This is, or at least should be, more than a little embarrassing for the U.S.--other countries are now investigating torture instigated by American officials.
British police have begun investigating MI5's complicity in torture in the case of Binyam Mohamed, and today there's word that the investigation could expand:
The attorney general is to be asked to investigate two more cases of alleged MI5 complicity in torture of men detained in Pakistan. Lawyers representing Rangzieb Ahmed and Salahuddin Amin are to ask Lady Scotland to consider possible criminal wrongdoing....
There are also reports that MI5 and MI6 have admitted there are other cases in which their officers raised concerns about the possible torture of detainees in US custody in Afghanistan during the conflict that followed the 9/11 attacks.
Citing "security sources", today's Daily Telegraph reports that "senior officials in both MI5 and MI6 have reviewed their files and fear that 15 similar cases could also lead to police investigations".
While those cases are focused on British persons, it seems impossible that US officials and intelligence officers will remain beyond the scope of inquiry. In Spain, however, U.S. officials are the target:
LONDON — A high-level Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation against six former Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, on whether they violated international law by providing a legalistic framework to justify the use of torture of American prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official close to the case said.
The case was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review by Baltasar Garzón, the crusading investigative judge who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The official said that it was "highly probable" that the case would go forward and that it could lead to arrest warrants.
While the move represents a step toward ascertaining the legal accountability of top Bush administration officials for allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in its so-called war on terror, some American experts said that even if warrants were issued their significance could be more symbolic than practical, and that it was a near certainty that the warrants would not lead to arrests if the officials did not leave the United States.
The other officials are Jay Bybee, Douglas Feith, William J. Haynes, John Yoo, and David Addington. A more worthy bunch for criminal investigation would be hard to find, though the absence of elected officials (Bush, Cheney) and cabinet secretaries is glaring.
Spain is claiming jurisdiction because five Spanish citizens/residents were imprisoned at Guantanamo and claim that they were tortured there. The complaint "is based on the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which is binding on 145 countries, including Spain and the United States. Countries that are party to the torture convention are obliged to investigate torture cases, especially when a citizen has been abused."
The fact that the U.S. is also a party to the torture convention, and thus is also obliged to investigate torture claims, has as of yet not compelled the U.S. to begin the process. Maybe the fact that our allies are doing so will spur our own Justice Department on. It's going to be awfully hard to "turn the page" and look forward when the rest of the world is exposing the very dirty deeds of our past.
There's more discussion in dday's recommended diary.