Many Americans have called on the Obama Administration to investigate the alleged torture and other detainee abuses that have occurred over the past several years here in America. Our voices have been heard.
Well, on Monday, the Obama Administration took actions that demonstrate a commitment to ending detainee abuse and beginning a process to hold those responsible accountable for the torture. To read the State of the Attorney General Eric Holder regarding a preliminary review into the interrogation of certain detainee abuses, click here.
Attorney General Holder's decision to appoint a prosecutor to re-examine a number of cases of alleged torture and abuse is the latest sign that the Administration's 'don't look back' policy is being reassessed. We first saw this welcome reconsideration in July when the President ordered his national security team to gather the facts about the alleged Dasht-e-Leili massacre in Afghanistan in 2001.
Beginning in 2005, the organization Physicians for Human Rights has documented the systematic use of psychological and physical torture by US personnel against detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram airbase and elsewhere in its groundbreaking reports, Break Them Down, Leave No Marks and Broken Laws, Broken Lives. The CIA Inspector General's report (PDF) released yesterday confirmed the use of abusive and illegal interrogation techniques documented in these reports.
We couldn’t agree more with Physician for Human Rights who wrote, “This is yet another milestone. While much work remains to be done - to restore the US commitment against torture, ensure humane treatment of detainees, and mobilize the health professional community to adopt strong ethical prohibitions against participation in interrogations – this is a historical turning point”