Video: Culture of Impunity Part Two – Andy Worthington on Bush’s War Crimes, Bradley Manning and Guantánamo

4.8.13

Six weeks ago, on June 26, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, initiated by the United Nations in 1997, on the 10th anniversary of the the day that the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into force, I posted the first half of a newly released documentary film, “Culture of Impunity,” for which I was interviewed along with the law professor and author Marjorie Cohn, the professor, author and filmmaker Saul Landau, the author and activist David Swanson, Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch and Stephen Rohde of the ACLU.

The documentary, which looks at the many ways in which the most senior figures in the Bush administration — including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld — have escaped accountability for the crimes committed in the “war on terror” declared after the 9/11 attacks, was produced by Alternate Focus, which describes itself as “working for peace and justice by offering the American public media which shows another side of Middle Eastern issues,” and I was interviewed for it in April.

The producer, John Odam, has just sent me a link to the second part of this powerful documentary, on YouTube, which I’ve made available below, along with the first part. It features all of the experts interviewed in the first half, as well as Stephen Zunes, a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco.

“Culture of Impunity,” Part One (originally made available in June 2013).

“Culture of Impunity,” Part Two (newly released).

In this second part — 33 minutes in length — I discussed the importance of the UN Convention Against Torture, and how disgraceful it was that the Bush administration did away with it (through the extremely cynical method of pretending that torture wasn’t torture), and I also described the horrors of holding people, as in Guantánamo, without any of the rights traditionally made available to prisoners, either as prisoners as war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, or as criminal suspects, to be prosecuted in federal courts, and how, eleven and a half years after the prison opened, the 166 men still held — 86 of whom have been cleared for release — may die at Guantánamo without ever having been charged or tried, or having had the supposed evidence against them ever tested in a genuinely objective manner.

I also spoke about the enormous failure of President Obama to close Guantánamo, as he promised when he took office in January 2009, and how this disgraceful and unacceptable failure has been compounded by the President’s own lawless warmongering, primarily through his worldwide program of assassinations by drone, without any accountability for his actions.

I also spoke about the importance of the files about the Guantánamo prisoners released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, on which I worked as a media partner, and I’m pleased to note that this newly released second part of the “Culture of Impunity” documentary also includes discussions of the case of Bradley Manning, the whistleblower who released the Guantánamo files as part of the biggest leak of classified documents in US history. I’m grateful that I was able to contribute to this section of the film, as Bradley Manning awaits sentencing, while those who approved the crimes he exposed continue to get away with their actions. As well as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, the officials still at large include Condoleezza Rice; David Addington, Dick Cheney’s senior lawyer; William J. Haynes II, the Pentagon’s General Counsel; former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; Douglas Feith, the former under secretary of Defense for policy; John Yoo, who wrote the notorious “torture memos” that sought to redefine torture; and Jay S. Bybee, who signed Yoo’s memos.

As the film’s title notes, with no senior officials prosecuted for their crimes — and Bradley Manning facing life in prison for exposing the war crimes of America’s leaders and military personnel — this is indeed a “Culture of Impunity.”

I hope you have the time to watch the film, and to share it if you find its message useful and important. And if you want to see more of my interviews, please feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the four-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

16 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Jim Koenig wrote:

    I want a “War Criminals” lapel button to show my support.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jim. Yes, buttons/badges would be good,wouldn’t they? To be worn as a permanent reminder of the injustice of the Bush administration’s senior officials and lawyers getting away with their crimes.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Lance Ciepiela wrote:

    If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them.
    http://www.opednews.com/Quotations/If-certain-acts-of-violation-o-by-Jackson-Robert-H-130703-462.html

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Jim Koenig wrote:

    Great job Andy

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Noel Juan wrote:

    He’s not worthy of an orange jumpsuit, Andy!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Jim Koenig wrote:

    He’s not even worthy of a new rope. Any old clothesline will do.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Lance and Noel, and thanks again, Jim. I’ve found myself reminded how disgraceful it is that these criminals are walking free, and how their crimes, if remembered at all, are now treated as ancient history. The footage of Carter, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 and Obama all together at the White House is the most disturbing part of the film though.

  8. Klaus Kaczor says...

    Atrocities is too kind a word for what the USA is guilty of

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Klaus. Good to hear from you.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia Tutta Jung wrote:

    Thanks for sharing Andy

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    Andy, Thanks, very good quality material, tweeted and shared.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia and Willy, thanks. Very good to hear from you. Yes, I was interviewed by a British cameraman with a script prepared by the producers in the US, and it worked very well. The questions were good, and the whole film was put together very well. I’ve been told there is more to come, which has piqued my curiosity, and will keep you posted.

  13. Obama Gives Bush “Absolute Immunity” For Everything | roger hollander says...

    [...] Days before Bradley – now Chelsea – Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for helping expose U.S. war crimes in Iraq, the Obama Department of Justice filed a petition in federal court arguing that the perpetrators of those crimes – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al – enjoy “absolute immunity” against criminal charges or civil liability. The filing came in a suit brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who alleges that the planning and waging of the Iraq war under false pretenses constituted a “crime of aggression” under a law used in the Nuremberg trials. With neither Congress nor Obama willing to hold Bush & Co. accountable for the Iraq catastrophe, supporters see the suit as a last-chance tactic to force the issue back into the public eye – an effort the Obama adminstration clearly opposes. More, all dispiriting, on the increasingly flawed Bush-Obama-lesser-of-two-evils thesis, and the current culture of impunity. [...]

  14. Obama Gives Bush “Absolute Immunity” For Everything | says...

    [...] The filing came in a suit brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who alleges that the planning and waging of the Iraq war under false pretenses constituted a “crime of aggression” under a law used in the Nuremberg trials. With neither Congress nor Obama willing to hold Bush & Co. accountable for the Iraq catastrophe, supporters see the suit as a last-chance tactic to force the issue back into the public eye – an effort the Obama adminstration clearly opposes. More, all dispiriting, on the increasingly flawed Bush-Obama-lesser-of-two-evils thesis, and the current culture of impunity. [...]

  15. Obama Gives Bush "Absolute Immunity" For Everything | Pakalert Press says...

    [...] The filing came in a suit brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who alleges that the planning and waging of the Iraq war under false pretenses constituted a “crime of aggression” under a law used in the Nuremberg trials. With neither Congress nor Obama willing to hold Bush & Co. accountable for the Iraq catastrophe, supporters see the suit as a last-chance tactic to force the issue back into the public eye – an effort the Obama adminstration clearly opposes. More, all dispiriting, on the increasingly flawed Bush-Obama-lesser-of-two-evils thesis, and the current culture of impunity. [...]

  16. Obama Gives Bush “Absolute Immunity” For Everything | Spartan of Truth says...

    [...] Days before Bradley – now Chelsea – Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for helping expose U.S. war crimes in Iraq, the Obama Department of Justice filed a petition in federal court arguing that the perpetrators of those crimes – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al – enjoy “absolute immunity” against criminal charges or civil liability. The filing came in a suit brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who alleges that the planning and waging of the Iraq war under false pretenses constituted a “crime of aggression” under a law used in the Nuremberg trials. With neither Congress nor Obama willing to hold Bush & Co. accountable for the Iraq catastrophe, supporters see the suit as a last-chance tactic to force the issue back into the public eye – an effort the Obama adminstration clearly opposes. More, all dispiriting, on the increasingly flawed Bush-Obama-lesser-of-two-evils thesis, and the current culture of impunity. [...]

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