Time to take Action on Torture


Earlier this week the Senates Intelligence Committee published a report concerning the CIA’s torture programme, which was launched in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, an issue that has caused much stir amongst politicians.

The report stated that the CIA had mislead the senate, congress and the American population about the brutal ineffective techniques uses in the aftermaths of 9/11, where torture usually led to ‘fabricated information’.

Whilst the former Vice President Dick Cheney has criticised the report, arguing that the integration programme saved lives and that the CIA should be credited not condemned, the UN and many Human right groups have called for the prosecution of those involved.

The report explained the different methods of torture used, which included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and beating.

Ben Emmerson, the UN special reporter on counter-terrorism and human rights has argued that’s its ‘time to take action’:

International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes."

With waterboarding recognised as torture, there is no excuse for protecting the perpetrators and those involved from justice even if they are senior officials. No person should be exempt from the law.

Prime Minister David Cameron also argued how ‘torture is always wrong’, and that he has issued guidance to agents and other around the world on how to deal with cases in the future. Leaders from around the globe have condemned the CIA for its behaviour, and whilst Obama had acknowledged that torture had proved counter-productive by damaging US moral authority, he did not agree with the report that no useful evidence was gathered that could have been obtained from elsewhere.

The report has led to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying whist the UK are not using torture, the Gibson inquiry has led to many questions regarding the intelligence services, leading to many like Clegg considering a full judicial enquiry.

The report has hit the world with a shock, and has lead many to argue that if the US are using methods of torture, what kind of message does that show the rest of the world.

Roshni Vekereya