In light of Alberto Gonzales’s confirmation hearings, all of the papers lead with torture coverage. The Washington Post reminds us of the lawsuit filed by an Australian detainee in Guantanamo who had been rendered to Egypt. When he returned, three eye-witnesses confirm that he was missing his fingernails, was electrocuted, beaten, and nearly drowned. His lawyers are trying to stop plans to send him to Egypt. Rendition is the CIA’s temporary solution for dealing with “sensitive detainees” not eligible for legal review.
Also, newly released documents by the ACLU show that FBI officials complained of “coercive tactics” in 2002. The ACLU points out that FBI investigations of the abuse were “sharply scaled back and that the agency is still withholding records.
A new report in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that in another instance of Gitmo techniques “migrating” to Iraq, Army doctors helped interrogators abuse detainees (the same has also been reported of Afghanistan) by supplying them with sensitive medical information. That information was then used to identify detainee breaking points.
Finally, Mark Danner pens a scathing Op-Ed opposing the nomination of Alberto Gonzales.
- Mr. Gonzales is unfit because the slow river of litigation is certain to bring before the next attorney general a raft of torture cases that challenge the very policies that he personally helped devise and put into practice.
- He is unfit because, while the attorney general is charged with upholding the law, the documents show that as White House counsel, Mr. Gonzales, in the matter of torture, helped his client to concoct strategies to circumvent it.
- And he is unfit, finally, because he has rightly become the symbol of the United States’ fateful departure from a body of settled international law and human rights practice for which the country claims to stand.
But most importantly, Mark recognizes the new order, in which accusations are made, damning investigations and documents are publicized, but no accountability is taken. No heads role. Quite the opposite, torture heads are rewarded.