Blog of Rights


Accountability Is Coming to the USA

By Philippe Sands at 11:23am
The world is watching as America attempts to come to terms with the abuse it unleashed in the aftermath of 9/11, and trying to assess whether there will be any sort of accountability for the perpetrators of the abuse. With a wide-ranging Spanish criminal investigation into torture at Guantánamo threatening to embarrass the U.S., Barack Obama recently decided to declassify legal memos prepared under the Bush administration, apparently in the hope the country would move on. The opposite has happened. Ever more documents set out in meticulous detail the full extent of the cruelty: who was abused by whom, how they did it and what was done. The truth is gradually being revealed in stark detail, from the number of times waterboarding was used to the legal deliberations that led to it. New photos have not yet been released, but it seems inevitable that in due course more graphic details will emerge. President Obama has even raised the possibility of a U.S. criminal investigation, although his opposition to a truth commission or other forms of inquiry may be undermining his credibility in some quarters. Nevertheless, developments since he took office have been significant.
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