They acted under orders from Bush and Cheney. Today, however, an Italian court convicted 23 American involved in the CIA's kidnap and rendition/torture program.
Around the world, and right here in the United States, outraged people are demanding that the architects of the criminal enterprise – Bush and Cheney – be brought to justice.
Twenty-two of the convicted Americans were immediately sentenced to five years in jail.
The other convicted American, Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady, was given the harshest sentence: eight years in prison. "I am not guilty. I am only responsible for following an order I received from my superiors," Lady was quoted as saying by the newspaper Il Giornale.
As the Associated Press writes, "The trial is the first by any government to scrutinize the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, which human rights advocates charge was the CIA's way to outsource the torture of prisoners to countries where it is practiced." The defendants were tried in abstentia and are considered fugitives.
This is a crucial step on the road to justice. But it must go to those at the top, to the architects of these criminal acts.
It is noteworthy that the defense offered by the attorneys of the convicted was that they were following the orders of the Bush/Cheney White House.
From Italy to Spain and Germany, court proceedings have taken place or are underway against Bush-era crimes.
'We The People' must let the world know that the American people too will not tolerate torture, secret prisons, kidnappings, assassinations and wars of aggression. Unless Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are held accountable before the law it will send a message to the world that future U.S. officials can repeat these dastardly acts with impunity.