Kevin Gosztola reports that a judge has ordered that US officials at Guantanamo stop the force feeding of inmates. He has also told them not to destroy the recordings of them doing so in the past.
While this ruling is to be welcomed, one should remember that court orders do not hinder the US government when it comes to destroying evidence to cover up its own crimes. You may recall how the US destroyed videos of the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo despite a court order to preserve them and, as usual, no one was punished by the government run by our constitutional lawyer president. In that case, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein declined to hold the CIA in contempt for destroying the evidence in direct contravention of his own court order.
Alexander Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney, blasted Hellerstein’s ruling.
“While today’s decision recognizes that the CIA violated a court order when it destroyed the torture tapes, we are profoundly disappointed by the court’s unwillingness to label as contempt what it describes as the CIA’s ‘dereliction.’ We also strongly disagree with the court’s finding that the CIA has ‘remedied’ the destruction,” Abdo said in a statement. “The truth is that the CIA destroyed evidence of torture, and the destruction of this evidence has made it harder to hold high-level officials accountable for the abuse that they authorized.”
The CIA in 2007 admitted to destroying the tapes of interrogations of alleged al-Qaeda members Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. A special prosecutor last year found that CIA officials should not be charged for the tapes’ destruction.
A year before the tapes were destroyed, Hellerstein ordered the CIA “to produce or identify all responsive documents” in response to the ACLU’s request for “records concerning the treatment of individuals apprehended after September 11, 2001, and held by the United States at military bases or detention facilities outside the United States.”
Once again, people working for the national security state get away with things that would get he book thrown at ordinary people. Until people in the government involved in these torture practices actually go to jail for their crimes or are otherwise punished, these organizations will continue to act with impunity.