Top UN human rights officials are now calling for the prosecution of all senior US officials and CIA agents who authorized and carried out brutal torture like waterboarding and rectal feeding.
One detainee reportedly had his lunch pureed and poured into his rectum. He eventually attempted to commit suicide.
Detainees were reportedly stripped naked, physically struck, and put in various physical stress positions for long periods of time.
The report says torture did not work in the years following 9/11 attacks. It neither gathered substantial intelligence from those suspected, nor did it stop terror plots against Americans.
More importantly, the UN says these torture tactics are considered serious international crimes, and those who commit them must be held accountable.
The CIA responded, saying, “The report tells part of the story, but there are too many flaws for it to stand as the official record of the program.”
The White House says it is preparing for possible retaliation against the US following the release of the scathing report.
“I know that there have been concerns about the release of this report and the potential dangers that it poses. We’ve taken precautionary measures at our embassies around the world. There’s never a perfect time to release a report like this. But, it was important for us, I think, to recognize that part of what sets us apart is, when we do something wrong, we acknowledge it.”
“No nation is perfect,” said Vice President Joe Biden, “but one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, and make changes and do better.”
Some analysts believe it’s unlikely those involved will be prosecuted.
“There was a law passed in 2005 that effectively gave immunity to all the people that were involved in this torture program,” said Jeffrey Toobin, a legal analyst, “and the Obama administration has said they’re not going to pursue these cases in any case.”
But the UN insists international law prohibits granting immunity to public officials who allow the use of torture – whether it applies to actual perpetrators or to those who plan and authorize it.
Ten years ago, it was a Filipino, retired Major General Antonio Taguba, who authored a US Army report on abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.
His report prompted a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. He also called for those who commit war crimes to be held accountable.
Taguba says the question that still requires an answer is who will be held accountable for violating these laws. Even if they are not prosecuted, Taguba says their identity will be known, and they will not be able to hide from the truth.