Obama’s Amnesty For Torturers – ‘They Were Just Obeying Orders’


CENTRAL Intelligence Agency employees who tortured people in the Guantanamo Bay and Bagram Bay US concentration camps as terrorist suspects held without charge or trial have been amnestied by the President, Barak Obama.

The Amnesty was declared after a campaign by the US Civil Liberties Union forced the release of four memos which featured Bush administration officials giving their full political and legal support to the torture measures.

Obama banned the use of methods such as sleep deprivation and simulated drowning in his first week in office, explaining that these measures had led to a worldwide revulsion with the US.

The amnesty for CIA operatives has returned to favour the classic excuse of the Nazi torturers and concentration camp attendants, that they were only obeying orders and that a refusal would have resulted in reprisals of one sort or another.

However, at Nuremburg some of those who gave the orders were punished. In the US today, Obama intends those who gave the orders to get off scot-free.

There is nothing stopping the President of the United States and the Supreme Court going after President Bush and Vice President Cheney except that such an action would completely split the US ruling class and the various sections of the state apparatus.

So, Obama is taking the easiest option, amnestying the practitioners and forgetting the architects of the plan – they are to remain undisturbed in semi-retirement.

In fact the US military and spy chiefs insisted that if there was to be an admission of torture, there must be an amnesty, since with Abu Ghraib in mind, there would be thousands of military commanders, officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers eligible for arrest, charge and trial as torturers or approvers of torture.

Many officials including the former head of the CIA under former President Bush, General Michael Hayden, were even opposed to a recognition that there was torture. He said that such an admission would undermine intelligence work and that foreign intelligence agencies would no longer share information with the CIA.

He linked intelligence work and torture together telling the Press Association: ‘If you want an intelligence service to work for you, they always work on the edge. That’s just where they work.’

The Obama administration has let it be known that it now regards the question of torture as closed and that it will oppose prosecutions of non-CIA staff or Bush administration lawyers and staff.

Indeed the Obama administration has said that it will protect all those who acted within the limits set by the previous legal opinion, which was laid out in the just-released four memos.

The legal justification for ‘waterboarding’, or simulated drowning and the recommendation that a detainee could be placed into a confined box with insects that he was terrified of is to be treated as a ‘mistake’ in judgement.

What President Obama is doing is the absolute minimum to try and rescue the reputation of the US which under the regime of George Bush was absolutely destroyed.

No action is to be taken against the perpetrators or the political organisers of the torture regime because the US ruling class would not stand for it and US capitalism would be gravely weakened in the extremely toxic fall-out.

In fact, the Bagram prison camp, a real black hole, that one inmate of Guantanamo Bay said made the G Bay camp appear like a holiday home is to stay open and function as normal and no doubt there are other prisons that will emerge under non-CIA ownership despite the current Obama measures.

The simple fact is that it is impossible to separate imperialism from atrocities and torture. The Iraq war started with the WMD lie, then one million Iraqis were slaughtered and four million were exiled with the country handed over to sectarian gangs and Abu Ghraib-style torturers. This experience proves the point.

The Iraq experience is the reality of imperialism. Nothing will be well with the world until imperialism is smashed by a socialist revolution and replaced by socialism.