By Tom Eley
9 April 2009
This week, the New York Review of Books released the full version of an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report detailing US Central Intelligence Agency torture of 14 “high value” terroristse suspects at prison “black sites” from 2001 until 2006. Earlier, it had produced excerpts of the report and an analysis by author Mark Danner.
The report makes explicit that the CIA violated the laws of war and basic human rights in its treatment of the prisoners, which included beatings, humiliations, sleep deprivation, and suffocation by water (“waterboarding”), among dozens of specifically named acts of brutality.
At several points, the 40-page report refers to CIA actions as illegal according to international law. The ICRC, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is the body tasked with overseeing observance of the laws of war. That it has declared acts carried out by US intelligence personnel as torture carries enormous legal weight.
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