Wednesday, December 17, 2014
You can't hide from justice forever - not even for war crimes committed decades in the past, and not even when you're 93.
That message resounded loudly in May, 2013 as Germany announced the arrest of Hans Lipschis, age 93, for complicity in mass murders that took place at the notorious Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he served as a guard in 1941-1945. And over 50 years later these war criminals are still being dug out of their spider holes by tenacious seekers of justice ....torture is never forgettable.
Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, so named for personally having horribly tortured French prisoners as the local chief of the Gestapo in Lyon. He was hunted down and caught by Nazi Hunters from France. He died in 1991 during his life imprisonment in a Lyon prison since 1987.
Dr. Joseph Mengele, the Angel of Death, who tortured men, women and children and did medical experiments of unspeakable horror to them. He was sought by Nazi Hunters of the Israeli Mossad and was still on the run until his drowning death in Brazil in 1979.
Adolf Eichmann, Organizer of much of the holocaust and the extermination camps was caught by the Mossad in Argentina and put on trial in Israel. Found guilty of War Crimes, he was hanged in 1962.
Rudolph Hess, who spent the last 20 years of his life as the lone inmate of ancient Spandau Prison in Berlin.
The list of the 'most wanted' war criminals continues, the top 6, designated by the Simon Wiesenthal Center shows every one of them to be 93 or older! The relentless search for the guilty in these grotesque instances of death and torture never ends. Even 64 years after that war there are those who are still resolute in their direction. Many others on the Wiesenthal lists are known but are deemed suffering dementia or near death and so cannot be put on trial. But the gathering of evidence doesn't stop. And torture is never forgiven.
In the latest go around in the CIA torture revelations, the only person who has been prosecuted so far is the whistleblower who told us about it. No American soldier who hung a detainee by shackles in a cold dark room, or kept one naked and awake for days with pain and loud music, or beat one or put the dogs on him, or raped him or force-fed him through the rectum, has been prosecuted. And we are aware that the orders for this extraordinary rendition came from very high up, even Dick Cheney saying he would do it again, which implies he did it in the first instance. And Dick is now at odds with Dubya, his president, saying he also knew. And we now know the CIA has secret prisons all around the world for the express process of torture.
But the above mentioned Nazis and hundreds of others from WWII considered themselves soldiers too. And they were found out. The only thing constant is change, and someone will tell on you.
One only wonders who will apply the pressure to bring present day war criminals accused of torture and death to justice? Will they be allowed to fade into history or to blatantly defend their actions vociferously until we stop talking about them? Offense being the best defense? The strategy of the guilty to deaden the people's senses with sensory overload? It seems that many of those Nazi war criminals feared for their lives up until death. Why should today's counterparts be granted any measure of mercy?
So the resolve of men and women to chase down and catch modern day torturers should never fade into a silent dementia. No matter how aged the perpetrators become. These injustices to humanity must never disappear from our consciousness. Even if the rationale is that they did it to us.
We are supposed to be better than them.
And most secret agency spy chiefs today in all countries agree and understand that torture does NOT work. It is not a strategic necessity. Which only leaves the raison d'etre for using torture, as that certain people within those agencies find a distorted pleasure in the power to maim. As those Nazis mentioned above have proven. Absolute power corrupts.
Sane and honorable men need to keep up the pressure, the pursuit, dig them out, accumulate the facts and prosecute them, even if it takes another 64 years. Let it be known, they can't hide from justice forever.
Even if they try to hide in plain sight.
Torture 1940s same as 2000s?
CIA torture program