United Nations: U.S. Human Rights Record “Deplorable” — Including the Continuing Failure to Investigate Torture By the Obama Administration

225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obamatorture -abu ghraibThe United Nations has released a new report on human rights that has found the record of the United states to be “deplorable.” With the continuing refusal of the Obama Administration to investigate war crimes and to support the Bush policies in court, we have lost an opportunity to show the country has committed itself to change these policies and demand accountability for those who implemented them.

The May 26, 2009, report by Australian law professor Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, states that “there have been chronic and deplorable accountability failures with respect to policies, practice and conduct that resulted in alleged unlawful killings — including possible war crimes — in the United States’ international operations.”

“credible reports” of at least five deaths caused by torture at the hands of the CIA. Yet, Attorney General Eric Holder continues to block any investigation into such cases or the torture program as a whole. This was not missed by the United Nation report, which states “U.S. prosecutors have failed to use the laws on the books to investigate and prosecute (contractors) and civilian agents for wrongful deaths, including, in some cases, deaths credibly alleged to have resulted from torture and abuse.”

For the story, click here.

54 thoughts on “United Nations: U.S. Human Rights Record “Deplorable” — Including the Continuing Failure to Investigate Torture By the Obama Administration”

  1. Pretty much anything goes in this country now. There is a nationwide surveillance (stalking) and harassment network, but it’s so hard for people to believe that it continues unnoticed and unchecked. Those who complain are labeled “delusional” or worse. There’s never any hard evidence and these folks operate beneath the radar of most. There’s nothing stopping them, apparently. May God help those who are targeted for the most benign reasons.

  2. Glenn Greenwald has an excellent column on torture by the Bush govt. and Obama’s failure to prosecute. The number of people acknowledged to have died because of torture is around 100. Human rights groups have documented this. Obama has said to people in the CIA; “it’s O.K. that you committed murder. You are free to go and please, stay on, we need you”. This is wrong and dangerous. Here is a short clip and the link:

    “Despite these numbers, four years since the first known death in U.S. custody, only 12 detainee deaths have resulted in punishment of any kind for any U.S. official. Of the 34 homicide cases so far identified by the military, investigators recommended criminal charges in fewer than two thirds, and charges were actually brought (based on decisions made by command) in less than half. While the CIA has been implicated in several deaths, not one CIA agent has faced a criminal charge. Crucially, among the worst cases in this list – those of detainees tortured to death – only half have resulted in punishment; the steepest sentence for anyone involved in a torture-related death: five months in jail.”


  3. Will we ever know what our most secretive agencies are doing, if they are able to hide behind the “state secrets privilege”? If anything goes, because government agencies are hiding whatever activities they want to hide, the following question must be asked: Who is running this country?

    Are we not, in theory, supposed to be “a government of the people, by the people and for the people”?

    Refer to “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists”

    Outlaw nonconsensual human experiments now
    By Cheryl Welsh | 16 June 2009


    If nonconsensual human experiments are, in fact, taking place, should they not be exposed and stopped? Or are we going to let them continue and pretend that we really believe in the rule of law and the Constitution.

  4. Dear Mr Turley and bloggers herein, especially rafflaw, Jill and Mespo,
    Please consider sharing and discussing this news item released late 6/5/09. It speaks to your welcome position regarding war crimes’ prosecution.

    ‘ U.S. May Permit 9/11 Guilty Pleas in Capital Cases ‘
    >[http://tinyurl.com/mn4a9o ]

    This past week’s Egypt/Germany/France tour and speeches by our President are laudable and hopeful. But what about this ‘detainees as martyrs’ news alert released Friday? Seriously, what do you make of this? How could the administration — fresh from a statesmanship high point to
    tout justice around the world — very quietly announcing the following?

    Odd that this news appeared late Friday night, as in ‘out with the trash’ in news parlance, while the colorful weekend news video spun around the French DDay-related memorials and some discussion of his notable Egypt and Germany speeches. Further, there has been no MSM news or even progressive blog discussions on this yet. Per the article, there is a legislative component to this, but even CQ’s morning feed had nothing, either; perhaps this afternoon’s feed may.

  5. “Held Seven Years, Former Aid Worker Tells ABC News He Was Tortured”


    “I’m a normal man,” said Boumediene, who at the time of his arrest worked for the Red Crescent, providing help to orphans and others in need. “I’m not a terrorist.”

    {Quote: On January 17, 2002, Boumediene’s hands and feet were placed in shackles, and he was put on a military plane en route to Guantanamo Bay. It was a time of high anxiety, and the Bush administration was taking no chances.

    Two weeks later, in his State of the Union address, President Bush touted the arrests in Bosnia to show early progress in the war on terror.

    “Our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy,” Bush said in his address. To this day, officials of the Bush administration have provided no credible evidence to back up that accusation. End Quote}

  6. Gyges,
    Your right, but then so do adults. I am very lucky to have become married and monogamous before the eruption of AIDS.

  7. Gyges:

    you did a stupid thing? Say it isnt so!

    Were you invisible at the time?

  8. Mike,

    I think that the last sentence could just as easily be “no matter how much kids know about sex, teenagers still do really stupid things.” I know I did.

  9. Bron,
    As the father of two girls, who are now young women, the best that I can tell you is that it seems that roughly between the ages of 12 an 16 they basically think Mom and Dad are idiots, who don’t understand them at all. This is I think hormonal, though after our oldest first went through it, we were shocked when she began loving us again at 17. As far as the pill goes that you need to discuss with an MD, since I think there are possible side effects that need to be taken into account.

    I must admit that I’m not a typical father of girls in that basically I was not interested in their sex lives, or protecting their virginity. My wife handled the “birds and bees” part of that since we thought that would be more comfortable for them. I’ve had training in sex therapy so I was capable of it, but my kids would have found it creepy to talk to me about sex. However, they were aware of my attitudes regarding abstinence, which is that the whole idea is silly.

    The best argument to me for the pill is that it prevents unwanted pregnancy and that is necessary because no matter how much kids know about sex, accidents happen.

  10. MikeS:

    can you put on your theraputic hat for a moment? I have a question.

    How do hormones effect teenage girls relative to behavior and do birth control pills even out or negate hormonal imbalance in teenage girls?

    pro and con?

  11. “This includes Obama. He has a clear and extremely disturbing pattern of amassing power and doing so under cover of secrecy. He also uses an excellent PR campaign to fool people into thinking he is doing the opposite of what he is actually doing. This pattern is clear despite his best efforts to obscure it.”

    “We have a federal govt. to take back. We must get moving.”

    Here’s the problem. I’m as much a supporter of civil liberties and a just society as you are. Yet I think your first statement is baloney, is based on your biased reading of the situation and that the President has been in office for too short a time to make the judgments you make. About half the supporters of civil liberties on this site agree with me, perhaps the other 50% agrees with you.

    Given that division how are we going to organize “to take back the federal government?” This reminds me so much of Movement politics back in the 60’s. There were always people pleading for us to organize and yet those same people continued to disparage and insult the intelligence of those they need to organize. The war continued and civil rights faltered.

    Perhaps you might convince me to join your cause if you would have the courtesy to reply to the questions raised by Slartibartfast in his thoughtful comments addressed to you.
    Purity of though is a great thing, but it goes nowhere politically.

  12. Mike A.,

    I want to affirm everything you said above but I think something else is important to remember. If the Constitution gets shredded it will not be just the work of a small group in the right wing of our nation. The left wing remains far too silent in opposition to anti-Constitutional arguments/policies made by this govt. In fact, the left wing eagerly supports some of these things.

    I never believed civil liberties divide along the right wing, left wing axis. Many people of principle on the right are some of our stongest voices for the rule of law. The left has acquiesced to authoritarianism many, many times throughout history and across cultures. It appears to me to be doing so now. I find left wing acquiescence as dangerous as right wing disregard for the rule of law. I think we as citizens, must pay attention to what our govt. is actually engaged in, not caring which party is doing what, or which person may be doing which act. It is the acts, and the acts alone, that need to be watched, and when they become antithetical to the rule of law, these acts need to be oppposed. The left wing needs to remove the log from our own eyes and the one in the right wing as well.

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