Will Germany, a nation still occupied by US troops after WWII, dare to put Bush and his cronies on trial for torture and other war crimes?
Sourced from this article.
Presented with pictures, captions and commentary by Lasha Darkmoon
LD: These six American war criminals have already admitted to authorizing torture. From left to right: President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet. Even the New York Times (see here) has called for their prosecution. Nobel Peace prize winner Barack Obama has refused to take action, since his own war crimes are even greater. Now Germany has decided to step in and start the ball rolling. (LD)
If President Obama won’t do it, someone else will.
Thankfully, a human rights group in Berlin, The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, has begun the process of indicting members of the Bush Administration by filing criminal complaints against the architects of the Admin’s torture program.
Calls for an immediate investigation by the German human rights group was started after outrage ensued on the case of a German citizen, Khalid El-Masri, who had been captured by CIA agents in 2004 because of a mistaken identity mix-up and was tortured at a secret prison in Afghanistan.
Wolfgang Kaleck, the general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, said: “By investigating members of the Bush administration, Germany can help to ensure that those responsible for abduction, abuse and illegal detention do not go unpunished.”
In an interview with “Democracy Now,” Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and chairman of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, said that he believes Cheney, among others, has no defense against accusations of torture and should be indicted:
“I strongly disagree that Bush, Cheney, et al., would have a defense,” he said. “This wasn’t like these memos just appeared independently from the Justice Department. These memos were facilitated by the very people — Cheney etc. — who we believe should be indicted. This was part of a conspiracy so they could get away with torture. But that’s not the subject here now.”
“Secondly, whatever we think of those memos,” he added, “they have no application in Europe. Europe doesn’t accept this “golden shield” of a legal defense. Either it’s torture or it’s not. Either you did it or you didn’t. And that’s one of the reasons, among others, why we’re going to Europe and why we went to Europe to bring these cases through the European Center.”
Ratner then hit the nail on the head regarding America’s dangerous exceptionalism path down the road:
“But, of course, you know, Cheney just showed us exactly why you have to — have to prosecute torture. Because if you don’t prosecute it, the next guy down the line is going to torture again. And that’s what Cheney said: ‘I would do it again.’”
Dick Cheney, looking like a cornered rat
Khalid El-Masri was on vacation in Skopje, in Macedonia, when he was pulled off of a bus by government agents, sodomized and drugged. He was then taken to a secret base that was identified only as “Cobalt” in the CIA torture report. After four months, and after the United States learned of the mistaken identity, they left him there and continued to torture him.
The US actually held on to him even after realizing that they had been torturing the wrong man. Afterwards, they released him, dropping him off somewhere to resume his life.
El-Masri, in the same interview with Democracy Now, said this:
“I was the only one in this prison in Kabul who was actually treated slightly better than the other inmates. But it was known among the prisoners that other prisoners were constantly tortured with blasts of loud music, exposed to constant onslaughts of loud music. And they were—for up to five days, they were just sort of left hanging from the ceiling, completely naked in ice-cold conditions.
This man from Tanzania, whom I mentioned before, had his arm broken in three places. He had injuries, trauma to the head, and his teeth had been damaged. They also locked him up in a suitcase for long periods of time, a foul-smelling suitcase that made him vomit all the time.
Other people experienced forms of torture whereby their heads were being pushed down and held under water.”
He finished the interview with some pretty damning words that should make George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld shudder:
“What with the NSA spying on Germany, and the fact that one of their citizens was tortured when known to be innocent, I’m pretty sure that Germany is going to take this very seriously.“
LD: The comment about the CIA suitcase torture reminds me of some information I received from a corespondent of mine a few months ago. He said that Israeli advisors were always to be found at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Bagram base in Afghanistan, and at all the other American torture camps scattered over the globe.
What was particularly appalling, apart from Israeli advisors suggesting ever more ingenious methods of making life unbearable for detainees, most of whom were innocent, was the fact that American doctors were always at hand to advise how much torture could be applied before the victim died in agony. Gerald Thomson, professor of medicine emeritus at Columbia University, notes disapprovingly: “Physicians were transformed into agents of the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics.”
Who invented the CIA suitcase torture is unknown, but it was probably an Israeli advisor, according to my source, who thought up the idea of smearing the inside of the suitcase with excrement and vomit before ramming the petrified prisoner inside.
LD: Another torture used extensively by the Bush administration is waterboarding. This entails a prisoner being strapped to a board with his feet raised above his head. His face is covered by a wet cloth as interrogators pour water over it to give the sensation of drowning.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times. Is it any wonder that he confessed? Later he admitted that he “made up stories” to stop being tortured. When asked about the brutal ill-treatment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, President Bush said: “Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I’d do it again to save lives.” (LD)