March 5, 2013

UN investigator: Obama must release details of Bush kidnapping and torture program

UN investigator: Obama must release details of Bush kidnapping and torture program

UN investigator: Obama must release details of Bush kidnapping and torture program

by Stephen C. Webster | President Barack Obama must release the details of internal probes into the Bush administration’s practice of kidnapping and torturing terrorism suspects, a United Nations investigator said Monday.

Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, will release a new report on Tuesday detailing his findings about the Bush-era program, according to Reuters. The report was not published online ahead of a planned hearing set for Tuesday, and a spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

“Despite this clear repudiation of the unlawful actions carried out by the Bush-era CIA, many of the facts remain classified, and no public official has so far been brought to justice in the United States,” Emmerson says in the report, Reuters noted.

He added that there is “credible evidence” that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under the Bush administration had “black sites” in Thailand, Poland, Morocco, Lithuania and Romania. Emmerson’s report is expected to urge lawmakers in those countries to fully investigate the matter and prosecute former officials if necessary.

Emmerson added that a 6,000-page U.S. Senate investigation led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and which the Senate voted to adopt in December, contains the most extensive account yet of the Bush administration’s rendition and torture practices. Emmerson’s report is expected to label the Bush administration’s human rights violations as “gross or systemic,” Reuters said.

The U.N. investigator has served since 2011 and is also engaged in a probe of the Obama administration’s use of drone aircraft in America’s ongoing terror war. He recently endorseddrone program architect and Obama counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the CIA, suggesting the appointment would place a “mediating legal presence in direct control of the positions the CIA will adopt and advance, so as to bring the CIA much more closely under direct presidential and democratic control.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), however, expressed concern last month that Brennan was complicit in the Bush administration’s rendition and torture efforts. The rights group joined with a coalition of other organizations to ask that Sen. Feinstein thoroughly grill Brennan about his role in that program, if any, along with his stake in President Obama’s targeted drone killings.

A Senate Intelligence Committee vote on Brennan’s confirmation to lead the CIA was delayed last week amid a disagreement over sensitive administration documents detailing counter-terrorism operations, although no official reason was given for the delay. The committee is expected to take up the matter of Brennan’s nomination again on Tuesday.

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