A bit of a reprint, but new material below the fold….and simul-posted at Dkos
It comes down to this. If America doesn’t wash it’s own incredibly stained laundry, the rest of the civilized world will do it for us.
The UN is to investigate the use of secret detention centres allegedly used by the CIA and other groups as part of US counter-terrorism efforts.
The decision follows a UN report which uncovered what it said were serious abuses by the intelligence services.
The report said secret prisons were “one of the most horrendous practises” adopted by intelligence services.
Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said that in many cases states receiving detainees had “reportedly engaged in torture and other forms of ill-treatment”.
“Australian, British and United States intelligence personnel have themselves interviewed detainees who were held incommunicado by the Pakistani ISI in so-called safe houses, where they were being tortured,” he said, referring to Pakistan’s spy agency.
Scheinin later told reporters that such “wrongful acts” violated international law.
The system, put in place by the Bush administration following the September 11 2001 attacks in the United States, had reflected a “dark page” in U.S. history, he said. But “it was only possible through collaboration from many other states.”
“Now that the witch hunt is hopefully over, it is time for the law to step in,” Scheinin told the Council.
Scheinin cites “consistent, credible reports” that countries involved in facilitating extraordinary renditions in various ways included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Britain, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Macedonia and Pakistan. Suspects then were transferred to “mostly unacknowledged” detention sites in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan “or to one of the CIA covert detention centers, often referred to as ‘black sites,’ ” according to the human rights report.
Nowak and his colleague Martin Scheinin, the special rapporteur on human rights while countering terrorism, hailed Obama’s changes to US policy, but said that they would “not let the United States off the hook simply because of the change in administration”.
The yearlong investigation is aimed not only to clarify facts, but also to ensure that such secret jails would not be used in the future, according to Manfred Nowak, UN envoy for torture, and Martin Scheinin, UN envoy for human rights and counter-terrorism.
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, the two experts described secret jails as “one of the most horrendous practices” adopted by intelligence services.
The detention and interrogation program of the Central Intelligence Agency was authorized under a classified September 17, 2001 presidential order.
After years of refusing to deny or confirm the existence of the Presidential Order on Detention Facilities Abroad, in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the U.S. government acknowledged its existence in 2006.
It has refused to make the document public, however, or even provide it to members of Congress.
Get the picture? The whole world IS watching. And waiting for America to clean up its own garbage. Which we aren’t.
So far every action our own Department of Justice has taken has been in the opposite direction, away from justice…invoking the state secrets doctrine, seeking to have Bagram declared outside the bounds of the Geneva Conventions, and carefully avoiding a Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of illegal detention.
Particularly of interest is the article in Xinhua, the Chinese Press, in light of the fact that some Americans expressed displeasure recently at SoS Clinton for not pushing CHINA harder on Human Rights. Irony. What right does an America that tortures have to lecture the rest of the world on Human Rights abuses?
This is just another indication of the planetarily despised American Exceptionalism that has, in light of an organized State Torture Program, and Illegal Invasion lost us ALL credibility on the subjects of peace, justice and any right at all to claim moral high ground or human rights or nearly any other issue, of Foreign Policy.
We don’t get to lecture anybody on much of anything….until we clean our own house.
And as is being made increasingly clear, if we don’t clean it, the United Nations will. Is that what America wants? To prove to the world that we are too cowardly to prosecute our own War Criminals? Is that what you want President Obama? Is that what you want Attorney General Holder?
An American President, Vice-President, and Secretary of Defense on trial in the Hague? “Foreigners” presenting evidence against them because we don’t have the moral fiber to do it ourselves? “Foreigners” convicting America of War crimes?
Remember how badly we have abused the United Nations. Even now.. White House Slaps UN Secretary-General on ‘Deadbeat’ Comments
They DO have the will to put justice over politics, if we choose to put politics over justice. And that is all the reluctance to hold The Bush Torture Conspiracy accountable is, politics. Politics and the thought that our exceptionalism somehow puts our president above the Rule of Law. Even with what we already know about torture. Let alone the revelations that are now starting to unravel, such as … Sy Hersh says Cheney oversaw “executive assassination team”
We have arrogantly overthrown governments, assassinated or attempted to assassinate foreign leaders, started illegal wars and snatched innocent people off the street and tortured them. The world is losing patience with us.
Add up all that America has done since WW2, and believe me, the world has the motivation to go after us. For the best of reasons, truthfully. America’s worst excesses must be stopped. And the best way to stop ‘us’ is to prosecute the simply outrageous Bush Torture Conspiracy. If the world does it, we are ALL tarred with Bush’s brush.
If we do it, we repudiate Bush and regain our standing as a civilized nation under the Rule of Law.
“We” may wish to sweep the horrid inhuman crimes of the Bush Torture Conspiracy under the rug and “Move Forward,” But the rest of the world is NOT going to let us get away with it. Period.
So we have a choice, wash our own filthy laundry, or watch as the world does it for us. In humiliating fashion.
Which do you prefer America? Which do you prefer Attorney General Holder? Which do you prefer President Obama?
Please sign the Petition for a Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes