The Current

Report on CIA torture opens door to prosecution of top Bush officials

The US Senate report on CIA torture practices documents interrogation techniques that reached a level of depravity. With details now officially available, there are renewed calls for the prosecution of top officials in the Bush administration and in the Agency, even as a Canadian caught in the same net asks about accountability, among those Canadians who may have indirectly aided...
The US Senate report on CIA torture practices documents interrogation techniques that reached a level of depravity. With details now officially available, there are renewed calls for the prosecution of top officials in the Bush administration and in the Agency, even as a Canadian caught in the same net asks about accountability, among those Canadians who may have indirectly aided the U.S. program. 

"First the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques were not an effective way to gather intelligence information.Second the CIA provided extensive amounts of inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to the White House, the department of justice, congress, the CIA inspector general, the media and the American public.Third the CIA's management of the program was inadequate and deeply flawed.And fourth the CIA's program was far more brutal that people were led to believe."Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senate intelligence Committee Chair, summarizing their findings yesterday

Years after images from the American jail at Abuh Ghraib in Iraq were seared into the global consciousness, the C.I.A.'s so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" are back under the bright lights this week.

They're the subject of a report just released by the U.S. Senate intelligence Committee. The report is damning.

It's been a decade now since human rights advocacy groups started lobbying for these findings to be made public.To hear them read aloud is a vindication for them... but not the end of the road.

The push is on now, for accountability. The C.I.A.'s program has, of course, been described by many observers, as torture, which is illegal.

But it remains to be seen whether this new damning report will be used to prosecute those responsible for it.

Kenneth Roth is the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. He was in New York.



The so-called "advanced interrogation" techniques we're discussing today were first authorized by the Bush administration in 2002. But not every front line operative chose to use them.

In fact today, Ali Soufan's words seem prophetic. He's a former FBI special agent who gained an international reputation as a counter terrorism interrogator. He's credited with aborting several terrorist plots, but his interrogation style was always "hands off". He did not torture.

Ali Soufan, joined us on this program in 2011 to explain why he always believed that government-authorized torture was ineffective.

We live in a country that has the rule of law. You're not gonna put a bullet in his head and burn him under a tree. You have to prosecute them. And this is one of the problems that we're facing today. Ten years after 9/11 we cannot prosecute people. Because we're finding a lot of difficulties to admit these cases into court.Former FBI agent Ali Soufan

Torture in the fight against terror has touched this country as well. Federal inquiries have confirmed that several Canadians have been tortured overseas . They've also found that Canadian officials have been indirectly responsible.

Abdullah Almalki is a Canadian who was arrested and tortured in Syria. He was in Ottawa.


This was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Leif Zapf-Gilje.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now