U.K. Settles With Guantanamo Torture Victims
By agreeing to pay at least seven Brits who had alleged abuse while held captive at Guantanamo, the United Kingdom has opened the door for others with similar experiences.
The settlements are on the order of one million dollars per person, and mark the second time that a government has compensated victims of the Bush-era "extraordinary rendition" program. (Canada was first in 2007).
It's clear the settlement is the easy way out for both Britain and the United States.
The New York Times reported: "Testimony in the British cases might also have put a renewed spotlight on Bush-era interrogation tactics and forced Obama to take a tougher stance on holding Bush administration officials accountable for torture and abuse. Although Obama has condemned the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, it remains open with some 174 detainees. Obama has been criticized for doing little to hold Bush administration officials accountable for torture or abuse."
This action is likely to put new pressure on the American judicial system at the very least, with the ACLU petitioning the Supreme Court to address the rendition and detainment of uncharged suspects from around the world:
"In September, a sharply divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited national security risks when it dismissed a lawsuit challenging a CIA program that flew terrorism suspects to secret prisons for interrogation."
In a separate editorial, the NYT argued: "The United States has neither compensated victims of illegal detention and abuse nor taken steps to hold the architects of the human rights abuses accountable. Indeed, some of the Obama administration’s biggest legal victories have come in shielding Bush-era officials by getting lawsuits brought by victims with credible claims of kidnapping and torture thrown out of court on specious secrecy grounds, without any testimony being heard."