Mar 05 2013
The U.N. human rights advocate who monitors counterterrorism has joined the chorus of voices demanding the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000 report on the CIA’s rendition program. British attorney Ben Emmerson Q.C. delivered a report to the Human Rights Council Tuesday, demanding both the British and American governments release classified documents about the the kidnapping and torture of terror suspects, known to have been aided by 54 governments worldwide.
“The special rapporteur calls on the United States to release the full Senate Select Committee report as soon as possible, subject to the specific redaction of such particulars as are considered by the Select committee itself to be strictly necessary to safeguard legitimate national security interests or the physical safety of persons identified,” Emmerson’s report states, according to the Washington Post.
The special rapporteur — who is also currently overseeing a special investigation into civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes — asked that Britain publish the interim findings of a report by a retired judge, Sir Peter Gibson, into the involvement of MI5 and MI6 in the rendition of terror suspects.
The current position de rigeur in Washington is to grandstand against the kidnapping and torture practices of not so long ago. CIA director nominee John Brennan, documented as having previously supported extraordinary rendition of terror suspects, vociferously condemned the shuttered program in his confirmation hearing and claimed to have long decried it. But as Glenn Greenwald pointed out in January, “President Obama has expended extraordinary efforts to protect from accountability all Bush-era officials responsible for torture, rendition and warrantless eavesdropping, programs that numerous human rights groups have insisted constitute war crimes and violations of U.S. criminal law…The result is that support for those war crimes no longer carries any real stigma.”
Emmerson stressed that grandstanding will not suffice:
Words are not enough. Platitudinous repetition of statements affirming opposition to torture ring hollow to many in those parts of the Middle East and North Africa that have undergone, or are undergoing, major upheaval, since they have first-hand experience of living under repressive regimes that used torture in private whilst making similar statements in public.
The human rights advocate sharply criticized Attorney General Eric Holder’s ruling out any criminal prosecutions of U.S. interrogators who were operating within the bounds of legal advice outlined by the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). “In the view of the special rapporteur… this comes close to an assertion of the ‘superiors orders’ defense, despite its prohibition under customary law and international treaties,” noted Emmerson’s report.