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Obama giving ‘amnesty’ to torturers, human rights group claims

The Obama administration has “failed to meaningfully respond” to a controversial report about former CIA interrogation practices “in any way whatsoever,” according to one prominent human rights group.

Amnesty International on Tuesday issued a 140-page analysis accusing the administration of effectively turning a blind eye to the scathing report issued by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee more than four months ago. 

{mosads}Pointing to a lack of prosecutions for anyone participating in the interrogation and rendition program, which many people call torture, the group chided the administration for refusing to do a full internal analysis of how it could have been carried out in the first place.

“Failure to end the impunity and ensure redress not only leaves the USA in serious violation of its international legal obligations, it increases the risk that history will repeat itself when a different president again deems the circumstances warrant resort to torture, enforced disappearance, abductions or other human rights violations,” the authors concluded.

The Senate report provides blistering details about the CIA’s brutal treatment of prisoners during the administration of former President George W. Bush, including the use of “rectal rehydration,” waterboarding, “stress positions” and other techniques. It also accuses the agency of misleading its overseers in Washington and concludes that the treatment was not helpful in the U.S.’s mission against al Qaeda or other groups. 

Many of the tactics ended when President Obama came into office. The Justice Department also conducted an initial review about whether to press charges over the abuses but concluded that it was not necessary.

After the release of the Senate’s report, the department said it would not reopen that case. 

“In Amnesty International’s view, this amounts to a de facto amnesty for crimes under international law,” the advocacy group said in its report.

The Justice Department’s decision is all the more troubling for rights groups because the department has said in court that it hasn’t even opened the full copy of the report. 

At the same time, critics claim the Obama administration has attempted to turn the page on that portion of America’s history and declined to make major examinations of internal policies or entertain the possibility of structural reforms to prevent them from happening again, should the circumstances ever change.

“Has the administration taken steps to ensure that the processes and protocols are in place such that torture and secret detention can’t happen again?” Naureen Shah, the director of Amnesty International USA’s security and human rights program, said to The Hill. “I don’t think we have an answer to that question.” 

Tags Amnesty International Enhanced interrogation techniques Torture Memos torture report Waterboarding

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