Getting Away with Torture

Getting Away with Torture

FSRN: Human rights advocates urge criminal investigations into the Bush administration for torture -   July 14, 2011
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

You are, simply, the best! - Per Bengtsson
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Getting Away with TortureDANNY WOOD, FREE SPEECH RADIO NEWS: A report released today by Human Rights Watch says there are grounds for President Barack Obama to order criminal investigations of former president George W. Bush, vice president Dick Cheney, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and CIA director George Tenet for ordering the use of torture, secret detention facilities, and rendition of detainees. For more on this report, called Getting Away with Torture: The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees, we turn to Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel for Human Rights Watch. Welcome to Free Speech Radio News.


WOOD: Former president Bush has always justified his authorization of torture, like waterboarding, on the grounds that the Justice Department lawyers said it was legal. But you say there's substantial information that senior administration officials, including Cheney, sought to influence the lawyers' judgment. Can you give some examples of that information?

PRASOW: Yeah. I think it's really important to recognize that a memo from a lawyer doesn't make criminal conduct legal. There's some evidence to suggest that senior administration officials first identified the torture they wanted to engage in and then sought the memos from the Justice Department lawyers. That's simply not the way it works. The duty of a lawyer is to provide independent legal advice to his client, and that's not what happened here.

WOOD: So on what legal basis exactly could a prosecution of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet proceed here in the US, and how could it get underway?

PRASOW: War crimes. Definitely the War Crimes Act makes it possible to pursue war crimes in federal court in the US, the crime of conspiracy, conspiracy to engage in assault, abuse, all sorts of different types of conduct. When you look at what happened to some of these detainees, it's very clear that what we would consider sort of ordinary crimes took place: they were beaten; they were sexually abused; they were threatened with violence. All of these are clear crimes under US law and can be prosecuted.

WOOD: If the US doesn't act on these crimes and investigate them, you've said other countries should. How far could a case pursued somewhere like Spain, for example, which has a legal system that allows its courts to pursue international war crimes, really get?

PRASOW: You know, George Bush had a trip up to Switzerland a few months ago. And human rights activists and victims had been prepared to file a criminal complaint upon his arrival in Switzerland. And he cancelled that trip. There was a lot of publicity in advance. And it suggested that he was aware that he might actually be charged in Switzerland and therefore didn't travel to that country. So I think that actions taken by other countries really can have an impact. Other countries need to step up if the US won't and make it clear that torture will not be tolerated, regardless of who perpetrates it.

End of Transcript

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

More Info

For more from Danny Wood, visit


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at


Latest Stories

Behind the Music with TRNN's Stephen Janis
The Blind Spots in Alberta's Climate Change Plan
Vulture Capitalists Are the Real Winners of Argentina’s Elections
Eddie Conway Talks Indigenous People's Day and Political Prisoners
Indigenous Peoples' History is More Complicated Than a Holiday Myth
The Iraqi Pissing Match - John Kiriakou on RAI (4/10)
Turkey's Intentions Behind the Downing of a Russian Jet
Policing on Trial as Freddie Gray Case Set to Begin
Is America Powerless to Stop Pfizer Merger?
The Unbreakable Spirit of Gilmor Homes
My Reports on 1995 Human Rights Abuses in Bahrain Ignored by State Department - John Kiriakou on Reality Asserts Itself (3/10)
Wilkerson: The Hypocrisy of U.S. Syria Policy (1/2)
"Being a Founding White Father Ain't What It Used To Be:" Student Protests on College Campuses
Days of Revolt: Militarizing Education
Historic Win for the Right in Argentina's National Election
How I Joined the CIA - John Kiriakou on Reality Asserts Itself (2/10)
Sanders Defines his Social Democracy
MD Among Lowest Number of Hate Crimes in the Nation
Report: The Population of Women in Prison Has Tripled Since the '90s
Native American Genocide & Survival with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
History Will Judge America on Syrian Refugee Crisis As "Shameful"
I Believed America Could Do No Wrong - John Kiriakou, Former CIA Official, on Reality Asserts Itself (1/10)
N Don't Stop - Brook Park + TBB on Rooftop Live
The Black Panthers: A Revolution In Review
What's Fueling Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria?
Is Obama Walking Into COP21 With An Empty Hand?
Back to Square One, Obama Says Assad Must Go
Towson President Agrees to Students' Demands After Eight-Hour Occupation
The Pentagon and Bernie Sanders Agree: Terrorism Linked to Climate Change
"They Think They've Won", Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting