Scenes of prisoner abuses in "Zero Dark Thirty," the
Whether the Bush administration's enhanced interrogations program, a.k.a. torture, "worked," is the question being kicked around, as if that should matter in a nation committed to human rights.
Knowledgeable commentators have taken both sides.
Feinstein said a just-completed 6,000-page committee study highly critical of the CIA detention and interrogation program under
But since the report is classified, we can't see for ourselves. You would think that once there is a blockbuster
The secrecy bespeaks a deep humiliation at how America reacted to the al-Qaida threat with CIA black-site prisons, extraordinary renditions and prisoner mistreatment. We don't want to be reminded of what we did, whether it occasionally "worked" or not. In those dank cells, our once-proud principles of due process and the rule of law were reduced to rubble. Our self-image of the American character was indelibly stained.
Even the federal courts don't want to go there. To keep innocent torture victims from suing, they have accepted fatuous claims asserted by both the Bush and Obama administrations that it would jeopardize national security.
Typically at year's end I give out the "Freeby" award to the person or institution that did the most to advance civil liberties. This year I look beyond our borders to a courageous stand against the CIA's mistreatment of prisoners.
Earlier this month, the court handed El-Masri, a German national, a victory against
Since then, El-Masri's efforts to get justice in U.S. courts have failed. The "state secrets" defense defeated any consideration of his claim. Astoundingly,
So if anyone wants to debate the efficacy of "Zero Dark Thirty"-style torture, let's do it with the full record before us. Make the
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