The Trenchant Observer noted, quite some time ago, that torture will not be done with Obama, or with us, until we are all done with torture.
See The Trenchant Observer, “The Clock is Ticking: U.S. Application of the Torture Convention,” February 10, 2010.
That is because torture is an international crime, and there is no way it can be simply forgotten without first going through a process involving publication and admission of the facts and a judicial process or transitional justice process under judicial oversight.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Senate Intelligence Committee is now demanding public release of a 6,000 page classified report containing the details of the Bush Adninistration’s torture policy and its implementation, and release of the legal memoranda prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department purporting to uphold the legality of the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
It is of course not inevitable that this step in the justice process take place at this precise time, but rather only that–in a democracy–it will take place sooner or later.
What is going on in the Carolyn Krass confirmation hearings to be the top lawyer at the CIA is that the Senate Intelligence Committee is — finally — insisting that the secret legal memoranda that were used to justify the use of torture as an official policy of the United States be turned over to the Committee.
Those who apparently had knowledge of the program–CIA Director John Brennan first and foremost among them–are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the public release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report.
See “Editorial: Release the Torture Reports,” New York Times, December 19, 2013.
Much is at stake, including the core priniples of a democratic state governed by law, which require public legal justification of state actions, including those that are carried out in secret.
Spencer Ackerman (Washington), “Senate intelligence committee presses CIA to release torture report; Secret 6,300-page report details ‘enhanced interrogation’; “Lawyer nomination brings contention into public view,” The Guardian, December 20, 2013 (11.40 EST).
“The Carolyn Krass nomination to be General Counsel at the CIA, secret legal justifications and memos, and democratic government under the rule of law,” The Trenchant Observer, December 18, 2013 (updated December 19, 2013).
“Senate confirms John Brennan as CIA Director—with tally and breakdown of vote,” The Trenchant Observer, March 8, 2013.
“Brennan’s wristbands, McCain’s hold, and assertions of legality under international law based on secret operations and secret legal memoranda (with links to Brennan confirmation hearing video, transcript, and written questions and answers),”The Trenchant Observer, February 25, 2013.
“Secret Laws, the John Brennan vote, and the rule of law,” The Trenchant Observer, February 24, 2013.
The Senate Intelligence Committee now has an opportunity to take a major step toward restoration of the full rule of law in the United States.
The Trenchant Observer