Sunday, February 01, 2009

Year of the Double Standard

OK. Not that declarations by this blog count for much, but since it will make me feel better, DU is officially declaring 2009 the Year of the Double Standard. We’ve had them before, obviously; they’re the world we live in. But they're taking it up to a whole new league now.

The LA Times is reporting today that “President Barack Obama has left intact a program that gives the CIA authority to carry out so-called secret renditions — abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.” (“Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool”).

The justification given by the White House to the LA Times:
"Obviously you need to preserve some tools -- you still have to go after the bad guys," said an Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing the legal reasoning. "The legal advisors working on this looked at rendition. It is controversial in some circles and kicked up a big storm in Europe. But if done within certain parameters, it is an acceptable practice."

Makes sense to me. It made sense to me back when Dana Priest revealed classified information about it in her mission to bring down the Bush administration.

We all remember secret renditions as one of the critical Bush-Cheney war-crimes accusations that we’ve all had to listen to for five years. Here’s the award-winning double standard:
The decision to preserve the program did not draw major protests, even among human rights groups. Leaders of such organizations attribute that to a sense that nations need certain tools to combat terrorism. “Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.”

Limited circumstances, presumably, that didn’t exist from 9/11 until January 20, 2009?

This was how Human Rights Watch felt about secret renditions in 2007:

Human Rights Watch expressed grave concern about President Bush’s stated view that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 permits the government to restart the CIA’s secret prison program. Human Rights Watch called upon the Bush administration
to reject the use of secret detention and coercive interrogation as tactics in fighting terrorism, and announce that the CIA’s detention and interrogation program has been permanently discontinued.

“The CIA program – and the civilian leaders who created it – have inflicted tremendous harm on the reputation, moral standing, and integrity of the United States,” Mariner said. “It’s time for President Bush to repudiate this program,and to take steps to repair the damage it has done.” ("US Secret CIA Prisoners Still Missing").

This was Amnesty International eight months ago on secret renditions under the Bush administration:

European states have been implicated in the US-led rendition and secret detention programme, in which people have been unlawfully detained and transferred from one country to another outside of any judicial process. Some have been transferred from US custody to countries where torture and other ill-treatment is known to accompany interrogation; others have been transferred into US custody and subsequently held in detention centres in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

A number of individuals have been subjected to enforced disappearance, including in secret CIA detention, and the whereabouts of some three dozen people remain unknown. Every one of the victims of rendition interviewed by Amnesty International has said they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated in ustody.

Investigations by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament have recommended that Member States take measures to prevent such human rights violations occurring in the future and to ensure redress, including reparation, to the victims. (“End rendition and secret detention: Europe’s duty”).

So today there’s a “legitimate place” for what was a “human rights violation” only in June.

No comments: