CCR Statement on Senate Armed Services Committee Report on Abuse of Detainees in U.S. Custody
Bi-Partisan Commission Blames Rumsfeld, Top Officials for Detainee Abuse
NEW YORK - In response to the release today by the Senate Armed Services Committee
of a bi-partisan report almost two years in the making on the abuse of
detainees in U.S. custody, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) President Michael Ratner, author with CCR of The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld (The New Press, 2008), issued the following statement:
The Committee's report reaffirms that high-ranking administration
officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, were directly responsible for
the abuse and torture of detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The brutal interrogation techniques used on our clients and many others
were carried out despite well-documented opposition from military
lawyers and others concerned by the illegality and ineffectiveness of
After reviewing thousands of documents, this bi-partisan committee
confirmed that senior officials are directly responsible for ushering
in one of the darkest chapters in our nation's history and the loss of
our moral authority in the eyes of the world.
There is no question that Rumsfeld and the others must be held
accountable, and it must be before a court of law. There must be
consequences for their illegal activities. A special prosecutor should
be appointed. To do otherwise is to send a message of impunity that
will only embolden future administrations to again engage in serious
violations of the law.
The report is highly critical of the information obtained through these
techniques, noting they were based on Chinese Communist methods
employed to obtain false confessions. Professional interrogators agree
that the fastest way to get the best information from a prisoner is
through building trust and rapport, not torture. The recognition of the
illegality and unreliability of this kind of evidence is critical in
the cases of some of our clients, like Mohammed al Qahtani.
We hope the courts and the next administration take notice and take action.
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last six years -
sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the
first attorney to meet with a former CIA "ghost detainee." CCR has been
responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono
lawyers across the country in order to represent the men at Guantánamo,
ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. CCR
represented the detainees with co-counsel in the most recent argument
before the Supreme Court and is actively working to resettle
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.