For a while, I held the opinion that the best mechanism for transitional justice in post-Bush America would be an investigatory truth commission with subpoena power that wouldn’t grant immunity, but also wouldn’t necessarily precede criminal trials. I thought that if this was pulled together, it would gain such momentum that prosecutions would cease to be a question of if and become a matter of how soon.
But, right now, I’m of the “screw that” mind.
Let’s start with an independent prosecutor.
The Guardian, on just released Guantanamo prisoner Binyam Mohamed:
Mohamed was found to be suffering from bruising, organ damage, stomach complaints, malnutrition, sores to feet and hands, severe damage to ligaments as well as profound emotional and psychological problems which have been exacerbated by the refusal of Guantánamo’s guards to give him counselling.
Mohamed’s British lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said his client had been beaten “dozens” of times inside the notorious US camp in Cuba with the most recent abuse occurring during recent weeks. He said: “He has a list of physical ailments that cover two sheets of A4 paper. What Binyam has been through should have been left behind in the middle ages.”
Lieutenant colonel Yvonne Bradley, Mohamed’s US military attorney, added: “He has been severely beaten. Sometimes I don’t like to think about it because my country is behind all this.”
Well, lieutenant colonel Bradley, a lot of people in Washington would also rather not think too deeply about the torture program, renditions, and assorted other crimes and human rights violations. But we need to face this.