Sunday, 10 October 2010

"Criminal Standard of Proof" of CIA Torture in Poland

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CIA sealThe U.S. CIA engaged in torture in its secret prison in Poland with a “criminal standard of proof,” the British Broadcasting Corporation reported October 6. The remarks represent the view of former jurist and Swiss Senator Dick Marty, a the former Council of Europe Rapporteur on Torture who has investigated the case.

The CIA issued a standard statement: “The program is over. This agency does not discuss publicly where detention facilities may or may not have been.” Among the residents of the Polish prison was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks. Federal investigations have indicated that Muhammed had received "183 applications of the waterboard," but never acknowledged where the waterboarding took place.

The BBC noted that a Polish prosecutor is debating whether or not to bring charges against CIA officials.The George W. Bush-era policy of engaging in a variety of torture methods — of which waterboarding was only the best known — has led to a public relations disaster for the United States. Italian and German officials have already introduced kidnapping charges against CIA officers for abducting their residents during the Bush era. The public relations disaster (combined with the human rights violations) is not likely to get any better. The Obama administration has quietly continued the Bush policy of maintaining secret prisons and engaging in torture, something that foreign propaganda agencies have widely reported.

“Among the more common torture methods of the CIA are frequent beatings, attachment of electrodes to the private parts, denial of sleep interspersed with 12 hour non-stop interrogation,” trumpets the “Voice of Russia” government propaganda agency. “These are but a few of the methods of torture used by the American secret Agency.” Voice of Russia also said: “In January 2009, U.S President, Barack Obama ordered the closure of all CIA secret prisons in foreign countries, and three months later, the Agency reported the carrying out of the order. It was a lie. The secret prison in the Bagram air base in Afghanistan is functioning, asserts the Red Cross.”

Indeed, the BBC reported back in April that torture at the prison was ongoing. And the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed in May to the BBC that the CIA was still running secret prisons and engaging in torture last spring under the Obama administration, despite a highly publicized executive order by Obama during the first week of his presidency.

Torture is a felony under U.S. law, punishable with 20 years in prison (and if death results from the torture, the death penalty is available). Torture is also explicitly banned by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the federal government from administering “cruel and unusual punishments.”

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