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Eric Holder Drops CIA Torture Investigations

The closing of the two cases means that the Obama administration’s limited effort to scrutinize the counterterrorism programs carried out under President George W. Bush has come to an end. Without elaborating, Mr. Holder suggested that the end of the criminal investigation should not be seen as a moral exoneration of those involved in the prisoners’ treatment and deaths. [..] Mr. Holder had already ruled out any charges related to the use of waterboarding and other methods that most human rights experts consider to be torture. His announcement closes a contentious three-year investigation by the Justice Department and brings to an end years of dispute over whether line intelligence or military personnel or their superiors would be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. [The New York Times]

PRESIDENT OBAMA decided to let the policies that led to torture under the watch of Pres. George W. Bush fade into history’s tomb without the American people knowing what was done in our name. Sen. Patrick Leahy had wanted a “truth commission” to expose what happened in the Bush-Cheney administration, but Pres. Obama was against it. This was the beginning of a habit of Barack Obama to put politics above principle.

Not even George W. Bush writing “damn right!” he sanctioned torture in his memoir could make a dent in Eric Holder.

Human Rights First released this statement on Thursday:

Washington, DC — Today, in response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement that the Department of Justice will drop its criminal investigation of CIA agents involved in torture, Human Rights First’s Melina Milazzo said:

“Torture is illegal and out of step with American values. Attorney General Holder’s announcement is disappointing because it’s well documented that in the aftermath of 9/11 torture and abuse was widespread and systematic. These cases deserved to be taken more seriously from the outset. When you don’t take seriously the duty to investigate criminal acts at the beginning, resolution becomes even more difficult a decade later. It’s shocking that the department’s review of hundreds of instances of torture and abuse will fail to hold even one person accountable.”

In 2006, Human Rights First released a report, Command’s Responsibility, examining the deaths of almost 100 detainees in U.S. military custody. Human Rights First found that although nearly half of those cases appeared to have been the result of homicide or physical abuse, U.S. officials were punished in connection with only 12 of those cases. Moreover, the stiffest sentence given to a U.S. official for a torture-related death was only 5 months in prison.

Former C.I.A. officer John C. Kiriakou is awaiting trial after he disclosed the names of individuals that were involved in torture to the press.

Rep. Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee chairman who is from the battleground state of Michigan, was “pleased.”

C.I.A. directory David Petraeus thanked Holder.

The C.I.A. director, David H. Petraeus, who as an Army general had spoken out against brutal interrogations, issued a cautious statement to agency employees about Mr. Holder’s announcement. He thanked C.I.A. officers “who played a role in supporting the Justice Department’s inquiries” and added, “As intelligence officers, our inclination, of course, is to look ahead to the challenges of the future rather than backwards at those of the past.”

image: Shutterstock

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7 Responses to Eric Holder Drops CIA Torture Investigations

  1. Uh-oh September 1, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    Holder is THE WORST! And Obama chose him and agrees with him. Shame on them. This is only one reason why I cannot vote for Obama, because the so-called “lesser evil” is still pretty damned bad.

  2. newdealdem1 September 1, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    Open quote:

    Sen. Patrick Leahy had wanted a “truth commission” to expose what happened in the Bush-Cheney administration, but Pres. Obama was against it. This was the beginning of a habit of Barack Obama to put politics above principle.

    Close quote:

    I’ve had issues with Leahy for a few years but he is absoluely right in wanting a “truth commission” “to exposse what happened in the Bush-Cheney administration”.

    I am not surprised in the least by President Obama and by extention, his AE Holder for closing the legitmate and “full of evidence” case against Bush-Cheney (and Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld) for their stealth-like advocacy and actual carrying out of torture starting with the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse violating the Geneva Conventions. And, a once-upon-a-time noble John McCain Obama was never going to go after his predecessors because he is afraid that those who come after him most likely GOP zealots will go after him for similar, if less substantive abuses.

    I don’t think the Obama Administation is as bad as the Bush Administration when it comes to these matters even with the drones etal. But, although stage 4 cancer is almost always deadly, stage 2, although less lethal is nonetheless harmful to one’s longevity.

    I have no illusions that a Romney Administartion will be any less lethal. Stage 4 cancer will be back in full force given who Romney has surrounded himself with in matters of foreign policy, the Bush neocons and how little he has spent his time on these issues. At the least, VP Biden has had enormous experience in foreign affairs of state when Obama took office, unlike the current GOP VP candidate, Ryan, who knows jackjack about foreign affairs no matter how much Ryan is schooled on the quick about foreign affairs for the debates.

    So, where does that leave all the rest of us? Apprehensive and on edge.

    • Cujo359 September 1, 2012 at 6:18 am #

      I see no difference. The Obama Administration still tortures people, it just defines what it does as not being torture. It commits war crimes with UAVs and cruise missiles. It continues the policies of rendition, and it has increased the intensity of the government’s efforts to find and prosecute whistleblowers.

      What’s more, thanks to the Obama Administration, these things have become the default progressive position. Far too many are willing to make excuses for this behavior, because they think Republicans will be worse. When this is the progressive position, there is no humane position on these issues.

      What Obama has done is far, far worse than what Bush did. We could tell ourselves that Bush was an exception. Obama made his behavior the rule.

      • newdealdem1 September 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

        Open Quote:

        What’s more, thanks to the Obama Administration, these things have become the default progressive position. Far too many are willing to make excuses for this behavior, because they think Republicans will be worse. When this is the progressive position, there is no humane position on these issues.

        Close Quote

        You make a great point here, Cujo, about how the Obama Administration’s positions have become the default position for many liberals in these matters.

        I didn’t vote for Obama and am not a supporter, but I still don’t see him as bad as Bush, for me it’s not making excuses for him, it’s just how I see things at the moment. But, none of what has been done by both men and administrations makes us stronger. And, both men need to answer for their abuses of their executive powers, that’s why I made the point of saying that the reason Obama has not gone after Bush is because he’s afraid the GOP will go after him for his abuses.

        Open Quote:

        I thought John Mitchell was bad. Holder is hopeless.

        Close Quote:

        Holder is useless. I’m still waiting for him to go after the criminals at Goldman Sacs etal for almost bringing down this country and then walking away with tons of government money some of which was given as bonuses to the very executives who were involved in the fraud (let’s call it what it was). Also, since Goldman Sacs made such a bad impression on the public when they testified on the Hill, AIG get’s lost in the shuffle and AIG was given the most from the bailout IIRC, around $133B, $85 billion of which was received under TARP in 2008 at the discretion of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which was led at the time by Timothy Geithner, our illustrious Treasury secretary. No one can convince me that he didn’t know what was going on in AIG and by defauit with Goldman Sacs because of their arrangements with Credit Default Swaps. And, yet, he was selected by Obama (and whoever convinced him to select Geithner) to head Treasury. Geitner should have been investigated but that will never happen now. I would love to see Geitner brought down.

        It makes my stomach turn what these people did to almost bring the country down, they harmed so many people in the process, who lost their homes or their jobs or both and some who were close to retirement lost most of their savings and have had to readjust their lives to survive and will never be made whole for their loses as these white collar criminals were made whole and more for causing it all.

        Holder also knocked the stuffing out of New York AG Eric Schneiderman’s investigations who was operating independently of peers from other states who were negotiating a broad settlement with large banks over foreclosure practices. I haven’t read or heard anything more about this investigation since last year because as far as I know it’s dead in the water.

        So, yes, for these reasons and Holder’s lack of a spine for refusing to go after Bush/Cheney with Obama’s blessing and for this latest cowardly action of dropping the CIA torture investigations, he has now become the worst AG in American History.

  3. Ramsgate September 1, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I thought John Mitchell was bad. Holder is hopeless. The worst for his stunning lack of backbone. He is scared to death of prosecuting anyone who they think might piss off people on the right. Now they have dropped criminal charges against Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona. They always charge up the hill as if they mean business, then just as quickly they scamper back down like the cowards they are. What is wrong with this administration?
    What are their values? Don’t they stand for anything?

  4. secularhumanizinevoluter September 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Like the maintaining of Gitmo this is an appalling stain on our country. Why hasn’t the world court indicted any of these war criminals?


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