Journalist Christopher Hitchens undergoes water-boarding in

the summer of 2008.

 

 

Financial Times Deutschland, Germany

Obama: Inviting the Next Torture Scandal

 

"Obama doesn't want to prosecute CIA agents for methods of torture that his predecessor approved. Thatís understandable. However, it would be a scandal if this were the end of the subject. And the words of the U.S. president donít bode well."

 

By David BŲcking

 

Translated By Jonathan Lobsien

 

April 17, 2009

 

Germany - Financial Times Deutschland - Original Article (German)

President Barack Obama: His decision to exclude from prosecution, those responsible for putting into effect parctices many characterize as torture is under attack from the left, while his release of the memos that authorized these practices is under attack from the right.

 

BBC NEWS AUDIO: 'Jaw-dropping' U.S. memos on torture released, Apr. 17, 00:07:17RealVideo

Berlin: Barack Obama doesn't want to prosecute CIA agents for methods of torture that his predecessor approved. Thatís understandable. However, it would be a scandal if this were the end of the subject. And the words of the U.S. president donít bode well.

 

Christopher Hitchens wouldn't for one minute stand for this. In the summer of 2008, the British journalist voluntarily subjected himself to the interrogation technique of simulated drowning employed by CIA agents - so-called water-boarding. Two masked helpers poured water just a few times over a hand towel, which they had pulled tight over Hitchensí face. Then and there, Hitchens, a resolute defender of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, gave up. "Believe me, its torture," he subsequently wrote in a description of his experience.

 

The new U.S. President shares this sentiment. Among Barack Obamaís first official acts was to issue an order to end water-boarding. His rationale that such methods undermine the moral authority of the country had fallen on deaf ears during the former administration of George W. Bush.

 

Four CIA memos approved by the administration, which have just been released by the U.S. Department of Defense, show that under Bush, methods like water-boarding were part of political doctrine. The techniques range from sleep depravation to "slaps to the face," to "confinement with insects."

 

'NO WORSE THAN A DIET'

 

To anyone who would listen, intelligence officials have indicated why each of these issues isn't torture: giving prisoners unappetizing liquid nutrition isn't much worse than what many Americans do voluntarily when on a diet. Forced nudity - as occurred in the prison at Abu Ghraib - despite "cultural sensitivities" - would not produce serious "mental pain." Finally, water-boarding works - even if, in the view of the CIA, it creates an "imminent fear of death." Lasting psychological damage need not be feared.††

Posted by WORLDMEETS.US

 

'YES ICON! (ALTHOUGH ON REFLECTION, NO WE CAN'T Ö)'

[Guardian Unlimited, U.K.]

 

SEE ALSO ON THIS:

Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: Obama: Inviting the Next Torture Scandal

Jornal de Noticias, Portugal: Poverty and Torture: Bush Has Company in Europe

Le Figaro, France: Obama's Moral Crusade: A Few Words of Caution

The Independent, U.K.: America Doesn't Need a Witch-Hunt

BBC News, U.K.: U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Calls CIA Exemption 'Illegal'

Ottawa Citizen, Canada: Torture the 'Chicago Way'

Toronto Star, Canada: Winking at CIA Abuse

 

 

That this is nonsense has already been shown by Hitchens' example: The journalist, known to be robust, reported recurring nightmares and panic attacks related to suffocation after his experiment. But when a government itself accepts these kinds of justifications, it makes little sense to bring those who were following orders to justice. It is therefore understandable that Barack Obama has now ruled out prosecuting CIA personnel.

 

Very worrying, however, is the U.S. Presidentís rationale: "Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past," Obama said. That sounds as if he essentially wants to avoid any review of the Bush era. He may stand a good chance - the unity in times of crisis so often invoked by Obama seems ultimately far more important. But if this president draws a line under this "dark and painful episode" in U.S. history, the country will soon land in its next torture scandal.

 

CLICK HERE FOR GERMAN VERSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 19, 7:14pm]