Tag Archives: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

There is no License to Kill

“Licensed to Kill” was an Ian Fleming invention. His friend Richard Meinertzhagen dropped Fleming’s phrase for guests to infer he was a secret agent. RM’s routine of arriving at diner parties with a smoking gun reinforced whispers that he had been the inspiration for James Bond. Meinertzhagen turned out to be a flake, but the authority to play god is still coveted by espionage idolators. Federal statutes prohibit identifying covert CIA operatives, regardless what they’ve done. Is that the same thing? A mythical supra legem indemnity? Sorry Virginia, nemo est.

Okay, some today are above the law, notable examples being Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Woo, et al. The jury is still out on who will atone for the Bush Co crimes. But should the Neocon exemption cover assassination squads and torturers too?

The US Department of Justice is up in arms -Fox News probably more than anybody- having learned that defense lawyers for terrorist suspects in US custody, have shown their clients photographs of CIA and private contractor interrogators, to learn which of them might have engaged in harsh techniques defined by the rest of the world as torture.

The John Adams Project, run jointly by the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is an effort to document the US torture in Guantanamo and our secret prisons around the globe. The ACLU assures all indignant patriots that asking the detainees to identify their torturers is completely legal.

Researchers for the project have been snapping pictures outside the homes of retired and active, CIA and intelligence industry interrogators. No names have been released except Deuce Martinez, who’d already been outed by the NYT. Martinez was the agent responsible for interrogating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, although accounts soft-pedal his participation in the harsher techniques.

That’s the pattern of exposes about torture, those named always claim to have left the room. A remarkably similar motif accompanied the account of CIA interrogator John Kiriakou.

Two well-known names were doctors who attended to the tortured, later opening a consulting firm to train CIA interrogators.
Dr. Jim Mitchell and Dr. Bruce Jessen specialized in maximizing harsh interrogation, and making sure the victim didn’t die.

The defense lawyers have circulated the photographs of 60 suspected perpetrators, but have named only Martinez so far. How are torturers and murderers to be brought to justice, if they are not unmasked?