Many Americans, including some of Barack Obama’s critics, take his word that his administration opposes torture.
With fanfare, two days after occupying the Oval Office, he issued Executive Order 13491, commanding the CIA to close its secret prisons while also declaring that no detainee in U.S. custody could be subject to any form of interrogation not found in the Army Field Manual, thereby excluding torture.
Noting this, the nonpartisan Constitution Project’s 577-page April 16 report, “Detainee Treatment,” documents the range and depth of this nation’s torture policies, and has a separate substantial chapter covering our current president. “The Obama Administration” exposes the factual torture record of our re-elected leader.
For example, George W. Bush approved “renditions,” which the CIA vigorously implemented. This occurred when terrorism suspects were kidnapped by the CIA — often from the streets of their nations — and sent to countries known for torturing their prisoners.
But the Constitution Project’s report reminds us that renditions have continued under Obama — in utter secrecy, of course. We don’t know who gets snatched and why and for how long. Neither do their families.
Of course, the receiving countries must first assure Obama officials that these suspects won’t be tortured. That’s exactly what Bush’s ultra-loyal Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice used to tell Americans and the rest of the world — without ever following up on the renditions’ ghost prisoners.
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