Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Victory For Torture: Germans Reject Investigation Request

German federal prosecutors on Friday rejected a U.S. group's formal request to investigate allegations that current and former Bush administration officials were complicit in the torture of military prisoners.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights accused former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and eight other officials of either ordering, aiding or failing to prevent the torture.
According to a report from David Rising of the AP in the Washington Post,
German law allows the prosecution of war crimes regardless of where they were committed, and permits any citizen or group to formally request a criminal investigation.

In rejecting the complaint, prosecutors said that it was up to the U.S. to hold any inquiry, adding that there were no indications U.S. authorities or courts would not conduct one.
Of course they'll conduct one. They'll conduct as many as they have to. But there is no indication that it will be anything other than a whitewash, just like the "investigation" they did last time. And even the lapdog WaPo virtually admits as much:
Attorneys leading the case had said [...] they had documents from 2005 congressional hearings suggesting that Rumsfeld approved harsh methods [...]

After FBI agents raised concerns, the documents showed, military investigators began reviewing the case and in July 2005 said they confirmed abusive and degrading treatment [...] Still, the Pentagon determined that no torture had occurred.
So once again we're left with questions, such as:

Has it not dawned on the German prosecutors that the Pentagon will always determine that nothing illegal has occurred? Of course it has.

Would these same German prosecutors let a fox investigate mysterious death and destruction in a chicken coop? Apparently they would.
Center for Constitutional Rights President Michael Ratner vowed to pursue an appeal in Germany or action in another country.

"If Germany is not willing to enforce their law we think other countries will be. We're not going to leave a stone unturned," Ratner said by telephone from New York.
Splendid sentiment, but it seems rather unlikely that Ratner will find anyone with more backbone than the Germans who rejected the request.
The attorneys were also hopeful that testimony from former U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski -- the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq -- would bolster their case.

When the complaint was filed, Karpinski [...] told reporters in Berlin that she would testify against her superiors because only a handful of low-ranking soldiers have been convicted in the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

"People who are far more culpable and responsible have walked away blameless," Karpinski said.
But they wouldn't even talk to her.

So what have we learned?

Witnesses don't matter, testimony doesn't matter, the law doesn't matter, and the facts of the case don't matter.

Torturers should investigate their own crimes.

Welcome to hell.