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25 Dec, 2014 21:40

Public won’t let Washington sweep CIA torture under the rug – Russian diplomat

The Obama administration won’t be able to throw the torture issue under the table, as the US Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program has sparked a global public outcry, the Russian Foreign Ministry's human rights ombudsman told RT.

“It’s to be continued. If you wish, this report is to be continued against the will of those who would like to hush it down,” Konstantin Dolgov stressed.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture following 9/11 will be “discussed in the international forum, including, hopefully, in the UN Council of Human Rights and in some other international formats,” he added.

READ MORE: 'Enhanced interrogation' program was flawed, US Senate & CIA agree

The ombudsman believes that “very significant” public interest towards the document is explained by the fact that it describes not only breaches of human rights, but violations of the “principle of supremacy of law, the rule of law.”

“It’s high time to bring those responsible for tortures to justice. But, unfortunately, the Obama administration reaffirmed its longstanding position that nobody will be punished,”
he said.

Dolgov has called Washington’s stance “shameful,” stressing that it “isn’t only criticized by human rights defenders around the world, but...by a significant portion of the American society and the American establishment.”

AFP Photo/Jim Watson

The authorities in European countries that hosted the CIA’s secret prisons – such as Lithuania, Poland, and Romania – are also “under increasing pressure, not only internationally, but also from the public opinion that investigations are to be done finally and perpetrators are to be punished because the mere existence of those prisons in their territories was a major transgression of international law,” he stressed.

In such conditions, “I don’t think that the Obama administration or any future administration in DC will be able to completely take it [the torture issue] out of the focus of international attention,” Dolgov said.

The ombudsman reminded that less than 500 pages from the 6,000-page Senate report were made available to the public.

“Those pages remain secret upon the insistence of the administration. So there’s a lot of information in those pages which the administration wants to still hide from the American public and the international community,” he said.

READ MORE: CIA medical professionals accused of committing war crimes

Dolgov suggested that most of the report remains classified because “maybe some names are cited, those who were responsible for giving orders, for perpetrating those orders, because we’re speaking about horrible violations of international obligations of the US.”

According to the Foreign Ministry official, similar reasons are preventing the Obama administration from closing the infamous Guantanamo prison, “where, basically, unlawful practices continue, including those which human rights defenders categorize as tortures or being close to tortures.”

“Once again, the issue of responsibility arises: who will be made responsible, who will bear the responsibility for Guantanamo – this shameful page of American history. It might very well turn out that nobody will be punished like in the case of other tortures in Afghanistan and in secret prisons in European countries,” he said.

Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The US Senate report was released on December 9, revealing the CIA's use of torture in an attempt to gain intelligence from suspected terrorists.

According to the inquiry, which cost $40 million, US intelligence services implemented techniques such as sleep deprivation and the simulated drowning practice known as waterboarding during interrogations.

Furthermore, it was determined that such torture was ineffective, as it failed to produce any significant intelligence data.

READ MORE: 'I'd do it again!' Cheney defends CIA torture, calls interrogators heroes

In his interview with RT, Dolgov also spoke about the Ukraine crisis, stressing that the Foreign Ministry has put together three ‘White Books’ containing human rights violations by Kiev authorities – including the use of cluster and phosphorous bombs against civilians.

“We must ensure that the international community pushes the Ukrainian authorities to finally investigate those crimes and to bring those responsible – I mean perpetrators and organizers – to justice. This is the moral duty of the international community that impunity doesn’t exist for the crimes committed during the Ukrainian conflict,”
he said.

The ombudsman also slammed the US for “continuing what we call a worldwide hunt for Russian citizens, whom they accuse of...certain unlawful, as they say, activities. They pressurize the governments of sovereign countries to arrest our citizens. Then they insist on their extradition to the US, where they face – in the absolute majority of cases – unfair justice.”

He said that such cases – such as ones involving Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko – are “politicized,” adding that the Foreign Ministry will continue to provide consular support to Russians held in US prisons.

READ MORE: Feds’ fight to withhold CIA torture photos may soon end