected, preserved, and examined,
                Human Rights Watch said.</p>
              <p> “If the United States with its established democracy
                and stable political system can flout its legal
                obligation to prosecute torture, it undermines respect
                for the rule of law the world over,” Roth said.
                “Government officials who went shopping for and helped
                to craft legal opinions justifying the unjustifiable
                shouldn’t be able to rely on those opinions to shield
                themselves from liability.”</p>
              <div data-type="image" class="embed">
                <p> The report also describes <a
                    href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/05/world/europe/05italy.html">cases
                    abroad</a> to investigate CIA torture-related
                  abuses. Investigations in other countries have
                  targeted US officials as well as national officials
                  alleged to have participated or been complicit in CIA
                  abuses. The duty to prosecute lies principally with
                  the US government, but the Convention against Torture
                  contains a “universal jurisdiction” clause that
                  obligates all governments to prosecute suspects who
                  come on their territory, regardless of where the
                  torture took place. US failure to conduct its own
                  thorough and credible investigations into CIA torture
                  means that other governments should take steps to
                  investigate these crimes.</p>
                <p> “In the face of the Obama administration’s refusal
                  to investigate and prosecute senior officials
                  responsible for these serious crimes, other countries
                  should proceed,” Roth said. “If President Obama won’t
                  prevent a dangerous precedent of impunity for torture,
                  other countries should step in.”</p>
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