UN Special Rapporteur and Special Investigator on Torture Manfred Nowak said on CNN the US has an “obligation” to investigate the Bush administration for war crimes and that there is already enough evidence to prosecute former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
CNN – UN Special Rapporteur and Special Investigator on Torture (10:24):
Asked during an interview with Germany’s ZDF television on Jan. 20, Nowak said: “I think the evidence is on the table.”
At issue, however, is whether “American law will recognize these forms of torture.”
A bipartisan Senate report released last month found Rumsfeld and other top administration officials responsible for abuse of Guantanamo detainees in US custody.
It said Rumsfeld authorized harsh interrogation techniques on December 2, 2002 at the Guantanamo prison, although he ruled them out a month later.
The coercive measures were based on a document signed by Bush in February, 2002.
A book disclosing a Red Cross secret report accusing the Bush administration of war crimes was analyzed by the New York Times last summer:
The book says that the International Committee of the Red Cross declared in the report, given to the C.I.A. last year, that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure the United States captured, were “categorically” torture, which is illegal under both American and international law.
The book says Abu Zubaydah was confined in a box “so small he said he had to double up his limbs in the fetal position” and was one of several prisoners to be “slammed against the walls,” according to the Red Cross report. The C.I.A. has admitted that Abu Zubaydah and two other prisoners were waterboarded, a practice in which water is poured on the nose and mouth to create the sensation of suffocation and drowning….
Citing unnamed “sources familiar with the report,” Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.” Red Cross representatives were not permitted access to the secret prisons where the C.I.A. conducted interrogations, but were permitted to interview Abu Zubaydah and other high-level detainees in late 2006, after they were moved to the military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
The book says the C.I.A. shared the report, which Ms. Mayer first described last year in less detail in The New Yorker, with President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice….
The book says Abu Zubaydah told the Red Cross that he had been waterboarded at least 10 times in a single week and as many as three times in a day.
The book also reports that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, told the Red Cross that he had been kept naked for more than a month and claimed that he had been “kept alternately in suffocating heat and in a painfully cold room.”
The report says the prisoners considered the “most excruciating” of the methods being shackled to the ceiling and being forced to stand for as long as eight hours. Eleven of the 14 prisoners reported prolonged sleep deprivation, the book says, including “bright lights and eardrum-shattering sounds 24 hours a day.”
Ms. Mayer acknowledges that Red Cross investigators based their account largely on interviews with the prisoners. But she writes that several C.I.A. officers she spoke with confirmed parts of the Red Cross description.
President Barack Obama has already signed an executive order to shut down the CIA’s secret prisons. High ranking Senate Democrats are looking to support funding for the Senate Armed Services Committee to investigate the Bush administration.
More: AlterNet – “Are We Civilized Enough to Hold Our Leaders Accountable for War Crimes? The World Is Watching” by John W. Dean, FindLaw.com – 24 Jan 09