Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, Mr. Obama? Really?

The Senate Report on Enhanced CIA Interrogation Techniques puts the lie to all political pronouncements coming out of Washington over the past decade and in part over the past half century. Mendacity, hubris and hypocrisy are alive and flourishing in the land of the free.

The US signs pacts, treaties, international and domestic, which casual readers might assume are entered into law to be rigorously followed by all signatories to those agreements. But the US decides which treaties to ratify and even then which ratified treaties to uphold. It would seem that only those treaties which meet with the blessings of the corporate lobby and favour their culture of trade protection, form the standard. Yet for all other signatories, the US insists that the letter of signed treaties be followed unwaveringly. Hence we have one of the multiple double standards in American law. (The treatment of unarmed black children at the hands of a militarised police force is another and frightening in the extreme.) The same war crimes which sent Germans, Italians, and Japanese to firing squads, or lifetime hard labour are glossed over or white-washed by the American media when the US are the perps.

Many of the findings so far released in the Senate Report have been well known in North America and internationally for many years. The UN and other NGOs have regularly requested that the US judiciary take steps to see justice be done fairly and that the perpetrators be offered remedies according to US and international laws in accordance with their involvement.

The executive branch of government seems to think that their duty is only to lament that high crimes and serious misdemeanors have been carried out. The current chief executive is no exception. Mr. Obama’s daily lament, while no individuals are named and no blame is cast, shows a certain spinelessness. It may be good diplomatically but it is a weak response. If Obama follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, the perps will be pardoned as Reagan and NIxon had their crimes pardoned. Again a double standard. While millions of black americans live incarcerated for relatively minor infringements of law, those responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, or war crimes strut their stuff as free men.

Knowing all this as a given, isn’t there a case for American NGOs such as the ACLU, Amnesty International, Centre for American Progress, et al., to use the Senate Report to sue the perpetrators in American courts? The UN has asked for indictments. Why are Americans sitting back as if everything is just a storm in a teacup? Is it really OK to be the 1000 pound gorilla in the room, an international rogue state, practising lawlessness with impunity?

During his daily chats on this report, Mr. Obama has stated that, “This is not who we are.” “We are better than this.” Yeah right Mr. Obama. If you were really better there would have been no need for this report and the world community could look up to “the shining city on the hill” as mentioned in another dreamscape. If this is not who you are, show some fortitude and make things right. After all you are the most powerful man on the planet!

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