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CIA Inspector General report on abuse of prisoners

The last paragraph in Thomas Paine’s 1795 essay entitled Dissertations on First Principles of Government said this:

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

On Monday, Attorney General Eric holder released the confidential CIA Inspector General report entitled “Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities (September 2001 – October 2003). The report is not for the faint of heart, but I hope libraries will add the document to their collections. As Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti said in today’s NY Times (Report Shows Tight C.I.A. Control on Interrogations):

The Central Intelligence Agency’s secret interrogation program operated under strict rules, and the rules were dictated from Washington with the painstaking, eye-glazing detail beloved by any bureaucracy.

Many have written about the report (Michael Sherer, Publius, Dahlia Lithwick to name but a few) but folks should read Glenn Greenwald’s post on the topic:

“What every American should be made to learn about the IG Torture Report”. Glenn Greenwald. Monday Aug. 24, 2009.

As a side note, I’d like to reiterate my twitter comment for those that didn’t see it. PLEASE would all journalists include links and citations for supporting documents on ALL of their pieces?? The Web means that there’s no excuse or need to save space. Don’t make your readers have to search for supporting documents. It’ll make them go away.

Released CIA Report — post-9/11

President Obama Halts Guantanamo Trials

Yesterday, President Obama issued orders to halt the pending Guantanamo trials for 120 days. This would temporarily stop the proceedings of the remaining twenty-one cases. Obama has guaranteed that he will close the Guantanamo prison camp. As the trials will be suspended until May 20, the new administration would have some time to assess the cases. At present, there are 245 foreign prisoners held at the prison camp. If you like to read the full article, it is available in The New York Times.

Recently, Human Rights Watch “called upon the new administration to ensure the rights of detainees at Guantanamo who have been slated for release but who cannot be returned home for fear of torture or persecution.” In November 2008, the organization published a briefing paper, Fighting Terrorism Fairly and Effectively: Recommendations for President-Elect Barack Obama, which outlined eleven steps that the new administration should take to change the counterterrorism practices of the United States.