Friday, December 12, 2014

U.N. Demands C.I.A. Torture Trials

                In an unprecedented act of humor hubris, top U.N. ‘human rights officials’ (say that out loud with a straight face) demanded that all senior U.S. officials and CIA agents who authorized and carried out torture as part of former President George W. Bush’s national security policy must be prosecuted.
                The U.N. ‘High Commissioner’ for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein stated, “In all countries, if someone commits murder, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they commit rape or armed robbery, they are prosecuted and jailed.” Thanks for the lecture, Zeid, but that is simply not the case. We do have the rule of law in the U.S., however. We don’t stone people for adultery here.
                Ben Emmerson, the U.N.’s ‘special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights’ (what’s with the titles?), said international law prohibits granting immunity to public officials who allow the use of torture, and this applies not just to the actual perpetrators but also to those who plan and authorize it.
                It is not clear how these prosecutions would occur. The United States is not part of the International Criminal Court and a referral of a torture case would require approval by the U.N. Security Council, where the United States holds veto power.
                There are few more historically scandal-ridden organizations on the face of the earth then the United Nations. There was the Iraq oil-for-food scandal. There was the illegal business ties involving the son of then Secretary General Kofi Annan, outright larceny in Geneva offices and many instances of wide-scale bribery and corruption for starters.
                Then there are the really ugly ones. In 2006 the U.N. ‘peacekeepers’ in war-torn Liberia exchanged food for sex from girls as young as eight. Over half of the girls 8 to 18 in many areas were thought to have been exploited. The U.N. knew about these allegations for over a year before doing anything about them. They eventually let a handful of the peacekeepers go, although some were  at least temporarily reinstated. There was a similar incident involving a boy in Haiti in 2012.
                In many cases the U.N. peacekeepers have had agreements with the U.N. that they could only be subject to discipline or legal action from their country of origin!  Hypocrisy?
                The Russian government said the report provided “confirmation of gross, systemic human rights violations by the American authorities.” That statement was issued by Konstantin Dolgov, the ministry’s ‘commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law’ who called the report’s disclosures “shocking.” This is akin to the Third Reich having a ‘commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law’ or perhaps a ‘ministry for the humane treatment of those of Jewish descent.’
                The Russian Federation’s ‘ministry of justice’ is located in Lefortovo prison. There’s some dark humor in that fact.  Konstantin, is the ministry for human rights, democracy and the rule of law located perhaps in Lubyanka Prison, home of the infamous KGB, now FSB? Or is it in some other gulag somewhere? Is there a Crimean or Ukrainian branch?
                Finally, there was the  remark from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who opined, “What was deemed right and done back then in the fight against Islamic terrorism was unacceptable and a serious mistake. Such a crass violation of free and democratic values must not be repeated.”
                It wasn’t exactly the Holocaust, Mr. Steinmeier, was it?

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