The Torture Report

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

Since 2004, the ACLU and its partners — the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace — have been litigating under the Freedom of Information Act for documents concerning the abuse of prisoners held by the Department of Defense and CIA. The litigation has produced thousands of pages of government documents, including the Justice Department torture memos that were released in April, the FBI emails that discussed the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo, and dozens of autopsy reports relating to the deaths of prisoners in the custody of the Defense Department.

To those of us who have been working on the lawsuit, though, the remarkable thing is not how much information has been released but how much is still being withheld. Six years after we filed our FOIA request, and five years after the Abu Ghraib photos were broadcast by CBS 60 Minutes, the Defense Department is still withholding photographs showing prisoners being abused at facilities other than Abu Ghraib as well as interrogation directives used by special forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The CIA is still withholding large segments of a crucial report written by the CIA's Inspector General, transcripts in which prisoners describe the abuse they suffered at the hands of their CIA interrogators, and hundreds of documents relating to the destruction of videotapes showing CIA prisoners being waterboarded.

It's clear that it will be months and perhaps years before we have anything that resembles a complete picture of how the torture policies were developed, on whose authority they were implemented, and what consequences they had for prisoners held by the military and CIA.

If it's remarkable how much information is still being withheld, it's even more remarkable how little has been done to address the information that has been released. Congress has convened no select committee. The Justice Department has inaugurated no criminal investigation other than a narrowly circumscribed one into incidents in which CIA interrogators exceeded the authority that had been invested in them by their superiors. The victims of the torture program have received no official acknowledgement, and the proposition that they should be compensated for the abuse they suffered at the hands of their interrogators is one that has no traction at all.

In an effort to fill at least some of this gap, the ACLU yesterday launched a new online project that will attempt, over the next months, to give the full account of the Bush administration's torture program, from its improvised origins to the systematized, lawyer-rationalized maltreatment of hundreds of prisoners in U.S. custody around the world. Published serially online, The Torture Report will bring together everything we now know from government documents, official investigations, press reports, photographs, witness statements, and testimonials into a single narrative — one that is updated dynamically and subject to critical review and improvement as it unfolds.

It will be a collaborative project. We have invited a group of expert contributors to offer comments and observations as new material appears. These contributors include Matthew Alexander, David Frakt, Glenn Greenwald, Joanne Mariner, Deborah Popowski, John Sifton, and Marcy Wheeler, as well as attorneys from the ACLU; their annotations will be viewable in line in the text. We are also inviting members of the public to contribute additional information and comments at the end of the chapter. As new sections are added to the Report, chapters already online will be edited, expanded, or amended to address or incorporate the most valuable suggestions and latest information.

President Obama has spoken eloquently about the importance of restoring America's moral authority abroad. Restoring that moral authority, though, will require restoring the rule of law at home, and restoring the rule of law at home will require finally confronting the gross human rights abuses of the last administration. Crucial to this process will be the creation of a comprehensive and publicly accessible record of the last eight years. We're hoping that The Torture Report will be an important part of that record.

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Vic Livingston

When Will ACLU tackle DOMESTIC TORTURE enabled by U.S. agencies?

SILENT, HARMFUL MICROWAVE AND LASER DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS DEPLOYED AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS -- AMERICA's HORRIFIC SHAME

• When will Congress demand an investigation into America's "Silent Holocaust"?

A federal-local multi-agency coordinated action program -- an ongoing legacy of the Bush-Cheney years -- is committing a quiet genocide on thousands of unjustly targeted Americans via microwave/laser weaponry; covert financial exploitation; and a grassroots vigilante army fronted by community policing, town watch and anti-terrorism units who use covertly placed warrantless GPS devices, and cell phones, to stalk their targets -- protected by federal and local law enforcement who know all about it...

...an American Gestapo hiding in plain sight, unreported by a complacent mainstream media, unaddressed by naive and apparently misinformed Obama officials.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-ter... OR (if link is corrupted / disabled): http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

A True American

Yes, there are so many things about war that are horrible. Thats how it has always been, from Indians fighting Indians, or the early pioneers fighting the Indians, the Civil War to the present war, and their techniques were much much worse. It is the cause that is the issue. Why are you guys so easily forgetting the torture on SEPT 11? What about all of the family members, brothers ans sisters, moms and dads, sons and daughters,someones husband or wife, that went to work that beautiful morning on Sept,11 and ending up having to make the decision to jump out of a window, or burn to death. What about the people who fell down the elevator shafts to their deaths when the cords burnt thru. What about all of the fireman and policeman standing in the stairwell who knew the building was collapsing, but didn't try to get out because they were trying to save lives. You're trying to defend the people that either caused, had a part in, or may one day take part in, or believe in the
killing of innocent Americans. I don't see you protesting when any of our soldiers are kidnapped and tortured. I don't know whether to feel sorry for you guys for your ignorance or to protest out of anger for what you are doing, by making good look evil and evil look good, but at least for now I can let you know how I, and most true American feel.

A True American

I wrote a blog yesterday which you didn't post. Maybe because the truth hurts or maybe no matter what the truth is, it doesn't matter, as long as you get to push your agenda, wrong or right. By the way what nationality are you? In my blog I wrote: Yes there are so many things about war that are horrible. Thats how it has always been, from Indians fighting Indians, or the early Pioneers fighting Indians, the Revolutionary war to the present war, and their techniques were much worse! It is the cause that is the issue. why are you guys so easily forgetting the torture of SEPT 11? What about all of the family members,someones brother or sister, mom or dad, husband or wife, son or daughter, that went to work on that beautiful Sept morning and ended up having to make the decision to jump out of a high rise window or burn to death. What about the people who fell down the elevator shafts after the cords were burnt through? Or what about the fireman and policeman in the stairwells who knew the building was collapsing but didn't try to get out because they were trying to save lives. You are trying to defend the people that either caused, had a part in, or believe in the killing of innocent Americans for your own political purpose. I don't see you protesting when one of our soldiers are tortured and killed. I don't know whether to feel sorry for you, or to be angry and protest against your organization for making evil look good, and good look evil, so for now I'll just let you know how I, and most other true Americans feel.

roald

A True American implies there is only one point of view. That is wrong. Our diversity helps to make us strong.

Unless this is your first response to a blog, you will know that it may take some time for the ACLU reviewers to ensure your comments meet the terms of use.

Some counterpoints to your screed...
- Torture is wrong
- Torture is ineffective
- Torture is a recruiting tool for terrorists
- Many of the people tortured by our country were not terrorists or enablers of terrorism

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