UN Rights Chief Says Torture Probe Must Go To The Top . . . Paging Mr. Cheney → Washingtons Blog
UN Rights Chief Says Torture Probe Must Go To The Top . . . Paging Mr. Cheney - Washingtons Blog

Thursday, August 27, 2009

UN Rights Chief Says Torture Probe Must Go To The Top . . . Paging Mr. Cheney

The head of the U.N.'s human rights arm is demanding that the torture investigation go to the very top:

The U.S. prosecutor's investigation into alleged criminal CIA interrogation techniques must go right to the top political level, the chief U.N. rights official said on Thursday.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, 67, in a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, urged European and other countries to resettle Guantanamo detainees so that President Barack Obama can close the U.S.-run prison in Cuba by year-end...

The former United Nations war crimes judge [said] "Whenever people come under the jurisdiction of the United States, the United States has to be seen to be upholding the very high standards that they claim for their own citizens" ...

Any torture or death inflicted on suspects held by U.S. authorities in places including Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan should be part of this investigation, she said.

Asked whether it should go beyond establishing the criminal liability of CIA interrogators, Pillay replied: "That is international law on accountability -- that you do not stop at the foot soldiers, you go right up to the ultimate authority that is legally responsible."

And these would include those who devised the policy, those who ordered it," said Pillay, a Tamil from South Africa.

Former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, a vocal defender of the Bush administration's security policies, has said intelligence obtained from harsh interrogation techniques had saved lives.

Of course, it has been proven beyond a shadow of doubt that torture did not save lives. See this, this, and this.

Moreover, Cheney is the guy who:

And - to cap it off - the torture program which Cheney created was specifically aimed at producing false confessions in an attempt to link Iraq and 9/11, even though Cheney (and everyone else) knew that no link existed.

Cheney is definitely one of the people at "the top" in the whole torture fiasco.

Update: As former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald notes today, the Founding Fathers would have been sickened by Cheney's rationalizations:

In his 1795 essay, which he entitled Dissertations on First Principles of Government Thomas Paine wrote this as his last paragraph:

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

Can that be any clearer? Of course, Paine also wrote in Common Sense that "so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king" and "in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other." And in his Dissertations, he also wrote:

The executive is not invested with the power of deliberating whether it shall act or not; it has no discretionary authority in the case; for it can act no other thing than what the laws decree, and it is obliged to act conformably thereto. . . .

For anyone who believes in the basic principles of the founding, the fact that these acts of torture are illegal -- felonies -- ought to end the discussion about whether they were justified.


  1. Not to be TOO picky....but Cheney wasn't the top. He was the brains, motivator, instigator, and general facilitator,not to mention President-de-facto, but not the top.

    Oh, GW?

  2. Prosicute him already!

  3. Prosecute Bush Cheney and the whole Iraq group that sat and discussed what procedures should be used on an individual basis. That makes them all guilty. I would make an exception to the no death penalty for war crimes rule obsolete in this case as it would take this to be a little less ashamed of my country.

  4. The issue of torture for profit must include the entire issue of outsourcing of government functions to the private sector in order to evade accountability. The examination should be comprehensive, looking not just at Guantanamo and overseas secret CIA prisons and military internment camps, but also at the domestic situation here within the United States. Prisons, privatized prisons, and the torture within them as well as by communty policing groups ( read police-backed mafia thugs who operate undercover ) are the already existing methods of covert violence based domestic control that operate unaccountably, in the
    shadows and out of scrutiny of the public awareness...

  5. As lovely as it would be to Prosecute anyone for this torture fiasco, it will never happen. Obama doesn't care, no one cares about the impotent UN, and Dick is protected by every idiotic, gun-toting redneck in America.

    The only way civilization will change is when somebody ends it.

  6. But gee, GW, if President Bush and Vice President Cheney SAY they're following the Constitution, and top government lawyers wrote legal opinions in support of enhanced interrogation techniques, doesn't that level of professionalism ensure their actions were/are legal, especially since a Constitutional legal scholar is now our President and not demanding prosecution? And I certainly don't read the information you present in the mainstream media!

    If what you're pointing to is accurate in fact and understanding of the law, this would be a criminal conspiracy of the top leadership of both political parties with the complicity of the seven corporations that comprise our mainstream media. This would mean what Ben Franklin predicted came true:

    On September 18, 1787, just after signing the US Constitution, Benjamin Franklin met with members of the press. He was asked what kind of government America would have. Franklin: “A republic, if you can keep it.” In his speech to the Constitutional Convention, Franklin admonished: “This [U.S. Constitution] is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism... when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.”
    The Quotable Founding Fathers, pg. 39 http://books.google.com/books?id=TizXI1yOTBQC&dq

    This would mean, George Washington, the need for leadership at a country-founding level, complete with the intellectual prowess to discern fact from spin and the moral courage to simply state the truth. And this would require many, many of us at such standing.


    Is that what you meant here: http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2006/04/they-wouldnt-do-that.html and alluded to here: http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2007/05/psychiatrists-and-psychologists.html ?



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