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Report on US Torture Names Former President George W. Bush
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The Constitution Project released a report today on what it describes as torture tactics used by the U.S. government against suspected terrorists in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. The report finds that torture has been used on more prisoners than has previously been admitted, and that the policy of torturing prisoners goes all the way up through the ranks to former President George W. Bush.

The report, which was compiled by the Constitution Project, a legal advocacy and research group, outlines several specific incidents of torture being used at a variety of secret and not-so secret U.S. run prisons around the world. It also suggests that the use of torture was approved by the highest levels of the American government, that the information gained from these tactics was not as useful as has been previously reported, and that the use of torture diminishes America both morally and in the eyes of the world.


The report is based on dozens of interviews with high ranking government officials, and though it is non-partisan, was published as part of a desire to see the previous presidential administration’s involvement in torture investigated. The New York Times reports that the Constitution Project includes two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch, Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat James R. Jones. The group seeks to produce a stronger national consensus on the use of torture during wartime, and was inspired to create the report in 2009, when President Barack Obama decided not to investigate the previous administration.

Among the chief findings of the report is that two Libyan militants were subjected to the controversial “waterboarding” tactic, in which a detainee is held upside down and water is poured over his face in a simulation of the experience of drowning. The U.S. government had previously admitted to using the tactic, but said that it had only been used against three members of Al Qaeda. The report additionally found evidence of prisoners being handcuffed in uncomfortable positions, deprived of food and sleep, stripped naked, and subjected to physical injury by being thrown against brick walls. Whether or not these tactics were used is one issue, but the report also addresses whether or not these activities are even defined as torture.

More damning is the reports suggestion that the use of these tactics was approved by several high ranking defense, military, and governmental office-holders, including former President George W. Bush. Hutchinson indicated that while President Bush and others in his administration may have made bad decisions regarding the treatment and possible torture of detainees and prisoners, he believes that all involved acted in good faith and in what they thought was the best interests of national security in an effort to prevent immediate attacks.

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