Show trials in Washington and Guantanamo Bay repress justice

Jan 24 00:01 2020 Print This Article

US Politics

All eyes are on the U.S. Senate this week for the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump, only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. But another important trial is happening at the same time, far from the eyes of the public, at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Behind the razor-wire fencing of Camp Justice, five of the remaining 41 Guantanamo prisoners sit through more pretrial hearings, almost 20 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks they are charged with perpetrating.

One witness this week is Dr. James E. Mitchell, a retired U.S. air force psychologist who, with his partner, psychologist John "Bruce" Jessen, developed and then implemented the CIA's post-9/11 torture program. Mitchell and Jessen actively participated in torture sessions at CIA black sites. Both have long maintained that they were only contractors, taking orders from the CIA. Despite having no prior experience with interrogation, they were paid handsomely, receiving at least US$81 million in taxpayer dollars from the U.S. government for their work on the torture program. Torture is a war crime, and those who torture should be prosecuted. But Mitchell is not the one on trial this week. Indeed, he defiantly said in court this week, "I'd get up today and do it again." Mitchell was sitting in the courtroom, not far from his torture victims.

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