CIA relieved as US ends torture probes

The US Attorney General’s latest decree for a criminal investigation into the death in detention of only two CIA captives has spared the US spy agency from further torture and abuse probes.

The US Justice Department announced on Thursday Attorney General Eric Holder’s order for a probe into the deaths of two detainees interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which effectively terminates any future investigations into the agency’s other state-sponsored torture deaths and abuses.

Holder’s prosecution order will then throw out over 100 other inquiries into cases involving the abuse of detained suspected ‚terrorists‘ by CIA operatives and contractors during years of military operations following September 11, 2001 incidents, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Justice Department has not revealed which cases will be probed, but US officials said they are the death of an Afghan, Gul Rahman, in 2002 at a prison known as the Salt Pit in Afghanistan, and that of an Iraqi, Manadel al-Jamadi, who was interrogated by three CIA officers at Abu Ghraib in 2003.

While Jamadi’s body was placed on ice to preserve it for autopsy, American soldiers posed for photographs with the body- – including some in which they gave the thumbs-up sign – – provoking international outrage when the images surfaced in media.

The outgoing CIA director, Leon Panetta, who was just confirmed in the US Senate as the new defense secretary, hailed the Justice Department’s decision to ignore further probes into the state-sponsored ‚enhanced interrogation methods‘. Panetta said in a statement that “on this, my last day as director, I welcome the news that the broader inquiries are behind us.”

“We are now finally about to close this chapter of our agency’s history,“ he added.

Critics, however, have demanded that the Justice Department continue to look into torture methods applied in interrogating those in CIA custody.

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