By now a majority of the American public should be at least somewhat informed of the atrocities that have been committed against detainees held in Guantanamo prison and other rendition prisons around the globe. Out of the thousands of documents outlined in a Senate Intelligence Committee report, only a 600 page summary was made available after it was decided what would be omitted and remained sealed from the public eye.
Buried within the information that was released is the fact that very early on the CIA’s own lawyers and general counsel anticipated the need to seek out a defense for what they were doing. To excuse the harm being done by their agency, in case the truth ever came to light, they argued in a released memo:
The Israeli example could serve as a possible basis for arguing that ‘torture was necessary to prevent imminent, significant, physical harm to persons, where there is no other available means to prevent the harm.’
This is referring to a 1999 Israeli High Court decision that stated certain forms of torture could only be used as a defense against prosecution if there was a “ticking time bomb” situation. If human lives could be saved, then the ends justified the means, so to speak. The problem is, there is absolutely no evidence anywhere to suggest that torture saved anyone’s life. The United States needed an excuse to do what they were doing and this was their way of coughing one up. Israel, for its part, still uses this as a justification to perform crimes against children and humanity at large.
The report itself cites internal CIA documents showing key intelligence either came from other sources, or was received before the individual was tortured.
CIA Director John Brennan isn’t exactly making things easy on himself. He said in a 20-minute televised speech that it is “unknowable” if information obtained from an individual could have been obtained from other means, in an attempt to cloak the actions behind the Israeli doctrine. Yet, he contradicts this with another statement tailored to support President Obama’s new-found opposition to torture:
I believe effective, non-coercive methods can be made available to elicit useful information — methods that do not have a counterproductive impact on our national security and our national standing.
The two statements just don’t match up, no matter how you slice the cake. But, even if they did, Article 2 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment states:
No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
Furthermore, the United States has decided to take a very public stance against the use of torture today, but it continues to support Israel amid its crimes, and refuses to recognize the harm its small friend still commits.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said:
The commander in chief concluded that the use of the techniques that are described in this report significantly undermined the moral authority of the United States.
Why doesn’t the White House publicly distance itself from Israel, then?
Till this very day Israel continues to torture Palestinian prisoners and remains hidden from prosecution because they claim the “necessity defense.” Even children are not shielded from its abuses.
Last winter, the cruelty reached new heights when its prisons placed Palestinian children in outdoor cages during one of the most severe winter storms the region had experienced in years.
Israel’s public defenders office had this to say in a report:
In these cages, which were exposed to the weather, children spent several hours in the freezing cold and rain, until the transport arrived to take them to court around 6 a.m.
These aren’t isolated incidents, either, it iterated: “This was happening for months.”
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) says it has received “dozens of complaints of torture and ill treatment from children in the last 10 years” and is currently working on cases “concerning children’s complaints of torture and ill treatment at the hands of Israeli soldiers and interrogators.”
And, no one has been held accountable for it.
The leadership in charge of the CIA during Bush’s tenure is attempting to do the same thing here – escape accountability. They want to get away with actions it committed 10 years ago, actions that Israel continues to get away with.
If there is ever any doubt that any of these torture crimes exist against children within Israel, then watch the following 45-minute documentary below: