The United States has just submitted its required Report of the United States of America Submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Conjunction with the Universal Periodic Review. Among the interesting sections of this fantasy are paragraph 86 on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment:
86. Thus, the United States prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of persons in the custody or control of the U.S. Government, regardless of their nationality or physical location. It takes vigilant action to prevent such conduct and to hold those who commit acts of official cruelty accountable for their wrongful acts. The United States is a party to the Convention Against Torture, and U.S. law prohibits torture at both the federal and state levels. On June 26, 2010, on the anniversary of adoption of the Convention Against Torture, President Obama issued a statement unequivocally reaffirming U.S. support for its principles, and committing the United States to continue to cooperate in international efforts to eradicate torture. [emphasis added]
Bush, Cheney, Tenet, Rumsfeld, and numerous CIA operatives and military members will be amused to hear that the US takes
vigilant action to prevent such conduct and to hold those who commit acts of official cruelty accountable for their wrongful acts.
Evidently “vigorous action,” in Obama-speak, means to guarantee impunity.
Also interesting is the following paragraph on Guantanamo:
87. In issuing Executive Order 13492, Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities, the President announced the Administration’s intention to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facilities. The President also created a task force to recommend the appropriate disposition of each detainee held at Guantánamo. The Task Force assembled large volumes of information from across the government to determine the proper disposition of each detainee. The Task Force examined this information critically, giving careful consideration to, among other things, the threat posed by the detainee, the reliability of the underlying information, any concerns about the post-transfer humane treatment of the detainee, and the interests of national security. Based on the Task Force’s evaluations and recommendations, senior officials representing each agency responsible for the review reached unanimous determinations on the appropriate disposition for all detainees. Since January 2009, 38 detainees have resettled successfully in third countries, an additional 26 detainees have been repatriated, and one has been transferred to the United States for prosecution. The Administration remains committed to closure of the Guantánamo detention facility. [emphasis added]
Evidently through their careful review these senior officials unanimously agreed that many dozens for whom there was no credible, non-torture-derived, evidence of wrongdoing would be locked up as long as they possibly could. A cynic might even think that knowingly locking innocent people up indefinitely might constitute a form of that “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” that the US so vigorously prevents and sanctions.
September 6th, 2010