Bipartisan Panel Finds U.S. Officials Authorized Torture of Post-9/11 Detainees

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Posted May 1, 2013

Interview with Alka Pradhan, counsel to the Constitution Project's bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment, conducted by Scott Harris

torture

Just days before President Obama joined four former U.S. presidents to celebrate the opening of George W. Bush’s Presidential Library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the Constitution Project released a report detailing the findings of a two-year independent investigation into the abuse of U.S.-held detainees in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The group’s bipartisan 11-member Task Force on Detainee Treatment, led by two retired members of Congress, Republican Asa Hutchinson, and Democrat, James R. Jones, concluded that “American intelligence and military personnel used interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, that in many instances constituted torture.”

The 600-page report found that “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody” was unique in America’s history of military warfare. The report also concluded that information obtained from prisoners, using torture and other abusive techniques, produced no valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means.

The Task Force found the treatment of prisoners in the custody of American military and CIA personnel or subjected to similar or worse abuses when transferred to third party nations, violated numerous U.S. laws and international treaties. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Alka Pradhan, who served as counsel to the Constitution's Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment during their two-year investigation. Here, she summarizes the panel’s report, the disturbing lack of accountability for officials who ordered torture and the task force recommendations for changes in U.S. policy.

For more information, visit the Constitution's Project's bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment at detaineetaskforce.org.

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