Saturday, August 28, 2010

Legacy of Torture

New York Times
August 26, 2010

The Bush administration insisted that “enhanced interrogation techniques” — torture — were necessary to extract information from prisoners and keep Americans safe from terrorist attacks. Never mind that it was immoral, did huge damage to this country’s global standing and produced little important intelligence. Now, as we had feared, it is also making it much harder to try and convict accused terrorists.

Because federal judges cannot trust the confessions of prisoners obtained by intense coercion, they are regularly throwing out the government’s cases against Guantánamo Bay prisoners.

A new report prepared jointly by ProPublica and the National Law Journal showed that the government has lost more than half the cases where Guantánamo prisoners have challenged their detention because they were forcibly interrogated. In some cases the physical coercion was applied by foreign agents working at the behest of the United States; in other cases it was by United States agents.