Monday, October 04, 2010

Jason Leopold: Obama’s hypocrisy on torture

By Jason Leopold, Consortiumnews.com, October 2, 2010

Editor’s Note: It’s always easier to condemn abuses by an “enemy” state than to acknowledge similar crimes committed by your own. But that it is the commitment that the United States and other signatories to anti-torture agreements undertook.

Instead, President Obama has followed the hypocritical political course of shielding his U.S. predecessor from any accountability for torture, murder and other crimes, while adopting a moralistic posture against Iran, as Jason Leopold notes in this guest essay:

This week, in a burst of stunning hypocrisy, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that imposes sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and targets eight Iranian government and military officials who are blamed for the torture, abuse and murder of citizens who protested Iran’s 2009 presidential election.

“The United States is strongly committed to the promotion of human rights around the world, including in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the White House said in an accompanying news release. “As the President noted in his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, human rights are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States.”

A State Department fact sheet added, “protesters [in Iran] were detained without formal charges brought against them and during this detention detainees were subjected to beatings, solitary confinement, and a denial of due process rights at the hands of intelligence officers under the direction of [Iran’s then-Minister of Military Intelligence Qolam] Mohseni-Ejei.

“In addition, political figures were coerced into making false confessions under unbearable interrogations, which included torture, abuse, blackmail, and the threatening of family members,” the State Department said.

Yet, President Obama has taken no action against U.S. officials who under the direction of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld imprisoned without charge “war on terror” detainees at secret black sites and at Guantanamo Bay.

These prisoners also were subjected to beatings, solitary confinement and a denial of due process. They, too, were coerced into making false confessions under unbearable interrogations, which included torture, abuse, blackmail, and the threatening of family members.

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