Destructive Criticism Is Warranted For Torture Cover-up
By Steve Hynd
The Guardian's frontpage headliner article on Britain's complicity in US detainee programs has a lede that doesn't pull any punches:UK hid illegal acts and breached basic human rights of detainees in US rendition programme, report finds.The article continues:
Britain has been condemned in a highly critical United Nations report for breaching basic human rights and "trying to conceal illegal acts" in the fight against terrorism.The report accuses British intelligence officers of interviewing detainees held incommunicado in Pakistan in "so-called safe houses where they were being tortured".Illegal acts that breached basic human rights. That's how the world sees it, because that's how it is.
It adds that Britain, with a number of countries, has sent interrogators to Guantánamo Bay in a further example of what it says "can be reasonably understood as implicitly condoning" torture and ill-treatment, adding that the US was able to create its system for moving terror suspects around foreign jails only with the support of its allies.
Some individuals faced "prolonged and secret detention" and practices that breached bans on torture and other forms of ill-treatment, the report says.
...It adds: "Grave human rights violations by States such as torture, enforced disappearances or arbitrary detention should therefore place serious constraints on policies of cooperation by States, including by their intelligence agencies, with States that are known to violate human rights. The prohibition against torture is an absolute and peremptory norm of international law".
It continues: "The active or passive participation by States in the interrogation of persons held by another State constitutes an internationally wrongful act if the State knew or ought to have known that the person was facing a real risk of torture or other prohibited treatment, including arbitrary detention."
In the UK, the independent reviewer of terror laws Lord Carlisle has called for a judicial inquiry into British government and intelligence complicity in American programs, which could easily lead to prosecutions from highest to lowest. Lawmakers have become increasingly vocal, on a bipartisan basis, in calling for full accountability. People are shocked and angry that their nation was involved, even at a slight remove, in such wholesale breaking of some of the most valued international laws.
Yet here in America we've a situation where the guy who ran for the highest office on a platform that included ending those illegal acts has:
- Used a blanket state secrets defense to stiffle legal accountability for internationally wrongful acts and keep lawsuits out of the courts.
- Said via his officials that he's not going to prosecute those who actually tortured or perpetrated other abuses of human rights..
- Defended even the lawyers who criminally gave justifications for these illegal acts.
- Shown no inclination to indict those who have publicly admitted ordering these grave human rights violations.
Today on CNN, Markos Moulitsas said that progressives' challenge was to tread "that line from destructive criticism to constructive criticism".
I've no problem whatsoever with saying that if the Obama administration lets the orderers, justifiers and perpetrators of these crimes against humanity walk away from justice then the criticism should be destructive. No matter what else they might accomplish, they will not deserve our support if there's not enough change on this issue. It's just that big of a deal.
What's With The Brits Being All, For Lack Of A Better Word, Right?
From Newshoggers, more British getting things righter than us!