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Thursday, 20 November 2014

CAT got your tongue?

Photo from: pixgood

“If the two sides do not reach a consensus soon, the [Senate Intelligence] committee and its members will be left with only extreme options. One would be to release the heavily redacted version [of the torture report] that the CIA has already agreed to, which would be a capitulation on the part of the committee. The alternative would be for Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) or another member of the committee to read the report — or sections that the committee believes should be released — into the Senate record, as then-Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) did with the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
     [Sen. Dianne] Feinstein's optimism about the [CIA torture] report's release has been stifled in the past by the tense negotiations. In September Feinsetin said she expected the 500-page document to be public within two to four weeks. Two months later, negotiations are still ongoing — and based on reports of Tuesday night's meeting, not going well.
     Despite a committee vote in April to release the 500-page executive summary of the five-year, 6,000-plus page study, a public version of the document has been hamstrung for months by disputes over aspects of the report that the White House and CIA wish to suppress.”
— Ali Watkins, Huffington Post
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“The international community watched closely this week as representatives from the U.S. government defended its compliance with the Convention Against Torture (CAT) in front of the United Nations Committee against Torture. […]
     Since the U.S. last reported to the committee in 2006, more evidence of violations have been reported by the media or alleged by human rights groups. But the U.S. has done little to demonstrate that it is holding the top officials who gave the orders to torture accountable. Groups like the Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions say that the United States is shielding those responsible, which is in direct violation of its CAT obligations.
     'It’s is at the heart of everything,' Deborah Popowski, a clinical instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School and a member of Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions said in an interview with Newsweek. Referring to what she called the ‘legal framework the U.S. government built to shield itself from liability’ (a mixture of legal opinions that distort laws governing torture and the use of the Military Commissions Act to retroactively redefine war crimes to impede prosecution), she added that by choosing to immunize those responsible, [the U.S. government] 'legitimizes their actions and the legacy lives on, the precedent is set.’”
— Lauren Walker, Newsweek
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