Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh may not mean anything to most readers. Jameel Jaffer is a London, Ont. born litigator for the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. Amrit Singh is Manmohan Singh’s daughter and is a Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
credit Ruby Washingon, NYT and wikipedia
Jameel Jaffer, was “instrumental in filing and fighting an unlikely Freedom of Information Act request that eventually unearthed thousands of pages of secret documents which illustrated damning evidence of U.S. government complicity in violations of international humanitarian law.” link. and link
The Baghdad Correctional Facility may also not mean anything but mention Abu Ghraib and it conjures disturbing images of physical and sexual abuse, psychological and mental torture, rape, sodomy and homicide.
The FIA request was filed by Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh in October 2003. Six years later, they have received more than 130,000 pages of previously classified documents.
Jaffer, who was the editor of Harvard Law Review, like the incumbent President Obama, says: “In general, I think our position is that national security is increasingly used as a pretext to suppress information that would embarrass government officials and information related to criminal activity,” Jaffer told the Star. “And we think that the abuse of national security for those ends is something that, in the end, jeopardizes not just security but democracy as well, and that’s really what motivates a lot of these cases.” link
With his colleague Amrit Singh (from Yale Law) they have written Administration of Torture. It documents the most comprehensive account to date of what took place in American controlled detention centers and why.
In his New Yorker article The General’s Report – How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties, Seymour M. Hersh quotes Taguba:
“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”
Reporters like Dana Priest, Bart Cellman at the Washngton Post and Carlotta Gall of the NYT who broke the original stories on torture and Abu Ghraib are few on one side and then there are other reporters who do not talk to ACLU. Speaking of them, and in reply to this question posed by Clint Hedler of the Columbia Review of Journalism:
Were there other reporters who wanted to keep advocacy organizations like the ACLU at arm’s length, who were more hesitant to speak to you?
“There were certainly reporters who were hesitant to share information. I don’t think it was because we are an advocacy organization—I think they would have been even more hesitant to share with another news organization—but as you know, for a reporter information is everything, and people are, for understandable reasons, sometimes reluctant to share what they may be able to use themselves in the next day’s story. It’s just a fact about the way the media world works.”
It will take a concerted effort of organisations like ACLU, and journalists and investigative reporters and activists to bring out the truth of who ordered the abuses and who carried them out. This should include the abuses, rape, sodomy and torture directly under US administration as well as those ‘rendered’ to third parties including third countries. To be followed by charges in US and international courts, if applicable.
War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity should not go unpunished.