If you want to watch a right-winger have a fit, mention the phrase “United Nations.” Like froth from a rabid dog, all sorts of conspiracy garbage spews from their mouth. Nothing sums up right wing fear of the world more than the United Nations; Agenda 21, the Antichrist, gun-grabbing, shape-shifting lizard people — it’s all there. So the recent call from a U.N. human right’s expert to bring to justice all those involved in the “enhanced torture techniques” employed by the Bush administration is sure to set them spinning.
Or, it’ll make them laugh, arrogantly secure in their own perverse rejection of reality. These are, after all, the people who believe that being accused of stealing cigarettes warrants the death penalty, and are willing to believe every line figures in authority tell them, so long as the hook and sinker mirrors their own detached image of the world.
Ben Emmerson, the United Nations special rappoteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said that “the United States is legally obligated to bring those responsible to justice.” He added that “The U.S. Attorney General is under legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible.”
This includes senior Bush administration officials who were involved.
The Tuesday report noted that the CIA routinely misled the White House and Congress over the harsh interrogation for suspects of terrorism, and the brutal methods employed by the agency. Emmerson, a British international lawyer serving in the independent post since 2010, noted that “It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.”
While he praised the Obama administration “for resisting domestic pressure to suppress these important findings,” he noted that international law prohibits immunity to public officials that engaged in acts of torture, adding:
The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.
Torture is an international crime, and the United Nations Human Rights Committee had previously called for the release of the Tuesday report.
The real question is this: now that the reports are released, are actually going to follow through? The United States is one of the most prominent rogue nations in the world; we follow international law when it’s convenient for us, ignoring it otherwise. We’re also one of the most pronounced actors in the realm of state-sponsored terrorism. Given our past performances, I doubt that anything is going to come of this.
But I’d love to be surprised.