Now that the Bush Administration is out of power and can no longer protect itself, evidence of the many crimes it committed is starting to pour forth, and the concealment and cover-up of their criminal conspiracy to commit torture is starting to unravel.
Back in December of 2007, it was revealed that the CIA had destroyed two long videotapes….of the CIA torturing ‘terror suspects.’ The CIA initially denied the tapes existed, and then was forced to admit that it had destroyed them. At the time there was quite a stir…considering that Bush was still in power and the press was still in thrall to him…about this wanton destruction of evidence.
Today, due to the vigilance of the ACLU, it was revealed that the number was actually not two…but 92.
Via Raw Story…
According to the letter, which can be viewed here, (pdf) the CIA is now gathering information in response to the Court’s order to provide a list identifying and describing each of the destroyed records, as well as transcripts or summaries from any of the destroyed records and the names of any witnesses who may have viewed the videotapes before their destruction. The CIA requested that it be given until March 6 to provide the court with a timeline for its response to the requested information.
In December 2007, the ACLU filed a motion to hold the CIA in contempt for its destruction of videotapes in violation of a court order requiring the agency to produce or identify all the requested records. That motion is still pending, according to a release from the ACLU.
From the NYT story linked above, we get some info on what the tapes contained and the rationale for destroying them…
The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects – including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody – to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said.
In a statement to employees on Thursday, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director, said that the decision to destroy the tapes was made “within the C.I.A.” and that they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value.
The destruction of the tapes raises questions about whether agency officials withheld information from Congress, the courts and the Sept. 11 commission about aspects of the program.
Back to Raw Story for the ACLU response…
Amrit Singh, an attorney with the ACLU and counsel on the case said to Raw Story, “The large number of video tapes destroyed confirms that this was a systemic attempt to evade court orders.”
Singh added, “It’s about time, now that the court knows 92 tapes have been destroyed, that it hold the CIA accountable for the destruction of the tapes.”
We cannot at this point be sure whether the shocking number of destroyed tapes….destroyed evidence… represented coverage of already known torture sessions, or whether they represent 92 separate instances of torture against 92 different subjects. As is likely. But as more and more evidence emerges from under the cloud of the Bush Administrations cover-up efforts, we hope to find out.
This (still, even now) shocking revelation of conspiracy to torture and conspiracy to cover up torture comes just as The Senate Intelligence Committee is about to hold …secret….hearings on the actions of the CIA and the legality of the authorization it used to torture. To torture apparently vast numbers of suspects. SUSPECTS, who have of course never been convicted of a single crime. Suspects who now cannot ever be justly tried due to the fact that they were tortured. Suspects who by any civilized standards of The Rule Of Law, were innocent. Since they never were, and now never can be, proven guilty.
How many innocent people…men, women and children…did the CIA, private contractors and the military torture? With the the explicit and admitted authorizations of George Bush and Dick Cheney, and under orders from SecDef Donald Rumsfeld.
More Unraveling on the British complicity in the illegal invasion of Iraq below the fold.