Failing to prosecute torturers, Obama allows officials to defend country by any means necessary

Guest Columnist and Guest Columnist

On Thursday, April 16, the White House stated in a press release that Central Intelligence Agency officials who tortured prisoners will not be prosecuted. Officials who used harsh interrogation methods against suspected terrorists won’t be prosecuted by the Justice Department. The statement claimed the agents acted reasonably and relied on good faith on authoritative legal advice, and that their conduct was lawful at the time. ‘The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously,’ Obama said in ‘The Wall Street Journal.’ ‘They need to be fully confident that as they defend the nation, I will defend them.’ In memos released by the Justice Department on Thursday, it was stated that methods such as water boarding, sleep deprivation, and placing insects in prisoners’ cells were used. After taking office in January, the President put a ban on internationally controversial interrogation methods. With his decision to forego prosecution of several CIA officials, he is not taking responsibility for these methods and is undermining the judiciary. If these methods were appropriate in the past, the CIA would not be afraid of trial; they would know their actions were legal. The main problem I have is that politics are undermining the trias politica or separation of powers – a model created by the French enlightenment philosopher Baron de Montesquieu. His idea was to separate the executive, legislative and judicial systems in order to ensure politics would not interfere with judicial decisions. However, Obama crossed the line. With his recent statement, he interferes with this idea. Now, he gives politicians and CIA officials a blank check to do whatever is necessary to protect this country without taking laws and jurisprudence into account. It almost looks like a banana republic – a corrupt country where you don’t need to take responsibility for your accounts if you are influential. ‘ The decision to make the memos public came after a battle between the CIA and Attorney General Eric Holder. The Central Intelligence Agency gave the argument these memos would hurt relations with foreign intelligence services. I also have a problem with this argument. If the memos had the capability to hurt relations with other intelligence services, then that means the CIA has also acted against international law. The Geneva Conventions prohibit the use of torture in international wars and internal conflicts such as civil wars or rebellions. The Geneva Conventions are four treaties that state the rules of conduct during internal and external conflicts. These treaties were revised and expanded in 1948, after World War II. The United States of America is one of the members of these treaties. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 29, 2006 that detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison are protected by the Geneva Conventions. Obama said he is closing the prison in Cuba, but he is not taking responsibility for the things that have happened under the administration of his predecessor. If he took responsibility, he would prosecute officials who agreed to establish Guantanamo Bay as a site to torture suspects of terrorism. While an individual can use the argument that using torture against suspected terrorists is a tactic that the majority of U.S. citizens agreed upon, does this give the officials the right to act against international law and commit a crime? If you said yes, you should also give North Korea the right to have nuclear weapons and use them against our country if the majority of North Koreans agree. If you do not agree, you are a hypocrite, because you gave America the right to violate laws. If the United States of America and its government do not want to look like hypocrites, they should stop violating international agreements before interfering in domestic affairs of foreign countries. In 1947, this country itself prosecuted Yukio Asano, a Japanese military officer, for using torture against a U.S. civilian during World War II. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in February 2008 that the prohibition of torture under international law takes precedence over local legislation. Obama take responsibility; give the International Crime Court in The Hague, Netherlands, the opportunity to prosecute every official who violated treaties – because if those people did nothing wrong, they will be acquitted. —Jesper Bekkers