I'm basing my new conclusions on what I'll call the Michele Norris Standard: if the torturers are not interviewed and don't corroborate the allegations of the supposed victims, then it's nothing but hearsay. Don't take it from me. Let's hear Michele as she interviews Mark Danner who has published the full ICRC report on US torture of ghost detainees :
"Now we should say that the allegations in this report are based on interviews with these fourteen detainees. Has the information been confirmed or corroborated by the people who allegedly participated in these sessions?"Danner reminds Norris that the conclusions were "based on lengthy interviews conducted by Red Cross professionals" and that the similarities and details of torture would have been impossible to concoct since the fourteen detainees were never together and were always isolated - to which Norris responds,
"Though because they have not actually interviewed or do not include in this report information from either the health professionals or others that participated in the CIA interrogations is that potentially problematic in terms of the credibility of the report?"It is truly mind boggling, but Michele is not done. From trying to discount the Red Cross report, Norris moves on to shred the rule of law. Now that there is overwhelming evidence of torture from the highest levels of the US government down to CIA operatives the law is very clear. No one states it better than Glenn Greenwald:
"The U.S. really has bound itself to a treaty called the Convention Against Torture, signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1994. When there are credible allegations that government officials have participated or been complicit in torture, that Convention really does compel all signatories -- in language as clear as can be devised -- to "submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution" (Art. 7(1)). And the treaty explicitly bars the standard excuses that America's political class is currently offering for refusing to investigate and prosecute: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture" and "an order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture" (Art. 2 (2-3)). By definition, then, the far less compelling excuses cited by Conason (a criminal probe would undermine bipartisanship and distract us from more important matters) are plainly barred as grounds for evading the Convention's obligations."Norris doesn't see it this way. She states, "The findings in the report point to a very thorny question and that is, 'What happens to the people who participated in these interrogations or who helped develop the policy that led to the conditions that have now been described as inhumane. The question of whether they should be subject to justice or adjudication or some sort of punishment..."
Unfortunately, Danner is not a Constitutional law expert and so goes along with Norris, claiming that, "the question of what should be done is a very complicated one...it's very complicated because the responsibility for this is very widespread in the former administration...have an authoritative account of what was done and what was gained if anything...yield from this stuff was very, very meager..."
Actually what should be done, is not complicated at all; what is complicated is what will be done, since the Obama justice department seems as hostile as the Bush administration when it comes to upholding the rule of law regarding the US practice of torturing detainees.